Why The Next 'Bachelor' Is About More Than Just Who The Bachelor Is

Paul Hebert/ABC

Now that The Bachelorette is coming to an end, casting speculation for The Bachelor begins. And for fans who are hoping the show builds on Rachel's season in order to increase diversity, it may seem concerning that there are several serious contenders for Bachelor who are white guys. But the next Bachelor season is about casting, and not just about the Bachelor. So it's all right to root for Peter or Dean to become the next Bachelor, because that won't be the end of the conversation about diversity. What it really comes down to is a complete shift in how ABC thinks about putting together a season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

There are many ways to change the usual makeup of the cast. First is to cast a Bachelor who's open minded and open hearted, and willing to consider someone from a different cultural or racial or ethnic background. After their performance on Rachel's season, I think many of Rachel's suitors would apply, even many of the white ones. Some of those guys, like Adam and Matt, were a bit anonymous, and strange choices for the next Bachelor, but Dean was one of the final four and seemed genuinely heartbroken by his elimination. He might find love this year on Bachelor in Paradise, but if not, he's an easy pick for a Bachelor that will keep the inclusivity going. Dean is young compared to a lot of previous Bachelors, but that means he doesn't have a dating history long enough to be in a rut or have an extremely limited "type." And he's a weird goofball that women (and everyone else) all over the country fell in love with while watching him on the show.

There's another thing the show can control through casting, and that's making sure that there are no bigoted people included. Of course, you can't look into somoene's heart to find out what prejudices they hold while casting them to be on TV, but you can look at their Twitter account to make sure they're not homophobic or racist. Not casting Lee on Rachel's season would have made the show so much better, and would have made the network's commitment to diversity and inclusion feel more genuine and draw more people who might have otherwise felt concerned about being alienated in a cast full of homogenous white people. (Chris Harrison claimed on Twitter that producers hadn't seen those tweets prior to casting Lee.)

But finding a group of women who are as different from one another as they are from the generic stereotype levied at Bachelor competitors is key in making future seasons as groundbreaking as this one. Not only will it make for a better, more entertaining season where a larger portion of the audience feels represented, it will also pay forward with a casting pool that's increasingly diverse. After all, while there are a few white guys who would make great Bachelors, there's also Kenny, Eric, and Bryan... all possible Bachelors. That's because Rachel's season had more men of color than usual.

Basically, if the next season of The Bachelor is just as cognizant of collecting a diverse group of women as this season was with collecting a diverse group of men, then the series will continue to move forward, even if the next Bachelor turns out to be white. "Diversity" doesn't mean using this one season as a shield against any future criticism about the show. It means building on this year's Bachelorette to make the next Bachelor season even better than this one, and learning from the show's mistakes to bring together a group of women of all types and races and ethnicities to compete for the Bachelor's heart — whether he's Dean, Peter, Kenny, Eric, or anyone else.