When you think about it, The Bachelor and Bachelorette have come a long(ish) way. It's now routine for single moms to search for love on the shows. We even had a divorced dad Bachelor in Jason Mesnick.
However, the idea that the franchise is diverse would be a stretch — to say the least. Every season the shows seem to veer farther from diversity and more toward "Give us your young, hot blondes." All of the 14 Bachelors and seven Bachelorettes have been Caucasian, and 20 of the 21 have been in their 20s and 30s. (In a departure from the norm, Season 6 Bachelor Byron Velvick was 40, and also divorced.)
It used to be the big joke that any non-white contestants would either be eliminated the first night or get the token second episode treatment before being sent home. There have been a couple of exceptions, including Byron choosing Cuban American Mary Delgado (look how well that turned out!) and Ali Fedotowsky choosing Roberto Martinez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, on The Bachelorette Season 6.
But it's 2011, and Brad Womack didn't have a single Latina, Asian American, or African American lady on his season. Jake Pavelka had a bachelorette of Cambodian descent, Channy Choch, but she embarrassed herself on the premiere by using her native language to tell him he could land his plane on her landing strip anytime. Face palm!
So far, Marshana Ritchie has been the only African American Bachelor contestant to get close to the finals, making it to the top five on Matt Grant's The Bachelor: London Calling in 2008. (She actually comes from an African Asian background.) At the time, she was very open to the idea of being the Bachelorette. "If I had to walk to L.A. to film the show, I would," Marshana said in April 2008. "I haven't even been on a date since I've been home. I would love for ABC to gather me a great cross-section of men from all different walks of life and ethnicities and backgrounds."
Well, according to an interview with ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee, that could finally be in the cards. He said he hopes the show will cast a Bachelor of color. He's not a Bachelor producer, but he is a top brass at the network. If he says they should do it, they just might — especially if there's a call out there to do it. And we think there should be a call.
It's not too much to ask to have a Bachelor and a few Bachelor contestants who don't fit the Brad/Jake/Jesse/Aaron/Andy/Travis mold. As Marshana said, they should cast "all different walks of life, and ethnicities and backgrounds."
ABC embraces diversity on its other reality powerhouse, Dancing With the Stars — and American Idol and America's Next Top Model regularly feature contestants of all different ages, sizes, and colors. Other dating shows, however cheesy (read: Flavor of Love), recruit contestants from all walks of life.
Articles have been written about the lack of diversity on The Bachelor since it started in 2002, and there's a Facebook group called "When will AB-C have an ethnic Bachelor?" As of now, however, there aren't very many members in the group.
So, is there a call out there for more diversity in the franchise, or are viewers happy with the status quo? You tell us!
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