Race & The Bachelor Part 3: Chr*s H*rrison Upholding White Supremacy 101

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Today is the final installment of race & The Bachelor where we'll be discussing Chr*s H*rrison's problematic interview with Rachel Lindsay. Let's start with a quick clarification for those of you (like me) who don't really mess with The Bachelor like that. We're talking about some key characters and 2/3 of them have the same name so it gets confusing.
  • Chr*s H*rrison: rich white dude who has hosted the shows for 18 years.
  • Rachel Lindsay: The first Black Bachelorette who has stayed vocal about race and The Bachelor franchise. She is now an anchor on Extra, which is why she was even interviewing Chr*s H*rrison in the first place.
  • Rachael Kirkconnell: A finalist on The Bachelor who we talked about extensively here.

ICYMI: Chr*s H*rrison went on Extra to talk to Rachel L. about Rachael K. and it turned into a front row seat to "upholding white supremacy 101", "disconnected rich white dudes who are pretty racist but probably don't know it", and "internalized racism on display". He has since apologized for his behavior via an IG post...we'll see where it takes us. For now, let's discuss the interview.

First of all, the number of times he, a white man, spoke over Rachel Lindsay, a Black woman, on the topic of how hurtful a white woman's actions are to Black people, was unacceptable. In times where people are hurt we check on them and try to understand the pain- we don't tell them how bad it SHOULD hurt or why it shouldn't hurt. This is no different. 

Second, white fragility. He came to prove that Rachael K is a victim in this, that we need to give her time and grace. Look I've been called out before and it is humiliating, it hurts, it's hard. But it doesn't hurt as much as a lifetime of enduring racism does and so we apologize, work on ourselves, and follow up with action- we don't put it on other people to find the space to give us grace. 

Third: Gaslighting. Gaslighting is something that is easy to fall into when we are uncomfortable and/or get called out. I want to make sure we all understand how it showed up in this interview so we can recognize when we start to default to it in uncomfortable situations. Here is a non-exhaustive list of how gaslighting showed up in the interview:
  • Minimizing BIPOC perspectives by jokingly calling people hurt by the situation "woke police"
  • Minimizing BIPOC perspectives by calling people hurt by the situation "unreasonable"
  • Focusing on how people calling her out did it wrong (see also: tone policing) and saying "two wrongs don't make a right"
  • "These people are the problem"
  • Making Rachael K out to be the victim
  • Speaking on behalf of a minority group he isn't a part of, saying Rachael K will issue an apology when she's ready and it will be good enough for reasonable people (note: if you are part of the group in power and NOT in the group harmed, it's not up to you to accept or reject the apology)
  • "We're not in the business of dealing with every problem you have"
  • Referring to 2018 as if it were a long time ago, calling it "five years ago" "a different time" etc. 
  • "50 million people went to an Old South party" (everyone does it so you shouldn't have a problem with it)

We'll see how their apology tours go and if their actions back up their words. Like I said, no one is doing antiracism perfectly. There is a lot of guilt and shame in this work, and it is absolutely necessary to keep moving forward. 

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