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Arts & Entertainment

The Bachelorette: Is the show’s racial conversation crossing a line?




Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields (L) and television personality Rachel Lindsay present an award during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields (L) and television personality Rachel Lindsay present an award during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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After 14 years as a ratings juggernaut, the reality TV franchise "The Bachelor" has finally featured a black person as its star: Texas attorney Rachel Lindsay.

She’s charming, smart and Disney-princess-pretty — fabulously well-suited for the role. But after many years of ignoring race in content and casting, many viewers have cringed this season watching scenes of racial conflict that seem as though they were set up by producers.

At least one of the contestants, a white musician from the South, has been accused of using coded racist language to antagonize black men in the competition. Tweets have now surfaced in which the musician, Lee Garrett, likens Black Lives Matter to a “terrorist group.”

Producers aren't shying away from race. But is this a valuable conversation or a cynical ratings ploy? Are producers crossing a line by encouraging racism on television in order to juice the drama?

Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

Guest:

Ali Barthwell, freelance writer for Vulture and writer for Cards Against Humanity; she wrote the Vulture article, “The Bachelorette Recap: Why is This Happening?;” she tweets @wtflanksteak