When it comes to who Rachel Lindsay will choose in the end, it shouldn’t be about race. It should be about who she loves and has built a solid foundation with.

By TIFFANIE WOODS

Dating as a black woman is hard. Dating as the first black Bachelorette on national TV is down right terrifying. That’s the reality Rachel Lindsay was forced to face once she accepted the title after being eliminated from last year’s The Bachelor. Now with only 3 men left, Rachel, often only referred to as the first black Bachelorette, is almost ready to pick her future husband.

At this point as an audience, we can all collectively agree that Rachel has had a pretty shitty experience as the Bachelorette. Even if you haven’t watched the show, it’s likely you’ve seen the drama via some sort of social media. From Demario’s girlfriend showing up to expose him on camera, to Lee the racist whose sole purpose was antagonizing all of the black men on the show. Rachel’s season has been plagued by drama and strife. And on top of all of this drama, she has had to deal with the constant commentary on her race and dating preferences as a black woman.

Related: Saying I’m Not Into Black Girls Isn’t A Preference. It’s Racist.

Even before her season began, Rachel felt pressure from the black community to pick a black man as her winner. In many of her promotional interviews, this was the first question people asked, and the one they focused on the most. Like, we get it, she’s black. But did you forget that the reason she is the Bachelorette is because she made it to the top 4 on The Bachelor with Nick Viall…who is a white man? Despite this fact, people still pushed this narrative on her. To say that America has no chill is an understatement.

As the show has progressed, this has taken up most of the conversations regarding the Bachelorette. Usually, as a fan of the show and avid watcher, I’m used to seeing critiques of the guy’s actions on dates, how open with their feelings they are, or how creepy they are. Remember the guy who sang Ashley a song? On this season, there were a couple of creepers. Adam who brought a doll version of him (still not sure how he made it to the top six). Or Jonathan, you know, THE PROFESSIONAL TICKLER ON THIS VERY SEASON?!?! Not this time. Because the topic continued to turn to race even when it was clear that was not a factor in Rachel’s decisions during elimination at all.

In a recent interview with Essence, Rachel shares some insight into her dating history, and how race has played a part in that.

“I typically dated African-American men. But if you watch the show, you don’t necessarily see that. As a single woman in my 20s, I was dating a particular type of man. Once I turned 30, I opened that up because I was closing myself off to great men. As women, we can get so zeroed in on a specific type, but if you cast the net wider, you never know what you’re gonna catch.”

That’s why when I read this article last week that said the only reason Eric Bigger, the last black contestant, was still around is because he’s black. I was pissed. Pissed for how little respect this writer, who is also a black woman, has for another black woman who is dating on national television and is already faced enough scrutiny.

Give Rachel some credit. She is not on this show to appease America, the Bachelor producers, or anyone but herself. If you watch the show, this was pretty clear on episodes 1 and 2 when she called out DeMario and put Chris Harrison in his place about the ambush production led her into. Rachel Lindsay is not someone to be played with.

Related: On Serena Williams and The State of Black Love

Rachel, who is a civil litigator in Houston, knows all about code switching and how her words and actions can be perceived. And she does not care. In fact, she is happy with what was shown, because it shows she has been her authentic self throughout the entire process. That she isn’t just Rachel the attorney, or Rachel the Bachelorette. She is just Rachel, a hopeless romantic who just so happens to be dating a dozen men on your TV every Monday night.

When it comes to who Rachel will choose in the end, it shouldn’t be about race. It should be about who she loves and has built a solid foundation with. And given her most recent interviews, it sounds like she is living her best life, and everyone should be supportive of her decision.

Author Bio: Tiffanie Woods is a human living in Boston and just trying to live her best life. Most of her time is spent talking about pop culture on her podcast “Spill It” and trying to get that perfect Instagram shot without breaking a nail. Follow Tiffanie on  Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Image: Naveed jawald, Creative Commons