Marshana is the only black contestant yet to place in the final six on either Brooke: A 25-year-old community organizer from Pittsburgh. (Instead, the musician performed for Sean, all by himself.) Robyn: A 24-year-old oil account field manager and former dancer for the Houston Rockets from Topeka. Another contestant (one of the season’s four Laurens) suggested that, rather than Jubilee, Ben would want a wife who could get along with “the other soccer moms,” a comment that registered with many viewers as a racial microaggression. Marquel: A 26-year-old sponsorship salesman from California.She prefaced her first kiss with Lowe by offering him a piece of candy and asking, “Do you like chocolate? Marquel brought Andi a tray of cookies, pointing out a black-and-white cookie that represented their relationship: “Look to the cookie,” he told her, “Look to the black-and-white cookie.” Eliminated in week five.
She’s also black, which—as even a casual student of the long-running ABC reality dating show could tell you—never bodes well for a contestant’s chances.
Since its 2002 debut season, The franchise was even the target of a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in 2012, which was ultimately dismissed.
For an illuminating breakdown of how minority participants have fared in recent seasons, see this blog post by Karen X. This problem isn’t limited to contestants: All of the Bachelors have been white—although there has been one Latino Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, who is Venezuelan-American.
The 11 women chosen as to date have all been white, although an executive for ABC—which is a part owner of Fusion—suggested the next Bachelorette would be “diverse.” (Our money is on this season’s Caila Quinn, who is half-Filipina.) Ironically, Lifetime’s scripted drama Until Higgins asked her to leave in week five, Sharpe had been one of three black women featured on the show this season, alongside Jami Letain and Amber James, who were eliminated in week three and four, respectively.
In the history of the franchise, on both history to find 36 African-American and African-Canadian contestants who’ve competed on the programs (including one woman who returned for a second season).
Our list may not be comprehensive—it’s largely assembled from contemporary episode recaps and press materials, as early seasons are not available for download online or sold on DVD, and ABC declined to share a list of black La Nease: Eliminated in episode three.
(La Nease, then 23, made the final eight contestants, but there were only six episodes total in the show’s debut season.) She was responsible for the first-ever kiss on In an AOL interview, La Nease said she didn’t feel that she’d been discriminated against or “exploited” on the show, but did mention that producers had instructed her to ask Michel whether he’d dated an African-American woman before.
“T Kyshawn: A 30-year-old bartender from Nashville. She asked O’Connell if he’s open to interracial dating. I’ve dated them all.” Princess: A 26-year-old substitute teacher from Los Angeles.
Travis asked Princess who named her, and she told him, “My mother.” Eliminated in week one.
Kathy: A 25-year-old graduate student from Stockton, California. Marshana: A 27-year-old fashion designer from Brooklyn.
She survived a two-on-one date in week four, but was eliminated in the fifth of the season’s eight weeks. Eliminated in week four during a one-on-one date, after dinner with Lowe but before what would have been a private concert with Ben Taylor for the couple. Jubilee: A 24-year-old military veteran from Fort Lauderdale.