Updated: Apr 4
Perversely, that problem has only grown worse with the diversification of reality television casts. When reality television emerged nearly 20 years ago, one of the biggest criticisms lodged against early shows concerned how few non-whites appeared on many of the programs. On competition shows, that frequently meant that the token African-American contestant was among the first to go. From 2002 to 2016, for example, no black contestant on either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette made it longer than five weeks on the show — and almost 60 percent were escorted out within the first two weeks. Last year, under pressure, ABC made Rachel Lindsay the first African-American star of either franchise, a move that also prompted the network to put together its most diverse cast ever. Yet even that decision only reinforced how expendable persons of color have been on most reality shows.