‘The Bachelor’ Poised to Make History: A Black Contestant Could Make It to Week 6

Franchise notorious for eliminating people of color early in the season has two African-Americans still in competition

Last Updated: January 31, 2017 @ 5:41 PM

“The Bachelor” is on its way to make history as a female African-American contestant is likely to make it past the fifth rose ceremony of the franchise that has become notorious for sending black suitors home in the first half of the season.

Rachel Lindsay has been a clear front-runner since Nick Viall’s season premiered earlier this month. In the first episode, Lindsay made history when she became the first black contestant on either “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” to get the first impression rose, according to TV Guide.

And on Monday, Viall broke a “Bachelor” rule and told Lindsay that he’s into her — and even took it so far as to talk about what his first meeting with her father would be like.

Jasmine G., another African-America contestant, also advanced this week, which was technically week four’s rose ceremony but aired at the start of the fifth episode because of the previous week’s elimination-free cliffhanger episode.

According to the network, there are other women in the competition who are of mixed ethnicity, including Jaimi King. Viall’s season is actually one of the most diverse yet, starting with 10 non-Caucasian contestants — at the beginning of the show, the two-time runner-up had at least five African-American suitors. Two were sent home at the first rose ceremony, while Dominique made it to episode three.

ABC had no comment on this story.

Non-white contestants have made it to the final rounds before: Higgins kept Caila Quinn, whose mother is Filipino, until the final three. Sean Lowe ended up choosing Catherine Guidici, also half Filipino.

And Sharleen Joynt, whose mother is Chinese, made it to episode 7 of Juan Pablo Galavis’ season back in 2014.

But TV’s most successful dating series has been criticized for years for its lack of diversity among both the leads and the 25 contestants who vie for their affections.

As TheWrap reported last year, even when non-white contestants are cast, they seldom go very far. As documented by Karen X. Cheng, a blogger who also makes commercials for brands like Beats By Dre, In fact, no black contestant has ever made it past week five in the first 20 seasons.

Minorities Bachelor 2016

In Ben Higgins’ season, he sent home Jubilee Sharpe in the fifth week. Chris Soules sent home Amber James in week three of 2015’s season. And in 2013 and 2014, Sean Lowe and Juan Pablo Galavis send home African-American contestants in the show’s fifth week. According to Fusion, 59 percent of all black contestants leave the show within two weeks.

“The Bachelorette'” has been a little more progressive — in 2015, Ian Thomson made it to week 6, when Kaitlyn Bristowe sent him home.