"At one point, I didn't recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn't excuse them," Rachael Kirkconnell said in a statement Thursday
Rachael Kirkconnell
Rachael Kirkconnell
| Credit: Rachael Kirkconnell/INSTAGRAM

Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell is addressing the backlash over her previous social media posts.

Kirkconnell is on Matt James' current season of the ABC reality show, and as the episodes have aired, old social media posts of hers have surfaced — including Kirkconnell dressed in Native American attire as a costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball.

In a statement shared on Instagram Thursday, Kirkconnell admitted that her "ignorance was racist" and that "I was wrong."

"At one point, I didn't recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn't excuse them," she said. "My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not ok or acceptable in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist."

Rachael Kirkconnell
Rachael Kirkconnell's statement
| Credit: Rachael Kirkconnell/instagram

She apologized "to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended," and said that she was "ashamed" of her ignorance and hopes to do better in the future.

Will you accept this rose? Sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly Bachelor Nation newsletter to get the latest news on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and everything in between!

"I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it's important to speak up in the moment and not after you're called out," she said. "If you are a person who doesn't understand the offense in question, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and encourage you to use them as a teachable moment."

"As for my family, I love them and how they raised me to be my own individual," she wrote. "They have always encouraged me to have my own views, opinions, and beliefs."

The graphic designer recognized the frequency of apologies like hers, saying, "I couldn't help but think about how sick people must be of reading these kinds of statements" and said that she wants to "put my energy towards preventing people from making the same offensive mistakes that I made in the first place, and I hope I can prove this to you moving forward."

Rachael and Matt James
Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James
| Credit: Craig Sjodin/Getty Images

"Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions," she continued. "I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong."

Her statement comes just one day after Bachelor host Chris Harrison apologized for saying that she deserved to be shown "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" during a conversation with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay.

Kirkconnell, who has not yet been eliminated by James — the franchise's first Black Bachelor — concluded her post Thursday: "I don't think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions."