Rachel Lindsay Says She Was 'Disturbed' by Matt James' Conversation with His Dad on The Bachelor
"If you know anything about stereotypes that are assigned to particular races — here, the Black race — you know that absentee fathers is a stereotype," said the former Bachelorette
Appearing as a guest on Monday's episode of the Bachelor Party podcast, the former Bachelorette started off by saying she had been "taking a break from all Bachelor talk" to "protect [her] peace of mind," but made an exception for the topic of James and his father, of which she pointed out the racial stereotypes she saw with the conversation.
"I felt it in my soul and I had to speak out, because I am so disturbed at what I just watched take place on The Bachelor stage — the conversation between Matt and his father," Lindsay, 35, told podcast host Juliet Litman.
James' dad, Manny, paid a visit to Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania to talk to his son during the episode, where the two discussed Manny's past transgressions, including infidelity in his relationship with James' mom and walking out on his family.
"What's the one thing we know about [Matt's] dad? That he wasn't around," Lindsay said. "That's all we know which, if you know anything about stereotypes that are assigned to particular races — here, the Black race — you know that absentee fathers is a stereotype."
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Lindsay went on to say the family dynamic is "one of the few things we know about Matt," who is down to his final two women after this week's Fantasy Suites episode.
"We know that Matt has not been able to open up and to fully express himself in these relationships, because he still has to get over the hurdle of confronting his father about the fact that he was not around when [Matt] was growing up," she said. "And Matt can't get to the next level until he has this conversation. That's how this has been presented to us."
After James' conversation with his dad — which ended with the two embracing and acknowledging their mutual respect and love — aired on the ABC series, the Bachelor tweeted, "Tonight's convo with my dad was hard to experience, and it's just as hard to watch all this time later, especially knowing the world is watching with me."
"Too often, we see dangerous stereotypes and negative depictions of Black fathers in media. And they have consequences when presented without context," he continued, sharing a link to an article about the topic from The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab.
He concluded, "All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I'm so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I'm so proud of my mother. I wouldn't be who I am without my dad. That's a fact."
Lindsay said the conversation was an example of the Bachelor franchise exploiting people of color for "good TV."
"If the Bachelor franchise has shown us anything, it is that they don't know to protect people of color, they only know how to exploit them," she said. "They only know how to mishandle situations when they come to race. That is what they've shown us time and time again. This should have never been aired for America to see — and for people who will say that we're exaggerating or making a bigger deal of this, this is one of those times where you should just sit and listen to what people who have been stereotyped in this way have to say."
"This conversation may have been necessary for Matt," she added. "Maybe Matt did need this, but this was a conversation that should have been just for Matt, not for the rest of the world to see."
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The reality star, who recently returned to Instagram a little over a week after deactivating her account, also discussed how the exchange with James' father impacted his three Fantasy Suite dates this week, as well as a deeper problem she feels still exists within Bachelor Nation amid its ongoing racism controversy.
"More drama has been happening off the show than on the show," she said. "I feel really bad for Matt. Whether you like him or dislike him as a Bachelor, the fact that his historic season has been overshadowed with so much negativity and and drama and talked about in an unprecedented way for all the wrong reasons is so bad."
"At this point, it's like, do you have any hope that the franchise is going to be different?" Lindsay continued. "[Or] do you just walk away and say, 'You know what, when are we going to get another Flavor of Love?'"
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