For twenty-five straight seasons, we’ve watched men and women of color compete to become the one chosen to marry the stars of ABC’s The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Despite claims of racism last April, never has there been a black contestant being fought for. Twenty-eight year old, Misee Harris, is fighting to change that by campaigning to become the first black Bachelorette.
Harris, a pediatric dentist from Tennessee, carries the background of a candidate worth the title. With a degree from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, she serves the community through her medical mission trips to provide children with dental care, mentoring young women and working with autism-related charities, reports theGrio. Harris states that after dedicating the last ten years to her education and career, she’s ready to focus on her social and romantic life.
“I realized that being the bachelorette would give me a better opportunity to find love and a stronger platform for all of my creative dreams and charity work,” she told The Grio. “It also would allow me to inspire other black women and girls to dream big and know their worth.”
After being chosen to be a contestant on The Bachelor last June, Harris decided to decline the offer and set her sights higher; a decision that may hurt her chances at becoming the next Bacherlorette. All of the previous Bachelorettes were former fan favorites from The Bachelor, but a hopeful Harris doesn’t seem bothered by her chances stating that plenty of bachelors weren’t contestants first.
Harris is doing what producer Mike Fleiss claims many people of color have not done: step up. When asked if there will ever be a non-white bachelor or bacherlorette, he replied, “We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism,” he told Entertainment Weekly in March 2011. “Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”
BWMK — What are your thoughts on there being a black bachelor/ette? Do you think the misrepresentation is due to lack of interest from contestants and or the producers?