Anyone who’s ever been in an interracial relationship knows exactly why race had to be discussed on ‘The Bachelor’

You can’t pretend to ‘not see’ race

For the first time, The Bachelor had a black woman make it to the final four hometown date.

On these dates, Rachel’s family questioned Nick about his past in interracial relationships and how he plans to deal with dating Rachel if they were to end up together in today’s not-so-post-racial climate.

It seemed, though, that people were uncomfortable about the topic of race (for the first damn time in The Bachelor history) coming up on the show. They didn’t understand why the conversations about Nick and Rachel being an interracial couple were necessary because ~they don’t see color~ and ~everyone is one race, human~.

Obviously, those questioning why the conversations were necessary have never been in an interracial relationship before because if they had, they’d understand how difficult it can be. They’ve never gone grocery shopping with their partner while old southern couples looked at them like they’ve committed some sort of crime. They’ve never had people ask their boyfriend what it’s like to have a “black chick” in their bed. You can’t ignore it when literally no one else does.

When you’re dating someone with a different skin color, the first assumption you’ll make is that things won’t be so difficult because you’re both progressive-minded, forward-thinking people.

While for the most part that’s true, there are countless landmines to avoid and important discussions to be had: how to maneuver conversations with racist people, how to raise your mixed-race children in a world where Donald Trump is/was president, and power dynamics in the relationship — which for me included talking about opportunities offered to my blue-eyed, blonde boyfriend that are exponentially harder for me as a black woman to get. And you’ll need to know how you both feel about it all.

You’ll also make the assumption that the people around you are also progressive and forward-thinking. Sadly, we’re not there as a society. Once you’ve been in a relationship with someone who had racist family members they couldn’t bring you around (I’m obviously no longer in said relationship), it’s hard to view our national political climate with those rose-colored glasses.

When you’re in an interracial relationship, you can’t pretend not to see race — we live in a society driven by it. It’s not only your job to acknowledge it, but to talk about it with the people in your life and have them talk about it with the people in theirs to try and affect positive change. And that’s exactly what Rachel’s family did with Nick on last nights show.

If you go onto any post on Facebook, you’d be hard pressed not to see someone having a discussion about race in the comments section — and that’s because it matters. It’s only then, when this racial discourse spreads and we can stop ourselves from shying away from conversations about race, will we become that progressive, open-minded society.

The fact that Rachel and Nick can hold conversations about race on national television is a progressive moment we should be celebrating. To ignore Rachel’s blackness and Nick’s whiteness and their relationship would be doing an injustice to the platform they’ve been provided to talk about these issues.

They’ve brought an important conversation into the living rooms of millions of Americans who probably wouldn’t have been exposed to it otherwise, while some of us have dealt with it every day — and that’s a damn important thing.

Florida State University