Saunders: Dear ‘The Bachelor,’ thanks for leaving us out

bsaunders@newsobserver.comApril 22, 2012 

In the immortal words of the late movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, “Gentlemen, include me out.”

Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke Professor of African and African-American studies, had a response that was even more apropos: “My initial reaction was ‘Negroes, please,’ ” he said.

Both of those were my responses – and should be the responses of every colored person, whether they’re colored black, yellow, brown or red – to the two black dudes who are suing the producers of the TV show “The Bachelor” for racial discrimination.

Really, homes? You mean people fought and died for centuries for the right to vote, to be treated equally, to be considered human beings, and this is how it culminates – in a legal battle decrying your right to be exploited on a vapid TV show?

As for any real basis for a lawsuit, either the producers are indeed discriminating against people of color or they’ve been unable – in 23 seasons – to find a good-looking, chisel-jawed, flat-abdomened brother to give a rose to lovely airheads with sub-zero IQs.

I know they’re out there, because over the years I lost scores of such women to just such men.

You know how you can’t believe everything – or in some cases anything – you read on the Internet? For instance, when you first read that some neighborhood watch guy was back home in his easy chair an hour after shooting and killing a kid armed only with Skittles, you thought it was just another urban myth, right?

That’s the same response you probably had when you saw that these two men were suing for the chance to get on a fake match-making show, to get a chance to objectify women or be objectified by them and swap saliva with a stranger who’ll profess her undying love within 15 minutes of meeting them.

Neal, who has made a career of analyzing and teaching about the cultural zeitgeist of America, said “Honestly. We’re talking about a TV show that engages in tokenism” by very infrequently having a candidate of color vying for the made-for-TV hand of a white man or woman. “What are they going to do: have a black man or woman with 10 white men or women vying for them? That’s not going to happen.

“They have a formula that’s been very successful for them and they’re not going to change it,” he said.

Nor should they. Other ethnic groups have protested shows that portray their groups in a negative light, but none have protested shows for not portraying them as Sammy and Susie Sausageheads. The National Italian American Foundation and the National Association of Italian American Women, for instance, were among several groups that demanded “Jersey Shore” be canceled because of its inane presentation of Italian-Americans.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone were to sue the profiteering producers of “Basketball Wives,” “Football Wives” and every other reality show that features black women fighting and scratching and slinging pina coladas in each other’s faces and generally behaving like a bunch of puerile, pouty-lipped polecats?

Sure, the producer of those shows is a black woman, but so what? You can always find someone to demean their race for a few coins.

Schools no longer teach civics lessons, but I’m pretty sure the Constitution guarantees nobody the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of a made-for-TV marriage that’ll last until the next commercial break.

To the producers of both Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, I’d just like to say “Thank you for leaving us out of that mess.”

To the two dudes filing the lawsuit, I’d say “Start your own show” and call it “Bachelor Bro.”

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