The distinction of being the first black person to hold a particular position in America has long been buoyed as a pivotal part of our history. In light of George Floyd’s tragic killing, we’ve reached an unprecedented level of pandering from the powers that be, one that makes Hilary Clinton almost look admirable. We now live in a world where a celebrated response to the violence taking place in our country involves ABC hiring the first black man to star in “The Bachelor.”
It was monumental news in 2017 when Rachel Lindsay became the first black “Bachelorette.” Lindsay had been a contestant on “The Bachelor” earlier that same year, finishing in third place. A member of the esteemed Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Lindsay is a lawyer with degrees from both the University of Texas at Austin and Marquette University. While Lindsay deserves our utmost respect, she’s become a figure of the soft-shoe civil rights cabal that placates black people with flash but no substance.
Lindsay predicted last year she would probably be the only black “Bachelorette,” as if it’s some great accomplishment to be the star of a reality TV show. Yet in the post-Obama era, our culture claims black people do meaningfully benefit from a black man holding the vaunted position of “Bachelor.” We have reached the peak of media-induced, commodity-based, social justice platitudes. The arms race for who can make the most money by appearing the most woke continues.
Now more than ever, people can be famous just for being famous. This is what fueled Don Lemon’s call for celebrities to speak up on politics, which Dave Chappelle took to task in his new comedy special. Chappelle also addressed Candace Owens’ viral commentary on black agency in regard to the death of George Floyd. Chappelle clarified that Floyd’s state-sponsored murderers cemented his legacy as a hero, and that his martyrdom was nobody’s choosing but their own.
Imperfect martyrs happen to make a lot of sense sometimes. Owens’ genius is clarified by her ability to generate her own fame, unlike Rachel Lindsey. (Owens, of course, tweeted to say she found Chappelle’s jokes at her expense quite entertaining.) It is interesting to compare Owens and Lindsay as a means of examining our current state of affairs. Significant questions arise about how we make sense of the modern world.
Some have argued we hardly benefitted from having a black president. So what does it really do for me as black man that the Bachelor happens to be black as well? The notion that the first black Bachelor is something to care about or celebrate is just like Chappelle’s recent commentary—so funny that it’s not funny.