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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Why Are We Still Blind When It Comes To Black Women?

Variety Magazine
Love Is Blind Season 5

We’ve talked before about my guilty pleasure of watching reality dating shows. Well, nothing has changed. I look forward to them, mainly for the human nature of it all. I am fascinated by why people do what they do, especially when it comes to finding love.

One of my favorites is Love Is Blind on Netflix, with Season 5 premiering this week on September 22. The show puts singles to the test to see if they can develop a romantic connection with someone without seeing them first. Over several weeks, the couples move in together, meet each other’s families and plan for their wedding to figure out if the strong emotional connection they developed in “the pods” can withstand reality.

What we know for sure is that Black women don’t do well on dating reality shows. The exclusion of Black women continues to be a problem. During trailers, we always spot Black women in the background but they somehow never make it onto the show. Love Is Blind is supposed to be different. The contestants don't see each other, until AFTER they fall in love sight unseen. Love is Blind alum, Lauren Speed, called out the show for its lack of chocolate girls. She wed Cameron Hamilton, who is white, in the first season of the show in 2018.

I thought I could reconcile not seeing as many Black women on these shows, including Love is Blind. It just continues to irritate me how they can cast Black women without considering the romantic preferences of the other contestants. This makes the whole experience exhausting to watch, because the men on the show don’t see (physically or emotionally) the beauty of Black women. As a viewer, and perhaps the contestants themselves, it’s the expectation that Black women who participate on reality dating shows won’t find love at all.

The fact that Black women’s involvement in these shows is becoming practical rather than romantic is just another sad reminder that Black women are too often denied the fairy-tale love stories so easily achieved by their white counterparts.

In this season of Love Is Blind, we are supposed to see more Black women, according to a teaser that dropped a couple of weeks ago. I admit that I’m not holding my breath.

But trust and believe, we haven’t forgot about the countless insufferable moments watching Black women picked last (or not at all), belittled, dumped, used, and of course friend-zoned. Some will say it’s unfair and others say it’s racist. For me, it’s both. What we can all agree on is that these shows do a compelling job highlighting the very real and sometimes exaggerated reality of dating a Black woman.

On season 25 of The Bachelor, Matt James made history as the first Black male to be a suitor. It was also the first time 25 of the contestants identified as BIPOC, with at least 10 of these contestants being Black women. This seemed like a certified win for Black women and potentially Black love. But sadly, by episode five, James had eliminated more than half of the Black women contestants, with many of whom received little to no time with him.

For the longest time, Black women weren’t even represented on dating shows. Samira Mighty was Love Island UK’s first Black woman contestant after four seasons. And, in its thirteenth season, Rachel Lindsay was the first Black woman to lead The Bachelorette. If not for her, Chasity Lawson may not have had a chance at her Black love ending.

Whether real or scripted, representation really doesn’t mean anything, if we are not present in these stories. Black women are not an afterthought, a prop, or a tool used to hit a diversity quota. We deserve to be properly heard and seen in these stories about life and in this crazy thing called love.


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