ABC has been teasing a racially-charged blow-up on The Bachelorette all season. With two nights of two-hour programming ahead of us (dear god), it's all about to go down... sometime over the course of four hours.
Even Rachel Lindsay tweeted a warning to the fans: "Hide ya kids and hide ya wives for this episode," she wrote.
Hide ya kids and hide ya wives for this episode...#TheBachelorette— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) June 27, 2017
Contestant Lee Garrett, who has been drawing attention all season for unearthed racist tweets, has spent his airtime so far calling his fellow contestant Kenny "aggressive." On this episode, Lee got a life lesson from another man in the house, Will Gaskins.
Will, who will win the rose for most good-natured and patient man in Bachelorette history, took time out of his day to explain to Lee that "aggressive" is a dog whistle of a term when applied to a black man. "When you call [Kenny] aggressive, there is a long standing history in this country of calling black men 'aggressive,'" Will explains. He even tries to give Lee an out: "It's probably something Lee has never faced before. It's probably due to ignorance on his part." It's a shame Rachel wasn't there to hear this conversation — Will's compassion could shut down all the competition.
Lee's response proves that he knows exactly what he's doing — needling and attacking Kenny on the basis of race. "So he played a race card?" he asked. In a confessional interview to the camera, he says "I don't understand the race card."
As Claire Fallon points out on Twitter, "'The white guy who says 'I don't respect pulling the race card' is not a guy who knows nothing about racism. He's a racist."
She wasn't the only one who couldn't handle the racial tensions this week.
Hard to watch a southern white man say "I don't understand the race card" when his lineage created it. #rosesnotracism— Charreah Jackson (@Charreah) June 27, 2017
the white guy who says "i don't respect pulling the race card" is not a guy who knows nothing about racism. he's a racist. #TheBachelorette— Claire Fallon (@ClaireEFallon) June 27, 2017
Fans even started a hashtag, #rosesnotracism, in an effort to keep the messaging on the historic first black Bachelorette and all of Rachel's pros, not the negativity of Lee's racism.