There isn’t a ton to recap from the actual episode itself since we all knew what was coming, it was pretty standard, and a lot of last night was shots of Matt, Rachael, and Michelle all walking in circles with pensive looks on their faces. Like, A LOT a lot. More so than usual. The focus of last night was the ATFR because I gotta say, for a one hour show, there was a lot packed into it and a lot to dive into there. The first thing I want to say is that the ATFR taping took 6 HOURS. We saw 40 minutes. There’s plenty that wasn’t shown, and they definitely edited it a certain way. One thing that wasn’t shown but has been released in pictures, was Michelle on the couch talking to Rachael. Michelle just wanted to let her know how she felt in regards to all the stuff that came out about Rachael post show. Michelle was disappointed Rachael never reached out to her as she had to others from the season. Rachael said she knew Michelle was hurting and upset that Matt hadn’t chosen her, and didn’t know what to say, but ultimately agreed that she should’ve said something.
Rachael also took to Instagram last night once the show completed to give this message:
If you look at the comments, she’s getting a ton of support from the women on her season, which says a lot. I’ve never understood this immediate hatred for Rachael and to immediately label her a racist and white supremacist. And Emmanuel worded it perfectly last night when speaking to Rachael:
“There’s a difference between being racist and racially insensitive or racially ignorant. I’ve been very intentional about saying what you did was racially insensitive, it was racially ignorant, and it plays itself out as racism. But that doesn’t necessarily classify someone as racist. You have to pull back the curtains and look at their intention. Was their intention malicious?”
I loved this statement, but one thing seems to be getting lost in it and that became evident by a lot of the voices on social media last night. And that’s that people saying Chris’ interview with Rachel Lindsay was him just defending Rachel and saying that she wasn’t coming from a place of malice or hate with her Antebellum pictures. Yes, Chris’ intent to defend Rachael Kirkconnell came from a good place. However, it was IN that defense, that Chris started talking down to a black woman, showed his racial ignorance, and excused behavior in 2018 that was wrong in any year. No one’s saying Chris didn’t have the right intention in mind when he started that interview with Rachel Lindsay. He was basically coming on to say leave Rachael Kirkconnell alone until we could hear from her. However, in trying to do that, he spewed a bunch of a other views that were racially ignorant and racially insensitive. I’ve said this on the IG lives a couple times, but if Chris’ response to Rachel’s first question of what did he think of the Rachael Kirkconnell allegations was, “I’m disappointed she was involved in those pictures, there is no place for that, and I’m really looking forward to hear what she has to say for herself when I speak to her about it,” this guy still has his job. Period. End of story. But that wasn’t his answer. We all saw his answer. And because of that, he absolutely should be held accountable.
I know I should’ve done this sooner, but I started reading Emmanuel’s book “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” over the weekend, and am about a 1/3rd of the way through. It’s so good. I’m disappointed I didn’t read this sooner. Always been a fan of Emmanuel’s work on ESPN’s college football coverage and now on “Speak For Yourself” on FS1. And I’d seen his YouTube series with the same name, but didn’t start reading the book til this weekend. I know this will never happen, but honestly, every single person that has sent a tweet since the Chris Harrison/Rachel Lindsay interview that said something along the lines of “What’s the big deal” or “What is Chris apologizing for” or “He should never have lost his job over this” should be required to read, among other things, Emmanuel’s book. I like it because, while Emmanuel is black, he basically grew up surrounded by white people. And heard all the “you’re an oreo cookie” takes from people around him for years. So his book doesn’t come at you from this place of he’s some militant black guy, and black power this, and black power that. He’s really empathetic to people and, as corny as it may be, his book is EXACTLY what the title says it is. It’s the questions you as a white person absolutely have in your head in regards to black people, but maybe don’t want to say. He addresses them ALL. I highly suggest reading his book. I’ve linked to it here. It’s worth the $15.
That quote from the show last night is exactly what he says in his book, but expands on it ten fold. I also think while watching that ATFR last night, it showed why someone like Emmanuel needed to be hosting that and not Chris Harrison. Chris Harrison has zero experience being a black man. He couldn’t possibly have had that conversation that Emmanuel was having with Matt on stage. Please. I know people have blinders on when it comes to Chris, but can you at least admit to yourself how embarrassing that would’ve been for Chris to be up there last night? Sure, he would’ve asked basic questions, but just watching Emmanuel and Matt discussing race, it just felt different. And it was powerful. Why? Because we’ve never seen it before. I don’t feel shit when I see Chris Harrison to speaking to anyone on this show. Sorry, I don’t. He’s just there asking his questions, barely giving much feedback, and just making sure the show moves along. I could’ve listened to Emmanuel and Matt for a whole hour, because that’s the type of conversation white people really need to hear. A white person asking Matt about race issues? Huh? What? Where does that get us? Emmanuel can ask it and follow up with questions because he’s lived it himself. I don’t understand the strong push back to it. Lets open our eyes, because that was a great conversation last night that this audience desperately needed to see.