Filling in for Chris Harrison on Monday night'sThe Bachelor: After the Final Rose, host Emmanuel Acho sat down with the "winner" Rachael Kirkconnell to address the racism controversy surrounding her attendance of an antebellum plantation-themed party, which has cast a pall over the first black Bachelor's season.
In this clip, Acho explains how antebellum literally means "before the war," and thus is a celebration of the slave-owning South, and then shows one of the photos and asked Kirkconnell who she sees in that picture.
"I see someone who was living in this ignorance without even thinking about who it might be hurting," she responds. "I never once asked myself at any point 'what's the tradition behind this? What does this represent? Why do we wear those dresses?' I'm not going to sit here and say I didn't know any better, because I could have easily asked myself those questions. No, I never took the time to make that connection, because if I would've taken the time, I easily could've understood what was wrong with it."
Acho then offers a definition of prejudice as "willful commitment to ignorance," and askes who she blames for hers. She refuses to assign blame, but mentions that a lot of people have reached out to tell her that it was a common practice and that they didn't think it could be racist because they weren't aware of what it all meant. "I think that people need to realize that just saying 'this is normal where I came from' or 'this is common where I came from,' that doesn't make it right, and that doesn't make it okay." She goes on to say that the reason she took so long to apologize was that she wanted to make sure she genuinely understood why people were so hurt by this.
She then relates her experience when Matt James broke off their relationship. "When he first called me to end things, my initial reaction was I was very confused. I was very blindsided. But once that initial reaction went away, I thought about how strong I thought our relationship was, so for him to end things, he must have been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard because I lost the love of my life, but in the process of that, I hurt him while doing so."
She insists she still loves him and always will.
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TOPICS: The Bachelor, ABC, Emmanuel Acho, Rachael Kirkconnell