During the 20th season of The Bachelor, some more optimistic viewers of the show have hoped that because some of the show’s producers and executives have suggested that next season’s Bachelorette will be “diverse,” that meant that current Bachelor contestant Jubilee would be their pick. Last night, as Ben sent Jubilee home during Week 5, that dream died.
During her time on the show, Jubilee (who was one of three black women on this season) struggled to deal with the other women; ABC has consistently aired shots of her sitting quietly and looking sulky as the other girls gab on. She’s said her behavior is due to the fact that it’s hard to watch Ben with other women, a common complaint from previous contestants, regardless of their backgrounds. This week, her struggles appeared to get worse. She was distant from Ben, refusing to hold his hand in front of the other girls because she didn’t want them to talk about her.
“I felt like, walking away from that, I felt like we had something that could be built upon,” Ben said of their one-on-one date, after which he had described her as a “strong woman” whose “layers” he wanted to see more of. “I guess it would be unfair to you to say that I’m confident in that now, just because you’ve pulled back.”
“How is that supposed to make me feel when I try to grab your hand in front of a group and it gets pulled away?”
Jubilee tried tell Ben what she was struggling with—the “little things” that she dealt with with the other girls. It seemed like she was trying to tell him about the microagressions she had experienced, and the difference she felt between her and other girls.
“I think sometimes I just overthink everything, I don’t mean to pull back,” she told him. “I don’t want you to feel like I’m pulling back because I’m not.”
“Groups dates for me, I always feel like I’m overshadowed by the Lauren B.s and the Beccas and the Jojos and it’s like, do you notice me, do I stick out at all?”
Jubilee’s sentiment is not an uncommon one, but it’s important to note that on a show full of blonde midwestern dentists, as a black war veteran adopted from Haiti, she must have felt particularly isolated, especially considering how the black women before her have felt.
“It was really hard being on the show knowing I was the only woman of color.” Marshana Ritchie of Matt Grant season told The Daily Beast recently. “You feel like you have this pressure, that you have to be on your Ps and Qs. It was cumbersome.”
“I thought Jubilee would be gone by now,” Robyn Howard, of Sean Lowe’s season, added, before going on to mirror what we’ve seen with Jubilee’s behavior.
She’s is so opposite from the other girls that it freaks them out. I remember feeling that way. Sean would pick certain girls that were not like me and I’d think, ‘If Sean likes that type, surely he’ll get rid of me soon.’ And I think that’s what’s happening in the house. Because Jubilee, even in Bachelor history, there’s been no one like her. Jubilee’s intelligent, yes, and well-spoken, yes, but you can tell she didn’t grow up in a white neighborhood. You can tell that she is, I mean, she’s black. She’s urban. And it’s so different from The Bachelor mold. And look at Ben. He’s so white.
While Howard’s entire theory about Jubilee might not hold up (her adoptive parents are white), Ben is so white, and because of that, he didn’t seem to understand—or want to deal with—why Jubilee might be feeling an extreme version of what other women experience while on the show. “As hard as it is in all this—and I know it’s not easy—and as incredible as the moments have been with you, it would be unfair to you right now to say that with what’s happened and just kind of how things have progressed with other relationships, it would be unfair of me to tell you that I thought something could exist,” he told her.
“We just didn’t work out I guess,” Jubilee said later. “It happens.” For his part, Ben took a minute alone, looking worked up, before he went to explain what had happened to the other women. During a pause in his explanation, Jojo interrupted to “steal him away,” and that was that. Time to move on.
If the next Bachelorette is “diverse” or “of color” as the producers of the show have more than hinted at, it’ll likely be Caila, who is Filipino; we know that statistically, they choose from the final four women on the previous season of The Bachelor in order to get the largest number of fans to rally behind their pick. That means Jubilee is all but for sure out of the running. That makes sense; it was a dream after all.
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