Jenn Tran’s appearance on ‘Bachelorette’ will make history. Can the series correct its diversity mistakes?

Jenn Tran, a Vietnamese-American graduate student studying to be a physician assistant, is the one calling the shots as 25 suitors vie for her attention and the final rose when High school premiere July 8th.

Tran will be familiar to viewers of the Bachelor franchise. The 26-year-old New Jersey native was first introduced to Joey Graziadei. Bachelor season earlier this year, making it to the final six before being eliminated. She was officially announced as the Bachelorette during He BachelorThe “After the Final Rose” special from March 26th.

At the time, Tran expressed excitement over her historic selection, saying she felt “so grateful and honored to be the first Asian Bachelorette on this franchise,” citing her desire “to see Asian representation on television.”

“Whenever Asians were in the media, it was always to play a supporting role, to fulfill some kind of stereotype, and I always felt pigeonholed into that because I was like, ‘I don’t see myself on screen. I don’t see myself as a main character,’” she said during the March special, a sentiment she has since reiterated in the press campaign leading up to her season premiere.

But when the cast of suitors vying for Tran’s heart was revealed on June 3, the lack of Asian men — especially those from similar cultural backgrounds — shocked fans. Tran admitted her disappointment over casting concerns, telling Glamour that it was “unfortunate that there weren’t a lot of Asian men this season,” further fueling accusations about the franchise’s tendency to cast people of color in token roles.

Only one suitor, Thomas Nguyen, is identified as Asian-American in his… Bachelorette party Biography for next season.

“That’s our fault. We didn’t do what we had to do.” Bachelor Executive producer Bennett Graebner told the Los Angeles Times in an interview before the season premiere.

It is just one of the many diversity issues and race-related controversies that have plagued The Bachelor and Bachelorette party since the shows first aired in the early 2000s. While Tran represents Bachelor Nation’s last non-white lead — following Rachel Lindsay and Matt James, who were the first Black Bachelorette in 2017 and first Black Bachelor in 2020, respectively — as well as Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams, Michelle Young and Charity Lawson — there’s still a long way to go.

Matt James holding a rose.Matt James holding a rose.

Matt James poses for a promotional photo for “The Bachelor.” (Billy Kidd via Getty Images)

Following their respective seasons, Lindsay and James distanced themselves from the reality franchise due to the show’s various failings related to race and conversations surrounding it.

After years of silence, Bachelor Producers are beginning to publicly acknowledge their past failures to be racially diverse and culturally sensitive.

“We’re not always going to get things right,” Graebner told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to make mistakes as we go along, but we’re not going to shy away from difficult conversations.”

With Tran entering the Bachelorette party The series will once again be under the microscope as it attempts to correct past mistakes.

Nancy Wang Yuen, sociologist and author of Cinematic inequality: Hollywood actors and racismtold Yahoo Entertainment that the franchise’s racial issues are due to systemic bias that has not been corrected to properly reflect an increasingly diverse society. The franchise reportedly employs two therapists, one of whom is a person of color, and works with a diversity and inclusion consultant for the needs of producers and cast.

“(He Bachelor “The franchise really takes a lot for granted,” Yuen explained, implying that these internal moves are just baby steps. “They need someone who is essential to the whole process to make changes because you don’t know what’s going to come up, whether it’s casting, or reacting to online harassment, or interpersonal communication between people on the show.”

“You can’t just resort to intervention to put out fires. By then it will be too late,” he continued. “I hope they can correct course, not just in regards to the big fires, but also in regards to the things that are still destructive and that they are probably not aware of.”

Carolyn Huynh, author of The fortunes of jaded womennoted that the reality franchise has not “been able to keep up with the times.”

Huynh, who is of Vietnamese descent, said the failure to expand the group of Bachelorette party The fact that Suitors are including more Asian men on Tran’s season is a symptom of a larger problem. The avenues that might have worked 10 years ago aren’t as effective now. “It reflects how behind the times they are,” she told Yahoo Entertainment.

Yuen agreed, adding, “They’re going through the same channels they’ve always gone through. They need to be aware that communities of color aren’t going to have access to the same casting calls they’ve come to rely on, so they need to cast a wider net. They need to be aware that they have this bias first in order to know that.”

It’s also missing out on the opportunity for audiences to “see real Asian American men and dispel the model minority stereotype,” Yuen said. “If you get a representative sample, then you’re going to get a lot of different people who aren’t represented on screen in a fictional way. And that leads to more storytelling. A lot of people watch reality TV to get stories and (reimagine) certain groups because there’s so little representation, especially on a (dating show).”

High school will not shy away from showing or discussing Tran’s Vietnamese culture, something the franchise has historically failed to do with other people of color on the show.

Tran told the Associated Press that she and her mother, who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam with Tran’s father and brother, speak Vietnamese on the show. The first episode also shows Tran’s family cooking a big Vietnamese meal. “I hope … I’m exposing people to something that’s different from them and … that can incite acceptance in people,” she said.

“I’m curious how they’re going to portray Jenn and how they’re going to edit her,” Yuen said, pointing to the stereotypes Asian women are sometimes portrayed with in the media, such as a “dragon lady” or a victim. “I would love for it to be edited so that she’s a complex subject who goes on her own journey of love.”

Huynh expressed concern about how High school The film will portray the story of Tran and her family. “I’m nervous, especially for a single Southeast Asian who is the daughter of refugees. It’s an interesting moment that comes full circle.”

“Now that she is the Bachelorette, I feel like this can be an opportunity to show Asian women in control of their own destinies, which is something that Asian women have not been represented in Hollywood,” Yuen said. “Something like that.” High school“which is a huge franchise that a lot of people watch and know, is an opportunity to represent Asian women (positively).”

High school premieres July 8 on ABC and streams the following day on Hulu.