The Bachelor’s brewing racism scandals went on hiatus during Monday’s fantasy suites episode, when Matt James invited his estranged father onto the show for their very own Red Table Talk. Or rather, a Nemacolin Woodlands Chat to discuss how “conflicted” James is about “what a long-term commitment” looks like with a romantic partner, due to the lingering “demons” that his father has plagued him with. As confirmation to what James alluded to several times this season, his dad abandoned the family during his childhood after becoming a serial adulterer, with James now seeking clarity about and an apology for the lasting psychological effects of his behavior. The conversation ended with an emotional breakthrough (and plenty of teary hugs) for both men, and James was able to confidently state that “I’m not the man that my dad is” when it comes to love. After the segment aired, though, James further reflected on social media about the weight of the conversation, especially as Black men.
“Tonight’s convo with my dad was hard to experience, and it’s just as hard to watch all this time later, especially knowing the world is watching with me. I just wanted to say that too often, we see dangerous stereotypes and negative depictions of Black fathers in media. And they have consequences when presented without context,” he tweeted. “All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I’m so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I’m so proud of my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. That’s a fact.” James’s mother, whose Republican-leaning social-media activity has raised eyebrows with some viewers, appeared earlier in this Bachelor season. She’ll also be meeting with James’s two finalists, Rachael Kirkconnell and Michelle Young, during next week’s guaranteed shitstorm of a finale.