Matt James On ‘GMA’: He Talks Race & ‘The Bachelor’ Finale – Hollywood Life

Matt James Admits He Should’ve Had More ‘Clarifying’ Talks About Race On ‘The Bachelor’

Things didn't go as planned after Matt James' season of 'The Bachelor,' and in a 'GMA' interview, he reflected on what he could've done differently.

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Matt James admittedly did not have the discussions about race that he should have with Rachael Kirkconnell and other white contestants on his season of The Bachelor. “I think that a lot of time spent during filming and having those conversations [about race] was amongst the women of color,” Matt admitted on Good Morning America. “I think we could’ve had those conversations amongst the white women who were there, as well. Hindsight is 20/20, but I probably should’ve asked more clarifying questions.”

Although Matt chose Rachael as his final pick during The Bachelor finale, he revealed that he broke up with her in mid-February amidst a racism controversy. Rachael was exposed for attending a plantation-themed party in college, and admittedly did not understand the racist nature of doing so at the time. Although she has taken accountability for her actions now, Matt was admittedly “frustrated” by her lack of understanding about what it meant to be Black in America.

“That’s the frustrating part,” he explained. “Having to explain, not only to Rachael, but to the rest of America about why those things are problematic. We don’t have the chance to have that ignorance.” He also hinted that he has no plans to get back together with Rachael in the future. “I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before I can think about being in a relationship with anybody,” Matt told Michael Strahan. “I need time to process everything that’s going on. I want to respect Rachael and what she’s gotta do, as well.”
matt james rachael kirkconnell
Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell reunite for the first time after their breakup on ‘After the Final Rose.’ (ABC)
However, he said he has confidence that Rachael will do what it takes to learn from her mistakes. “I know that Rachael’s a good person,” he admitted. “Everything she outlined in her apology and statement, I’m looking forward to seeing her do. I know she’s capable of it.” At the end of the day, Matt is happy that these conversations about race are finally being had in the Bachelor franchise, even if it meant his own happiness was affected by the situation.
“I would say that the conversations that have come from everything that has taken place are more important than anything I could have left with,” Matt revealed. “If that means that I leave under the circumstances that I left with, then so be it.”