After footage of Rachael Kirkconnell attending an Antebellum party leaked, many were curious to know what an Antebellum party is and why it is racist.

Contestants from the illustrious reality series the Single they are not strangers to controversy. From out-of-season affairs to on-camera breakups, there aren’t many types of scandals than old and new. Single contestants alike have failed to get involved. Still, fans were surprised earlier this year by the appearance of photos of Single star Rachael Kirkconnell attending an Antebellum themed party. Although the photos alone are quite incriminating, many viewers were left wondering not only what the so-called “antebellum party” is, but also what exactly makes these parties so racist.

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For those who don’t know, the word “Antebellum” is typically used to refer to the Old South before the Civil War, when slavery was still legal and plantations were commonplace. The Antebellum festivals, then, are southern celebrations of the Antebellum era and the Confederacy. By hosting and going to these parties, attendees are essentially fetishizing and paying homage to the Confederate South and the outright violent racism of the time.

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Although some fans defended Rachael and her presence in the period as simply a tribute to the looks and styles of the time, it does not erase the fact that Rachael and her party mates specifically chose to romanticize South Antebellum. If it had only been about wearing period clothing and having fun with the more innocent aspects of the past, the focus would have been on those things rather than explicitly on a time when black slavery was legal and accepted. Also, it has been discovered that Rachael and the other partygoers hosted the Antebellum party even though their fraternity had banned Antebellum parties in previous years, meaning they knew what they were doing was wrong on some level and simply they did not know. I do not mind.

Rachael Kirkconnel Winner 2021 Matt James In The Bachelor 1

While it may be difficult for many to understand that parties with such troublesome intentions would take place around this time, antebellum parties and similar celebrations are still fairly common in certain parts of the South. As common as conversations about racism and America’s troubling relationship with it have become, Confederate nostalgia is a trend that continues to plague the southern states. Given the tendency of participants to ignore and reject criticism as a result of hypersensitivity or intentional misunderstanding by their critics, it is hard to imagine that this offensive way of thinking about the past will soon disappear.

As disturbing as the photos of Rachael were, her appearance could have an unintended effect by drawing attention to the racist nature of Antebellum parties and, by extension, idealizing South Antebellum. Additionally, it serves as a reminder of Rachael Kirkconnell and the show’s worrying and dismissive attitude toward racism. No matter how hard the production and editing teams are behind The Bachelor Try to sell her as a bright-eyed naive, the photos don’t lie and the fans hopefully already know better.

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