Rachael Kirkconnell is addressing Bachelor fans who have been holding her accountable for previous racist behavior and telling those who continue to defend her actions to "please stop."
The 24-year-old Georgia native posted a video to Instagram on Thursday evening, speaking out for the first time since she put out an initial apology about photos that had resurfaced of her wearing Native American attire as a costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed party in college. In the video, she shared the actions that she's been taking to move forward in her efforts to become anti-racist.
"Over the last few weeks, since I put my statement out, I've gotten a lot of messages. I've gotten a lot of people asking me, 'Well what have you done to change since then?' And I’ve also had a lot of people message me saying that they aren't understanding why people are so upset. But they want to and they've asked for resources, which I think is great," she said. "But then there's also people messaging me saying, 'You’ve done nothing wrong, don't listen to people.' And I'm just tired of getting all of this and not saying anything and I think that the first big step in all of this is white people stepping up and taking accountability."
Kirkconnell, who is currently competing to win the heart of Matt James, the franchise's first-ever Black Bachelor in 25 seasons, went on to say that she's been "hesitant to post links and books and any resources because I don’t want people thinking that it's performative or it's not something that I don't truly stand by. And I get it, I hear you." Now, she's made the decision to start using her platform for those resources for the sake of inspiring unity and educating those who don't understand the severity of the situation.
"I want and need to use my privilege and my platform that I so do not deserve just to shine a light on these issues and try to do what I can to take a step in the right direction. And I keep trying to tell myself that this entire experience, what's going on right now, was a blessing in disguise because maybe it can wake a lot of people up and maybe it already has started to," she said.
Kirkconnell previously addressed the importance of accountability in the statement posted to her account on Feb. 11 where she wrote, "Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions." Her statement went on to read, "I don't think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions."
In her most recent video, she acknowledged that the resources she'll be sharing are some of those that she's used and plans to use in educating herself going forward. "We all need to continue to educate ourselves and I think that it's just where everyone needs to start with all of this," she said.
She also encouraged others to join her on her journey of unlearning generational racism — especially those who have attempted to come to her defense by saying she didn't do anything wrong.
"If you are in my comments or defending me anywhere, telling people that I did nothing wrong, that there's nothing to be hurt about, there's nothing to be angry about or offended about, please stop. That's not our place to tell people what they can and can't be offended about. That's wrong. And that’s part of the problem. So please stop saying that I did nothing wrong. That's not true," she said. "If you really want to support me, then encourage me to do better and encourage those around you to do better and to accept change and allow others to learn and grow because we need to work together on this if anything is going to change. And if you yourself, you're not understanding this, then go on this journey with me. Just open your heart to learning and to educating yourself on this."
Kirkconnell additionally spoke to those who believe that racism is a "solely political" issue, clarifying that it is in fact "a humanitarian issue" that has to do with how people are treated on a daily basis.
"I just hope I can earn your forgiveness and your grace through my future actions. I’m done waiting around for the time to speak and I’m done hiding from all of this. And like I said, I’m gonna post some resources on the next few slides and I’m gonna put a link in my bio," she concluded. "You will hear more from me in the future."
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