Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Triquetra
The best way to predict the future is to create it. -Peter Drucker

Racialicious‘ Kendra and Jordan have a dialog about race in Mystic Falls, including the romanticism of the Civil War and Old South, and the fact that “every vampire who appears on the show seems to have their very own Black witch or warlock in their back pockets, but very rarely do we find out anything else out about these characters.” It’s an interesting read. (via @dieslaughing)

0 Responses to “Table For Two: Kendra And Jordan Break Down The Vampire Diaries”

  1. Neil says:

    Worth a read. They’re over analysing some aspects of the show – I’m not really convinced that all the witches are quite as subservient to the vampires as they are suggesting. We don’t really know why Emily was working for Katherine, if that’s what was really happening. The cover worked both ways there – Katherine had help to preserve her true nature and Emily presumably was allowed to pursue her witchcraft. Most of the other witches seem to have a pretty contractual relationship with the vamps or a shared agenda. Greta Martin appeared to have an ultimately fatal case of bad boy related poor judgement. There is an unfortunate issue, that we’ve mentioned before, about how most witches on the show are African American in order to indicate a shared family background, and that runs into the problem that most guest stars meet a sticky end on the show.

    On Bonnie herself, to use a BtVS example, she isn’t that different from Willow in terms of the role she fills in the show and I suspect there wasn’t much comment at the time about red headed Jewish girls being marginalised. Seem to remember we never met Willow’s family either. The problem is that BtVS was a more upbeat, snarkier show, with a fairer distribution of the funny lines. Bonnie does get a rough deal – firmly in the support role, often quite passive, providing advice and passing judgement on more active characters. Mainly I think it’s a case that witches mostly suck on supernatural TV shows in the same way the psychics suck on superhero TV shows – squinting really, really hard with occasional hand waving just isn’t that exciting on TV. Works in books/comics but without the internal monologue of the character it just falls flat for me.

    Best point they made was questioning why so many shows use the Civil War as back story without fully exploring the period. The obvious answer for TVD is that they don’t have the budget for the expensive sets required to do a decent job of the Italian rennaissance period. They do though have period buildings available from the 19th century.

  2. Thomas says:

    Hi Neil,

    On Buffy, we never really met anyone’s parents, aside from Joyce. They mentioned early-on that they had a round-robin phone tree where everyone called everyone else’s parents and said they were studying at someone else’s place, thus freeing them up for “world savage and all night keggers”, but for the most part, the parents weren’t a thing.

    Which is fine with me. TV (and books) are escapist entertainment for me, and I have a hard time escaping back to the days when I had a curfew and math homework, so if a show wants to pretend parents don’t exist and teens never have to go to class, I’m all for it.

    Bonnie does get the shaft, though, because the other characters’ interaction with their families has been a big part of their development. Elena “coming out” to Jenna, then losing her, Caroline facing a mother who despised vampires and a father who was willing to torture her, Tyler finding out his uncle was a werewolf and that his mother was pretty cool about that whole thing, and so on. Even my own personal One Moment When Bonnie Was Actually Awesome was when her Grams died and she just broke down.

    Also, Willow kind of filled the Caroline role on Buffy … the Adorable Girl That Everyone Freaks Out Over When She’s In Danger. Also also, she had a personality and a character arc. Which is all to say I think the problem with Bonnie isn’t her race, but her writing.

    I’ve commented myself on how own of the show’s overriding themes is “witches, who are black folk, serve vampires, who are white folk.” That is simplifying it a bit, but it’s a common enough thing that I, a white guy who kind of doesn’t give a rat’s batootie, had to call it out, so I can see how it would be a big issue to people who actually are, you know, black.

    Which is another reason I liked this article. Even if the things they’re picking up on aren’t intentional, I think as a creative type you have to pay attention to the kinds of signals your work is sending. The Bennet line of witches strikes me as a good attempt at racial inclusion, but it ended up being the Bennet Line of Black Witches Who Wait On White Vampires (Except For The Occasional Rebel). That’s the kind of thing that I, as a writer, want to notice, learn from, and do better than i my own work.

    I think the Civil War gets so much play because it’s one of the only iconic moments America has … we just haven’t been around long enough. Basically, you’ve got the Revolution, the Civil War, and the 70s.

    The 70s, I think, are too recent, especially for a vampire. The Revolution might have been a better setting, actually, because you wouldn’t have any bad guys on Team Vampire that way. Also, I think a lot of the fascination with the Civil War comes from a dark place, back when “those darkies knew their place.” That’s pretty clearly not what KW and JP were after, but in the greater America …

    Regardless, moving the Salvatores out of Italy and to America was a great idea, because I think it instantly made them more relatable, and also opened up the whole “history of Mystic Falls” thing that has worked so well for the show.

  3. Jim S says:

    They have a point, but the question of why the witches seem to obey vamps has been brought up by Julie and Kevin in one of the DVD commentaries. They are aware that witches are low on the totem pole. I suspect they’re going to answer that question. And to be fair again, not all witches are black. Klaus has used a couple of white guys,so not all witches are female.

    But you’re also right, even though they aren’t trying to be racist, and I truly believe that, they can do better. Getting them to do better is a delicate task. I’ve known good people who weren’t trying to be racist or sexist or anti-gay, and their work has been perceived as such. The criticism got so over the top that they became incredibly defensive and said oh why bother and removed any thing that might have been construed as potentially causing trouble. Just don’t have gay or black or women characters.

    Or even worse, you get overcompensation and the result is an afternoon special.

    Though the Salvatores had to have been slave owners. Granted both brothers are both mass murderers with kill rates in the hundreds, so owning human beings isn’t the worst of what they did.

  4. @sepiriz47 says:

    Thomas, if they did American Revolutionary War, wouldn’t British vampires in the present day (especially if they were alive back then) be painted as the enemy? I know Klaus/Becky/Elijah are really Viking/”Rus”/English/??? but they have “English” accents.

  5. Thomas says:

    Hi Jim :-)

    Like I said, this is a bit ove an oversimplification, but the broad strokes are just what they say.

    I think the biggest thing they could do for race relations is Mystic Falls would be to give Bonnie a story line that doesn’t suck. I still kind of hope that ship hasn’t sailed, but the longer this show goes on, the more it seems no one has any idea what to do with her.

  6. Thomas says:

    Hey sepiriz47 :-)

    Well, yes, but they’re already the bad guys. What I really meant was that moving it to the American Revolution would avoid the whole “oh, by the way, both of your love interests owned black people.”

  7. Jim S says:

    Last comment, I don’t want to become one of those posting bores. Moving the origin back to the Revolution wouldn’t matter. Being rich in Viriginia meant being a slave owner. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison. All from Virginia and all slave owners at the time of the Revolution. At least Washington freed his slaves at the time of his wife’s death, and made sure they had the skills to survive as free people.

    But my point is if you’re going to have rich southerners with a history going back decades or centuries, the race picture isn’t going to be pretty. Even northerners at the time of the revolution such as John Hancock were heavily invested in the triangle trade – molasses to rum to slaves. Face it, our country’s racial history is awful. Between slavery and manifest destiny, which screwed the Indians, there’s a lot of awful history to go around.

  8. Thomas says:

    Hi Jim,

    I agree, there’s a ton of shit in America’s past (and present, for that matter) once you dig deeper than they teach in Social Studies. But the Civil War was about slavery, and Damon was fighting for the rebels. What you said is true, but that really points a finger right at it.

  9. nvo says:

    There’s a flashback scene in the first season where Damon and Stefan’s father is asking them to help with the vampire problem and he starts getting on Damon about leaving the confederate army to which Stefan replies that Damon did it on principle. I always wondered what that meant and wish they would flesh that out more.

    Anyway this article made very excellent points but TVD isn’t the only show that does this. Most shows sideline their black characters. TVtropes.com has an entire section about the token minority. We want our beloved show to be above this but the fact is all these issues are very deep rooted in the history of this country and aren’t easily eradicated. The media gives the public what they want. In The Ties that Bind, Bonnie finally got some semblance of a storyline and most people claimed they were snoozing through it. Whether this comes down to it’s too late or the storyline is too boring the point is if people don’t like it they won’t show it. The real problem isn’t the media but the American public.

  10. Neil says:

    Short of discovering an actual gold mine pretty much anyone who was seriously wealthy pre 20th century (and quite a few since) achieved it by a large degree on the back of exploiting the labour of other human beings.

    I like to ruin Jane Austen adaptations for the wife by pointing out that Mr Darcy probably owned a large number of plantations in the West Indies and was up to his neck in the triangle trade. All those balls don’t pay for themselves.

  11. TriniJax says:

    Thomas, you hit the nail on the head. The longer TVD goes on, the more it seems the writers don’t know what to do with Bonnie. Unintentional or not, they’ve bungled the race issue.

    This article was interesting reading for me as a non-American female of colour TVD fan. I didn’t agree with everything that was written, but Kendra and Jordan have a point. My perspective on this topic is decidedly British. I think American TV sometimes has a tendency to be over sensitive with race issues and prefers to pretend they don’t exist. Easy trap to fall into, not so easy for the writers to wriggle out of.

  12. Thomas says:

    Hi nvo,

    When it comes to Damon joining the Confederacy on “principle” … in the American South, there is a popular opinion that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, but over state’s rights. Today, like then, that was basically code for “the right to mistreat those damn darkies”, but there were people personally opposed to slavery that were also opposed to the Federal Government telling anybody what to do, in basically any context.

    Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate army, is often argued to be in this camp. This article goes into why people think so, with the caveat that this might just be some retconning for a beloved (by the South) figure.

    But regardless of all that, for a Southerner to join to Union army, to take up arms against his brothers and neighbors, would have been seen as an act of betrayal, and I could see Damon joining the rebels on that principle, the issue of slavery aside. Actually, based on his pre-vampire characterization, and the attitudes he would have grown up surrounded by, I would have trouble seeing him take any other stance.

    Which, of course, doesn’t excuse him. I actually like how True Blood dealt with this. “Did you own slaves?” “Yep. Also, I’ve murdered roughly a bajillion people. I am kind of a monster, you know. But I’m trying to be better.”

    As to sidelining black characters, I think most of the secondary characters have been sidelined and/or hated at some point … it’s just that Bonnie hasn’t gotten the same Moments of Awesome (or not enough of them) that other characters have. And it’s not that they haven’t tried, it’s that when they try, they generally screw it up. Bonnie v. Klaus should have been an epic showdown, and if they’d written it as Bonnie giving it everything she had and failing despite her best efforts, it would have been. Instead, they had her intentionally pulling her punches and giving the money shot to Elijah … who ended up betraying them. And then there’s the whole “I’m going to lock you in this house so you don’t get to be with your girlfriend when she dies” thing.

    None of this is her race, it’s her characterization. I’m starting to have similar feelings about Faye over on TSC, and she’s on of the most attractive white girls on television right now.

  13. Thomas says:

    That’s very true, Neil.

  14. Thomas says:

    Hi TriniJax,

    The problem we face in America is that you can either ignore race, or make the show about race … but there’s not a whole lot of in-between.

    I actually like the way TVD tried to do it. “Hey, here are some black people, but that’s not a big deal, right?” I think it sends a better message to make the very existence of people of color no big deal, the same way gays or lesbians aren’t a big deal. It changes the tone of the conversation, from “you should accept these people” to “we do accept these people.” It makes the people who take issue the outliers.

    It’s just that the character on TVD who happens to be black also happens to be really boring … and that would have been an issue no matter who they cast. Unless you gave to Bonnie role to someone who could make screen gold out of script lead, anyway.

    But because Bonnie was given to a black actor, I think there are a lot of people with an invested interest in her success … which leads to those of us who aren’t invested being accused of racism. Which, you know, is fun.

  15. Brian in Shortsville says:

    OK, I’ll play, though I’m not sure I have anything new to say, or that I didn’t holler out at when it first aired. So, the ramblings of a guy to old, white, straight and sociable to sit home alone on Thursdays:

    An interesting question was brought up… what if Bonnie the Witch was given the screentime and character development as Caroline the Vampire Barbie?

    I speculated a couple of recaps ago that Caroline could be in danger of getting killed off if she cozied up to Klaus. Reason: even though she’s a favorite character, there’s only ‘X’ amount of screentime and material available for anyone other than Elena, Damon and Stefan. Caroline has been the Ensemble Darkhorse (breakout character), and the actress has shown the ability to do more than she’s given on TVD. KW & JP might be doing Candice Accola a FAVOR by killing off Caroline so she can go be the lead on a show of her own.

    The bottom line as it relates back to Bonnie, is regardless, she’s not any of Elena, Stefan and Damon. She’s always going to draw the short straw behind them. The show has taken a shot (and mostly failed) at getting us to give a crap about Tyler, Matt and Jeremy. It’s sort of succeeded (YMMV of course) with Klaus and Alaric. Jenna and Vicki were jokes until they were killed off.

    There, ladies and gentlemen is the supporting regular cast of TVD. Caroline is probably the ONLY one the writers have done right by. Hell, guest stars like Rose, Lexi, Pearl and Anna, and (of course) Elijah have had more to do than the main cast the writers just can’t get their heads around.

    One thing they COULD do, is remember the square/rectangle analogy. All (most) witches are black, but not all black people are witches.

    They’ve been brutal to black characters of all vocations. Harper, Mindy the Hybrid (black girl dies SECOND), Carter the Carney. I’m surprised they haven’t gone back and hunted down and killed Tiki’s Granddad just for shits and giggles. What wag was it that pointed out that Bonnie’s Dad is the longest surviving black guest star in TVD-verse because he hasn’t been cast yet.

    Would it have killed them to write the episode so Carter fixes the damn speaker, bangs Bonnie and moves onto the next town otherwise unmolested while Caroline eats a cute white couple? Would it have helped?

    I’m totally onboard with retconning the Civil War into the American Revolution. Only problem is, the Salvatores would have STILL lived through the Civil War era in Virginia. It wouldn’t sidestep the questions. Moving Mystic Falls to Massachusettes or New York might. But then there goes the ho-yay viewership with the Gone With the Wind Jones.

    IF they wanted to be bold and make a statement about post-racial politics, howzabout this one I’ve been pondering:

    Instead of giving a Race Lift to Bonnie “McCullough” give it instead to Matt “Hunnicutt.” NOW, your female lead is established to have been intimate with a black classmate, his sister is black and had a (admittedly improper) relationship with Damon, before vamping/getting staked. THAT may have defused the issue from a “what could they have done differently” department. And also provides justification for Elena becoming a vampire-lover. Once you go black… wait, supernatural IS an option?

  16. Neil says:

    Hey Thomas,

    How to fix Bonnie? Well leaving aside my witches suck theory they could start, as you rightly identify, with giving her a good story line and some decent dialogue for a few episodes – nothing much you’d think. Look how quickly perceptions of Caroline turned round in the beginning of season 2. The problem is that the central love triangle does suck the life out of the other sub plots on the show, and some characters are even worse served than Bonnie – poor Jeremy got an actual Put on the Bus moment pulled on him. What about Matt? I get depressed every time he’s on screen. Bonnie is pretty much mid league table for me.

    I caught up with TSC the other day and you’re right about Faye being ill served on that show as well. Melissa is even more marginalised – to the degree I had to look up her name to even make this comment. Truth be told I’m not much of a fan of Cassie either, or Adam now that I think about it -perhaps it is just a witch thing.

  17. Brian in Shortsville says:

    We HAVE seen them do good things with a witch once. And I remember Thomas commenting on it at the time.

    Dr. Jonah Marten MAY have been the biggest badass we’ve ever seen on the show. He took down a whole field of werewolves with a wave of his hand, he dropped Stefan like a dirty sock and we were told HE could channel the power of the dead witches to take down Klaus if he could find them.

    We didn’t know if Bonnie could do it without killing herself – partly for dramatic tension, I’m sure, but still, woulda shoulda coulda, she DIDN’T.

    If Elijah had gotten on Jonah’s bad side, who’d you take in that epic showdown?

    Probably Elijah because the show is called the Vampire Diaries, so the smart money is on the vampire. But just the fact that it’s a reasonable question means witches don’t HAVE to suck.

    A useful witch wouldn’t necessarily have to tip the balance of power, they’d just have to be discriminate in what they judged worthy of using their powers on. They just can’t make them an automatic “Kill the Big Bad Free” card.

  18. Neil says:

    Hey Brian,

    Stick my hand up for the comment about Bonnie’s dad.

    Carter the Carney was the the lowest point for me. The guy was used as chew toy by most of the cast for a whole episode then actually eaten. Really bad use of a disposable character just so Caroline could get a kill under her belt.

    Agree about the supporting cast. Bonnie doesn’t even get the worst deal. The focus on the central love triangle is pretty relentless, sometimes to the detriment of the other characters and sometimes to the actual show itself.

  19. Neil says:

    Brian,

    Ahh…yes Dr Martin was good. Okay we’ve got one. Grams was pretty badass as well. May have to withdraw my theory.

    The period when Grams was on the show was Bonnie’s best section, and why I don’t think we should write of the character yet.

  20. Amanda says:

    I think you misunderstood nvo, Thomas. Damon deserted the confederate army on principle, not joined it. His father was upset with him for deserting and called him a coward. I too wondered what Stefan meant by “principles” whether Damon was against the slave trade? That would have been a radical view to take in those times.

  21. Kelly says:

    In human Damon and Stefan’s defense, I wouldn’t say they themselves were technically slave owners. They lived in their father’s house when they were turned. He was the slave owner. I know that’s a technicality since they both would have been slave owners as soon as they married and had estates of their own, as any wealthy young men in the south would have been. They had servants, but were probably not in any position to free their slaves or make any decisions regarding their welfare since they were under their father’s roof still. However, they both went on to murder tons of people, compel people against their will, and zillions of other morally questionable things. So the fact that they were born into a slave owning family seems like the lesser of their transgressions. If I were choosing whether or not to date either of the incredibly gorgeous men, it would be based more on their murderous tendencies and the fact they are 150 year old men (who are hopelessly in love with a 17 year old?) rather than the fact that they lived on what was most likely a slave run plantation back in the day. Stefan does mention admiring Sheila’s civil rights activism so we can hopefully assume whatever his thoughts back in the day, he would vehemently disagree now.

    As far as Bonnie is concerned, I personally don’t believe she’s the victim of bad writing and being boring because of her race. I think it’s because she’s a witch. (obviously on this show those two things are one and the same–that being the inherent race problem, to me) And as long as Matt is around, I can’t really say that Bonnie gets the worst deal on story lines. Lord knows Matt has got to be the most boring character in the main cast. And he’s a good looking white male!

    Anyway, as a life long white southerner, I find that the Civil War really does linger. The antebellum architecture is everywhere (at least what Sherman didn’t burn) and there are museums, tours, books, and plenty that make it something I kind of grew up with. Not that my hometown did events like Mystic Falls, but I’ve seen my share of girls dressed in antebellum gowns. So to have the back story on the boys being set in the Civil War always seemed natural with the show set in the south and filmed here in Georgia. I think the mistake is just pretending slavery didn’t exist when every single viewer, regardless of race or region, knows it did and that it was ugly. Obviously the show is about teens and the supernatural, not the realities and complications of southern race relations, but as was pointed out, a few well thought out comments and acknowledgments by a few characters might have gone a long way.

    I sincerely hope they explain the tendency of witches to “serve” vampires, because that is the most troublesome part of the way things have been laid out with most witches being African American. Having a Civil War back story only serves to highlight this, making it worse. Why aren’t there any witches with a posse of vampires at their beck and call? I know it’s the vampire diaries and not witch diaries, but if you’re going to constantly pull out your witches to solve problems, you need to have them better fleshed out.

  22. Thomas says:

    Brian and Neil,

    You’re both right … Bonnie actually gets more screen time and (attempted) development than a lot of the other characters. Matt in particular gets the short stick all the time, to the point where he pretty much only shows up to get his head bashed against a tomb wall. And Jeremy? I didn’t mind his literal Put on a Bus moment at all.

    I think the fact that TVD remembers and focuses on its core story is one of its strengths. My biggest complaint about True Blood is that they spend so much time of stuff that isn’t vampires having dirty sex and making bloody messes. I don’t tune in to TVD to watch The Adventures of a Perfectly Ordinary High School Quarterback and His Perfectly Normal Friend Jeremy the Bus Boy.

    I tune in for pretty vampires making out with pretty teenagers and occasionally ripping out a heart or five. TVD knows that, and that’s what they give me. Even the other supernatural stuff, the witches and werewolves and ghosts, all revolve around the vampires. Damon, Elena, and Stefan are the centerpiece of the show, and I’m glad they never forget it. Otherwise we’d end up with a Lafayette the Ghost Baby Whisperer situation, and I’d have to cut my own wrists.

    Like Brian said, witches can be done well, a la Jonas Martin … but Bonnie is no Jonas. The problem is, I think people want her to be. They want to have a black character they can identify and root for. And that’s okay … there’s a long way to go before minorities, be it skin color or sexuality or whatever, are on a level playing field, in TV or in real life. The problem is, Bonnie just isn’t that character. She’s not strong enough – the writing behind her isn’t strong enough – to promote her to the great racial equalizer.

    And making Matt a black guy would have done a lot to diffuse this, I agree.

  23. Thomas says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Oh, I forgot that. Thanks for pointing it out. That does change Damon’s characterization significantly.

  24. Thomas says:

    Hi Kelly,

    There’s a thin line to walk. On the one hand, you don’t want to excuse something like slavery just because “that’s how it was.” On the other, you don’t want to wholly condemn an entire person simply because they were born into a system.

    I think the big question is, did they realize the system they were born into was corrupt? And based on what little we know of the Salvatore’s history, I think we can say the answer is “yes.” Damon, as Amanda pointed out, deserted the Confederate army and Stefan admired Sheila for her Civil Rights activism. So … still a messy situation, but it’s a lot better than it could be.

    And you’r right, other characters do get it worse than Bonnie. I think a lot of fans just have a lot of hopes and expectations for her, like I said one comment above.

    No town in the world holds as many dances, parades, movie nights, comet watches, lantern lightings, memorials, reenactments, fundraisers, balls, galas, volunteer drives, barbecues, and circle jerks as Mystic Falls. They’ve had more parades in one season than my city has had the entire time I’ve lived here.

    And I do think they need to address why witches are so subservient to vamps. Since even Bonnie can drop a vamp with a furrow of her brow, you’d think the witches would be a little more aggressive in their negotiations.

  25. Kelly says:

    Hi Thomas,
    I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to sound like I was excusing slave owners for continuing a horrible thing just because they inherited the practice. At least that wasn’t my intention. I was more thinking that Damon and Stefan were still sons in their father’s house and were not yet fully in positions to take actions for or against the institution. Though I would have thought that back then Damon, at least, would have been married or engaged at his age. Regardless of his reported age they seem to treat both boys as members of their father’s household and subject to his rules and not in positions to change the status quo in their father’s house. Look how well Stefan’s vamp talk with his dad went. :-) If the boys were running their own plantations they would, by this logic at least, have been equally as responsible as their father. They just aren’t portrayed as being at that stage of life yet. Maybe that’s splitting hairs, though.

    I posted against my better judgement last night while battling insomnia! Late night postings (or emails or purchases) are never a good thing for me!!

  26. Thomas says:

    Hi Kelly,

    No worries, I didn’t think you wee excusing anything. I was just kind of fleshing out the ideas we’re all bringing up.

  27. Amanda says:

    @Kelly

    TVD is not really accurate at portraying the social mores of the times. Just look at the Originals. If you think Damon and Stefan at 23 and 17 should have been married and on their own in 1864, then the Original siblings in the Viking age should have been grandparents. I think the marriageable age in those times was like 13.

  28. Saggie says:

    Neil says killing Carter was his lowest moment for TVD, mine, as a black woman who loves this show to death, was when Bonnie`s mother said she left her OWN daughter behind because she was trying to protect Elena. In what universe is a mother going to sacrifice her own kid for her best friend`s kid? I get that TVD is Elena-centered, but come-on! If that is not the classic example of witches serving other supernatural entities at their own expense, I don`t know what is.

    Bonnie is to Elena what Emily was to Katherine – they have no purpose of their own other than to serve their white friends. I don`t know how the writers cannot possibly be aware of how their casting of blacks/witches is viewed, I mean it is commented on almost everyday, how dense can they possibly be?

    Everything just comes off smelling bad because I, as a black woman, perceive this whole Bonnie thing as just as plot device and it is just plain offensive. It just confounds me why the writers don`t seem to realize this and bother to give Bonnie plot lines that would fatten her character and move it away from the Token Black/Plot Device path.

  29. Neil says:

    Hi Saggie,

    When you put it like that – it was a weak, weak reason to abandon your kid. To be honest I haven’t really got my head around that plot point yet because it was confusing on a couple of levels. I’m not sure I really believe much that Bonnie’s mom says at this point.

    And I have to agree, whatever excuses I may have made up page, it’s true that by now they should have moved to address the issue around race on the show.

    Bonnie could still be a good character in her own right, but they do have to put in some worthwhile character development with her. As to why it seems that witches are subservient to vampires – it’s a good point that I hope they will explain. We’ve seen witches drop whole groups of vamps/werewolves so they have the raw power. They have a couple of weaknesses – bit squishy and have relatives that can be threatened.

    There could be something there about witches, debt and broken oaths. Your word means something as a witch and there are consequences for breaking it. They’ve shown Bonnie’s mom lost her powers, which was new, because she turned her back on Bonnie – so there is a price for reneging on what could be seen as her duty to her daughter and husband. If a witch enters into a deal she can’t break her word without risking her powers. Perhaps there’s a get out clause, that we saw with Lucy Bennett, that they can’t be ordered to harm another witch as that breaks the compact.

    I’m reaching here. That I’m trying to come up with fan wank theories on why witches seem to be the vampires lackies kind of makes the point in itself. Lets hope they come up with something.

  30. Thomas says:

    Hi Saggie,

    I would have found Mama Bennet leaving to protect Elena unbelievable, too … if I had been awake for that part of the conversation. Jesus they really buried that whole thing in boring.

    One of the reasons I want Bonnie to go Dark Willow – aside from the fact that I love it when good guys go bad – is that it would actually give her something to do that didn’t involve kissing Elena’s ass. Heck, they could even spin it so that Bonnie had the moral high ground, at least from certain perspectives.

    And you’re right about the production team realizing all of this… they’re so clued-in to how the fans feel that they have to hear us talking about this stuff.

  31. nvo says:

    Totally what I meant. Thanks, Amanda! I wasn’t accusing the writers of racism or anyone who doesn’t like Bonnie as racist either. I’m a black woman too and I don’t care for her that much either. Thomas, you make an excellent point about people needing/wanting to identify with Bonnie because of her race but I didn’t particularly have that need. I rarely identify with black characters on TV mainly because they are always side characters. Despite the history of this country I do not let the color of my skin define who I am. That being said I did notice all(most)of the witches were black and the subservient thing really bugs. The writers know this too! They used Ayanna the black witch as red herring so it would be a big shocker when we found out Klaus’ mother was the original witch. I think the writers are great and I have complete faith in them but I’m still waiting for an explanation.

  32. Thomas says:

    Hi nvo,

    Yeah, I don’t think “Bonnie is black so Bonnie is my favorite” is by any means universal, but I am pretty sure that that’s what motivated the people who accused me, directly, of being a racist because I didn’t like her.

  33. Emma says:

    “And making Matt a black guy would have done a lot to diffuse this, I agree.”

    Maybe. Maybe not. Think about the dynamics of Matt’s family vs. Bonnie’s, particularly in season one.

    Matt is clearly the poorest person on the show. He was planning to go to university on a football scholarship. He and Vicki are the only people on the show who have been shown to have to work to pay rent. Kelly Donovan doesn’t pay her bills and takes off with random men all the time. There’s no indication that their father is in the picture at all. Vicki had sex for drugs and had addiction issues. The very rich, very white mayor and his family sneer at Matt’s family and only tolerate him because he was a football star. Although all of the Mystic Falls kids have broken families and or missing parents, Matt’s family is the only one that suffers any social ills from that fact.

    In contrast, although Bonnie’s mom apparently abandoned her (for shit reasons), she was raised by her father and had a close mother figure in Grams. She appears by all means to be upper-middle class and financially on par with Elena and Caroline. (Tyler’s family and the Salvatores are loaded.) Her family life is stable and she speaks of her family lovingly. By all appearances, she has the same financial, educational and social advantages as any of the other Mystic Falls kids. (Well, before half of them died and got turned into supernatural entities.)

    Set against the backdrop of a wealthy class of white southern founding families that like to congratulate themselves on being well-to-do founding families and look down on those that are not, there’s an argument to be made that having the only family of color be the poor, trashy, non-bill paying, child-abandoning, drug-whore containing family that was looked down on by the white upper class might have been seen as distasteful.

    Or maybe not. But, out of Bonnie and Matt, Bonnie’s is the bigger, and theoretically better, role. Matt literally does next to nothing on this show anymore. Unfortunately, Bonnie’s role, like most of the other supporting characters and even the main trio to an extent, has just been overshadowed by the increasing cast of “new” characters they keep bringing in and she hasn’t been focused on that much. But she still gets more development than Matt.

  34. Mary says:

    As a black girl I found the article interesting. Though to be fair about killing all the black characters they kill about every supporting character. Especially last season. Only the series regulars and Elijah made it out alive. I think they need to find a good storyline for Bonnie. Kat Graham is really good and could kill it.

  35. Thomas says:

    Hi Mary,

    I agree, I’d like to see Kat Graham given something to work with. Hence my constant pounding of the Evil!Bonnie drum.