2.07.2012

POC of the Vampire Diaries: Bonnie Bennett

Previously

The Vampire Diaries
Sheila Bennett
Emily Bennett
Bree
Jonas and Luka Martin
Anna and Pearl

~ Special Edition ~

Ohhhhhhh, this one's been a long time coming.

Bonnie is still alive on the show (for now, anyway), so there will be no Dead Negro portion of the rant.  However...Bonnie has repeatedly voiced her willingness to die for Elena and the vampire Damon has flat-out stated that he'd rather have Bonnie die than Elena.  In fact, it quite clear he finds Bonnie expendable in general.  And whenever Damon talks like this, the most of a reprimand he gets is pretty much an eye roll or a slap on the wrist.

Bonnie Bennett is Elena Gilbert's "best friend".  Fail #1.  Seriously, y'all; on TVD they throw around the phrase "best friend" like they do the words "the", "it" and "a."  Pearl was the vampire Katherine's "best friend."  Pearl wound up entombed for 145 years and then staked in the heart.

The witch Ayanna was "best friend" to the Original Witch.  Ayanna refused to help turn the Original Family into vampires, and warned that doing so would unleash a plague.  No one listened.  Look how that turned out.

And now Bonnie is Elena's "best friend".  Bonnie's advice is ignored, and the lovely actress Katerina Graham is often randomly missing for multiple episodes, and while Elena and Caroline have had multiple relationships, Bonnie's only had one...with a guy who's still in love with someone else.  Fail #2.

Bonnie is shown as not being very good with men.  She's the second choice, the plan B, or the pawn in some lame nefarious vampire plot.  The best she could do was Elena's younger brother, and she wanted Elena's "permission" first.  Make no mistake; I'm a fan of actor Steven R. McQueen, and his character of Jeremy Gilbert is quite brave at times.  The problem is this: the white girls (Elena and Caroline) easily attract guys who are either their age or much older and much more sophisticated.  The best the Black girl can do is one of the white girls' baby brother...and he's still in love with his ex.  This, of course, makes her "safe".

Another thing which makes Bonnie safe (aside for the ever-lightening skin and long straight hair) is that she can put Black people in their place so that the white characters won't have to look racist doing so.  In one of the first episodes, for example, a Black girl gets an attitude with a driver at a car wash for no reason (typical CW writing).  Bonnie comes to the (white) guy's defense and uses magic to make the hose go haywire douse the girl in water.  Mind you, we don't get to know the random Angry Mean Black Girl.  That was crux of her entire characterization and singular appearance: show up, be a bitch, and get put in her place.

Bonnie is also used as way to shut up audiences of color when POC die unnecessarily on the show.  When a random Black bystander ends up dying at the hands of Caroline, Bonnie mourns his corpse while everyone else is freaking out about how to protect Caroline.  ("See?  Bonnie cried!  We care about that random dead Negro!")  Another time is when Jonas dies at the hands of the vampire Katherine.  ("He attacked Bonnie!  It was in DEFENSE of a Negro!")

Now, on the upside, Bonnie's common sense and moral commitment have garnered her a fairly impressive following.  It's easy to see why; she's the most responsible and sensible character on the show.  And she's a damn powerful witch.  Bonnie can drop a vampire with a look or send one flying with the mere wave of her hand.  She can raise the dead, channel and control the elements, and cast other highly complex spells.  While I sense some resistance and resentment from the writers on the show, Bonnie's good judgment and commitment to protecting the innocent simply can't be denied.  After all, someone has to do it.  Someone has to see things for what they really are and try to talk some sense into everyone else, because the vampires won't, the werewolves can't, and the only the thing the humans are good for is getting killed.

21 comments:

  1. This is so true! Bonnie isn't given the respect she deserves.

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  2. QueenofSheba2/7/12, 6:05 PM

    I'm loving your deconstruction of TVD series. This is the kind of work more black and poc need to do on the regular to help 'break the spell' as it were, that these programs can put us under.

    If we watch hollywierd's productions without that necessary critical eye, we're far more likely to allow their racist ideology open access to our subconscious where they help to program our beliefs and eventual reality.

    TV and film are perfect mediums for that purpose because we tend to drift into a relaxed alpha brain state when we're watching, so we're ultra receptive to any subliminal or overt messages being presented to us.

    As for Bonnie, her story arc in TVD is the main reason I stopped watching. I really started smelling a rat there. However it took all the furore with 'The Help' coming out for it to really hit home.

    I suddenly realised one day that Bonnie is THE HELP for the teens/youth generation. That's her role and the role of all the supposedly powerful black witches in this series, to live and die for a parasitic white elite (vampires) and white womanhood in general (Elena).

    And just so you don't get it confused and think that Bonnie is there to live her own life in any way they really spell it out when they showed that her ancestor Pearl had been Katherine's slave in confederate times.

    It's like hollywierd know how potentially powerful black women are, and are acting to subvert that force and either put it in the service of white supremacy's own malevolent goals or attempt to kill it off.

    The 90's, the 00's (and I think the 80's) was all about the dead male negro in countless hollywierd movies/tv shows, but they seem to be trying to move it up a notch and now it's about black women dying on the screen if they don't choose to serve and often times even if they do. Sinister as fuck! That's why my mantra is now 'Burn hollywood burn'!

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  3. "Rather kill them quick and get it over with"
    -Scotty in Star Trek Undiscovered Country

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  4. Ah dear Lord, it keeps getting worse and worse. This is akin to sticking needles in my eye. Again, I must ask...why...even...bother...?

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  5. Pearl isn't Bonnie's ancestor. Pearl is the Asian lady (Kelly Hu). I can't remember the character played by Bianca Lawson (Bonnie's ancestor).

    I barely pay attention to VP anymore. Not afrter Damon told Elena that if it's btwn she and Bonnie, he'll choose her [to save]. Bonnie has more worth than Elana. Who saved them all from Klaus, for example? (yeah, I know Damon is in love with Elena). But, the statement put the "magic negro" role in perspective. Even a magic negro is worth less than a defenseless human. The MN's job is to sacrifice her life (and grandmother's and mother's, too) for her white friends.

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    1. I never said Pearl was her ancestor. I'm well aware she's not (note my series on these characters; previous links listed in the beginning).

      I was trying to illustrate the casual use of the term "best friend" on the show. In TVD world, a WoC is that best friend you can dismiss, ignore, undermine, and leave for dead if it will save your own skin.

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    2. @K, they might be referring to Queen of Sheba's comment about Pearl being Bonnie's ancestor.

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  6. You know I'm usually alternating between pointing and laughing at Damon or wanting to punch him in the throat when he states how expendable Bonnie is. Yet for three seasons running now, she's the first one they run to and begging to save their ass for shit they caused.

    And is it just me or does she seem to have just as much chemistry (if not more) with many of the male characters as Elena and Caroline.

    And they should just pair her up with Matt. It's not like he's doing anything and hell he's dated Elena and Caroline. In fact:

    Elena: Stephan, Damon (?), Matt

    Caroline: Damon, Matt, Tyler

    Bonnie: Jeremy



    As I said before Bonnie's journey of self discovery is about the only reason I watch and she's inspired a character for me to write about.

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    1. [Delurking]

      And they should just pair her up with Matt.

      Noooo! I've been done with VD for awhile now. Used to watch it for Kate, but after a while I just couldn't stop screaming at the tv wondering why the most powerful women in that town is turning herself into a slave for the most selfish assholes ever who only care about her when they need something. Magical Negro indeed.

      Bonnie and Matt getting together would be the ultimate 'the writers don't give a damn about this character and she's only here for a deus ex machina plot point 'cause we're lazy at writing.'

      Matt already had Elena, which didn't work out. Then moved on to Caroline, which is skevy enough on it's own considering Elena, Caroline and Bonnie are supposed to best friends/sisters. For him and Bonnie to start dating would just be an insult because he would be settling for someone that isn't the paragon of beauty that is Elena. Obviously he needs to leave the three of them alone and stick his dick in something that isn't supernatural related. He works at a bar. He has plenty of options.

      I prefer fandom's version of Bonnie. She has agency. She stands up for herself. She stops taking bs and realizes that no one has her best interest in mind.

      And sometimes she says 'fuck you guys' and runs off with the big bad of the week. Which is mostly Klaus, and being the magnificent, manipulative bastard that he is, it always makes for a good story... Or hooks up with Caroline... Or meets a Winchester... Sorry, my OTP's are showing.

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    2. Noooo!

      Took that one right out of my mouth.

      Matt is one of The Most Useless. He should've left the show halfway through season 1. After a few eps with him, I saw right away why the hell Elena would dump him.

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  7. Massive spoiler about Klaus (sorry)

    Apparantly he will take an interest in Caroline so it seems like the only girls in Mystic Falls are Elena and Caroline (rollseyes)

    Also I agree, nooo to Matt, he would have went with all of the friends eww and I feel like Bonnie is once again last choice please no.

    Watching the show is really frustrating especially if you are a Bonnie fan.
    Something that I find interesting is that every single person on the show as well as passing guest stars have had hot sexy scenes yet we are still waiting for Bonnie. I mean really Im still baffled as to why Jeremy and Bonnie barely touched yet with all of his previous girlfriends we manage to get scenes.

    This season Bonnie does seem to be there only to solve something using her magic and then disappear. There have been numerous of artcles about this yet the writers seem to be ignoring them.

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    1. Ok, Klaus and Caroline is like the most unbelievable shit ever. Bonnie and Klaus would make a hellava lot more sense considering how much her so called "friends" use her. Plus, she probably one of the most powerful beings on the whole damn show. Why wouldn't he want her? Or even Elijah for that matter. That's my dream threesome right there. I could totally see Klaus promising her and her mother safety so long as she stops aiding the vampires in their games.

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    2. Um, can we get some bad-ass vampire slayers, please? Could Bonnie raise Mikael back from the dead, or could some hot Black, Asian, and Latino men enter the scene with crossbows and ninja-tastic moves, please?

      I miss Joss Whedon like no tomorrow. Everything time I watch an ep of TVD, I feel the need to watch an ep of Buffy to cleanse the aftertaste of "weakling" of my mouth.

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    3. Seriously - TVD, TB, and Twilight have done the impossible: make me miss Buffy Summers. Not just Kendra Young, or Faith Lehane, or Nikki Wood - but Buffy friggin' Summers herself.

      Gawd...I need a Xena marathon. I need to sit and watch her bloodiest episodes back to back to detox from this shit.

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  8. Are you planning to resume this series? We still got a lot of dead negroes lie Greta and the hybrid. And of course that guy Caroline made snack food of (who also happened to be flirting with Bonnie).

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    1. Yes, it will continue. Watching TVD & screen-capping it tends to be quite exhausting.

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    2. Yeah. Lord I just about quit the show with this week's episode. They love to add insult to injury over how little they care about Negroes.

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  9. I would agree with the assertions made here, but please don't forget that it's not just people of color that have concerns over predominantly white television. Bonnie happens to be my favorite character on the series!!!! I ran into a lot of criticisms of the writers of the show online regarding this issue, and it was confirmed to me by a friend of mine commenting on how they also got rid of her "nappy" hair that we saw on season one. I for one, liked her hair on season one and hope that it was the actresses choice to change her appearance rather than instruction from the creators. Although I do have to admit that she seems to just get prettier to me as the show goes on. Maybe its just more confidence in her acting abilities and character... Anyway, I have been looking more for the racism in this show since reading this, and other sites similar to this, and it is really disgusting how things play out. In this series for example, why are all the witches black, and why are they slaves to the cast of all white vampires? I read an article that seemed to suggest that this is how people with race issues view minorities. In other words, certain whites may see people of color as being a powerful threat, so they feel as though they must keep them oppressed. This is demonstrated in this series by how the black witches seem to be the most powerful and efficient characters, yet they are forced to answer to white keepers. There are just so many undertones to look for, it's sad. On the other hand, this show does seem to keep a pretty proportionate mix of races in the cast (compared to some other shows I could mention such as twilight where the only black person was a useless vampire that got torn to shreds because he was so inadequate), so I think in all fairness we do have to consider that we may be reading too far in to the racial undertones here. It may be just the way we take it. I do agree that the signs are undeniable and your analysis is probably spot on, but we should keep an objective outlook until our opinions are confirmed. I hope I haven't sounded supportive of the repression of POC in this series, just offering the possibility that it may be unintentional.
    Thanks!
    Alex

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    1. it was confirmed to me by a friend of mine commenting on how they also got rid of her "nappy" hair that we saw on season one.

      I'm not surprised.

      It's intentional. The treatment of black & Asian characters is consistent, and Julie Plec is unapologetic about Bonnie in particular is written.

      I think in all fairness we do have to consider that we may be reading too far in to the racial undertones here. It may be just the way we take it. I do agree that the signs are undeniable and your analysis is probably spot on, but we should keep an objective outlook until our opinions are confirmed. I hope I haven't sounded supportive of the repression of POC in this series, just offering the possibility that it may be unintentional.

      Fashion tip for whites: when your mind starts to wander in this direction, remind yourself that it's a conditioned reflex, and you need to go the other way.

      We are being objective. We're pointing out a consistent pattern of behavior, and Julie Plec & Co. have chosen to deny & ignore. Which is how it goes.

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  10. I'm so sorry if my comment seemed tactless. I really was not implying that I had knowledge to the contrary about the lesser position of people of color in this show. I recognize the signs of racism and do not enjoy the way it is played out in this series. To touch on the comment by my friend about Bonnie's hair, just know that there is nothing I love more than a beautiful black woman with a beautiful hair style to match-this does not mean a "white" hair style. I do not condone the "nappy" reference, and any whites who think that conformity to white culture is the only way for a person of color to "fit in," are grossly prejudiced. My comment regarding the objectiveness of the post came from a place lacking knowledge. I had no idea that this Julie Plec had addressed the character of Bonnie in any way. I am terribly sorry if I've offended, and I wish you well in your pursuit to aide in the empowerment of people of color. (By the way, I agree that "people of color" is the most eloquent way of addressing differences in skin tone!)

    -Alex

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