POC of the Vampire Diaries: Bonnie Bennett
The Vampire Diaries
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.