By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John
Never seen The Vampire Diaries? Here’s a synopsis (with spoilers). There’s Elena (Nina Dobrev) the “average” popular orphan girl in Mystic Falls, VA. Caroline ( Candice Accola) her blond haired, blue eyed cheerleading frenemy and Bonnie (Kat Graham) her requisite black best friend and side kick. Elena also happens to be the spitting image of a vampire, Katherine, who loved Damon and Stefan Salvatore (brothers played by Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley) in the same town during the Civil War. Come 2009 the brothers return to Mystic Falls, only to both fall in love with Elena – a plot that makes just as much sense now as it did when TVD actually debuted as a book series in the early 1990s. But hey, let’s go with it.
Elena fell in love with Stefan during the show’s first season, but now things are heating up between her and Damon. It’s a crazy ride of a show but one of the most fascinating things is its strange dance with race. Set in the current south but with self-professed ties to the Civil War era and more recently precolonial America, as Dr. Sayantani DasGupta wrote for Racialicious last year, the show sometimes doesn’t know what to do with pesky issues like racism and slavery. As the show’s third season resumes this week, let’s look back at the racial implications and issues of the residents of Mystic Falls since the Season 2 finale.
by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said
A few months ago, “Need You Now” by the country group Lady Antebellum was among iTunes’ free downloads. I’m a curious music lover with eclectic tastes, so I snagged the song for my iPod. It was catchy and nice in the inoffensive and pop-y way of crossover country–think Carrie Underwood not the rougher alt-country of Lucinda Williams. I’ll keep the song, which will fit nicely in some future playlist. But the band chafes me. It’s not the music. It’s the name. “Lady Antebellum” seems to me an example of the way we still, nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War; nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act; and in a supposedly post-racial country led by a biracial president, glorify a culture that was based on the violent oppression of people of color.<According to an article in the Augusta Chronicle, the idea for the name “Lady Antebellum” came after a photo shoot where band members dressed in Civil War-era clothing. It seems harmless–just a nod to the band’s roots south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a recognition of the Old South.
Wikipedia defines the antebellum period thusly:
In the public consciousness, part of this story translates into “Gone with the Wind”-style mythology about big manor houses sat on sprawling plantations; fair, delicate, pale-skinned maidens in frilly dresses; brave and handsome men in gray; and solid, traditional American values. This rosy view of the antebellum South only holds up if you don’t scratch too deep. But we’re not likely to do that and disturb the patriotic version of history. We like myth better. Continue reading