Vampire Discrimination on True Blood

August 7, 2009 by  

I have written about “True Blood” several times in the past couple of months, both on my personal blog and on TrueBloodNet.com. I often mention how I never took an active interest in vampires, at least until True Blood. I believe I was first drawn to the show merely because it is set in my home state of Louisiana. That in and of itself is fascinating, but then I began to realize that there was something more that draws me to the show – and is almost intertwined with my very soul.

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I recently read an article comparing the treatment of the vampires in “True Blood” to segregation in the South. It was then that I made the connection. I discussed this matter with a fellow admirer of the show last week and he seemed to have noticed it also.

I do not have a lot of idle time; therefore I do not view a large variety of television shows on a regular basis. I do however, have my pick of favorites and of course, “True Blood” is currently at the top of that list. Each one of the shows I regularly watch focuses on some relevant aspect of life, especially if it addresses societal ills, such as racism and other such touching matters.

I suppose I do tend to have some sympathy toward the vampires, if nothing else because of the way they are treated. I remember the now infamous episode where Lafayette really showed what he was made of – when he delivered the meals to the table of Neanderthals at Merlotte’s last season. I remember burning with anger when I watched as those men sat around the table taunting and jeering Lafayette for his obvious gender bending and Sookie for being a vampire sympathizer. It took me back to a very difficult time in my life. I was the focus of such deep seeded hatred because I was akin to what “True Blood” depicts as vampire sympathizers. I cheered when Lafayette told them where to go and how to get there. They deserved it, as so many before them did as well.

I am under forty years of age, but I can recall a time when the Jim Crow south had not yet ceased to exist. It was the 1970’s and I can remember asking my mother why the waiting rooms at the doctor’s office in town were separated. When we were taken back for the examination, we were taken to one side of the building, while patients of other ethnic backgrounds were seated on the other side of the building and were placed in examination rooms in another part of the building from us. Even as a small child, I knew something was wrong with that. As I grew up, I never came to understand “why”, but I learned that was the way things had been done and I came to see that it would be decades before much of a change was made. I was Sookie, in a way. If I saw someone with whom I wanted to visit or converse, I did so without giving it a second thought. After all, I was not doing anything wrong. Even so, I was chastised, threatened, humiliated, and made to feel inferior like you could never begin to imagine. Or course, I am referring to dealing with the ugly truths of racism. It was my vampire. And just like in Bon Temps, there were always Bible thumpers who decried interracial friendships and those who took part in them, all in the name of the Lord.

I was surrounded by an unbelievable number of naysayers and nasty folks, all because I, like Sookie, thought nothing of talking to people who, at first look, seemed different from me, when all the while, had they been given a fair chance, it would have become apparent that they were not so different after all.

Sookie sticks to her principles and core beliefs and she does not allow anyone to dictate her thoughts and acts. She also is not afraid to stand up for her friends, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way. Sookie does not back down until she makes a difference. We should all be thankful for the Sookies of the world, because had it not been for people like her, we would not be as socially evolved as we now are. My scars have healed now that I am much older and wiser and have come to realize that there are some things in this world that you just cannot fix. That leaves me to imagine what kind of a town Bon Temps would be, absent those terrible vampires. I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it really makes one think.

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

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