edit:jkr

I think what probably gets me deeply into my feelings about this “JKR should have just made her students Of Color to start with, she can’t ret-con and pretend she did it right the first time” is that I grew up with Anne Rice and Anne McCaffery, two female fantasy writers who hated headcanons and fandom and sued people for deviating from their original vision or doing any kinds of derivative works without their express contractual permission.

I feel like people who get irritated with her about defending black!Hermione don’t appreciate how much healthier JKR’s attitude toward the inclusivity movement in her fandom is than theirs was. Or Moffat’s is. Or Gatiss’s. Or Whedon’s. Or Green’s. Or even, until very recently, Lucas’s.

She’s not a PCR, but goddamn, at least she’s passing us the milk rather than pissing in our cornflakes.

Despite creating a huge multimillion dollar franchise, I don’t think JKR should be faulted as heavily for lack of racial diversity in Harry Potter as say, the Marvel execs or other Hollywood producers. Real talk, if I was 25 in 1990, and I was living in a county that was over 90% white english (check wikipedia), I probably wouldn’t have had to foresight to make one of my main characters a POC either. Ironically, as a child who read every book she could get her hands on, I remember thinking there was a lot more diversity than I was accustomed to in the books I read. I wanted to be beautiful like Cho Chang, I wanted to wear a butterfly in my hair like Parvati did, and Dean was one of my favorite characters because he liked soccer and liked to draw, like I did. I dont remember reading anything with as many interracial relationships as HP did. And what was cool was, they weren’t a big deal. She was able to normalize the races and sexes being equal, while still have equality/bigotry as a theme. Kingsley Shacklebolt becoming Minister for Magic is nbd. Pottermore says there was a female Prime Minister like, 170 years before there was a Muggleborn one. It’s true that it would’ve been great if there were bigger parts for POCs, and it’s a shame that the parts that were there were watered down in the films. But point is, before you criticize, remember where she came from. She had this idea 25 years ago; she didn’t know how many people this would reach, so I think she did fairly well, considering. Hermione may have been white, but she was a huge role model for me. A plain girl with bushy brown hair and buck teeth who liked to read too much- no where else could I find a character like that. It would’ve been fairly easy to make Hermione a beautiful self insert, but she didn’t. Additionally, her followup works have had wonderful POC characters, so it might be fair to say she’s more socially conscious now than she was at 25. Check them out. Lula Landry rules.

Here’s a much more flexible diagram of Hogwarts/Ilvermorny house overlap than the rudimentary one I made on iPhone Notes a couple of days ago. My friend Jenn Levine expertly crafted this! It allows for some much-needed flexibility for, say, Ravenclaws in Thunderbird or, Hufflepuffs in Wampus.

I fully realize that JKR on Twitter has said there is no correlation between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses. I won’t argue! But, based on the initial writing, these traits still match up for me closest in this way. I’m thrilled that this idea should look so clean, and really just have my friends to thank. Jenn, and everyone else for their support on this.

Venn design by Jenn Levine, based on a theory by Eric Scull.

Please Stop.

Okay, but the first HP book came out in 1997. That was almost twenty years ago. No, JKR was not fully aware of her white/straight/cis privilege at that time. She has had 20 years to get better. She also wrote the first draft on table napkins while working as a single mother of multiple children and receiving public support.

We are allowed to retrospectively critique her lack of inclusivity. We are also allowed to think that perhaps her awareness of the lack of said inclusivity has improved.

Just as a goddamn FOR EXAMPLE, in 1997, if Rowling had tried to pitch Dumbledore, a school headmaster, as openly homosexual, her book would never have been published. Want some evidence? I can do that.

Regulations were introduced for discrimination protections on sexual orientation in employment on 1 December 2003, following the adoption of an EC Directive in 2000, providing for the prohibition of discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Right, so he (Dumbledore) could have been fired for being gay at any point prior to 2000, even assuming Wizarding law was keeping up with Muggle law, which is a goddamn stretch considering how shoddy trials and evidence are maintained throughout Auror procedurals.

And, regarding “she could have made more students of color in the first place,” um:

The Race Relations Act 1965 outlawed public discrimination, and established the Race Relations Board. Further Acts in 1968 and 1976 outlawed discrimination in employment, housing and social services, and replaced the Race Relations Board with Commission for Racial Equality[3] that merged into the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2004. The Human Rights Act 1998 made organisations in Britain, including public authorities, subject to theEuropean Convention on Human Rights.[4] The Race Relations Act 2000 extends existing legislation for the public sector to the police force, and requires public authorities to promote equality.

After 2000, some argued that racism remains common, and some politicians and public figures have been accused of promoting racist attitudes in the media, particularly with regard to immigration, however race and immigration although related are not the same concepts.[5] There have been growing concerns in recent years about institutional racism in public and private bodies. Although various anti-discrimination laws do exist, according to some sources, most employers in the UK remain institutionally racist including public bodies such as the police[6] and the legal professions.[7][8]

I’m not saying “JKR has always been conscious of her White Privilege.” I’m not saying “she intended this from the start.” I’m saying, she started this fucking series when she was 25, she got it published when she was 32, and she is now fifty and has millions of dollars, resources, and feedback.

Hey, check it out: she’s had twenty-five years to learn.

Jo Rowling is a white British woman with a Bachelor of Arts in  French and Classics from the University of Exeter. It may very well have taken her this much time and this much exposure to the greater, wider world- outside her very white, very British influences in Tolkien and Dickens- to realize, “Oh, shit, I could/should have made my books more diverse, that’s such a lovely idea, my fans are so wonderful, I love their headcanons, they have taught me so much, I’m really lucky to have learned all of this.”

We want people to grow, don’t we? We want them to expand their minds and change. So can we please stop hating on people who weren’t born into the movement for finding it later?

Thanks.

  • JK Rowling whilst writing the HP-series: Slytherin is the "evil house". The guy who bullies Harry, Ron and Hermione goes there with all his mean friends. Slytherin and Gryffindor, the house I put ninety percent of my main characters are always competing. Also lord Voldemort was a Slytherin. They only care about being from a rich and well-known family. Their password to get in was literally "pureblood". Only REALLY fancy/elite kids go there. Pretty much every death eather was a Slytherin. Their head teacher is the scary-scary Snape. Wow. Such evil
  • JK Rowling after finishing the series: WHO TF TOLD YOU SLYTHERIN WAS THE "EVIL HOUSE"??????? NO NO NO THEY ARE NOT ALL HOUSES ARE EQUALLY GOOD!!!!!11!!1!1!
I don’t know if JKR is really lucky with names or she puts just THAT much thought into it, but

Hermione Granger-Weasley - one meaning of ‘Hermione’ is an ermine, which is a kind of weasel

Tina Scamander - There are layers upon layers of meaning in the names of Newt and Porpentina, by their own or together (which just adds to their perfection as an OTP). Her preferred mode of address ‘Tina’ means ‘river’. How surprised was I to find (from TvTropes) that ‘Scamander’ is the name of a mythological figure, to be more specific, a river-god? 

Even their grandson and granddaughter-in-law have complementary names.

Rolf and Luna - Rolf is a Germanic name from two root words, ‘renowned’ and ‘wolf’, married to the ‘moon’, ‘Luna’

I really like name meanings, and it is such a delight to discover all of these creative inspirations in JK’s wizarding world. 

JKR vs. representation 2

Textual proof that the conservativism of the magical society include cisheteronormativity (and that JKR’s claim that the magical society is not homophobic shows that she doesn’t understand the implications of what an upending of such structures would have looked like):

  • The dormitories at Hogwarts are divided according to binary genders.
  • The girls are allowed to enter the boys dormitoried but boys aren’t deemed trustworthy enough to enter the girls’.
  • The bathrooms (possibly with the exception of the prefects’ bathrooms) are divided according to binary genders.
  • Dolores Umbridge forbids male and female students of being a certain distance from one another.
  • Unicorns prefer women handlers to male handlers and thus the boys have to stand back and aren’t allowed to parttake in the lesson about unicorns.
  • Veelas affect men but not women (we don’t know how the entire audience of the Quidditch World Cup reacts to the Veela of course, but there is no textual proof that contradict this observation).

You’re welcome to add to this list!.

…the people who mean something to you at 16, 17 are the people who are getting you through stuff. So I absolutely understand why someone who is hanging on to Harry Potter as a safe place at 13 is excited at 21 to talk about what [Hogwarts] house they’d be in. I don’t think it’s infantile.
—  J.K Rowling (full interview)
I can’t believe Jo understands exactly how I feel about Harry Potter.