Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter and Racial Prejudice

This article from The Washington Post links the cultural commentary of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to current issues, namely the Sonia Sotomayor hearings:

Rowling's use of the term "half-blood" to vividly evoke the damaging effects of racial prejudice in the life of some of her key characters must be highlighted, especially this week. This is the same week where the American people have been treated to the unseemly spectacle of conservative politicians using "racism" as a club to beat up Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court. These attacks on her, as illustrated but not limited to Senator Sessions' remarks, illustrate that her questioners have no insight into their own racial formation, and deformation, in a white-dominant American society.

I highly recommend that several of these Senators go see the Harry Potter film--and better yet, read the books where the racial prejudice by some in the wizarding community is horribly illustrated. "Generations of purebloods, wizards all--more than you can say, I don't doubt...a filthy, dirt-veined Muggle," says a Wizard racist whose negative attitudes toward racial pluralism have fatal and near fatal consequences for both Wizards and Muggles alike in the film and in the book.
Had the movie come out on its original release date in November 2008 (it was delayed because of the writer's strike) it's possible that these connections might not have been made, proving once again that timing in art is (nearly) everything.

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