Since I am on my ninth ???? week of lockdown (and also my ninth week of living alone because I chose absolutely the worst time ever to move out), I am rewatching all the Harry Potter movies.
I know, I know, J*anne is a TERF and the Harry Potter series is Riddled (hehe) with racism, transphobia and anti-semitism and I shouldn’t give her more oxygen, etc. But it’s my comfort watch, which I desperately need right now, and I reckon you can enjoy problematic media and still be critical of it.
THE GOBLINS: we’re short, hook-nosed bankers who control all wizarding money and speak in a guttural language called gobbledegook! what’s that? we sound like a grossly antisemitic allegory for jewish people? but how can that be when we love money so much?
— dylan morrison (@dylan_thyme) August 2, 2020
Anyway, watching the Harry Potter series made me super nostalgic for the times when I was a kid imagining that the golden trio were my besties and I existed in this magical world – and then I remembered I am a political, brown, hijab-wearing woman. And these are all British white people. Who are friends with mostly other British white people.
It’s a recipe for disaster (read: racism), and the sad truth is some of these people would definitely be racist IRL. And we wouldn’t be friends. And then, after much spiralling, the following list was born.
every british person is white. what do you mean theres a huge south asian population in the uk that cant be right i watch harry potter and sherlock
— emotional support ardbear (@zhamusiel) February 25, 2020
So, without further ado, here’s me ranking a bunch of Harry Potter characters based on how racist I reckon they would be to me IRL. Sorry if it ruins your childhood, but I bet J*anne did that anyway.
15. Harry Potter
Ah, my son. I feel like Harry would definitely be an anti-racist because he is an absolute sweetheart with a heart of gold, AND he hates British bureaucracy. God, I love him. He probably grew up to be a lefty Marxist professor* and honestly, good for him!! He’s 100% an ally, would definitely get arrested for spitting in a cop’s face, and there’s the fact that heaps of fans reckon he’s Indian anyway.
*No, I will not acknowledge his career as a wizard cop as canon. J*anne sucks and we all know Harry’s professional calling was in teaching.
14. Ginny Weasley
Ginny probably grew up around a lot of racism in her little white town, but I reckon learned a lot and overcame it. Adult Ginny beats up racists when she’s bored and she probably joined a socialist group for a few months in her twenties. She’s also married to lefty Professor Potter. No racism here baby.
13. Sirius Black
Also grew up around racism but overcame it, and he literally joined a radical resistance group for blood equity as a teen, soooo. Sirius Black is an ally and I love him.
12. Luna Lovegood
Luna is the ‘I don’t see colour’ type but, like, in a very genuine sense. I reckon she straight up just doesn’t think that much about people’s races. I feel like that could lead to awkward moments where she makes comments that are racially insensitive because she didn’t think about the context, but she would mean well and so I wouldn’t take offence.
Okay, look. Hagrid would mean well. He really would. But we also know he often has no filter and says things he shouldn’t. He would definitely say casually racist things accidentally, especially if he had a few drinks. However, if someone called me a slur, he’d punch them so I forgive him.
10. Ron Weasley
I struggled with this one because I love Ron and think he’s so funny, but also it’s true he has a mean streak and can be really petty. And he’s pretty insensitive. Also he’s a bit of a lad. I can see him using racist insults in an argument if he’s pissed off, and he definitely would make racist jokes that he thinks are okay because they’re “just jokes”. Sigh.
9. Hermione Granger
Sorry to Book Hermione stans but re-reading the series as an adult, it was icky to see all the ~NoT LiKe OtHeR gIrLs~ bullshit from her. I know this was just J*R projecting her own internalised misogyny onto the lead female character, but it makes up too many of her interactions for me to dismiss it.
Book Hermione definitely has a white saviour complex. She would tell me my hijab is oppressing me and talk about having to save ethnic women from our culture/religion/men/ourselves. Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss, etc.*
*This does not apply to Black Hermione or Movie Hermione.
I don’t think Voldy would care about my race so long as I was a pure-blood, so if we’re talking IRL racism, he’s not… actually… racist?
I mean I know he’s magic Hitler but the metaphor just doesn’t translate super well because of bad writing.
7. Bill Weasley & Fleur
This guy… Ugh. I feel like people would think Bill is cool and woke because of his punk aesthetics, but after a few drinks he would definitely start a conversation about how it’s GOOD that England colonised Australia, because of the innovation and technology he reckons it brought here.
Like, his actual job is to raid African tombs for valuables to bring back to England (pillaging, what a wonderful career), and he’s married to Fleur. And while she’s cool, she’s also a French nationalist. Fleur would tell me to go back to my country if I criticised the hijab ban in France. Sorry but it’s true. I reckon there would be some toxic secularism and disdain for ethnic ‘rituals’ here.
6. Molly Weasley
Does everyone remember when Molly Weasley bullied a fourteen-year-old Hermione over fucking RUMOURS that she cheated on Harry?? Outside of her family, Molly is mean!! And petty!! And believes shitty newspapers!! In Britain of all places!!
You just know she reads all those racist tabloids. And she would definitely believe every anti-Muslim stereotype. If I met her she would ask me if I’m related to Osama Bin Laden, and Ron would get embarrassed and be like “Mum, stop it.” Molly is defo the boomer brand of racist, and Ginny is the political daughter that gets into fights with her about it.
5. Xenophilius Lovegood
Okay I know you’re wondering how Mr Lovegood is so far up this list but trust me, it makes sense. He’s a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t socialise with other people and lives in some weird tower in the middle of nowhere.
He wears controversial symbols. Lovegood would definitely buy into anti-Semitic conspiracies, and while he may not be racist to my face, he would definitely be down the alt-right YouTube rabbit hole. Also he’s an anti-vaxxer. Actually, do wizards believe in vaccines?
Maybe they’re all anti-vaxxers. Wizards not having Muggle technology/medicine is one of the most ridiculous part of the Harry Potter series. Aside from their currency and when J*R said that before toilets were invented, wizards just shit themselves and magicked it away. Anyway, magicking that info away from my brain and moving on.
Wizard shop owner: Sorry, don’t have any sickles to give you change. Here’s 298 knuts.
— Dave (@Mesut_Ausil) October 19, 2019
Snape would absolutely call me a slur. I mean, he called his best friend, whom he loved, the worst racial slur out there just because he was mad at someone else. Imagine how he would treat someone he *actually* doesn’t like. And he wouldn’t like me, because if I went to school with Snape I would have bullied the shit out of that little Nazi. Anyway, Snape would make mean jokes about Muslims and bombs despite the fact he’s the one who joined an actual domestic terrorist group, and everyone would ignore him.
Severus Snape was a horrible person.
-alarms go off-
AND even though he MAY have done some good things
-security runs up to the stage-
that doesn’t excuse him from being abusive to CHILDREN
-is forcefully escorted away-
HE TRIED TO POISON NEVILLE’S TOAD
— Dani Carr (@ItsDaniCarr) December 12, 2017
3. Draco Malfoy
Yes I know Draco grows up to be an okay human being, but high school Draco was a racist little shit who gives me strong Aussie private school boy vibes. Unlike Voldemort, who would just avada kedavra me and get on with his day, Draco would humiliate me and relish in it. You just know Draco would rip off my hijab to win a fight. The boy would hate crime me for fun, honestly.
1. Petunia and Vernon Dursley
I just know the Dursleys LOVE the Daily Mail, think Muslims/Pakistanis are ruining England, hate refugees, and think that anyone who criticises the government should go back to their own country. But the reason they’re at the top of my list despite Mr Hate Crime Malfoy is because unlike a lot of other characters, they don’t have redeeming factors or excuses for their racism.
They weren’t raised in abusive homes that gave them warped perceptions of victimhood, they weren’t conceived under a love potion which made them incapable of empathy, and obviously they are not teenagers fighting a war. They’re just fkn racists.
HARRY: do i really have to go back to the dursleys this summer?
DUMBLEDORE: of course you do harry. how else will we get your self esteem so low that you’ll be unthinkingly willing to die for our cause when it’s time?
— dylan morrison (@dylan_thyme) August 2, 2020
And this lawful-evil racism is how people like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, and any of our own Aussie refugee-hating politicians get elected. It’s not the rare stuff I’m unlikely to ever run into – it’s this type of racism that actually affects the every day interactions of people like me.
THE DURSLEYS: we have locked the small orphan you left for us inside of a cupboard
DUMBLEDORE: well i don’t see why you wouldn’t
THE DURSLEYS: we let him out sometimes to cook age-inappropriate dishes for us
DUMBLEDORE: ooh, creative use of an orphan. five points to privet drive
— dylan morrison (@dylan_thyme) August 2, 2020
If you’re wondering why Dumbledore isn’t on this list, it’s because I honestly could not place him. He’s a slippery little snake and we never really know what he’s thinking, and while he led the resistance against Voldemort, his own past is steeped in racism, so I really just couldn’t decide. With Dumbledore, there’s just too much grey area.
Did I take this ranking a little more seriously than I was meant to? Yes. Do I care? No.
You can watch all the Harry Potter movies on Netflix and Stan.