Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the lack of Black people

So stumbled across this video on YouTube:

First let me say, I totally noticed that scene between Dean Thomas and Kingsley Shacklebolt in the final film (during my second viewing) and I smiled at it. I thought, wow, I don't think I remember seeing two Black people in the same scene in any Harry Potter film (let alone talking to each other). And Dean was looking at Kingsley in awe, now, I'm not sure if it was just in awe of his (Kingsley) awesomeness, or he's hyped to fight for Hogwarts or he's saying to himself, "yeah another brother - I want to be just like him!" But that's the thing about movies and art, you make your interpretations.

Now, back to his video... okay, I will admit I did notice the lack of Black people in the Harry Potter world but I didn't think much of it because I just assumed "that's how England is" and honestly, I'm use to watching movies without Black representation... but then again, I usually assume Black people don't exist in other countries (besides Africa) because they are never shown in movies. And well, I learn about the world from movies (I'm being sarcastic, if you couldn't tell).

I remember people were having this same argument (well this argument happens often) about the movie Amelie. People were upset that the movie depicted an idyllic version of a Black free Paris (umm, remember those 2005 French riots).

Anyway, he got a lot of feedback about his video and created an "ill advised rebuttal":

First off, yes, he blew my mind, I didn't know/remember Lavender Brown was Black and then mysteriously became White in the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter wiki has photos). Was it because she had to kiss our precious Ron Wesley? (conspiracy!) I don't know but I wouldn't be shocked if this was true...

Now with that said and with the universal fact that Camille Loves the Harry Potter world, let the record show I think J.K. Rowling made a conscious effort to include diversity in her books. And yes, we can list the non-white characters such as Dean Thomas, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Cho Chang, Padma and Parvati Patil, and others. I think Ms. Rowling had the right idea but when we see the movies, and it's more visual (well you know what I mean), the lack of diversity is a little more apparent... and well, that might bother people or cause eye brows to raise.

Anyway, this is all a fun discussion to have and I'm sure a discussion we will continue to have...

But I have to say, I do enjoy seeing diversity on film... It always feels good when you watch a movie and see someone who looks like you doing stuff. One day, I hope, it won't feel good to see Black people in films because it will become so common that I never think of it... one day...


  1. Who cares? I'm so sick of everyone looking for signs of racism where non exists. Get a life! Maybe the black actors that tried out for the primary roles weren't the best fit. Should they have just given them the part simply because they're black, even if they weren't the best? I'm sure a lot of silly people would consider that "fair". What a joke.


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