Harry Potter and the End of Bigotry

Want your children to be less racist, xenophobic and homophobic? Have them read the Harry Potter series, which the author herself describes as “a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry.

In the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, three studies conducted showed that students who read the novels while being taught the central themes of racism, slavery, and acceptance, showed that they identified with the eponymous hero and against the villain, Volde… I mean… He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

The study’s findings support what was already known about the effects of reading fiction: it makes you less racist.

In the stories, Harry not only battles against his archv-enemy, but a host of other coming-of-age issues. Harry’s schoolyard rival, the character Draco Malfoy, almost stereotypically embodies racist, bigoted, and ignorant ideologies.

Even if your child’s school has not read the books, parents should read the novels with their children and discuss the issues therein. Not only will it foster a love of reading, but it will allow them to work through coming of age issues that everyone faces at some time or another.

sources:

http://mic.com/articles/95236/psychologists-find-a-surprising-thing-happens-to-kids-who-read-harry-potter

 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/.Uxfg4s7y2jc#.U__0PWPsZbU

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/reading-literary-fiction-can-make-less-racist-76155/

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/harry-potter-battle-bigotry-87002/

https://shop.pottermore.com/en_us/books/536/bundle-en-gb

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3 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the End of Bigotry”

  1. I agree. I’m an avid reader of fictional stories, mostly science fiction and they all tend to paint a world or atmosphere of unity. Whether the world is facing utter destruction from natural disasters or alien intervention, we as a species tend to look past race, religion, and sex.

    The Potter books does promote gender and racial equality so that it can deal with social aspects that are common to everyone everywhere. Ender’s Game was one such book series that not only showed diversity in the brightest and most brilliant people on the planet, but the 8 books following dove into other cultures and worlds in such a beautiful way.

    As an adult it made me more aware of the beauties of other cultures and races of people. I can only see how stories like this would ingrain respect for other cultures within a child’s mind. On top of the Potter books I would recommend Ender’s Game and the series following, written by Orson Scott Card.

    1. With the only exception between the two being that JK Rowling has been on the record stating that her stories are about ending bigotry, whereas Orson Scott Card has gone on the record against gay marriage rights. But, that’s a matter of the authors’ opinions and really should not come into play when we interpret the text for ourselves. What we glean from the books is much more important. Thanks for the comment!

  2. My inner child is saddened that O.S. Card would believe such things, I’m just glad that I didn’t pick up any of that ideology in the texts. In a way it’s kind of weird, because his books seem to promote outside of your species breeding…mixed signals perhaps.

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