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.