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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.



10!! Instant Confidence (Life Hack)

I have had my current job position extended for a bit, and am very happy about it. I had worked very hard at this position and am glad to have been given an extension on the assignment. It had been my last job interview, though I had felt very confident about the last three interviews I had attended.

The funny thing is I began feeling confident after having seen Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on body language and what, she termed, “power poses”, in which she demonstrates how to be more comfortable and in one’s element.

Essentially what her research found was posing in a “dominant” manner for as little as two minutes before a stressful task lowered one’s cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and increased testosterone (associated with asserting confidence and dominance); this is in contrast to poses of weakness which have the exact opposite effect.

Quite fascinating that it is so simple. A power pose is any pose in which you make yourself appear bigger by using your limbs to take up more space; a pose of weakness, on the other hand, is any where you close yourself, and become smaller, such as hugging yourself or slouching.

I had begun “power posing” before interviews, not reviewing notes and continued with a more relaxed, “bigger” posture during the interviews–bigger but not obnoxious. It is truly an instant confidence booster; I felt relaxed and confident during said interviews.

Check out her inspirational talk about “faking it till you make it” as she extends the ream of possibilities for what are essentially small changes in our thinking into big changes (very reminiscent of Dweck’s Growth Mindset).

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