J.K. Rowling Slams Racist Critics Who Can’t Handle Hermione Being Black
In the latest instance of J.K. Rowling being a wonderful voice of reason and large portions of the rest of the world being fleshy garbage cans, Rowling slammed racist critics who disapproved of the casting of the first Harry Potter live play. The casting controversy centers around the decision to cast the Oliver-Award winning actress Noma Dumezweni as the beloved Hermione, with critics both blatantly expressing disappointment that she’s black and framing their bias through the nostalgic lens of wanting Emma Watson take the role.
While there will always be dissenters when it comes to casting something as culturally beloved as the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Rowling is a woman who suffers no fools. She quickly recognized when the backlash had grown beyond the small enclave of disappointed trolls and turned into widespread racism.
In an interview with The Observer, Rowling expressed her frustration with people’s narrow-minded views of who could play Hermione, saying: “I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ — that is, lost color from her face after a shock, that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Rowling had to remind racists that her vision of Hermione was never intended as a white woman (or specified as any specific race for that matter). Rowling posted on Twitter after the initial casting announcement back in December, voicing her support for the decision by saying, “Rowling loves black Hermione.”
Even Emma Watson chimed in with support for the casting, hoping to sway the stubborn fans who used her as a pawn against the casting choice of Dumezweni.
Sadly, the recent mounting of even more racist backlash is likely due to the fact that Harry Potter and The Cursed Child will be taking the stage Tuesday for its first preview at the Palace Theater London.
The breath of life Dumezweni will bring to the stage performance of Hermione will be exciting to hear about, as she made her brilliant acting abilities abundantly clear during her 2006 appearance in Raisin in the Sun, which landed her an Olivier Award.
If those criticizing the casting can’t accept both Watson’s and Rowling’s approval, then their racism is undeniable.