Stop Using the Harry Potter series’ Original Publication Dates as an Excuse for Rowling’s Diversity Fails

Every time I talk about J. K. Rowling’s current and continuing diversity fails, someone always has to show up to remind me how she “couldn’t write diversely because it was 1997”.

Without fail, people are more invested in protecting Rowling from criticism she will never see or care about than in acknowledging the way that her writing has continued to erase marginalized people while allegorizing their struggles in order to pad her plot and make her characters more interesting.

Even if I knew (or cared) more about the realities of publishing when I was seven years old, the fact of the matter is that JKR managed to put a ton of atypical things in her “kids’ series”. She wrote about the violent effects of racism and blood supremacy as well as child abuse and children coming of age in a war torn world.

And yet, she “couldn’t” include more than eight characters of color or any queer characters who made It to the end of the series alive or who were queer onscreen?

The “it was 1997” excuse for Rowling’s diversity fails only holds a scant bit of water when it comes to looking at the body of her work. Other writers wrote queer characters into their works, other authors managed to have diverse children’s books during the same period that Rowling was publishing her books.


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Author: senzavoi

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.