I went and saw Fantastic Beasts this past week.

Considering that my video review is almost an hour long, obviously it inspired a whole host of grouchy thoughts on my end. Mainly that the film’s beautiful cinematography and the way that the magical creatures first brought to our attention in Rowling’s 2001 magizoological textbook are brought to life on the big screen don’t make up for barely unbroken whiteness, Rowling’s misuse of Native cultures in and out of the film, and what reads to me as a really shitty narrative about abuse survivors.

I fell out of love with the Harry Potter series pretty early on. I liked the idea of the franchise and owned all of the books at one time or another, but with every new tidbit that Rowling revealed about her characters and the world that they lived in, I found myself increasingly disenchanted. This is all thanks to Rowling’s constant need to express regret for everything except how lacking her works were in diversity and her new material which contains things like confirming/canonizing her “lycanthropy as a stand-in for AIDS/HIV” stance or the way she views Native cultures as a monolith while misrepresenting and misusing Native peoples and cultures.

I watched Fantastic Beasts specifically because I wanted to check the film out and provide an honest opinion of it. I did go into it expecting to hate two specific things (the lack of diversity and Johnny Depp) but I was surprised at all the other things that made me annoyed or uncomfortable throughout watching it.

Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the critical slant I tend to take when watching films, understand that this isn’t going to be a review where I say super goopy things about the film. I think I say one and a half nice things about it and they’re not very nice at that. So be prepared for a rather caustic look at the thing you probably love!

Notes, clarification, warnings, and links to thing you might want to read are on the full post: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Sorta Snarky Review

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Anyway, if the new Harry Potter movie that is set in NEW YORK IN THE 1920s doesn’t have any black people in it (like the trailer suggests) I am legit going to throw my Harry Potter books in the trash and never look back.

I don’t care whose fault it is. The casting directors, the producers, j.k. herself. I don’t care. That level of disrespect, historical revisionism via white supremacist fantasy is not to be tolerated.

The Jazz Age.

With no black people.

The JAZZ AGE.

Do they have ANY idea how creepy it is that every single fantasy is a world without brown people?

That every magical wondrous place they can imagine, a dominant feature is that we have been scrubbed from every corner?

And where did we go? We’re we driven out? Did they kill us all? When one type of person is overwhelmingly missing there is always a reason.

And what reason will small children of color make up in their heads to answer such a question?

What little cloud will enter their mental sky?

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@oneknightincamelot I promise I’m not dragging you, but I’m actually not talking about leads, I’m talking about environmental black people. Like black people in the background of that world. 

This is what Harlem looked like in the 1920s. 

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This is what harlem was portrayed as in Fantastic Beasts

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And I specifically looked for scenes with concentrated groups of background people. 

Its not the starring cast that was “whitewashed” its the ENTIRE ENVIRONMENT that was historically revised. Which is a much more dangerous lie. 

Also, this is specific to black people. While I am constantly hungry for more Asian representation and am happy anywhere I see it, Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance was a specifically an area and era infused with black people and black art.

Here is a documentary about it if you’re curious.

 Anyway even The Great Gatsby did a better job of quickly portraying our importance and style in the Jazz era, and it wasnt even a movie about black people– it was specifically about rich white people.

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Honestly between this and the trash JK created based on Native American culture without actually talking with Native Americans to make sure it wasn’t offensive that will be used in the movie, I have zero interest in seeing it. It’s too white, too misinformed, and they’re putting fucking Johnny Depp, a known abuser in it. I have zero interest in supporting any of that.

That and Eddie seems to be portraying a Hufflepuff stereotype that looks as well written as Bella Swan from Twilight. It’s one thing when it was kids acting, but this guy has been nominated for a million awards and the trailers are just gross.

I prefer what fans wrote for an idea, that Newt is a black man coming to america, faces the shit show of racism compared to England, and goes on amazing adventures. THAT I’d watch. 

Fantastic Beasts & Invisible Diversity in the Harry Potter Series

For a body of media that seems fixated on different avenues of
oppression, the Harry Potter series is seriously lacking when it comes
to actual diversity and oppression that doesn’t revolve around magical
beings. Seriously, just about everything’s a metaphor for some form of
oppression or some facet of a marginalized identity.

If you’re looking for allegories about human rights and racism shown
through a lens of magical humans and magical species, cool. That’s what
you’re getting.

If you’re actually looking for nuanced interpretations of how race,
power, and privilege intersect and affect each other in a world of
magic, maybe look somewhere else.

J. K. Rowling’s world isn’t going to be it.

For more thoughts on the series’ lack of diversity and the convenient fiction of “organic” diversity in media, head on over to the main post!