Three Lessons about Hate Movements We Can Learn From Harry Potter

My name is Joy Ellison and I’m the creator of the “Defense Against the Orange Arts” video series and the “Granger Watch” podcast.  I make Harry Potter-themed content that helps us understand and fight back against fascism and organized white supremacy. 

This is a very important moment to talk about white supremacy.  Here are three important lessons about organized hate movements that we can learn from Harry Potter.


my father 2

[Image description: Draco say “My father will hear about this!”]

  1. Hatred doesn’t always look evil. Take the Malfoys.  Draco was a jerk, for sure, but he wasn’t a cartoon version of an evil character.  His father was a respectable, wealthy man with a lot of influence in the wizarding world.  People treated the Malfoys like they weren’t the type of people to get involved with Death Eaters  — and that was one of the reasons they became so dangerous.  Today, most white supremacists don’t “look” racist.  Furthermore, all white people benefit from racism and are complicit in perpetuating it.  We need to start taking seriously our complicity and retire the notion that only “bad people” can be racist.peter-pettigrew[Image Description: Peter Pettigrew cowers]
  2. Just because the fascists aren’t competent doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous.   A lot of Voldemort’s followers weren’t gifted wizards.  Peter Pettigrew certainly wasn’t, but that didn’t stop him from helping to bring Voldemort back into power.  Today’s white power movement is full of people who are easy to make fun of.  Humor can be a potent tool against hatred, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves.  Just because these alt-Death Eaters aren’t very clever doesn’t mean we can move aside and let them continue recruiting and rallying.
  3. he's not backWe ignore fascism and white supremacy at our peril.  Just like Cornelius Fudge, a lot of white people don’t want to believe that things are really this bad, but the communities who are the most impacted by hate movements are telling us that it’s been bad for centuries.  Voldemort isn’t just back – he never left.  It’s past time to do something.

One of the most important things white people, like me, can do to combat white supremacy is give our money and resources to the people of color who are leading the fight.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan or just someone who cares about justice, find a local racial justice organization and donate your time and galleons.


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