An Open Letter to 'Harry Potter' Fans Freaking Out About Black Hermione

Noma DumezweniDear people who have a problem with a black actress being cast as a grown-up Hermione in the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

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ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

You truly, honestly just can't deal with the fact that black actress Noma Dumezweni will be onstage in the production, which takes place 19 years after the end of the last book?

What if I told you that she's a supremely accomplished, award-winning actress (check out Noma Dumezweni's bio if you're really curious!)? She's won a prestigious Olivier award and everything!

No? That's not your problem, you say? You simply don't think Hermione should be black? You're with this person, who just can't even with Hermione's "new look"?

Well, take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Apparently there are a ton of people out there in social media land who insist they're not racist, but really just can't abide this black Hermione Granger business.

But honestly, I have one question for you:

How could you possibly object? Harry Potter is one of the most popular and well-known young adult franchises in the world. All those books ... and all those movies .... and allll those white characters. I think of my mom-friends who are raising children of color, and how those awesome, lovely, wonderful kids hardly EVER get to see someone who looks like them in the media -- even in 2015 -- and it makes me want to get up and cheer that we're getting a black Hermione.

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What's that you say? You're all for diversity, in theory, but you just can't picture it, because you have the fabulous Emma Watson in your mind? That's your only problem? I love Emma Watson, too! And I love her Hermione! But guess what? I have some exciting news!

HERMIONE IS IMAGINARY!

Oh ... I'm so sorry ... maybe I shouldn't have broken that to you so abruptly. My apologies.

So, despite knowing that J.K. Rowling MADE UP the entire Harry Potter universe, and then the people who produced the movies went ahead and made up a bunch of stuff too, and picked actors they thought in their minds looked the way they imagined those imaginary characters looked ... you still can't picture it?

Here, maybe this will help:

Cool, right? Hermione can look however we want her to look! Isn't that wonderful? The magic of literature and theater! I know! It's astounding!

What, you're still not buying it? You say Hermione is SPECIFICALLY meant to be white in the books? A word from the author:

But even if, for some reason, Hermione had been undoubtedly white in the books -- so what? Changing the color of her skin doesn't change the essence of her character (duh). Hermione is brilliant, brave, loyal, and spirited. Whether the producers of the play made their casting choice because they just happened to love Noma Dumezweni in the role, or they were looking for a black actress -- it doesn't matter.

What matters is that it's a barrier-breaking casting choice, and it's going to be incredible.

Finally, in closing, I leave you with this thought, tweeted by sci-fi author Jake Kerr, of whom I've never heard, but whose books I will be sure to check out now:

Yours very sincerely,

The sane half of humanity

 

Image via Dave M. Benett/Getty Images; Fan art twitter images via Images via loquaciousliterature, lilabeanz, mariannewiththesteadyhands, batcii, dellbelle39 (tumblr)

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