The Whitewashing Problem In 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'

The Whitewashing Problem In 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'

Yes, it was that noticeable.
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I'll be the first person to admit that I am obsessed with Harry Potter. And I mean obsessed. I grew up in the Wizarding World, fighting alongside Harry and Ron, falling in love with Cedric and Dobby while hating Umbridge. With a wand from Universal and seven books that have been well loved over the past sixteen years, it would be an understatement to say I was excited about the announcements of Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts. But my excitement started to fade into disappointment after reading the play and watching the film.

While Cursed Child read like a fan-fiction and completely neglected character consistency, I will admit that I still enjoyed it. Simply being back in Harry's world was enough for me. And as for Fantastic Beasts? I adored the movie. Newt was a precious Hufflepuff baby, and the story lines, alongside the talented actors, made the film captivating and entertaining. JK Rowling brought us back into her magical world with ease and love.


But there was one thing bothered me tremendously in the recent movie. As Fantastic Beasts takes place in New York in the 1920's, shouldn't there be more diversity and representation in the film? Shouldn't the setting allude to the historical events occurring during this time period? Sure, the 1920's was referenced by the costumes and props, but what about the people? Did JK Rowling forget that during the 20's the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing? Or did she neglect this historical event to appease the majority?

Upon seeing Fantastic Beasts twice I noticed that there were maybe four people of color that I counted, with only one of them played a seemingly important role. While I greatly appreciated the fact that Madam President was indeed a woman, and an African American woman at that, I missed the diversity of the overall cast. The more I think about it the more angry I get. Why was this film so white-washed? Why did JK Rowling decide to cherry-pick what historical events she included in her world (cough, the Great Depression, cough), neglecting other events that were so prominent and impactful to our society (cough, the Harlem Renaissance, cough)?


Even when I look back at the original Harry Potter films, I can't help but notice how unrepresentative the cast is. For goodness sake, they even replaced the original actress of Lavender Brown, Jennifer Smith, a young African American girl, with Jessie Cave. It's heartbreaking, in a way, realizing that the author of your favorite childhood series didn't accurately represent her world's population. As I've grown up, I've become more aware of this, and despite the fact that I will never not love Harry Potter, it frustrates me to no end that we allow films and books to continue to lack appropriate representation of our world.


This neglect needs to stop. We need to stop. Bring awareness to our fictional worlds. Allow for our favorite characters to be different, allow for them to represent a minority so minority fans have someone to look up to. It's time to stop white-washing and heteronormalizing everything, because when we do that, we continue to oppress individuals, further confirming stereotypical biases and ignoring stigmas.

Let's allow films, novels, poems, TV shows- any form of entertainment for that matter- to portray our society correctly. It's time to show our world as a collective unit, not divided by race or sexual orientation or ethnicity or whatnot. Fiction or nonfiction, magical realism or Utopian, representation matters.

Cover Image Credit: Fuse.TV

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist

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Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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