J.K. Rowling Taken to Task for Fetishizing Asian Women in Harry Potter


Poet Rachel Rostad has zeroed in on some inconvenient truths for Harry Potter fans, namely that J.K. Rowling managed to create a fantastical universe crammed full of exotic, magical creatures while still marginalizing and fetishizing people of color. It’s really a stunning achievement, when one considers just how robust the world of Harry Potter is, that Rowling could manage to fuck up the last name of her only Chinese character, since “Cho Chang,” Rostad points out, is an amalgamation of two Korean last names, and to come upon a Chinese person named Cho Chang would be like finding “a Frenchman named García Sánchez.” Burn.

Though naming Chinese character “Chang” may be slightly less egregious than she says it is (in a conscientious response to the original poem, Rostad explains how she glossed over some of the nuances of Chinese naming in order to streamline the “García Sánchez” punchline), Rostad has a point. It’s unlikely that her criticisms about, say, the manner in which Dumbledore was outed after all seven books were released will prevent most people from professing their undying adoration for Harry Potter, but her takedown may raise at least a few eyebrows.

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