Movie audiences got to know Hermione, the feisty magician-in-training played by Emma Watson, over the course of eight “Harry Potter” movies.
So they could be forgiven for thinking that the character would forever be tied to Watson, who happens to be white.
Or could they?
That reasonable thinking isn’t good enough for J.K. Rowling, the rags to riches author who created the “Potter” literary franchise. Rowling recently came out in support of black actress Noma Dumezweni, cast as Hermione Granger in the upcoming stage production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
Some have an issue with the casting from a racial perspective. They simply see the character a certain way, based on those massively popular films, and figured a race change wasn’t wise.
That set Rowlings off, and the media did all it could to have her back:
“The Harry Potter author is having none of this nonsense,” goes the sub-head for Vanity Fair’s take on the news story. Here’s how Rowling described those against the casting:
I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost colour from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.
Left unspoken: the furor that would likely commence if a character traditionally played by a black actress were suddenly recast as white. Equality runs both ways, of course.
There’s certainly a debate to be had about changing the ethnicity of a beloved character in pop culture. Arguments can be made on both sides, and each can have its merits.
That doesn’t wash with liberals. They want to insist their arguments are not only right, but that their opponents have diseased souls for thinking any other way.
It’s hardly an isolated incident.
The imbroglio points to a bigger, nastier strain in our culture. If one contends James Bond should remain a white male hero, as he has been portrayed for 50-odd years on screen, then you may be a racist.
If you think replacing Bill Murray and co. with four “lady” “Ghostbusters” in a film remake is a bad idea, you’re likely a misogynist. Just ask The Washington Post and other mainstream outlets.
These burdensome labels are passed around freely among liberals. Of course, if a Democrat were to tell a stereotypical joke about Indians who run convenience stores or call a black senator “clean” then there’s precious little condemnation.