Harry Potter Prejudice

‘Harry Potter’ Is Helping Kids Become Less Prejudiced, Judgmental

Harry Potter is casting his magic on kids in a very positive way.

Although certain groups were quick to condemn J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels as the literary glorification of witchcraft, apparently Harry Potter is having a completely different effect on children. Instead of introducing them to evil spells and nefarious characters designed to soil their mortal souls, Harry Potter is helping kids become less prejudiced and judgmental. What’s more, they’re getting kids to read.

According to Moviefone, children who work their way through the Harry Potter series are more likely to accept people from such “stigmatized groups” as immigrants, homosexuals, and refugees. Tolerance is apparently alive and well at Hogwarts, regardless of how much Malfoy and his crew hate mudbloods.

Loris Vezzali, the psychologist responsible for assembling the study, recently told New York Magazine’s Science of Us blog:

“The books do not directly refer to real-world groups, and so their message can be easily applied to several stigmatized categories. Encouraging book reading and incorporating it in school curricula may not only increase the students’ literacy levels, but also enhance their prosocial attitudes and behaviors and ultimately help in the creation of a more equal society.”

Paste magazine explains that the study, “The Greatest Magic of Harry Potter: Reducing Prejudice,” found researchers chatting up fifth graders about “stigmatized groups.” After their initial interview, the kids were instructed to read Harry Potter. Psychologists were pleasantly surprised by what they discovered on subsequent interviews.

The website explains:

“When the students were polled again after finishing the book, researchers found that kids who had discussed prejudice and discrimination in the context of the book had developed ‘improved attitudes towards immigrants.’

“In the second stage of the study, 117 Italian high school students were polled on various topics, including how many Harry Potter books they had read and their views toward homosexuality. Researchers ultimately discovered that the students who had read more Potter novels were more accepting of the gay community.”

Of course, a lot of misguided individuals firmly believe the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends do much more harm than good. For example, the folks at Conservative Truth feel the books aren’t for kids since they feature such controversial content as murder, witchcraft, and self-harm. In fact, they’d love to keep the stories away from children.

The website posits:

“Many previously deceived Christians are finally starting to see the light. I discovered hundreds of posts in chatrooms from parents and grandparents who had encouraged their kids to read the books. They have repented and have removed the books from their children’s libraries. They say they are trying to undo the damage they have done to the children by their exposure to them.”

While Rowling’s Harry Potter series may have its fair share of detractors, the latest study suggests that the books are actually steering today’s youth in a very positive direction. What do you think about the recent Harry Potter study?

[Lead image via Warner Bros.]

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