The claim, like Dumbledore’s sexuality, was met with mixed reviews. Some applauded Rowling for being a champion for inclusivity, while others pointed out that as a writer, she rarely fails to specify when a character isn’t white, and often does so by using painful stereotypes. Dean Thomas, Angelina Johnson, and Kingsley Shaklebolt were all noted as “tall” and “black;” Cho Chang has shiny black hair; the Patil twins, meanwhile, wear saris to the Yule Ball (we know little else about them as characters). In context, failing to specify “white skin” seems altogether too convenient.

Tacked-on diversity is a hot, disingenuous mess

As Laura Bradley notes in Vanity Fair, “Just about every genre of film and television have been called out for drumming up interest by touting the presence of queer or queer-coded characters, only to whiff in the projects themselves by only nodding vaguely toward the sexualities of those characters—and rendering them virtually irrelevant.”

This queer-bating strategy seems to have been used for Dumbledore’s sexuality, and Rowling is accused of being similarly obtuse with the Nagini role in Fantastic Beasts. Critics surprised by her plot line accused Rowling of concocting a human origin story for Voldemort’s companion in order to kick up the diversity quota in a franchise that has been mostly white. (Nagini is depicted as a performer in the circus, where she works alongside a handful of the film’s other non-white actors.)

While there’s no shame in trying to diversify a largely whitewashed franchise, making it an afterthought only serves to highlight that Rowling probably never thought to incorporate diversity into the series in the first place. This doesn’t make it a bad series by any means, but if Rowling were genuinely invested in diversity, she might have explored its themes earnestly in her screenplay, rather than hinting at and ultimately skirting around them.

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