ANALYZING THE BLACK STUDENT BODY OF HOGWARTS ACADEMY
Is the black population of the UK adequately represented?

The Harry Potter books and movies are among the most popular the world has ever seen.  But after hearing many civil rights advocates bring up the lack of black characters in the film's school, I decided to pop in the DVD of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, and see for myself.  Indeed, after casually viewing the film, I thought there to be only a couple black students at the famous Wizard's academy, but perhaps some careful use of pausing and picking through the entire movie would straighten things out.

This is Lee Jordan, with a good 2 minutes of screen time in this movie, he's the most prominent black character in the film.  While some students focus on potions, spells, or The Dark Arts, Lee's apparently attending Hogwarts on a Sportscasting scholarship.

Next we have an unnamed boy who's function at the school is pretty much limited to giving funny looks when someone says something startling.  As the closed caption excerpt shows, he at least gets a line of dialogue, which makes him the only other black character in the movie that does.

This mysterious Griffindor Quidditch player has a few cool action scenes, and scores some points for her team, but doesn't contribute much else, after she's knocked unconscious from her broom.  Though not named in the film, the books identify her as Angelina Jordan.

The rest of the roles are merely extras.  Here we have the same unnamed boy mentioned above, with two girls among the 1st year inductees at Hogwarts.

And at the Hufflepuff table, if you blink, you'll miss this black chap talking with his buddies, near the movies end.

Here's 3 more during a slightly chaotic scene in the banquet hall.

And here's a girl just waiting in the hallway, staring at Harry mysteriously as they walk buy.

The gent on the right looks like Gary Coleman's pal "Dudley" from Diff'rent Strokes!

Here's the only appearance from this lighter skinned black student during the "Sorting Hat" sequence at the film's start.

And when it appeared that all the black students were a part of the Griffindor group, a quick eye can catch 2 Slitherin students representing during the big Quidditch match.

And here's another, but she seems to be the least enthusiastic of the bunch.  Kind of hard to be too excited, I imagine, when the leader of The Aryan Nation, Draco Malfoy,  is the most dominant student in the class.

Here's two girls that you'll never see again in the film.

And a boy who appears for this split second during the mail delivery scene as a member of Griffindor, only to never show up again, either.

There's a few black adults in the faculty as well.  Here's a gender neutral wizard to the right of Dumbledore in a rare shot in which candles aren't hovering in front of her/his face.

And seated next to Professor Snape are two other black faculty members.  We never see them again, either.

So what's the breakdown really like?  What percent of the overall school population do the 17 black students that appear in the movie, make up?  Though no actual attendance figure is shared, I figured you could get a pretty accurate gauge by counting the student seats in the banquet hall.  From this picture, I've counted 272, which makes the black students 6% of the overall makeup.  According to the UK's Office of National Statistics, minority ethnic groups (which would include non black minorities as well) represent 7% of the overall population. Considering this, it appears that Professor Dumbledore is doing a pretty fair job of making sure his student makeup accurately reflects that of the general populace.  Which is even more amazing, considering only magically empowered students are allowed to attend.

 

The supporting world of Harry Potter seems to be full of black characters as well, albeit they serve nothing more than extras (click the above thumbnails for larger versions of the pictures), one could say that about most of the white people in the film as well.  When you have a movie with a cast of hundreds, not everyone is going to get the Oscar winning monologue.

Of course, when it comes to Wizards, one shouldn't forget that the all time greatest one is black, as well.

-Robert Berry
webmaster@retrocrush.com



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