J.K. Rowling has been teaching humanity difficult lessons about tolerance for decades. Her beloved Harry Potter series introduced millions of children to the importance of diversity and the perils of racism. In the years since the end of the Harry Potter series, Rowling has continued to speak out in defense of diversity. The author recently slammed critics who said Hermione could not be black, after black actor Noma Dumezweni was chosen to portray her in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, her two part play which premiered in London on Tuesday. The best way to celebrate the premiere of the play and stand with the author who taught us to love muggles and magicians alike? Compile a list of J.K. Rowling quotes about diversity that everyone needs to hear.
"Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job," Rowling told The Observer, in an interview on Sunday. "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."
Rowling added that, in the end, she decided "not to get too agitated about it," saying that "Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm." In an earlier statement on Twitter, Rowling had clarified, "Canon [Hermione]: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione."
In honor of Rowling's unapologetic dedication to diverse casting and giving everyone a fair shot, here are a few more quotes from her books and real-life interviews that will remind you why she's the official literature queen:
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In the books, Rowling consistently used Dumbledore to teach Harry life's most difficult lessons. In Goblet of Fire, we see wizards from around the world coming together to compete in the Quidditch World Cup and again in the Triwizard Tournament. Dumbledore reminds us to judge people by their actions, not where they come from.
"Love is the strongest power there is." — J.K. Rowling
Ever since the internet kicked up a storm after she announced that Dumbledore was gay at a 2007 book tour, Rowling has been speaking out about LGBTQ acceptance. When a fan tweeted that he could not see Dumbledore as gay, she responded with this zinger:
And of course, Hogwarts would be a safe place for LGBT students.
She even took on the Westboro Baptist Church, when they threatened to picket a Dumbledore-Gandalf wedding:
"We've all got light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." — Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
From house-elves to giants, trolls and muggles, Rowling's books warn readers about the dangers of judging an entire group based on stereotypes. She's taken that lesson to the real world, fighting against Islamophobia (and media magnate Rupert Murdoch too):
"The Potter books in general are a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry. And I think it's one of the reasons that some people don't like the books, but I think that's it's a very healthy message to pass on to younger people that you should question authority and you should not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth." — J.K. Rowling
Rowling pushes readers to question our leaders, especially when they spout hate. It's no wonder Rowling said Trump was worse than Voldemort after he called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
"Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Dumbledore had it right: Disliking someone or some group is one thing, but disliking them without even bothering to understand them is an entirely different and wholly dangerous thing altogether.
All those words of wisdom over the years, whether from her characters or Rowling herself, are enough to inspire anyone to reach out and open up their mind. Keep fighting the good fight, J.K. We're with you 'til the very end.