The Thursday Book Beat: J.K. Rowling Criticized for Appropriation of Native Culture for New Pottermore Stories

Another week, another set of book news. This time, I’m bringing you the headlines with late afternoon sunshine coming through the window, a very welcome change!

This week, we’ve got author Meg Rosoff emerging once again from her tower to call out “diversity and race activists” for not protesting Donald Trump and his racist comments. Except that’s definitely not what’s happening in this universe, so I’m not sure which “activists” Rosoff is addressing.

Meg Rosoff March 2 "race activist" FB post

Continuing the rather concerning take on diverse worlds, J.K. Rowling announced a four-part mini story series on Pottermore called “Magic in North America” as part of promotion for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film. Rowling’s take on the history of magical people in North America was quickly criticized by Native American voices such as Dr. Adrienne Keene, PhD. (Native Appropriations) and Dr. Debbie Reese, PhD. (American Indians in Children’s Literature).

This is an opportunity to listen to Native voices, and consider how J.K. Rowling’s use of Native stories and myths is damaging and tone-deaf. If anything, this has made me extremely wary and nervous about JKR ever attempting to explain any other culture or region’s wizarding community without in-depth and respectful research.

Speaking of research and diverse voices, Dr. Carla Hayden has been nominated by President Obama to run the Library of Congress! Her work as an activist and supporter of privacy rights, along with her position as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, makes her an incredible and deserving candidate. Should her appointment be approved by the Senate, Dr. Hayden would be the first African-American woman to lead the Library of Congress. Here’s hoping we see her in the halls of the Library soon!

Angel Cruz

Angel Cruz

Angel Cruz is a writer and boy band scholar. You can also find her at Book Riot for endless discussion and flailing over all things literature. Ice cream, Broadway musicals, and Arashi are her lifeblood.