Okay, “better” might be a hasty generalization. But Harry Potter readers are definitely more likely to be accepting and empathetic individuals (which, as far as I’m concerned, definitely qualifies for the distinction of “better than everyone else”).
The Harry Potter books are responsible for imparting deep and lasting pieces of wisdom to many of us, but the series may have had even more beneficial effects than we initially realized. A recent study found that reading the Harry Potter series could very well alleviate racist perceptions and prejudices in young kids — which is easily the best possible kind of magic.
Researchers recently published a paper in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology which indicates that reading the Harry Potter series improves children’s perception of stigmatized minority groups and helps to minimize their racial prejudice.
For those who have been devoted to the series, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The books contain strong allegories relating to race — specifically, Voldemort’s quest to wipe out “muggles” and “mudbloods,” which is often equated to the Nazi pursuit of an Aryan race. Those who fight against Voldemort are also frequently supported by groups which are depicted as marginalized in the wizarding world, such as elves and goblins. Even J.K. Rowling herself has said that “the Potter books in general are a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry.”
It was therefore not terribly surprising when researchers discovered that children who read the Harry Potter books were more likely to be less prejudiced than those who did not. “Those who read and discussed Potter passages about prejudices showed ‘improved attitudes towards immigrants,” the Pacific Standard reported.
However, it is important to note that “this welcome reaction only occurred among those who identified with the title character.” The Pacific Standard added that “the key variable was the extent to which participants identified (or failed to identify) with Voldemort.” Which makes sense, of course — if you’re more likely to identify with the villain, you’re probably also more likely to be biased and prejudiced against other types of people (i.e., be generally villainous).
The report also found that younger children seemed far more receptive to Harry Potter’s acceptance lessons than teenagers, who were also part of the study.
Moral of the story? A gripping, adventurous book series which emphasizes love and the rejection of prejudice is generally going to be beneficial for your young ones. So, get your kids exposed to some wholesome, wizard-themed allegories, STAT!
Also, what better way to bond with your kids than by sharing a love for your favorite book series?