Harry Potter And The Sorceror's Stone

The wizarding world of Harry Potter is a pretty white-washed affair, according to a new study by Dylan Marron. Marron has been looking at various films and filmmakers to see how often a person of color speaks, and as we’ve previously reported, the results can be pretty stark. His Every Single Word project has yielded surprising, and often depressing, conclusions that showcase how regularly people of color are pushed to the fringes of films, from mainstream blockbusters to independent darlings. Much like the Bechdel Test, this doesn’t necessarily result in a correlation between how inclusive a film is and how “good” it is, but it is a startling reminder of how far Hollywood and filmmakers have left to go in achieving racial diversity in their movies.

The latest films to receive the Every Single Word treatment are the Harry Potter series (note that this only pertains to the films, and not the books on which they’re based). Marron noticed that in the entire 1,207-minute running time of the eight-film series, only 12 people of color (two of whom are CGI) speak, and for only five minutes and 40 seconds. That translates into approximately each character getting only 28.33 seconds of speaking time. Hopefully the next phase of Potter films will improve on this, and become more inclusive. There’s no reason why a magical realm full of giants, dragons, and trolls can’t also include more speaking parts for non-white actors.

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