Listen up everyone, I already knew this, but it’s been confirmed by science too.
Turns out, you are a better person if you like Harry Potter, and now I can just wave this study by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology to the face of anyone who dares contradict me.
The study, which is titled “The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice” reveals that people who sympathize with the Harry Potter characters are less likely to be prejudiced against minority groups.
The ‘evils’ of prejudice are a pretty common theme throughout the Harry Potter series, with the main villain, Voldemort, intent on making the wizarding society consist of only purebloods, meaning wizards who have only wizard blood, as opposed to being mixed with non-wizards, or ‘Muggles’.
There is also the character of Draco Malfoy who often refers to one of the main protagonists, Muggle-born Hermione Granger, as ‘Mudblood’, which is a racial slur.
In the study, the researchers gave 34 primary school children a questionnaire about their opinions on immigrants. Then, they divided the children into two groups, where one was given a passage where Draco Malfoy calls Hermione a “filthy little Mudblood,” whereas the other one unrelated to prejudice, like when Harry buys his first wand.
A week later, those same children were given another questionnaire about their feelings towards immigrants. It was revealed that the opinions of children who read the passage where Malfoy shows prejudice towards Hermione had largely improved, and the ones who read the neutral passage didn’t show a difference.
Which means that seeing Malfoy’s behavior makes children more understanding, kind, and empathetic towards people who might be in a similar situation as Hermione.
There were also two other follow-up experiments this time with high school and college students where they were asked about their views on minority groups, such as members of the LGBT community and refugees which saw similar results.
In one study the results showed that high schools students had more positive opinions on gay people after reading the passages, and the other showed that college students were more accepting towards refugees.
The author, Dr. Loris Vezzali, who’s a professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, said:
“Harry Potter empathises with characters from stigmatised categories, tries to understand their sufferings and to act towards social equality.
“So, I and my colleagues think that empathetic feelings are the key factor driving prejudice reduction. The world of Harry Potter is characterized by strict social hierarchies and resulting prejudices, with obvious parallels with our society.
“Harry has meaningful contact with characters belonging to stigmatised groups. He tries to understand them and appreciate their difficulties, some of which stem from intergroup discrimination, and fights for a world free of social inequalities.”
So there you go, Harry Potter does make you a better person, and no one can say anything about it anymore.