Harry Potter and the Book of Equality

While we do live in one of the most tolerant eras in history, there is still plenty of prejudice in the world, whether it be outright or hidden. Living in New York City, a place home to almost every kind of creed and culture, I can attest to the progress our world has made, but in many other places there is no where near as much equality. I have even noticed this growing up in the suburbs, but much more extreme cases of prejudice have definitely sprung up both in and out of our country, some much worse than others. These opinions, usually formed at a young age, can be very difficult to change and can clearly have negative consequences for the prejudiced and the victims of their bigotry.

So what can be done to help form the correct, accepting kinds of opinions that pave the way for a future of equality? I’m not pretending to be a nobel peace prize winner over here, but I did notice an interesting study connecting a certain piece of literature to a more open, tolerant mindset, that can be read by almost anyone.

What books could work this kind of magic, you ask? Only those about the magic boy himself, Harry Potter.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

An article in the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded from three different studies that reading the Harry Potter series can greatly improve attitudes towards stigmatized minority groups, such as immigrants, refugees, and homosexuals. Identification with Harry and disidentification with Voldemort (that’s right, I said it!) moderated the effect, according to researchers.

Now all of our comprehension skills might be above that level of reading at this point (or at least I would hope so if you’re going to finish the 20 chapters that’ll be on the test tomorrow), but this study on Harry Potter still sends an important message about the positive effects literature can have on young minds. Plus, if you’re one of those losers (literally all of my friends) who still secretly love Harry and his mates, it gives you yet another reason to try and get everyone to watch The Prisoner of Azkaban, one last time.

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Jacob Couzens

Jacob is a summer intern at The Doctor’s Channel. He is currently a Pre-Dental student and Finance major at Yeshiva University, and works for an Oral Surgeon during the summer as well. While Jacob usually spends his time trying to outrun his many female fans, he also enjoys athletics, reading, cooking, and playing/listening to music.