To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang

The character “Cho Chang” in the Harry Potter books and movies has been the subject of criticism due to the racial stereotype that she embodies. Cho Chang, a Ravenclaw student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is depicted as a shy and sensitive girl who is very emotional and is unable to make up her mind. Her character traits are often attributed to her Asian heritage, which has been criticized for perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Asian women.

The portrayal of Cho Chang in the Harry Potter series is problematic for several reasons. First, her character is defined by her race, rather than her personality or abilities. By portraying Cho as a stereotypical Asian girl who is submissive, passive, and weak-willed, the Harry Potter series reinforces harmful stereotypes about Asian women that have been perpetuated in Western media for decades.

Second, Cho Chang’s name itself is an example of cultural appropriation. “Cho” and “Chang” are common Korean and Chinese surnames, respectively, yet the character is portrayed as being of Chinese and Scottish descent, which seems to be an arbitrary choice made by the author. This further reinforces the idea that Asian cultures and identities are interchangeable and can be appropriated for Western consumption.

Third, Cho Chang’s relationship with the protagonist, Harry Potter, is also problematic. She is often portrayed as being overly emotional and indecisive, which makes her seem weak and dependent on Harry. This reinforces the idea that Asian women are submissive and passive, and that they need a white male savior to rescue them.

In conclusion, the racial stereotype of the character “Cho Chang” in the Harry Potter series is a problematic depiction of Asian women. It reinforces harmful stereotypes and cultural appropriation and sends a message that Asian women are weak, passive, and dependent. As we continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusivity in media, it is important to be mindful of these harmful stereotypes and work to create more nuanced and diverse portrayals of characters from all backgrounds.

With that said, here is an oral reading of Rachel Rostad’s poem, “To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang.”

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And then let’s have Jessie Gender speak one or two words. In this, she wants to talk about the discussion around about Harry Potter actress Katie Leung. She spoke about the racist online harassment that she faced after being cast in the series, and how she was told to keep it quiet. It is incredibly important to highlight what she had to say, especially given a lot of the current conversations that we need to be having around harassment and violence towards people of color, and especially in this context, those of Asian heritage.

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