Slam poetry, Orientalism, and Harry Potter.

“A Letter to JK Rowling” by Rachel Rostad

I found this while reading Racialicious . Of course, initially reading the headline made me so happy because I’m thinking, “Oh man, Harry Potter AND slam! Ballin’!”

Her delivery is crazy good, nothing too distinctly different from the other videos and performances we’ve seen but you do see her pause for applause. Unusual?

Also, fun fact: after learning about Orientalism, I do wonder whether or not J.K. Rowling was aware of

a. having little to no minority characters (with exceptions like the Patel twins and Cho Chang)

b. depicting a female Chinese character who is meant to contrast with Ginny to make Ginny seem stronger (re: a Chinese woman is supposed to be weaker than a white woman–systematic racism, anyone?)

c. Maybe if Rowling wasn’t aware of these choices, isn’t it still problematic?

Food for thought! Happy CoPo-ing!

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3 Responses to “Slam poetry, Orientalism, and Harry Potter.”

  1. Molly Hodges says:

    I LOVE THIS! I think its definitely problematic even if she didn’t realize what she was doing. I’m so glad I saw this because I was completely oblivious myself.

  2. hlehnen says:

    This girl is so talented! The whole performance makes me sad though because it points out these things about Harry Potter that I never thought about! This in turn might also make me just as bad as JK Rowling if she did not notice what she was doing. I notice a lot of ties between this and the Asian-American Lit class I took last semester with Dr. Scanlon. The stereotypes are unfair and we perpetuate them by not acknowledging that they exist. I also enjoy how Rachel ended her performance with a personal note and veered away from the Harry Potter topic. She made it relatable to other Asian girls and showed her audience what she feels because of these stereotypes. On the topic of audience, I also think that it is important to note that Rachel makes her performance relatable to many women and people of the ethnicities in general. People who do not fall in to these categories can relate and understand what she is speaking about. However I think this slam would be most effective if performed in front of an Asian/Asian-American female audience.

  3. InfiniteHope says:

    This was all sorts of beautiful: Garcia Sanchez…HA.
    I noticed she didn’t rhyme (often, if at all) and there seemed to be no distinctive rhythm but still some how it had a flow.
    I am completely behind what she said about Dumbledore being gay, while there is not evidence in the book.

    Also I think it makes sense that she stops for the applause, many of the things she says would have been lost had she not stopped, I think in the kind of competition she’s doing it is more expected.