Yellow Journalism: Harry Potter Bombshell

by Original Bitter Asian Men on October 23, 2007

NEW YORK – J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling Harry Potter series, outed a beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall. After reading briefly from the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she took questions from audience members. She was asked by one young fan whether Cho Chang, a former love interest for Harry, “finds true love”.

“Cho is Asian,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

Potter fans on the internet have long speculated on the ethnicity of Cho, noting that her name “sounds vaguely Korean”, although until now there has never been any confirmation that the student at Hogwarts, a British school of magic, was in fact Asian. Further speculation was fueled when the part for Cho in the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was given to openly-ethnic-Chinese actress Katie Leung.

Reaction to the news was mixed.

“Having Cho be Asian is a huge step for Asian rights,” said ~dracoismyhusband01~, a self-proclaimed Asian poster at a popular online Harry Potter discussion forum. “(Rowling) is teaching children everywhere that it is okay to be Asian, that it’s not something to be ashamed about.”

“This is B.S.,” offered Ed, webmaster of Asian advocacy site “Rowling is just playing on the old Asian stereotypes – white guy meets Asian girl, white guy kisses Asian girl, then white guy ditches Asian girl for no real reason and starts dating a girl who looks like his male best friend. I’m insulted that anybody would consider this a step forward for Asians.”

Rowling conceded that not everyone may be supportive of the news, but added “I consider my books as a prolonged argument for tolerance, and I urge my readers to question authority.” Not everyone likes her work, she said, likely referring to Christian groups who have alleged that the books promote witchcraft. Having an interracial couple, even for only one book, she added, will give them one more reason.

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