The View from Here: Diary of a Mudblood

 Mudblood is a highly derogatory term for a Muggle-born wizard or witch; that is, individuals with no wizarding relatives. – Harry Potter Wiki

Out of the whole Harry Potter series, I identify with Hermione most because of who she was: not the booksmart hopeful that some saw her as, but as the misunderstood girl that people kept labeling over-and-over again, much to her own dismay. She was just a young wizard, who perceived herself as such but people kept pointing out to her, “You’re a filthy little Mudblood.”

Identity means a lot these days. Former President Obama’s campaign was ruled by race, championed by skin-color. And now with a immigration conflict on everyone’s minds, race seems to be all that we can focus on.

It’s not just immigrants, past and present, that are receiving the brunt of discrimination, who have become victims of misunderstanding. We’ve begun to talk about issues among communities like colorism. As we try to bring more visibility to media, other problems arise. Such as some arguing about whether it is kosher to cast a partially African-American actress, Yara Shahidi as the main protagonist in the new show, Grown-ish which follows Zoey Johnson through her trials and tribulations of being in college and dealing with the real world.

One woman on Twitter said that she wasn’t interested in watching because the main character in the show in question and shows like that were only cast if they seem “racially ambiguous.”

“My goal is not to be the face black girls….I shouldn’t be the ‘accessible’ version of a black girl,” Shahidi said in an interview with Glamour magazine. “That doesn’t allow people to fully appreciate their heritage. I’m half black, half Iranian, and I’ve never seen a half-black, half-Iranian description of a character in a script ever. There’s more to do.”

Often, people want to make you choose one race over the other, or be a representation for a whole race of people. Only recently were people able to choose more than one box for race on simple census forms. It is easy for people to put others in box, and stay there because it is comfortable. But what I’ve learned from my own experiences is that identity is what you make of it, not other people. Only you can define you. If anything, I’m glad that these discussions are taking place, even if the practices in public discourse aren’t always entirely successful. Through probing of our own personal beliefs and laying and comparing with the paper-doll versions of what society gives us, we can start to piece together a whole, better understanding of our identities and come to the understanding that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.