Here's some advice for all the trolls going after Harry Potter fans: don't waste your time.
On Monday, illustrator Anoosha Syed posted the racist comments she received on Twitter after posting a drawing of Harry Potter and his best mates Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, with Hermione drawn as black and Harry with a dark skin tone.
The main comment reads, "Why the f*ck are Hermione and Harry so much darker than they were ever shown canonically to be? I'm just saying, if these characters were being white washed, people would lose their shit, so why is brown/black tarring... nothing like her, black or otherwise. You do realize you have the book covers as a reference point, right?"
But Syed didn't let the troll bother her, and shot back with a clapback we're sure Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling would approve of.
1) hermione and harry's race is never stated in the books— anoosha syed ✨ (@foxville_art) September 19, 2017
2) i'll draw whatever i want thanks pic.twitter.com/HtwiLZRkEI
"1) hermione and harry's race is never stated in the books 2) i'll draw whatever i want thanks," Syed wrote on Twitter.
What Syed says is true: neither Harry nor Hermione's race is described in the books, as confirmed by J.K. herself in a 2015 tweet, which she made in response to — sigh — the racist backlash the casting of the "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" play received.
That's right, there has been more than one instance that caused racism to appear in response to Harry Potter characters being portrayed as non-white.
Back in 2015, the news of the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione for the London stage production of the play prompted some backlash, with critics saying that the character — a fictional girl, mind you — shouldn't be played by a person of colour.
This prompted Rowling to tweet her support for Dumezweni and let the trolls know that Hermione's race was never revealed.
Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2015
In an interview with The Observer in 2016, Rowling addressed the racist backlash.
"I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione 'turned white' — that is, lost colour from her face after a shock — that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with," she said. "But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm."
Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.
"With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot," she added. "But what can you say? That's the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job."
And, as HuffPost noted in 2015, 'racebending' characters "has also been popular in fan art for years, and there are plenty of Hermiones drawn as a woman of colour, often as a black girl."
Notwithstanding that Harry Potter is a work of fiction, fans should be able to draw their heroes and heroines as they see fit.