Harry Potter’s Race Problem Masterlist

Lots of discussion has been happening online about the problem of Harry Potter, the books and movies, 20 years later.  That of race.  Out of all the characters in Harry Potter portrayed in the movies, less than 20% of them are people of color.  In one case, Lavender Brown is cited to have been black in first two movies, and white in the films.


The above is an excel sheet I drew up to get a visual of the problem for myself.  Please @ me on Twitter if you’d like to be added to this spreadsheet on Google.

So, there’s a large and obvious gap in the number of POC (people of color) portrayed versus the inordinate number of white people portrayed in the movies.  This is problematic in a number of ways:

  1. erasure
  2. lack of representation
  3. false picture of what the world (and wizarding world) is like race-wise

This is a long and complex topic, one I cannot possibly discuss and do it justice on this blog.  However, many people have written about it, and I wanted to share those posts for those who are interested in reading more about it.

This post will be updated as more is written or found on this topic, so you may bookmark it and refer back to it later if you need.  If you have any race-related Harry Potter posts, articles, or blogs you’ve read, please leave them in the comments below or @ me on Twitter.

My Fave is Problematic – Harry Potter



Harry Potter and the Invisible People of Color



About that White as a Default Thing



If White Characters Were Described Like People of Color


On Reddit: Racial Representation in Harry Potter

On Tumblr:

Pottercolours – http://pottercolours.tumblr.com/

Please feel free to add articles or blog posts you’ve found down in the comments sections.




A Diverse Eid – an Eid Mubarak Message

Every Eid the rich diversity in my community excites and amazes me. The morning I attend Eid prayers I get to see people from every cultural background possible, including old friends and new acquaintances. The diversity of this culture makes me proud and blessed to be Muslim.

I love spending time with friends and family on Eid, that’s definitely one of the high points of this holiday. But also, every year I get excited to see how my Muslim friends and their families will express themselves in their outfits. Clothes for me, is a way to express myself and my personality. So my outfits change every year. Sometimes I wear traditional Pakistani clothes, the shalvaar camise, other times I wear dresses, and still there are Eids where I have worn pants, or abayas.

I enjoy seeing people’s dresses. Some people wear traditional clothes from their or their family’s cultures, Pakistani, Bengali, Indian, African, Moroccan, Palestinian or Egyptian to name a few. While others wear skirts, pants, or dresses. Each outfit is a way to express their Muslimness in whatever way they choose. Their smiles and hugs express the joy of the spiritual journey of Ramadan and of the celebration of Eid.

Without a doubt there are people within the diaspora who consider Muslims of a different culture not “Muslim enough” or “beneath them” (an unfound belief), but it is on Eid that we gather to pray side by side, eat delicious cultural dishes, and as we celebrate we are reminded of Allah’s words that “We have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other.” – Surah Hujurat (49:13). Eid prayer is a reminder that as humans, we truly are created equal.

I feel so blessed to be living in a nation, like the medieval Muslim empire of Haroon Al-Rashid, where diversity is its hallmark. I have never known Eid in Pakistan, so I have nothing to compare it to. But I feel that it is such a rich and inviting experience knowing Muslims from across the globe and many different nations right here in my own country. It is one of the things that truly makes America great, and is also a wonderful experience of being Muslim. Eid is one of those days where I take great pride in being from a culture that accepts all cultures.

An Apology to the Native American Community

I wanted to write this apology as I was not aware Natives felt so strongly about the mention of Native Americans in Magic in North America, especially as theirs is not the culture I come from.

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to all the comments from readers and especially Natives. including Dr. Adrienne Keene and Debbie Reese.  Thank you to Magadelena for replying to my question.

Some of the comments I received were aggressive and vitriolic, while others were calm and insightful.  Since hearing Native voices on my blog and watching some YouTube videos my view on this matter has changed.

JK Rowling is clearly in the wrong for using Native American culture as part of her fantasy franchise and I was wrong for agreeing with her use of Native American lore.  You are right that she should not commercialize your history.
I myself have been vilified for wrongs done to me, which is one of the reasons I started an independent blog, to state my views peacefully and find an audience for the work that is dear to my heart.  I am someone who has worked for years to preserve cultures in my own community, and I can tell this is as important to you as my culture is to me.  I cannot bear to read the words I wrote last March.  I have taken down my original post.

I would love for people to hear more friendly Native voices, especially as there are people out there who never hear from Natives as they’re not represented in the media.   I don’t want people to continue to ignore the concerns of Native Americans, as they are an already marginalized community.  Toward that end, I’ve been retweeting Native voices in my Twitter feed and contacted Natives to collaborate on sharing their stories and would be happy to work with Natives to adapt them for my blog, if they are willing.

I have not seen Fantastic Beasts the movie, nor do I plan to buy tickets.

The whole world of blogging is new to me and I hope you will forgive my ignorance in writing a defense of JK Rowling’s use of Native Americans in her History of Magic in North America writings.  I love the Harry Potter Books but in this case, I think she has misused the franchise.

Why Books over Everything Else? – Mariam Books

GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE! I’m back with another blog post!

I hope your summer was fantastic!  I was busy with Ramadan in June, family things over most of July,  as well as writing during Camp NaNoWriMo, so I haven’t been able to post as much as I wanted to.

This month, though, I’ve gotten back to blogging and making videos and am quite excited to be back to it all this time around.  In this blog post, I wanted to share with you my current video, called “Why Books Over Everything Else?” In the video I discuss my reasons for choosing books over electronic articles, e-books, wiki sites, screen media and summarize my debate over both print and electronic media. Please watch and let me know how you feel about books over other types of media.  =)




The Good Islamic Literature Brings, the Violence it Rejects

Sadly, no more than 2 days after I introduce an addition to my blog, International Literature, do we face yet another domestic terrorist act.  It serves as a reminder that awareness of other cultures is more important than ever.

We’re living in a scary world where no race or culture feels safe, and thoughtless people threaten not just the lives of the citizens of the West, but blacks, whites, hispanics, and Muslims everywhere too.  I profess the Muslim faith and can contend that no one claiming terrorism in the name of Islam, is someone who shares Islam with me.  It says so in the literature of the Arabs.

king james bible

It’s important to note that this was never meant to be a religious blog, however, like many readers’ devotion to the Bible, a lot of my love for literature came from classical Islamic literature. As I said in an earlier post, Holocaust and WWII literature begs the question is there ever a time when killing an entire group people simply because the color of their skin or religion is justified? In this case, we must ask, is killing justified because of a person’s sexual orientation? Or is it pure unadulterated evil? I would definitely say this massacre was a form of “evil” in the modern world.  In light of these happenings, I thought there was no better time than now to discuss with you some Arabic Islamic literature against violence.

I generally divide Arabic literature into four categories:

  • contemporary,
  • Golden era,
  • poetry,
  • and Islamic.

There are probably more genres, but unfortunately I am not currently well-versed in them.  I see Islamic Arabic literature as categorized into:

  • Quran (primary text),
  • hadith (secondary texts),
  • scholarship (law, theology),
  • and commentary (cultural or contemporary perspectives).

All over Arabic texts you will find literature rejecting acts of violence on the innocent. Today I will share with you just a few of those texts.

Let’s visit some oft-repeated controversial statements of the Quran:
The first being:

O you who believe (in Allah’s Oneness and in His Messenger (Muhammad SAW)! ….Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger …And the Jews say: ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allah’s Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! 9:27-30

These verses are often used to promote the propaganda that Islam is violent.  First, Islam is not a person, it is a philosophy of life. Second, the claim that Islam promotes violence? This is untrue. These verses specifically speak about the Battle of Tabuq in 9 AH / 630 AD.  It was not Muslims who pursued a Holy Battle, it was Muslims uniting to defend themselves from the armies of a powerful Rome. It was the Roman Empire who started this war.  These verses do not promote a modern war with the West. You can find more on the history of these verses at www.discover-the-truth.com.

qurabn mas

Further, the text of The Quran says:

Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors….And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. 2:190-191

When Islamophobes cite these verses, they claim this is a direct order to kill people.  They fail to note the verse right before it: Fight people, if they pick a fight with you.  This verse only promotes raising a fist or a gun or sword if the other person first picks one against you.  It is a verse promoting self-defense, not mass killings of civilians who choose a gay lifestyle you disagree with.  Also, a verse quoted often today, but not often enough by the Mainstream Media is the verse in the Quran which says: “ whoever kills a soul… it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.” 5:32. To kill one person in Islam, it is as if you have killed all of humanity.



One of Al-Jazari’s candle clocks

Also, here are a few statements compiled in the books of hadith (narrations):

Allah helps those who help others.  Whoever alleviates the the lot of a needy person, Allah will alleviate his  lot in this world  (Muslim)

Oppression is forbidden (Muslim)

There should be no harming others nor reciprocating harm.  (Ibn Majah)

Do not get angry.  (Bukhari)

Behave well.  If you do fall into a minor sin,  follow up a bad deed with a good deed and behave well towards people (Tirmidhi)

As you can see, there are endless statements in the books of Arabic Islamic texts that promote the welfare, and well-being of humans.  Whoever decides they’re killing innocents in the name Islam, are only acting in their own self-interest and hurting many others by way of their warped theology.  One-point-six billion Muslims around the world don’t agree with your militant ideology.  True strength lies in living with people, understanding the global world we live in, and serving others, not carrying out a juvenile dream of personal glory.

I hope that this exposed you to some Islamic Arabic texts and that you enjoyed this post.  Please pray for the families of the victims and donate blood if you can.  Thanks for reading and I will see you later this week for some book reviews.

International Literary Books Are Here


Reading and writing has always been a part of my life.  This blog has particularly been an enriching journey.  While my Dead/Live journals were a great place for me in school to express my feelings about my student life, this blog, M&M Mariam Books, has been a place where I can share my thoughts while at the same time produce content my adult self can be proud of.  This blog is still in its youth, but it’s quickly growing.  I’ve seen great success with this blog, more than I could have expected. I think there is no time better than now to introduce the next great thing I will be doing with this blog.


The world of English literature will not be exhausted by me anytime soon, but in my quest to read the best of all literature I don’t want to limit myself.  I would like to add new types of written works into my reading repertoire.  I will be focusing on Spanish and Arabic literature, along with English/American Literature.


Those who have been reading this blog for some time now know I have an Asian background.  I have a profound love for classical Arabic literature.  The Arab civilization is large, with a long history, and a rich language.  I think the best works are from antiquity (aka The Golden Age) 750AD-1250AD, however many modern Arab or MENA writers like Tariq Ramadan, Umm Zakiyyah, Maryam Mahmoodian have added diversity to the genre.


In addition to Arabic, lots of my neighbors are from various Latin countries, like Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic.  I’ve had Spanish friends and also attended school with Columbians, Ecuadorians, and Brazilians.  One of my favorite writing inspirations is Andrea Balt, a young lady from Spain who runs the WriteYourselfAlive write-a-thon.  Spanish writing hails way back from 14th century Andalusia to the Latin American countries: from  Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quiote to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.



I have a great love for English books as I dedicated 4 years of college to study it, so those videos on my YouTube channel and posts on this blog will not go away and I will continue commentating on English books. However you will be seeing more posts and videos on Spanish and Arabic literature.    I hope that you are as excited as I am for this addition to my blog.  I am not limiting my blog to English, Spanish, and Arabic literature, however I would like to do justice to each of these first before moving onto others.   All cultures have something positive to contribute to our own and I’m honored to be bringing those cultures to my blog.

Star Trek: Horizon Fan Film Review – Spoiler-Free | M&M Mariam

star trek horizong fo

This will be a spoiler-free review.   

With a new Star Trek television show, Star Trek (2017), airing January 2017, new feature film Star Trek: Beyond and several Star Trek film projects including Renegades, Continued, Voyages, Of Gods and Men.  Campaigns like #WeWantWorf, #BringJadziaBack, and a new film Star Trek: Captain Pike, the Star Trek world is on the brink of some great stories for fans and new audiences.


I became a fan of the Star Trek Universe (not so much the franchise, as I’ll explain later) after reading two Star Trek books in my early twenties.  While in high school I saw Captain Picard, Riker, Geordi, Data, Worf, and Deanna numerous times on commercials clips while watching Sliders on the Sci-Fi network. I even tuned into TNG for a few minutes once in a while.  I really enjoyed the two seasons of Nickelodeon’s short-lived kids show, Space Cases, starring Walter Emmanuel and Jewel Staite. To me, as a late 90s kid, the eighties aesthetic of Star Trek looked more like the 60s, so unfortunately it didn’t become appealing to me until I became an adult and watched it for the content and characters.  I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Netflix and fell in love with the television version of Star Trek; which is really the heartbeat of the Star Trek universe, in my opinion and is also the largest fan base.

space cases crew

Even after I watched Star Wars, which my cousin really likes, Star Trek was always more appealing to me as it dealt with philosophy, relationships, humanity, human weakness and strength, diversity, and exploration, competition, and much more than just space battles alone.  That fact that it was a futuristic show with space ships, and alien empires was icing on the cake. This was my first favorite nonfiction picture book:

birth and death of stars asmiov

Space, in my humble opinion, is vast and fascinating



Although ST: Voyager has a great diverse cast, and ST:Enterprise has good CGI, ST: Deep Space Nine and ST:The Next Generation is by far the superior of all Star Trek television.  As far as the films go, I haven’t seen them all, but out of what I have seen, I really liked First Contact, while The Search for Spock lagged behind it a little, and Insurrection was not too appealing overall, however I liked seeing TNG crew back on screen together again. The JJ Abrams, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek: Into the Darkness, and Star Trek: Beyond (coming out July 22, 2016 in theatres), are a sore disappointment.  They are not bad movies, they are simply not Star Trek, in my opinion.  Of course, I haven’t seen Star Trek: Beyond yet; for the CGI of space ships and outer space it will likely be worth watching.  Yet, many fans have decried failure to live up to the best of what makes Star Trek, Star Trek.

Post-TNG/DS9, fans have also been ambivalent about anything new from the Star Trek universe.  The last series ST:Enterprise ran only 4 seasons. It’s sad that Enterprise was short-lived because there’s nothing like Star Trek in any other television series or fictional world.  The failure of producers to live up to the quality of Star Trek and the depth of its content, has slowly been met by fans over the past few years.  And this is something new for me.  Unfortunately, I’d always imagined superfans of Star Trek to be “fangirls” and “fanboys” who squee at new movies, and blindly praise most Star Trek products, and dress up as Captain Kirk and betazoids at conventions devotedly.  After I saw Horizon, I was proven wrong.  The Star Trek fans are not just admiring viewers, they are also very talented people.  Slowly but surely, lots of what’s going on in the fandom, especially on YouTube and blogs, is worth looking into.  They have much more quality and are faithful to the Star Trek universe than what Paramount has produced in the films or anything post TNG/DS9/Voyager.


I will meet you at the edge of the universe.  One can hope.

Star Trek: Horizon is definitely worth a look. It was released February 28, 2016 on Youtube.  I’m not associated with any of the filmmakers, I ran across this movie while looking for Star Trek (2009) reviews, but what I saw, was impressive.  Not without its flaws, but quite nice.  I haven’t seen any other fan films, so this is the first time I’ve experienced one.

The movie follows the story of Captain Harrison Hawke, who has a surgically altered Romulan female- a starfleet officer on his ship, named T’mar. Because of her surgeries she looks completely human.  This movie is set in the pre-Federation era, where the Coalition of Planets is at war with The Romulan empire.  Captain Hawke must set out on a mission to defend the Coalition against a destructive weapon the Romulans are said to be making.

The movie opens with a scene 250,000 years in the past where two Ionians are using a device made by their enemy, the Arioui.  This device is called the Horizon.  They kill themselves to protect their people.  They end up destroying their entire population.  The opening scene instantly hooked me for three reasons:

  1. the imminent destruction of an entire population peaked the danger and consequence of the situation I was watching unfold
  2. the romance between the husband and wife fighting for their lives, and the lives of their people forcing them to make a difficult decision made me emotionally attached to these characters and want them to succeed
  3. the visual effects of Horizon encapsulating their planet was spectacular

We then fast forward to March 31, 2160. Hawke’s starship, Discovery is being chased and bombarded by a Romulan vessel. An important member of his crew dies, while the majority survive.  Admiral Gardener calls Hawke in to discuss T’mar, potentially a Romulan spy, and his next mission. On this mission, the Romulans attack; their weapon is not ready and fails. The Discovery arrives on a beautiful, yet abandoned planet.  The camera zooms in on a tall monument with a large golden ring spinning at the top, and spans down to the surface where it stands amidst a mountain of gorgeous purple flowers/flowering trees.  Hawke’s crew gets trapped in the future with no way out.  That’s basically the jist of the plot. Now onto my commentary.

star trek horizon logo

It’s clear to any Star Trek viewer that the starship bridge is filmed on a closed set.  Unlike in TNG/DS9/Voyager/Enterprise the producers decided to blur out the background, and focused on the speakers while on the ship.  This bothered me a little as I’m not used to this, but as a viewer it gave me the opportunity to focus on what each crew member was saying while they unlocked the secrets to return to their time.  I felt like I was on the ship with the crew, helping them solve their problems. The blurring ended up being very positive for me. However for the future, if the moviemakers had an impeccable set to film their bridge scenes, updated to 2016, this would certainly improve the visual appeal of the film.

The uniforms are all blue, similar to ST: Enterprise era.  I’m a fan of the TNG/DS9/Voyager uniforms, but the blue were appropriate because this film takes place pre-Federation.

The CGI is as good as what I expect from a 2016 film, better perhaps.  There was only one incident where I saw a mistake, that was in the last 20 minutes of the film, as they were trying to escape the Horizon, there was a computer-generated explosion-cloud in the right bottom corner of the screen and the stone didn’t tear apart.

I have no complaints about the actors, they were very good.  They were not endearing like Deanna Troi, Worf, Jadzia Dax, or Jake Sisko and Nog but the story line made me feel compassionate about these people.

I noticed the movie got  a 6/10 on IMDB, but I think that’s for two reasons:

1. because there wasn’t any sex in the movie. Everybody loves sex and sex sells, but I think onscreen sex is not usually satisfying, but self-gratifying, and sometimes just nasty and uncomfortable to watch. It is more important for me to see romantic affection between two characters because love is the most powerful human emotion. The filmmakers successfully managed to convey romance without having the actors take off all their clothes, or share a scene with green-colored naked aliens. That brought more focus on the story, relationship challenges between the characters during and after the battle, which is part of the reason Star Trek has always been so successful, and I think this movie, as well.

2. there wasn’t any humor

The way I see it, when dealing with difficult issues like the death of many people, an endless battle, racial tensions, losing a child, or break-ups in long-term romantic relationships, it’s important to have a little appropriate humor to lighten the mood.  I think Nog, Quark, Odo, Worf made great comic relief in DS9, while Data, and even Captain Picard, once in a while, made us laugh on TNG.



I give the movie a 9/10.

This movie has had over 1 million views on YouTube, so you shouldn’t be surprised at my rating. Keep in mind, my review is from someone who’s never seen a fan film. I had nothing but original films and TV shows to compare it to.  I got lucky with clicking on Horizon. Based on the Star Trek material that’s been out since 2007, Horizon as a movie exceeded my expectations. It had an exciting plot. Also, it balanced beauty, science, and humanity.  It was not perfect, but very near to it. It’s so unfortunate that CBS is not allowing them a sequel: Federation Rising.  I think with movies like Horizon being produced, CBS has a lot to live up to satisfy the fans. There are dozens, even hundreds of amazing stories to be told in the Star Trek universe.   The fan film verse is undeniably growing; with the right talent it will flourish beautifully.  In turn, it will bring a bigger audience to the future Star Trek television shows.


*AUTHOR’S NOTE: Before making this review I learned that CBS was suing the creators of Axanar, another fan film.  While writing it this morning, I learned that CBS dropped the lawsuit, paving the way for the continuation of Star Trek: Horizon and other fan films.  With this news, I certainly hope Tommy Kraft will seriously consider completing the Federation Rising project.  I will talk more on my thoughts about this on my YouTube channel here.