“I know some really f***king racist people”
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Part of building lasting friendships means not always seeing things eye-to-eye. For example, maybe you have a friend—let’s call him Brad—who genuinely thinks Sex and the City 2 is a good movie, but you hang out with Brad anyway because he has a heart of gold and knows how to whip up a mean veggie omelet.
But there’s a far stretch between tolerating someone’s deplorable taste in movies and tolerating his or her outright racism. Which bring us to Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who, for better or worse, tends to represent good triumphing evil in the face of unlikely odds. While being interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, Radcliffe said the following:
“I know some really f***king racist people, friends I vehemently disagree with. They’re not white supremacists, they would never be that extreme, but they are anti-immigration and absolutely voted to leave in Brexit. And I’m still friends with them because I don’t think that friendship should be drawn along those lines.”
Naturally, a lot of people found this comment upsetting.
To give a little context, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Radcliffe in advance of his new movie Imperium, which grapples with an FBI agent infiltrating a white supremacist group and finding it difficult to separate truth from treachery. The aim of the film, Huffington Post reports, is to unravel the motivations that drive extremists to adhere to such polarizing ideologies.
In Harry Potter’s world, the line between good and evil is drawn with striking clarity. In the real world full of imperfect muggles—one of them being Daniel Radcliffe—the signals are very rarely so clear. That being said, dismissing flagrant racism as an annoying personality quirk perpetuates a vicious cycle of intolerance. As Huffington Post’s culture writer Zeba Blay explains, choosing to maintain friendships with people who make racist comments is a privilege only white people can afford. Daniel Radcliffe may not be racist himself, but standing by friends who are calls into question his role as an ally. Ultimately, dismantling racism will require much more than passively disagreeing with the intolerant behavior happening right before our eyes.