Wizarding WReform: Squib Rights
Throughout the Harry Potter series, we see wizards and witches, Muggles, and fantastic beasts (minor pun intended) all interact with magic. Those that can wield it do, while those that can’t are still affected by it. Magic seems to be genetically inherited and passed down through generations. What happens, then, when a wizarding family has a child who lacks the magic gene? As someone who lives in the wizarding world without magic, these people (known as Squibs) are constantly on the outside of their own world – even down to their ability, or lack thereof, to attend Hogwarts. Squibs, born into the magical world, are forced to either leave their family and world behind to live among Muggles or live as an outsider among their people.
During Harry’s time at Hogwarts, Harry meets two living Squibs: Mrs. Figg and Argus Filch. While Mrs. Figg is more compassionate, Filch is presented as a grouch who is pleased by the formal and corporal punishment of children. Harry and co. have little to no pity for Argus Filch, though readers have wondered whether Filch would have ended up as cruel as he did had there been better services in place for Squibs.
Readers never meet a Squib student, though whether that is a school requirement or familial shame is never explicitly stated. It may seem to make sense to refrain from enrolling in a magic school if you have no magic powers, but there are plenty of classes at Hogwarts where even a wizard does not use magic. For example, Muggle Studies and History of Magic never require the use of a wand, Care of Magical Creatures almost never requires a wand, and Potions only needs a wand to finish a potion brew.
The course of Harry’s time at Hogwarts proves how vital collaboration is between Muggles and magic folk, and what better environment to learn about the lives of non-magic peoples than in a class specifically engineered for that sharing of knowledge? Muggle Studies could also provide Squibs with the knowledge needed to enter a career in the outside world, as well as opportunities for ways to better their lives using Muggle technology and contraptions.
History of Magic, another class that is important through the knowledge it passes on to students, is a course where no magic is used. In fact, Harry and his peers often lament the lack of wand use in the course. This would be another place where a non-magic wielder could excel, even potentially becoming the professor – especially given that the current one is a long-deceased educator.
Both Care of Magical Creatures and Potions have areas where magic may be needed, but we see how Hagrid excels at teaching when he takes over Care of Magical Creatures, even without the use of a wand. Potions is a “subtle science and exact art,” so as long as a student can follow directions, there is no need for them to fail the course.
If non-magic wielders can hone in on their talents in their own community, rather than being ostracized by it, then they can learn proficiency in a subject and excel in their chosen career field. There are opportunities for Squibs to work in their own world without being excluded for their missing gene.
Receptionists for St. Mungo’s would need only to know filing systems and have a charismatic personality, and pub owners in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade need not use a wand to have a successful business. Journalists for the Daily Prophet or The Quibbler need only research skills and a desire for knowledge, and teachers for ages prior to entry into Hogwarts can teach basic skills and provide childcare for wizarding families without needing to cast spells. Homemakers can thrive in the wizarding world without a magic wand, only needing to create a safe space for their family and friends.
Hogwarts should be inclusive in career preparation, taking into consideration the needs of all students, including Squibs. This starts with allowing Squibs to attend Hogwarts and ensuring that they are included in the day-to-day activities at the school. Maybe a Squib Quidditch team manager could plan practice times, reserve the pitch, and keep track of the equipment while staying involved in the sport. Squibs could participate in Gobstones or clubs where wand use is not needed, and a prefect does not explicitly need to use magic to ensure that their House is following the rules and guidelines of the school.
Squibs, as members of magical families, should not be forced to leave their world behind in order to belong. Why is anyone forced to choose between two worlds, rather than having the opportunity to belong to both? Hogwarts should be home to everyone in the wizarding world, including Squibs.