38

It seems that the vast majority of wizards were either half-bloods or Muggle-borns.

Ron says that

Most wizards these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn’t married Muggles we'd've died out.

Sirius says that "there are hardly any" pure-bloods left.

However, the Wizard world still seems very clueless about Muggles. Both the Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office and the Muggle Studies teacher have a naive view of Muggles, to say the least, and they presumably know far more than the average wizard.

Since most wizards have close relationships with at least one Muggle, why are they so ignorant about Muggle culture and customs as a whole?

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    I believe they just don't care to learn ways of muggles since they have superior way to do things in their hands, literally. So they are clueless about muggle world. Also many if not all instances in which wizards are clueless about muggles are in fact about pureblood wizards and don't have that much contact with muggles – Vanja Vasiljevic Mar 11 '16 at 1:38
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    Of course we must include scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2611/… – CHEESE Mar 11 '16 at 1:53
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    Just to clarify, half-bloods don't necessarily mean one parent is a Muggle. Children having one Muggle-born parent and one wizard-born parent are also considered half-bloods. So if the parents of such a child spent their entire life in the magic world, no matter how much knowledge the Muggle-born parent had of the Muggle world, it would not be passed on to the child. The child has no use of that information in the wizarding world. It would probably only be a case of answering Muggle-related questions the child throws at the parent. – ʀᴇᴅ_ᴅᴇᴠɪʟ226 Mar 11 '16 at 6:49
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    How does the answer of "The OotP never attempt to kill" as accepted by the "duplicate question" answer this question? Not even the highest-rated (non-accepted) answer on that question can answer this one. Why is this marked a duplicate? – Ellesedil Mar 11 '16 at 17:18
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    @Ellesedil - "Everything about Hogwarts seems to be designed to separate wizards from Muggles, and muggle-borns from their roots. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an area-affecting spell around the castle that encouraged the students away from thinking about Muggle solutions (similar to the ones that make Muggles avoid areas)." – Valorum Mar 11 '16 at 23:51
16

The Muggle world changes faster than the Wizarding World and older wizards have a hard time keeping in touch

In spite of these clear instructions, clothing misdemeanours have been one of the most common infractions of the International Statute of Secrecy since its inception. Younger generations have always tended to be better informed about Muggle culture in general; as children, they mingle freely with their Muggle counterparts; later, when they enter magical careers, it becomes more difficult to keep in touch with normal Muggle dress. Older witches and wizards are often hopelessly out of touch with how quickly fashions in the Muggle world change; having purchased a pair of psychedelic loon pants in their youth, they are indignant to be hauled up in front of the Wizengamot fifty years later for arousing widespread offence at a Muggle funeral.
(Pottermore - Clothing)

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    This explains part of it, to a certain extent. But things like Archie thinking that a flowery dress is a normal thing for a man to wear is still unexplained. That's not changing fashion, that's pretty much always been that way. But then, as this is (in my view) by far the largest gaping plot hole in the series, I doubt there is any actual explanation. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 17 '16 at 4:59
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Archie is mentioned in the Pottermore article. – ibid Mar 17 '16 at 5:01
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    Only as being a proponent of avoiding trousers. You can do that in ways that don't involve wearing women's clothes (wear a kilt, for example). It's not just clothes, either. There's Arthur Weasley, obsessed with Muggles and working in a department of the Ministry that deals with Muggle artefacts exclusively, and yet he doesn't even know the basics of how electricity works (or what it's called), or even matches. Or Hestia Jones who finds potato peelers so very funny. Or Ron (?) who doesn't know that pictures are stationary in Muggle papers; etc. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 17 '16 at 5:27
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Adequate or not, the Pottermore article appears to be Rowling's official answer. – ibid Mar 17 '16 at 6:00
  • @Janus Bahs Jacquet - Arthur is interested in them from a pure blood, lives far from them way. Why would Arthur ever use a match? Ron lives in the same place but is only a child and not even interested in them. – ThruGog Mar 17 '16 at 6:53
11

For several reasons:

Prejudice

This is the big one. Wizards often tended to look down on Muggles (and indeed other magical creatures). This reached its height, of course, in the pureblood supremacy and Muggle genocide and subjugation often advocated by Dark Wizards, such as Grindelwald, Voldemort, and indeed Dumbledore in his youth.

However, it is present in many more subtle forms throughout the Wizarding world. Many sympathetic characters, such as Horace Slughorn, while quite opposed to the murder of Muggles or Muggle-borns, and being friendly to Muggle-borns or even Muggles in general, still held prejudicial attitudes toward anything that hinted of Muggle origin.

“Your mother was Muggle-born, of course. Couldn’t believe it when I found out. Thought she must have been pure-blood, she was so good.”

“One of my best friends is Muggle-born,” said Harry, “and she’s the best in our year.”

“Funny how that sometimes happens, isn’t it?” said Slughorn.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We see here that Slughorn displays the belief, widespread in the Wizarding World and entirely nonfactual, that Muggle-borns and blood traitors are of inferior magical power to wizards of supposedly older stock.

Even Arthur Weasley, whose son was a self-professed blood traitor and who was dedicated to eliminating anti-Muggle sentiment in all its forms, nonetheless held a mildly condescending view of non-magical folk, which perhaps serves as testament to the enduring strength of such stereotypes in Wizarding Britain.

One might believe that Muggle-borns and half-bloods would tend less toward this, and indeed they seem to be less prejudiced toward other Muggle-borns and half-bloods than many of the pureblood families are.

But prejudice against Muggles is not just about origin: it is about power.

Regardless of a wizard's origin, they possess far more personal power than virtually an non-magical person.

  • Wizards can accomplish feats that Muggles simply cannot.

  • Many Muggle-born wizards were likely subject to bullying from their neighbors or peers before they went off to school, since odd events tend to happen around magically inclined children, which might cause people to fear them, or more likely scorn them as "odd". They therefore are transitioning from an uncomfortable environment to one that is far more accepting, where the apparent difference is between wizards and Muggles -- at a young age no less!

  • The society that they enter already has strong prejudices against Muggles. It is easy for Muggle-borns or half-bloods to adopt them to fit in, or at least to pretend to scorn anything Muggle, even if they do not truly feel them.

Magic substitutes for technology

Many Muggle inventions simply are not useful to wizards. This also can cause them to dismiss the ones that could be, which overlaps somewhat with the previous section. It might also give them less reason to interact with Muggle systems in general.

  • Transportation of any kind is virtually useless to adult wizards, and almost useless to child wizards. The one exception is when blending in with non-magical individuals is a high priority. Apparition can instantaneously transport someone hundreds of miles, as can the Floo Network or Portkeys. Brooms can travel at more than 100 miles per hour.

    THE FIREBOLT HAS AN ACCELERATION OF 150 MILES AN HOUR IN TEN SECONDS AND INCORPORATES AN UNBREAKABLE BRAKING CHARM. PRICE ON REQUEST

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    With all this, what need do wizards have for Muggle transportation.

  • Similarly, wizard healthcare is in most ways superior to the Muggle variety, with wizards routinely living past 100. Something like missing bones, which which a Muggle would never recover from, can be healed in a single night. Broken noses are fixed with the flick of a wand. Huge gashes can be healed fairly quickly.

There are many such examples.

Further, magic interferes with technology:

"All those substitutes for magic Muggles use - electricity, computers, and radar, and all those things - they all go haywire around Hogwarts, there's too much magic in the air."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Combine all of this and we see that wizards actually lack many reasons to interact with Muggles.

Enforced isolation

What many people don't realize is that Wizarding isolation is largely by necessity. In the Harry Potter universe, people did not often react well to the presence of magical folk in their communities. While adult witches and wizards were fairly safe from attacks, their children and property were often vulnerable, and they suffered a great deal of persecution. This led, of course, to the creation of laws such as the International Statute of Secrecy.

The point is, even the least biased Muggle-born wizard or witch could reasonably feel that they would put themselves in danger by interacting too much with the Muggle world, either by losing a friend who got too close and discovered their secret, or risking the exposure of wizardkind, the prohibition of which has been drummed into their heads since the first year of Hogwarts. They might also worry about physical harm to themselves or their children. Finally, they might even worry about what the Ministry might do if their friend didn't take it well. Memory Charms are not morally unproblematic!

All of this combines to create an environment in which witches and wizards don't need to interact with Muggles, disdain doing so, and genuinely risk a great deal in doing so -- most of which can apply to half-bloods or Muggle-borns just as easily as to purebloods.

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    @TheDarkLord the twins never asked anyone what they can or cant do and often crossed the line. I dont think they're a good example of typical wizard teenager behaviour. – witchy Nov 8 '17 at 18:31
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    The Wizarding community was clearly not isolated from Muggle communities. It's specifically pointed out that Hogsmeade was extraordinary, in that it was an entire community within the Wizarding world. And many of the homes of wizards we encounter are clearly in the midst of Muggle communities, such as the home of the Potters, or Snape's birthplace. – bgvaughan Nov 9 '17 at 0:21
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    @bgvaughan - It's extraordinarily socially isolated. You can find whole books where no Muggles but the Dursleys say a single line. The Ministry's expert on Muggles (and many other witches and wizards) have next to no idea how society operates right next door. Most don't care. – Adamant Nov 9 '17 at 0:25
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    @Adamant Yes, and it's a blatant inconsistency. It simply doesn't make sense that wizards live next to Muggles, have family who are Muggles, travel among Muggles, and place a high priority on camouflaging themselves so that Muggles don't notice them -- and yet, don't know anything about Muggles. – bgvaughan Nov 9 '17 at 16:29
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    @bgvaughan Exactly my thinking! I mean, you live in a mixed village in a pure-blood family - have you never ever go out for a walk or down the street for your groceries? Do you walk in your robes or you put a concealing charm on all your family every time you step outside your door? Haven't your children ever bought an ice-cream from that muggle lady at the corner? And so on... and so on... – Shana Tar Sep 29 '18 at 10:04

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