I think the fact that within Hogwarts there’s a lot of distaste for Slytherin and Hufflepuff shows some interesting insight into the wizarding community. Like, Hufflepuff represents hard work and fairness, right? But there’s the idea that Hufflepuffs are losers, sort of the proverbial nice guys who finish last. On the other hand, Slytherins, who represent cunning and ambition and personal drive, are seen as cutthroat and generally nasty and mean.
Ultimately, Hufflepuff and Slytherin are both rooted in philosophies on self betterment and achieving success in life, both in terms of being a better person and being a more powerful/wealthy person. The obvious question raised by Hogwarts student’s disapproval of both Slytherin and Hufflepuff is this: if it makes you a loser to succeed through hard work and fairness, but a cheat to succeed through cleverness and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals, how is someone in the wizarding world expected to gain power/wealth/status if they aren’t already born with it?
It’s also worth noting that in a world where magic can do your work for you, Hufflepuffs are scoffed at for being willing to work at all, and Slytherins are shunned for taking advantage of magic to it’s fullest.
Except Slytherin are the house that represent being born into privilege. I disagree with this aspect so much, they were a literal explicit tory metaphor, it often doesn’t translate overseas or across generations, but it’s impossible to understand how the hierarchy of the wizarding world works without it. They aren’t disenfranchised youth (except Snape see below*) who use their guile for gaining power and status that they never had, because they are tory metaphors, they are the wizarding “class” born with status. She intended them to represent the aristocracy and the upper-middle classes, the whole thing with ‘an attitude of doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals’ doesn’t mean to be ‘a witty poor wizard pulling himself up by his bootstraps’, it means ‘wizards who take everyone around them for whatever they’re worth then claim that oh hey its a meritocracy, you shouldn’t have been born poor.’ Cunning and personal ambition is all very well if you’re not starting off on a level that’s higher than everyone else - this is the same argument that came up with the whole Margaret Thatcher and the case of the Slytherin Feminists thing. The slytherin drive for power comes at the expense of those less fortunate than them, that’s the fictional “reasoning” behind this universe’s prejudice. Look at the
Mitfords Blacks, look at the Malfoys.
*Yes, you can say that not all Slyterins are born with wealth, Snape was poor as a kid, but a) it’s implied his mother’s side had a long lineage, b) Major and c) and what is this slytherin’s answer to ‘how is someone in the wizarding world expected to gain power/wealth/status if they aren’t already born with it?’ It’s not ‘work hard and use cunning to get there’, it’s ‘some charismatic racist will convince you that it’s all the fault of the mudblood, join my racist group, go on, i will give you the world and no one will laugh at you or make you feel small again.’ Which is not a million miles away from the olden days of powell, or if we’re continuing the mitford metaphor, moseley’s lot.