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Anyone else think that Lord of the Rings is racist? Watch

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    In the West, the riders of Rohan are described as pale skinned and yellow haired. Minas Tirith is the 'white' city. Aragorn refers to his army as the "Men of the West". We have blond haired, blue eyed, tall elves, who are portrayed as 'pure' and 'good'.

    In the East, we have Mordor. The men from the East who came to serve Sauron are dark skinned, from the east and south, and ride elephants. The orcs are described as "a dark band... swart, slant-eyed"; the wild men of the hills are described as "dark", with "dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look".

    Orcs are bred to be bad, they have no choice. The evil wizard Saruman tells us that they are elves corrupted by a kind of genetic modification program. They deserve no mercy.

    The Númenóreans of Gondor fell because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king, and grew weaker as a result.

    Gandalf states, in the extended version of the film, that "The old wisdom that was borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of Kings failed, the White Tree withered, and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    In the West, the riders of Rohan are described as pale skinned and yellow haired. Minas Tirith is the 'white' city. Aragorn refers to his army as the "Men of the West"

    In the East, we have Mordor. The men from the East who came to serve Sauron are dark skinned, from the east and south, and ride elephants. The orcs are described as "a dark band... swart, slant-eyed"; the wild men of the hills are described as "dark", with "dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look".

    Orcs are bred to be bad, they have no choice. The evil wizard Saruman tells us that they are elves corrupted by a kind of genetic modification program. They deserve no mercy.

    The Númenóreans of Gondor fell because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king, and grew weaker as a result.

    Gandalf states, in the extended version of the film, that "The old wisdom that was borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of Kings failed, the White Tree withered, and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."
    You've been watching that movie too much, and you've been thinking too much bro, go get some rest mate.
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    Is it racist to describe someone's appearance?
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    In the West, the riders of Rohan are described as pale skinned and yellow haired. Minas Tirith is the 'white' city. Aragorn refers to his army as the "Men of the West"

    In the East, we have Mordor. The men from the East who came to serve Sauron are dark skinned, from the east and south, and ride elephants. The orcs are described as "a dark band... swart, slant-eyed"; the wild men of the hills are described as "dark", with "dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look".

    Orcs are bred to be bad, they have no choice. The evil wizard Saruman tells us that they are elves corrupted by a kind of genetic modification program. They deserve no mercy.

    The Númenóreans of Gondor fell because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king, and grew weaker as a result.

    Gandalf states, in the extended version of the film, that "The old wisdom that was borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of Kings failed, the White Tree withered, and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."
    I don't think there has ever been any doubt about this. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were created out of the same Norse myths which were used by Wagner and mined by German racial theorists.

    The Dark Riders of Tolkein are the Valkyries of Wagner. There is rewriting of Gollum's back story between 1937 when the Hobbit is published and 1954 when the first part of Lord of the Rings appears. The Gollum of 1937 is the quasi-Jewish Alberich of Das Rheingold. By 1954 his backstory is that he is a fallen hobbit. Wagner's Siegfried is divided in two by Tolkein. He is the dragonslayer Bilbo but he is also the perfect Ayran hero Aragorn
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    Also, does being written in that era justify, or excuse, the racism, and should we rewrite the trilogy to be less problematic?
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    You're overthinking

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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Also, does being written in that era justify, or excuse, the racism, and should we rewrite the trilogy to be less problematic?
    A work of literature doesn't have to justified or excused. It is what it is and comes with all its cultural baggage. Of course it shouldn't be rewritten any more than the racism should be removed from The Merchant of Venice or the sexism of Pride and Prejudice.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    A work of literature doesn't have to justified or excused. It is what it is and comes with all its cultural baggage.
    Mein kampf?

    Of course it shouldn't be rewritten any more than the racism should be removed from The Merchant of Venice or the sexism of Pride and Prejudice.
    Why not remove the racism and sexism from those works too?
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Mein kampf?



    Why not remove the racism and sexism from those works too?
    Because how do you understand the human condition if you censor our past?

    Take the sexism out of 19th century novels, and how do you understand what the fight for women's equality meant?

    How do you understand the attraction of Nazism to the German people without Mein Kampf? The first full edition published in English in the UK was published in 1939 and remained in print until the printing plates were destroyed in the Blitz.
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    In the West, the riders of Rohan are described as pale skinned and yellow haired. Minas Tirith is the 'white' city. Aragorn refers to his army as the "Men of the West". We have blond haired, blue eyed, tall elves, who are portrayed as 'pure' and 'good'.

    In the East, we have Mordor. The men from the East who came to serve Sauron are dark skinned, from the east and south, and ride elephants. The orcs are described as "a dark band... swart, slant-eyed"; the wild men of the hills are described as "dark", with "dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look".

    Orcs are bred to be bad, they have no choice. The evil wizard Saruman tells us that they are elves corrupted by a kind of genetic modification program. They deserve no mercy.

    The Númenóreans of Gondor fell because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king, and grew weaker as a result.

    Gandalf states, in the extended version of the film, that "The old wisdom that was borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of Kings failed, the White Tree withered, and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."

    It is easy to see racism in everything - and when you think about when this was written, it is not surprising.

    The Hobbits are allegedly based on the Basotho - Tolkien lived in Bloemfontein in South Africa. The Basotho - hardy group of Africans
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    I think the vast majority of people who read the trilogy or watch the movies will realise that its a work of FICTION. i.e. NOT REAL.
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    It's cos' blacks are more edgy innit
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    (Original post by squeakysquirrel)

    The Hobbits are allegedly based on the Basotho - Tolkien lived in Bloemfontein in South Africa.
    Do you have a source for this? Tolkein left Africa when he was three.
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    Well, I'm not sure about the Hobbits being Basotho but the shire was definitely based on rural England.

    • But, of course, if we drop the 'fiction' of long ago, 'The Shire' is based on rural England and not any other country in the world... [Later in the same letter he implied that the Shire was "an imaginary mirror" of England.]
      Letters, 250 (#190)
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    snip
    The story is a product of its time, nobody denies that there are some questionable and racist themes in the book, but Tolkien did make clear in The Silmarillion that all men were fundamentally equal. I think it should be remembered that Tolkien refused to let his books be published in Germany because of what Hitler was doing the Jews - hardly the actions of a racist.

    Orcs are bred to be bad, they have no choice.
    Of course they don't have a choice, that's the whole point. They aren't people, they don't have souls - not because of their colour, but because of who created them. They were created by Melkor to be his slaves, but Melkor can't create independent life so Orcs are in effect mini avatars of himself. Not racist.

    The evil wizard Saruman tells us that they are elves corrupted by a kind of genetic modification program.
    Actually he doesn't say that in the books (have you even read them?) - and Saruman isn't an authority anyway, he is not the creator, he doesn't know how orcs came into being. Not racist.

    The Númenóreans of Gondor fell because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king, and grew weaker as a result.Gandalf states, in the extended version of the film, that "The old wisdom that was borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of Kings failed, the White Tree withered, and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men."
    None of this is in the books. The Númenóreans fell because they grew jealous of the the elves and sailed westward into the Undying Lands (which was forbidden). Consequently their island was sunken.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Actually he doesn't say that in the books (have you even read them?) - and Saruman isn't an authority anyway, he is not the creator, he doesn't know how orcs came into being. Not racist.
    He does say that in the film. OP is about both the books and the film, which incorperates some of Tolkien's other work on Middle Earth, the Silmarillion.
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    He does say that in the film. OP is about both the books and the film, which incorperates some of Tolkien's other work on Middle Earth, the Silmarillion.
    The film is absolutely irrelevant. And actually Peter Jackson took HUGE liberties with Tolkien's work, he made Orcs look more human than Tolkien intended them and heightened the physical differences between types/races/castes of men.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Do you have a source for this? Tolkein left Africa when he was three.
    I lived in Lesotho for 2 years - and across the border there was a lot of reference to it. Whether it is true I am not sure but they seemed to attach a lot of importance to it. Of course it may have been all nonsense to attract tourists - but Tolkien is treated very much as a South African
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Mein kampf?



    Why not remove the racism and sexism from those works too?
    This really isn't a question of any philosophical or scholarly merit. To edit and rewrite books in this fashion would amount to cultural genocide and would be a true act of barbarity.
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Mein kampf?



    Why not remove the racism and sexism from those works too?
    Removing racism and sexism from works that are the products of their times would be to pretend that those prejudices never existed, which only paves the way for them to happen again. We should be reminded of the way things used to be, and how we have improved.
 
 
 
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