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Racism in LOTR?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Benderino, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Benderino

    Benderino Loyal American Democrat

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    My sister, an anthropology major at Cornell University, with a focus on minority affairs, got upset after seeing the second LOTR movie, for she said it was perpetuating prejudism. First of all, she claimed that there were no black characters, and that all the good guys were white (very white, in the case of the elfs) and all the bad guys were dark (dark and evil, orcish, ugly...or those Middle Eastern-looking guys in the movie).

    She was sad at the thought of a black child going to see the movie and not finding any role models for him.

    For the point of discussion, I won't reveal my opinions, but I am interested in yours.
     
  2. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    Oh boy...here we go again.

    White usually symbolized good in fairy tales and older films and the like, black was evil. Has nothing to do with race.

    Nobody says anything when there are all black people in a movie. Nobody says anything to those movies from India that had nothing but Indian people in it.

    Point is...I'm all for diversity. But some of this PC is making me gag!
     
  3. SeleucusNicator

    SeleucusNicator Diadoch

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    I have never seen the film or read the books. However, I have heard much of them, and will base my posts on that. If I am wrong, please correct me.

    The association of darkness with evil in many cultures, ours included, is so commonly known that it does not even have to be touched on any more in this post.

    The languages Tolkien created for his world were Germanic; they were based, I believe, on Frisian or something like that. It would make sense, then, to assume that the society in his fantasy world is Germanic in origin. There would be no naturally-occuring negroids in such a society. Nor is there, to my knowledge, any evidence of human migration (or trafficing) to or from the area.

    Moreover, Tolkien was a British professor in the early 20th century. He would likely not have had too high of an opinion of darker-skinned peoples. However, this does not even have to enter into it.

    Casting a black person in a leading role would be to butcher Tolkien's views. Whether those views are racist or not is another matter; the movie is only the delivery mechanism for that.l
     
  4. CivCube

    CivCube Feelin' defiant.

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    Tolkien was trying to recreate a mythology for Britain before the Norman Invasion, so of course everyone is white. When he uses black for evil, he is using Sauron, Saruman, and others to represent the black smoke of industry and the like. Not that he's trying to use symbolism or allegory directly....
     
  5. Benderino

    Benderino Loyal American Democrat

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    I can't hold it in any longer! I totally agree with you guys.

    It seems to be based off a European context, thus there wouldn't be many (if any) black people around.

    Secondly, it would be selling-out, for I think that Tolkien himself never imagined black people in his stories (One more point in the fight against PC).

    Sure, maybe throwing in a black character for good measure may be pleasing to some in the black community, however, Tolkien fans across the globe would be mortified at the "correcting" of the fine piece of literature for the sake of a modern audience.

    For instance, if they made a movie about Jesus, I doubt they would have the main character be black (he should really be Semitic, but that's a whole nother story).
     
  6. bobgote

    bobgote Trousers

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    It is a ludicrous opinion that tries to insert black people into movies for no reason other than their skin colour. Therein lies the true rascism.

    Also the book was set in a time period equivalent of the middle ages. I would imagine that there would not be an abundance of black people in say, middle ages britain. People of this time would generally stick to their ancestral groups. So is the story rascist? I would say most certainly not!
     
  7. Mario Feldberg

    Mario Feldberg Emperor

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    America has some really strange stuff to offer :lol:
    Total BS. Of course LOTR doesn't have "good role models" for black youths because it was not written with the intention to provide them. Really is that the purpose of movies?
    I grew up with Terminator and Rambo and see I'm a peace-loving hippy who always sides with the poor colored people...
    Oh wait.. :D
     
  8. Speedo

    Speedo Esse Quam Videri

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    Oh brother :rolleyes:

    If you want to look at it that way then the matrix is pretty racist to. Almost all of the "good guys" are black, while ALL of the "bad guys" are white.
     
  9. andrewgprv

    andrewgprv Second Class Citizen

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    I thought the same thing. The good guys are very European looking and the bad humans look like arabs.....

    but the LOTR was written a long time ago.....
     
  10. CivCube

    CivCube Feelin' defiant.

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    Besides, there's different enough races (humans, dwarves, elves) in Middle-earth to create some racial tension anyway, like the brief chafing between Legolas and Gimli when the Fellowship was formed.
     
  11. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    Uh, no black role models?

    "Yay, mommy, I saw Lord of the Rings today and I want to be just like Gandalf when I grow up! He's so cool!"
    "That's great! We'll have to prepare you for wizardry school immediately!"

    Riiiight...
     
  12. Kakashi

    Kakashi smile, because I hate you

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    It says spacifically in The Fellowship Of The Ring that the normal people DONT LIVE IN MIDDLE-EARTH!!! Therefore, would there be any black or white, noooo...Have you ever heard of a black elf or dwarf, noooo; well ehat does that tell you

    Jees, I'm sick of every little thing being pointed out as racial or prejudist.
     
  13. Bozo Erectus

    Bozo Erectus Master Baker

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    Tell her not to worry, not much chance of that happening. Well, maybe Don "No Soul" Simmons would go see it.
     
  14. Pontiuth Pilate

    Pontiuth Pilate Republican Jesus!

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    Oh no! There are no women in the Fellowship!

    :rolleyes:

    Did anyone notice that virtually all the elves are blondes - yet Arwen [and I think Elrond] have brown hair? :confused: I wonder what that may signify...

    EDIT: to be fair. Cover up what you may, there IS a whole "purity of race" obsession in LOTR - the fall of Numenor, also the relationship between Gondor/Rohan and Rohan/ the Dunmen. But I think that extends only so far as the idea of pure bloodline, which is a natural idea in a monarchy, after all. I guess Tolkein just liked fantasizing about a world where those who inherit power are the most worthy of wielding it [Aragorn, etc]. Something that rarely happens in reality.
     
  15. Bozo Erectus

    Bozo Erectus Master Baker

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    And Arwen bears an uncanny resemblance to the gardener, hmm..
     
  16. pawpaw

    pawpaw Now Farve-Proof

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    no role models--oh no, lord forbid that MOM and DAD be role models to them
     
  17. Goonie

    Goonie Lonely End of the Rink

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    Its from a time period of Racism. Just look at the "White Council". That pointed it out for me, and I was only 12 at the time.
     
  18. bobgote

    bobgote Trousers

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    He's not called Elrond Half-Elven for nothing :)
     
  19. Mescalhead

    Mescalhead Vincebus Eruptum

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    I've had this theory for a while. You've got the Mid-Eastern types from Near Harad and the black Numenoreons from Far Harad. The latter being more evil than the former. In an atlas of middle Earth, Near Harad seems to end up in the approximate area of the Near East, and Far Harad in Africa. I would doubt that this is a coincidence. Nor do I care. They're excellent strories none the less. And if some moron will take the Middle Earth books to be their sole source on the races of the actual world, then they are not possessing the mental faculties to do any damage in accordance with these thoughts.
     
  20. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    My family has no black people in it, am I bigot?
     

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