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Old 01-12-2013, 09:34 PM   #41
William Cloud Hicklin
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....are described as swarthy or squint-eyed.

One of the travellers from the south in the Prancing Pony, for example, is described as a "squint-eyed ill-favoured fellow".


Errrr, in British English, a "squint" means cross-eyed, or one or both eyes having a sideways aspect; sometimes the connotation is "sidelong" or "shifty." The American usage meaning "partially closed" or even "slanted" was completely alien to JRRT-- even Christopher Tolkien, just a few years ago, was quite surprised and nonplussed to learn that to Americans the word means something so different.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:34 PM   #42
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Ulvenok, just because a scientist presents a theory does not mean that theory is a proven, incontrovertible truth. I fear you are succumbing to "studies-have-shown" syndrome. For my part, I will continue to believe that racism is purely culturally acquired and to maintain that I myself am not racist. You can believe whatever you like. However, it is, I think, better if you don't couch your opinions- because that's all this is, an opinion- in the terms of "if you don't agree with me, you're lying to yourself". It's no kind of argument, and just tends to get up people's noses, quite frankly.
Besides, aesthetic preference is *not* racism. I get the impression you're confusing the two, and that's where the problem lies.

Anyway, didn't I just see you arguing that the inhabitants of Valinor were meant to represent native Americans, thus (in your opinion) showing Tolkien was *not* racist?
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:16 PM   #43
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I think it's worth remembering that Professor Tolkien's work tends to portray racial prejudice as a source of wasteful conflict and a symptom of evil: Elves vs Dwarves (especially in the case of the Petty-Dwarves), Númenóreans vs "Lesser Men", Castamir vs Eldacar etc. While I agree that the portrayal of the Easterlings and the Haradrim for example may not necessarily be sensitive by today's standards I believe they are intentionally meant to convey a sense of Otherness in which we are encouraged to perceive how Sauron (and ultimately Morgoth) exploits superficial differences of nation and race to exacerbate conflict. Racial prejudice was a weapon of the Enemy in the same way that he was the Enemy of reason and clear thinking, denying his slaves the opportunity to think past fear and hate. Many people may have prejudices, but they also have minds with which they can think past them and perceive them as irrational; it's when they fail to do so (or are inhibited from doing so by some other power) that problems arise. I would also argue on a semantic level that having irrational prejudices does not necessarily make one "racist"; that would involve accepting that irrationality as somehow valid as opposed to rejecting it and reasoning past it. Personally I find Professor Tolkien's work to be very profound in its condemnation of racial prejudice.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:27 PM   #44
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I think it's worth remembering that Professor Tolkien's work tends to portray racial prejudice as a source of wasteful conflict and a symptom of evil: Elves vs Dwarves (especially in the case of the Petty-Dwarves), Númenóreans vs "Lesser Men", Castamir vs Eldacar etc.
Also, King Helm "Hammerhand" of Rohan, first insulting and then murdering one of "mixed" blood named Freca. That cost Helm's people dearly, with Freca's son allying himself with enemies of Rohan.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:27 PM   #45
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On the topic of racism, of course Tolkien was a racist and so are you. I saw a lecture about predjudices held by some neuro scientist. Anyway racism is in all of us, we are all hostile towards people who are different than ourself, and that for a good reason. If Tolkien would have been a black person writing these books in Africa the orcs would be white devils and the elves would be tall black men. Even if you say you're not a racist you're lying to yourself, because you are. Just like we got different tastes in music we got different tastes when it comes to appearances. Of course one can get over these differences if one gets to know that person, but on a very primal level we are all racists even Tolkien which is apparent reading his books.
There's racism and there's racial differences. Please don't confuse the two. Saying that black people are black is like saying that the BD webite is black-and-green themed. Saying that they aren't black is like saying that our site is pink with purple polkadots. There's a difference between saying a fact and insulting people because of their skin colour or origin.

In the same way that a Chinese man will remain Chinese no matter how many times you'll say that he's Ukrainian, an Easterling or a Southron would remain just as Tolkien described them.

If you think that Tolkien was racist because his antagonists resembled Eastern/African people, read The Silmarillion. You hate some Elves more than you hate orcs. And there's the story of Bor - a rare thing indeed, but still.

And what do you think of the Druedain then? They are the most ugly (and suffering from racism within the legendarium as well!) but the most bestest people from the free folk.

EDIT: xed with Zigur and Inzil
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:31 PM   #46
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Forgot to mentions trolls before. How'd *that* happen?
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:58 PM   #47
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There's racism and there's racial differences. Please don't confuse the two.
Please, get off your moral high horse. So many times I have argued with people who make up all sort of complicated linguistic stuff to supress or hide the fact that racism exists within ALL organisms. Evolution isn't pretty but it's for real, so is racism. One ought to accept it and deal with it accordingly.

As for Tolkien, I think the haradrim have a direct equivalent in real life. That Tolkien chose to portray black people and middle eastern looking people as "lesser men" is if not racist...would be interpreted as racist by middle eastern and black people today. Galadriel one has to try see Tolkien from other "races" point of view. I'm quite sure if some middle eastern man created a fiction where the white man was portrayed as "lesser men" you'd thnk that is racist too. That you don't see this or choose not to see this proves my point, everyone are at their core racist or to use a better term prejudicial. Accept it, deal with it, but don't deny it...

Oh btw...
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I LOVE that quote....adds to list of favorite quotes xD
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:21 AM   #48
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So many times I have argued with people who make up all sort of complicated linguistic stuff to to supress or hide the fact that racism exists within ALL organisms.
1) To pre-judge someone is prejudice.
2) To express this prejudice is bigotry.
3) To act on this bigotry is discrimination.
4) Society's acceptance of discrimination is racism.

Predujice exists within all organisms, but never racism. Racism is a creation of civilisation. "All organisms" are bound by prejudice, but never "racism". That is a choice of individuals in concert with the society in which they live. It may be born of their own predujice, but it is not inherent until it deliberatly extends to that society and is no longer exclusive to that individual.

I wish I had a copy of "Letters" so I could quote Tolkien's response to the Nazi censors when they were checking on his racial "purity," in order to publish a translation of The Hobbit in Germany under Hitler. He was acerbic, clever, and still non-racist in his response. He also got The Hobbit published.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:27 AM   #49
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ulvy by the logic of your first post

I find my hispanic wife prettier than most middle eastern girsl I must be racist?

I had an asian employee once, cried racism all the time I "singled her out" because she was asian had nothing to do with the fact she called out at least twice a week. It wasn't until she learned I had married a hispanic girl(I'm white) she realized I "wasn't racist"

Thinking one race is prettier than another isn't really racism it's just a preference liking apples more than opranges doesn't make me bigoted against oranges.


Tolkien never compares races like that anyway an Orc isn't a "different race from men" Their literally a different species. orcs are representative of evil NOT black people. You're searching for something that isn't there.

and to end on a fun note
Avenue Q- may be offensive to some people proceed with caution
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbud8rLejLM
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:27 AM   #50
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[I]... The American usage meaning "partially closed" or even "slanted" was completely alien to JRRT-- even Christopher Tolkien... was quite surprised and nonplussed to learn that to Americans the word means something so different.
So was I. As a noun squint just means a strabismus. Very common and would have been more so in earlier times without access to corrective glasses and surgery. It does mean you re iable to look shifty since you literally can't look people in the eye.

Of course Morsul wouldn't be off the hook here as we dont make a distinction for hispanic...
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:19 AM   #51
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Ulvenok, calling *all* others racist is in itself prejudicial - and that without the benefit of knowing any of us personally! As a matter of fact, you are new on the Downs and probably haven't had time to read our posts or PM with others to find out what they're like. For that reason I ask you to refrain from calling everyone names - we take pride in being polite and friendly here, and the kind of discussion you are attempting to provoke does not comply with our policies.

I have been here for 11 years now (most of that time as a moderator) and have had the opportunity to converse with numerous members both virtually and personally. I have not met one person whom I would call racist. We also span a number of various religions and (usually! ) can carry on discussions without insulting each other.

I suggest you check out the sticky threads at the top of the Novices and Newcomers forum index as well as the index for the Barrow-Downs forum. Those guidelines are vital to our identity as an open, welcoming forum. Then post your opinions thoughtfully and politely. Thank you!
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:26 AM   #52
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I think the lecture lasted for two something hours. I wish I would be able to sum it all up in one post but I can't. We are all to some extent prejudicial towards people. We can hide it, we can try to block it but at the end of the day we are prejudicial. It's the same with racism, the only reason you're "not" a racist is because you are too politically correct to admit it. Nature is racist and it's in your nature to be racist too, we shouldn't deny what we are, it's not healthy for our species or for you as an individual. Racism exists in order for us to find a partner, carry on our genes and sort out bad genes in our species gene pool by not having sex with them or approve of their culture or behaviour, whatever it is that we don't like about the "race".

I think race and being racist is a bad word, because it's easily mixed up with hitlerism and has all sort of bad connotations. It's not always appearance or skin colour, it could be language, culture all sort of different things. Today we are all suffering because our society is one crazy place, we supress so much of what we are because society won't accept it. People with little to no education have tons of children and it's allowed. In places like China and India they have implemented one child policies, even as far back as the 19th century people in India castrated criminals. People are so afraid to look at themself in the mirror that on many sites I would be banned for saying this.

Anyway nature is racist and so is Tolkien, he is just too smart to admit it.
Whatever biology behind it, proven or just speculated, lectured about or hushed up, the thread, I believe, is rather about whether Tolkien was being 'deliberately racist' (which he was not in my opinion, especially given today's overly 'politically correct' approaches that seem to me rather to be overly extreme reaction to what was considered 'norm' by the end of 19th century and at that again quite far from what would be just sensible, but that's another story whatsoever) therefore it seems to me you're quite off the mark here.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:33 AM   #53
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As for Tolkien, I think the haradrim have a direct equivalent in real life. That Tolkien chose to portray black people and middle eastern looking people as "lesser men" is if not racist...would be interpreted as racist by middle eastern and black people today.
I don't recall the Haradrim being considered "lesser". In fact, their valor seems to be something Tolkien makes a point of noting. Though deluded by Sauron, they are not presented as either irredeemably evil or culturally inferior.

Quote:
But the Men of Rhûn and of Harad, Easterling and Southron, saw the ruin of their war and the great majesty and glory of the Captains of the West. And those that were deepest and longest in evil servitude, hating the West, and yet were men proud and bold in their turn now gathered themselves for a last stand of desperate battle.
ROTK The Field of Cormallen

King Elessar is said to have made peace with Rhûn and Harad after Sauron's fall. If the "racism" were as you perceive, wouldn't Gondor have subjugated those "lesser" peoples instead of treating with them as peers, and with mercy?

x/d with HI- how often do I get to say that?
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:01 AM   #54
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Anyone know how to PCR troll DNA?

Anyway, let's stay on topic and observe standard decorum.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:56 AM   #55
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This thread is temporarily closed for maintenance.

All flaming statements/posts will be deleted without notice.

Ulvenok, you are very close to having your posting privileges revoked - temporarily, I hope, as we like to give new members a second chance. However, we do not hesitate to ban members who continue to provoke. There are websites/forums that condone that kind of behaviour, but not here.

Nerwen, please learn to address issues like this with less venom. You've been around long enough to know better (unlike this newcomer) and it's really not considerate to leave me messes to clean up. If you really post too hastily, you can go back and edit your post so that it is polite and on topic.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:47 AM   #56
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Reopened.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:12 AM   #57
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If anyone thinks I'm being too harsh on Ulvenok, or exaggerating, please look at his post at #53, where he argues that discrimination against "black or middle-eastern people" is "what will make our species hopefully evolve for the better".

I don't think there can be much doubt that this fellow is simply projecting his own values onto everybody else.
I do doubt that.
Ulvenok may be a fan of Babylon 5, where 'progress through conflict' is the prime philosophy of 'The Shadows of Z'Ha'Dum'. Isn't it possible that Ulvenok is playing the role of devil's (Sauron's) advocate here rather than actually believing in those values?
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:39 AM   #58
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...the Orc-Chieftain who leads the attack against the Fellowship in the Chamber of Mazarbul, is described as having a "swart" face, meaning dark-hued (though not necessarily black)...
... even if the Orcs are black-skinned, this does not (as Dr Shapiro attempts to argue) in any way suggest to me racism on JRRT's part.
The word 'swart' comes from the German word for black, and we still use the term 'swarthy' to denote dark skin, but it was not a racial reference. These days we think it attractive to have a tan, but it used to be the other way around. Having a tan marked you out as a person of low status because you worked out of doors, unlike the nobility, clan leaders and learned who spent more time indoors holding court or studying.

Look not upon me, because I am swarthy, because the sun hath scorched me. My mother’s sons were incensed against me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept. Song of Solomon 1:6
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:40 AM   #59
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I do doubt that.
Ulvenok may be a fan of Babylon 5, where 'progress through conflict' is the prime philosophy of 'The Shadows of Z'Ha'Dum'. Isn't it possible that Ulvenok is playing the role of devil's (Sauron's) advocate here rather than actually believing in those values?
I think it much more possible he was playing the role of "Internet troll", Ardent.. You must understand that the worst of Ulvenok's comments were deleted or edited by the mods- you're seeing what was left.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:16 PM   #60
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I think it much more possible he was playing the role of "Internet troll", Ardent.. You must understand that the worst of Ulvenok's comments were deleted or edited by the mods- you're seeing what was left.
I did read them before deletion. I think Ulv's posts show many signs of immaturity and poor self expression, perhaps even autism given the tendancy to leap huge conclusions in a single bound. A cause for pity?

Anyway, you may be right and I'm not the one who was on the receiving end of the accusations made, so my sympathies to you on that score.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:57 PM   #61
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To get back to the topic of this thread . . . .

"Racism" is a very slippery word and quite possibly in any discussion it ought to be defined or explained clearly and precisely. It might be helpful as well if specific examples are referred.

I offer this one quotation for people to discuss.

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Originally Posted by Tolkien, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
And if the Rohirrim at their onset were thrice outnumbered by the Haradrim alone, soon their case became worse; for new strength came now streaming to the field out of Osgiliath. There they had been mustered for the sack of the City and the rape of Gondor, waiting on the call of their Captain. He now was destroyed; but Gothmog the lieutenant of Morgul had flung them into the fray; Easterlings with axes, and Variags of Khand, Southrons in scarlet, and out of Far Harad black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues. Some now hastened up behind the Rohirrim, others held westward to hold off the forces of Gondor and prevent their joining with Rohan.
The bolding is of course mine. How do we read this quotation?
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #62
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I always read the Black part as nothing more than a racial description I always thought of Harad as Africa... The half troll as very muscular and powerful.

I mean the red tongue part is a bit odd. It's not like he said they had big red lips now That would be racist.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:53 PM   #63
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I always read the Black part as nothing more than a racial description I always thought of Harad as Africa... The half troll as very muscular and powerful.

I mean the red tongue part is a bit odd. It's not like he said they had big red lips now That would be racist.
Keep in mind that the events of LOTR are described from the point of view of rather insular Hobbits, so one might expect exaggeration of physical characteristics that appeared "alien" to them.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:19 PM   #64
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I think that "racist" refers to using racial differences to assert that one race is worse than another. Tolkien does not do that. Saying that the Haradrim had black skin is like saying that I have brown hair. SO WHAT. Having them as the villains to me just means than in Middle Earth, the Haradrim, who happened to have dark skin, chose to (or were forced to) follow Sauron.

Eomer making fun of Dwarves' height is a bit racist, but he quickly learns to respect Gimli son of Gloin.

I would think that the Druedain were regarded as inferior by their neighbours, but that was fixed up rather nicely as well once the races came into closer contact with each other.

The Numenorians in their last years regarded themselves as superior to all nations, and look where that got them.

And, coming back to the Haradrim and the Easterlings, they are always portrayed as men, same as other men - mistaken, enemies, but still men. You get a sense of respect for them. Consider:

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But the Men of Rhun and of Harad, Easterling and Southron, saw the ruin of their war and the great majesty and glory of the Captains of the West. And those that were deepest and longest in evil servitude, hating the West, and yet were men proud and bold, in their own turn now gathered themselves for a last stand of desperate battle. ~The Field of Cormallen
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So, as I said before, I do not think that a mere physical description of a "so what?" nature merits an accusation of racism. Are there more specific instances of "racism" in the legendarium?
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:05 AM   #65
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...And, coming back to the Haradrim and the Easterlings, they are always portrayed as men, same as other men - mistaken, enemies, but still men. You get a sense of respect for them...
In a footnote of Appendice A of LotR there is reference to at least some of the Haradrim in Umbar being allied with Gondor, but that they swayed in their loyalty between Gondor and Harad:
"...Umbar had been Numenorean land since days of old; but it was a stronghold of the King's Men, who were afterwards called the Black Numenoreans, corrupted by Sauron..."

I'm not sure whether 'Black' here refers to black skinned or metaphorically black, given the reference to Sauron's influence, but they are aknowledged as Numenorien.

There are several parallels from the real world here. The people of Kush (aka Nubia) were known as the Black Pharoes, and they swayed between being independant from or paying tribute to Egypt. They also at times ruled Egypt, so in this sense the analogy breaks down.

Another analogy for Harad and Umbar would be Carthage and it's relationship with the Berber tribes. Some Berbers faught for Carthage but switched loyalty (to Rome). Furthermore Carthage is famous for its war elephants, which initially caught the Romans unprepared.

The Cartaginians, Berbers and Egyptians were Semitic, the Nubians black, and they all fought with Caucasian Greeks and Romans. However I do not believe that recounting this fact is sufficient to count myself as racist. In Tolkien's case I would say that Middle Earth's clear distinctions between high and low/good and evil mean that we are not siding with the Good guys because they are white (or non-white) but because they really are Good.

If only the real world were so clear cut...
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:40 AM   #66
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How did this "Tolkien is racist" start? I'm sure he was not racist. I don't have any written proof or something, but writing tells so.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:23 AM   #67
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How did this "Tolkien is racist" start? I'm sure he was not racist. I don't have any written proof or something, but writing tells so.
I would define "racism" as the belief that one race is inherently inferior to another. I see no evidence of that on Tolkien's part, and it would seem the allegation stems from the manner in which certain characters and beings in his books are described. The "wild" Easterlings and dark-skinned Haradrim come to mind.

Contrary to a "racist" bent, it looks to me as if racially discriminatory views of the characters are punished. We see Saeros of Doriath, holding Men in contempt, being bested by Túrin. Thingol's denigration of the "uncouth race" of the Dwarves gets him killed.
Men are not immune, either. The Númenórean Exiles of Gondor started a civil war over the reluctance of some to admit those of "alien" race from the Northmen to marry into their Line of Kings, and the realm was nearly destroyed because of it.
The shoddy treatment of the Rohirrim toward the "dark haired" Dunlendings came back to haunt them when the latter attacked them in their weakness, and later allied themselves with Saruman.

I think the whole thing is rubbish, but there are always people who find what they're looking for, whether it's actually present, or not.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:31 AM   #68
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I think the whole thing is rubbish, but there are always people who find what they're looking for, whether it's actually present, or not.
It is common in the real world that one's enemies in war are demonized. Propaganda is created to make Others less than human so it's OK to kill them. A classic example is the portrayal of the Japanese during World War II as buck toothed and wearing thick round glasses.

In one sense, not showing that the people of Middle Earth did the same thing feels unrealistic.

Today, this is less politically correct than it once was. Still, there are less than flattering names and stereotypes associated with middle eastern terrorists.

Yes, Middle Earth supposedly reflects our own world in the distant past. Yes, people's skin colors and cultures shift as one goes away from the Shire in a way that vaguely echoes the real world. No, racism was not a major theme being pushed by the professor. He had a lot of other themes he was playing with in much more significant ways, and he tried to deny that these more blatant themes were being used in an allegorical way. Yet, if one is writing epic fiction centered around issues of good and evil, it's very hard to make one's tale uninterpretable as allegory.

Anyway, I haven't been inspired to go out and find a citizen of Far Harad to harass.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:46 PM   #69
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How did this "Tolkien is racist" start?
Because some people have nothing better to do than engage in sophistry?
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:40 PM   #70
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I would define "racism" as the belief that one race is inherently inferior to another. I see no evidence of that on Tolkien's part, and it would seem the allegation stems from the manner in which certain characters and beings in his books are described. The "wild" Easterlings and dark-skinned Haradrim come to mind.

Contrary to a "racist" bent, it looks to me as if racially discriminatory views of the characters are punished. We see Saeros of Doriath, holding Men in contempt, being bested by T¨²rin. Thingol's denigration of the "uncouth race" of the Dwarves gets him killed.
Men are not immune, either. The N¨²men¨®rean Exiles of Gondor started a civil war over the reluctance of some to admit those of "alien" race from the Northmen to marry into their Line of Kings, and the realm was nearly destroyed because of it.
The shoddy treatment of the Rohirrim toward the "dark haired" Dunlendings came back to haunt them when the latter attacked them in their weakness, and later allied themselves with Saruman.

I think the whole thing is rubbish, but there are always people who find what they're looking for, whether it's actually present, or not.
Indeed it all is Totally rubbish! A race being inferior to other is nowhere seen in the books. Tolkien being a War Veteran could never write such stuff. Also, his writing suggests he believes in Love, Compassion, and the positive things our society needs. Racism isn't there, and your post explains it wonderfully.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:24 AM   #71
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Indeed it all is Totally rubbish! A race being inferior to other is nowhere seen in the books.
I wouldn't go that far. The elves and some men descended from Numenor knew something of 'The Art' while other races could only learn degraded forms of magic. Certain cultures had more attractive life styles and values than others.

I'd also note a great deal of segregation in Middle Earth. The men of Rohan and Gondor spoke ill of the Lady of the Golden Wood. Galadriel and Fangorn lived very near to one another's borders for Ages, yet never visited one another. King Aragorn forbade Big Folk from entering the Shire.

I believe one theme of LoTR is that the cultures were diverse enough that various free people might best live totally separated from one another, and yet each of these free people could recognize The Enemy when the time came. They didn't unite under a single government, but they contributed, each in their own way.

This trend for diverse cultures to live apart from one another, to recognize and honor borders while not encountering those living on the other side of the borders, is not the same as what we see in the real world. Still, it is worth noting.

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Old 04-18-2014, 07:16 AM   #72
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Indeed it all is Totally rubbish! A race being inferior to other is nowhere seen in the books. Tolkien being a War Veteran could never write such stuff. Also, his writing suggests he believes in Love, Compassion, and the positive things our society needs. Racism isn't there, and your post explains it wonderfully.
Thank you for your kind words.

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I wouldn't go that far. The elves and some men descended from Numenor knew something of 'The Art' while other races could only learn degraded forms of magic. Certain cultures had more attractive life styles and values than others.
That is true, but that disparity in cultural and technological "enlightenment" is not depicted as being the fault of those who lacked it.

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I'd also note a great deal of segregation in Middle Earth. The men of Rohan and Gondor spoke ill of the Lady of the Golden Wood. Galadriel and Fangorn lived very near to one another's borders for Ages, yet never visited one another. King Aragorn forbade Big Folk from entering the Shire.
Segregation, yes, but it doesn't appear to be due to any deliberate decision to avoid other races because they were seen as inferior. The Elves in the Third Age were generally feared by Men such as the Rohirrim, who had simply grown estranged from them over time. And the ban on Men entering the Shire was an outgrowth, it seems, of the invasion of the land by Saruman's men. It may be notable the Aragorn's edict was that Men were to stay out of the Shire. Dwarves and Elves apparently were under no such law.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:06 AM   #73
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Segregation, yes, but it doesn't appear to be due to any deliberate decision to avoid other races because they were seen as inferior.
That's true. I think the real "issue" some people have is that if a person has dark skin or squint eyes, he's automatically the enemy. It's unclear, though, if the "problem" lies in ME's culture or in Tolkien's decision to make it so which may (or may not ) reflect his own views. The problem with that, of course, is that I don't see much of a problem as ME geography and partially its history mirrors that of the real world, and the divide between good and bad on a global scale is more geographical. On an individual scale, the scale that really matters, nothing's black and white (no pun intended... or maybe it was). All the examples of "bad" Elves and "bad" Numenorians and lack of enimity because of race show the true reasons for everything, the individual scale. Why do people really do things. But the global scale divides "good" and "bad" geographically, so no wonder than on a global scale someone with squint eyes is going to be automatically thought an enemy. He may be good, but he's still an enemy.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:56 AM   #74
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Can I point out that squint eyed is not a racial description but a medical one. It simply refers to someone who has a squint or is making a face to give a similar appearance. While derogatory to those those afflicted it is not racially so.

Edit.. noticed WCH made this point upthread but will let it stand as bears repeating and the phrase is still being mentioned.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:58 AM   #75
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An interesting example might be found in the Lossoth/Men of Forochel; the Wests most Nothernly men. They might be of a nordic/germanic stock, but with thier igloos (I think Tolkien said they make houses of snow) and use of bone runnered sleds, they sound an awful lot like Inuit/Eskimos (or whatever the Greenland/Iceland branch of the First Nations call themselves). If that is the case, they are presumably dark skinned and "squint eyed" by the racial standards of the West. And yet, they are very clearly "good guys" (they may not be very deeply involved in the affairs of thier Southern Neigbors, but when they do come into the tales of the west, it is very clearly on the side of the "good".
And I've always interpreted Aragorn's Edict as being to keep men from SETTLING in the shire (not a wholesale "no man can ever even enter the border), lest they take it over from the somewhat less warlike hobbits. Hobbits are largely peaceful (even if they can be roused to defend themsevles) so let them live where they live in peace. It's to keep the hobbits safe, not to keep them isolated (it's not like Aragorn banned hobbits from leaving the shire, or required that they all move there.) It's sort of similar to what he did for the Woses of the Drudan forests; He's trying to make sure that no one molests them, or can come in with great masses of men and arms and take the territory from them.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:42 AM   #76
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I wouldn't go that far. The elves and some men descended from Numenor knew something of 'The Art' while other races could only learn degraded forms of magic. Certain cultures had more attractive life styles and values than others.

I'd also note a great deal of segregation in Middle Earth. The men of Rohan and Gondor spoke ill of the Lady of the Golden Wood. Galadriel and Fangorn lived very near to one another's borders for Ages, yet never visited one another. King Aragorn forbade Big Folk from entering the Shire.

I believe one theme of LoTR is that the cultures were diverse enough that various free people might best live totally separated from one another, and yet each of these free people could recognize The Enemy when the time came. They didn't unite under a single government, but they contributed, each in their own way.

This trend for diverse cultures to live apart from one another, to recognize and honor borders while not encountering those living on the other side of the borders, is not the same as what we see in the real world. Still, it is worth noting.
Tolkien believed strongly in true multiculturalism- as in, having a multiplicity of cultures in the world. He was strongly against 'multiculturalism' in its modern connotation, which to him meant mixing all the cultures together until everything was just the same flavorless blended monoculture the world over. "The bigger things get the smaller and duller or flatter the globe gets. It is getting to be all one blasted little provincial suburb. At any rate it ought to cut down travel. There will be nowhere to go."
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:35 AM   #77
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It is mentioned in the wikia that the upleasant appearance of the haradrim is based on european mongols.and also apparently the squint-eyed description of the evil men is an example of racism towards chines and japanese
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:52 AM   #78
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Tolkien believed strongly in true multiculturalism- as in, having a multiplicity of cultures in the world. He was strongly against 'multiculturalism' in its modern connotation, which to him meant mixing all the cultures together until everything was just the same flavorless blended monoculture the world over. "The bigger things get the smaller and duller or flatter the globe gets. It is getting to be all one blasted little provincial suburb. At any rate it ought to cut down travel. There will be nowhere to go."
I can sympathize with the 'duller or flatter' comment. I'm from the Boston area. Last year there was a large hurricane in the Southwest Pacific. I was mildly surprised by the number of people wearing Celtics T-shirts among the survivors.

But the lack of trade and travel in Middle Earth rubs my suspension of disbelief some. In The Hobbit, the elves of Mirkwood and men of the lake traded with one another, and this extended to dwarves as well when there are no dragons in residence in the Lonely Mountain. And yet, in LoTR, the area around Rauros Falls was portrayed as completely abandoned. In the real world, at the point where navigable rivers become unnavigable, where one encounters the first serious rapids or waterfall, one expects a trade town. The lack of a trade town at Rauros implies a serious lack of trade between the upper and lower Anduin. Of course, the presence of the Shadow in southern Mirkwood might have had a lot to do with this.

But if Tolkien thought the homogeneous blandness of modern cultures inhibits the tourist trade, why no tourists in Middle Earth? Why did Sauron and Radagast have so little knowledge of where to find that uncouth land called Shire? If the wise of Gondor don't have a clue how to find Rivendell, who does?

I'm not going to whine and cry about this, but it seems to me there is a lot of isolation and provincialism in LoTR.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:59 AM   #79
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And I've always interpreted Aragorn's Edict as being to keep men from SETTLING in the shire (not a wholesale "no man can ever even enter the border), lest they take it over from the somewhat less warlike hobbits. Hobbits are largely peaceful (even if they can be roused to defend themsevles) so let them live where they live in peace. It's to keep the hobbits safe, not to keep them isolated (it's not like Aragorn banned hobbits from leaving the shire, or required that they all move there.) It's sort of similar to what he did for the Woses of the Drudan forests; He's trying to make sure that no one molests them, or can come in with great masses of men and arms and take the territory from them.
Actually, the edict does indeed appear to totally bar Men from the Shire. From Appendix B The Tale of Years:

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1427 ....King Elessar issues an edict that Men are not to enter the Shire.
And in Appendix A:

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But [Aragorn II] does not enter [The Shire] and binds himself by the law that he has made, that none of the Big People shall pass its borders.
If Aragorn only meant a ban on settlers, surely he wouldn't have seen the harm in making a brief visit inside to give Sam his award.

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It is mentioned in the wikia that the upleasant appearance of the haradrim is based on european mongols.and also apparently the squint-eyed description of the evil men is an example of racism towards chines and japanese
I wouldn't put a tremendous amount of stock in anything that starts with wiki, unless it's supported by other sources. Tolkien said in a Letter that Orcs were based on a very debased version of Mongols.

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They are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types.
Letters # 210

Orcs were the spiritual and physical product of long corruption by Morgoth and Sauron, and their appearance has no real-world equivalent. That Tolkien there added the qualifier "to Europeans" to me indicates that he did not think such a perception valid, but instead a regrettable consequence of unfamiliarity.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:45 PM   #80
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It is mentioned in the wikia that the upleasant appearance of the haradrim is based on european mongols.and also apparently the squint-eyed description of the evil men is an example of racism towards chines and japanese
Well that is a misreading. I have never heard it used that way and the oxford and websters dictionaries do not include it as a definition. Squint-eyed denotes having a squint or generally looking suspicious NOT having almond shaped eyes. There is, alas, a derogatory term for this (slitty eyed). Ignorance of language by third parties does not make Tolkien a rascist. I wonder if the Wikia author has read the letters where he says how sorry he is he cannot claim any Jewish origins or warns his son that he will be shocked by South Africa's divisions...
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