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Thread: African hobbits, Indian hobbits, Arab hobbits

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This from yahoo news; 'A representative for director Peter Jackson has admitted casting crews working on The Hobbit made "an incredibly unfortunate error" after an actress claimed she was turned down for a role in the film because of her skin colour. Naz Humphreys, who has Pakistani heritage, attended an audition in the New Zealand city of Hamilton last week but alleges she was rejected because movie bosses only wanted "pale-skinned" actors. She tells the Waikato Times, "It's 2010 and I still can't believe I'm being discriminated against because I have brown skin. The casting manager basically said they weren't having anybody who wasn't pale-skinned. I would love to be an extra. But it just seemed like a shame because obviously hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour. "They all look kind of homogenised beige and all derived from the Caucasian gene pool." Humphreys has now created a campaign group on Facebook.com titled "Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to Hobbit racism!" A representative for Jackson claims the director never issued such an order to casting bosses and has branded the incident "an incredibly unfortunate error". The spokesman adds, "It is not something the producers or the director of The Hobbit were aware of. They would never issue instructions of this kind to the casting crew. All people meeting the age and height requirements are welcome to audition." So is it an 'unfortunate error'? Or should hobbits be white skinned? For me the hobbits featured in LotR and TH are a people who have 'evolved' in an ancient forgotten version of northern europe. Where people have a tendency to be light of skin. So this I think would be like someone making a film about the first King of the Scots in 800ad and people complaining there weren't any black people in it. Its not about race, its about geography.
I can't remember any Pakistani hobbits, no. The Hobbit (as "story"Wink Smilie has a certain "universitality", so I guess hobbits could be any colour. A mix of colours, however, would seem quirky. Tolkien's hobbits were whiteys as ar as I can tell; but if the movie was made in Pakistan (or China), there is no reason (I guess) why there couldn't be "Pakistani" (or "Asiatic"Wink Smilie coloured hobbits.... No!!!! Enough of my weak-kneed PCing!!! Hobbits are whiteys. Just as "Mulan' was Asiatic. To make her white would be preposterous. [[["Mulan" (in the Disney Movie at least) was still hot, thank you very much!]]] "Hobbits" and "Mulan" are folk we can imagine "being", they are archetypical heroes, for in our minds we can be any colour. Mind you, weren't some hobbits "nut-brownish..."? :? That may mean "Pakistani" coloured - who knows? Whatever the case, this smacks of Fanny and Dick in "The Magic Faraway Tree" becoming Roberta and Lloyd in some politically "rewritten" versions. (Alright, it wasn't Roberta or Lloyd, I can't remember what Fanny and Dick were changed to!) :ugeek:
"The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless...the Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger...the Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others.'- Prologue FotR Frodo and Bilbo were from the Fallohide strain via the Tooks but the Harfoot strain was the most numerous and common among Shire hobbits. So I suppose you could, at a stretch, see the different hobbit types as different hobbit races. With the Harfoots being brown skinned. Whether Tolkien meant this as brown skinned as in a white person who has lived most of their days outdoors or brown skinned as in Pakistani or Indian colouring is I suppose a matter of conjecture. However out of all the numerous illustrations for his work, many of which Tolkien commented on, I cannot recall him ever saying the artist had made hobbits too white. From that alone I think Tolkien saw the Shire hobbits as white. I would imagine if hobbits are common throughout ME that you do get them in all shades, hobbits from Far Harad and beyond. And I have no problem in such a context with black/arabic/indian hobbits its just LotR and TH is not about them. Its about white hobbits in the far north.
[quote="pettytyrant101":260w99do]So this I think would be like someone making a film about the first King of the Scots in 800ad and people complaining there weren't any black people in it. Its not about race, its about geography.[/quote:260w99do] I was going to make a similar comment. There are certain physical characteristics that are wanted for extras playing Hobbits, so it's not just skin colour. As the article mentions, they're not going to cast tall people as Hobbits either. Or what about a war movie from an era where women weren't allowed in the military: are you going to cast actresses as female soldiers anyway? All of these cases are discrimination, but I think they are acceptable. This reminds me a bit of [i:260w99do]The Last Airbender[/i:260w99do] when people were making a fuss over the casting of Caucasian actors in an Asian-inspired fantasy world. In that case I think they should have had more Asian actors because the world of that movie is clearly inspired by Asian cultures. I would have been all for discriminating against Caucasian actors. On the other hand, Middle-earth is clearly based on Europe, so it's the opposite situation.
I don't think it can be discrimination. You are casting for someone who fits a role, visually as much as anything else. Nobody would cast a white man as Othello and I can't think of any white actor ever claiming they were discriminated against for not getting to play the role.
I don't think it can be discrimination. You are casting for someone who fits a role, visually as much as anything else. Nobody would cast a white man as Othello and I can't think of any white actor ever claiming they were discriminated against for not getting to play the role.
[quote="pettytyrant101":2e9dz0yh]I don't think it can be discrimination. You are casting for someone who fits a role, visually as much as anything else. Nobody would cast a white man as Othello and I can't think of any white actor ever claiming they were discriminated against for not getting to play the role.[/quote:2e9dz0yh] I was using 'discrimination' to just mean making distinctions between groups and choosing one or the other. I don't think it's inherently based on bigotry or intolerance, though those connotations have been given to the word. That said, I think we essentially agree with each other, and perhaps I made a poor choice of words. Also, I like your [i:2e9dz0yh]Othello[/i:2e9dz0yh] example.
Yes we do agree Eldo. Its just one of those pc things. The women concerned wants to be an actress and getting attention in any way you can is a part of that game it seems. If Beorn is in the film they are unlikely to cast someone three foot tall in the role and that won't be intolerance either, nor was it intolerance when they cast the Uruk-Hai from tall well built men and not say short women. I see no real difference between any of these examples and her complaint. You cast for as close a match to what the script describes. It can't work any other way.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1nnt5nbj]I don't think it can be discrimination. You are casting for someone who fits a role, visually as much as anything else. Nobody would cast a white man as Othello and I can't think of any white actor ever claiming they were discriminated against for not getting to play the role.[/quote:1nnt5nbj] Except "white" people in "Black-face" have traditionally been cast as Othello until the last few decades. :P Given that many Hobbits were incredibly well tanned (with tans that George Hamilton and John Boehner would kill for), and the plausibility of Hobbits from other parts of Middle Earth, and Especially the fact they are Fantasy creatures; I see little reason not to cast a few "darker" skinned Hobbits. Personally, as a general rule, I'm all for casting the main characters of an adaptation with the "racial" characteristics as written. But I see little reason to have an all-white cast of extras in any production nowadays. Given the modern knowledge that the Ancient World was much more cosmopolitan (people traveled) than previously believed, it's not at all implausible to consider that some pre-Medieval Middle Easterners and North Africans might have reached and settled in the British Isles and Ireland. Which is why the series Merlin felt a lot freer to cast a dark skinned Guinevere. Most people forget, or never even learned that the Moors ruled and settled the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th to 15th century, smack in the heart of the Medieval Period (indeed without the Moorish preservation of ancient Greek knowledge--long since destroyed by the Church--the late medieval resurgence and influence of pagan knowledge and art that led to the Renaissance might never have happened). It's more than just being PC, it's actually historically accurate. [b:1nnt5nbj]GB[/b:1nnt5nbj]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":l5x6k1ki]Except "white" people in "Black-face" have traditionally been cast as Othello until the last few decades. :P [/quote:l5x6k1ki] Which was an unfortunate historical byproduct that is now being fixed. Seeing as neither petty nor I advocate for white actors to play Othello, I fail to see how that is a meaningful response to our points. [quote:l5x6k1ki]Given that many Hobbits were incredibly well tanned (with tans that George Hamilton and John Boehner would kill for), and the plausibility of Hobbits from other parts of Middle Earth, and Especially the fact they are Fantasy creatures; I see little reason not to cast a few "darker" skinned Hobbits.[/quote:l5x6k1ki] Except [url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/4400118/Hobbit-hopeful-pulled-up-short-over-skin-colour:l5x6k1ki]the woman in question[/url:l5x6k1ki] is considerably darker-skinned than a European person with a tan. [quote:l5x6k1ki]Personally, as a general rule, I'm all for casting the main characters of an adaptation with the "racial" characteristics as written. But I see little reason to have an all-white cast of extras in any production nowadays.[/quote:l5x6k1ki] I don't see any problem with getting extras whose physical appearance matches that of the people they are supposed to be portraying. I would be annoyed by watching a movie like, say, John Wayne's Genghis Khan movie with white actors trying to play people who were Asian, but I think it works both ways. [quote:l5x6k1ki]It's more than just being PC, it's actually historically accurate.[/quote:l5x6k1ki] We're not talking about real world history, we're talking about Middle-earth. I could see the case being made for Gondor, but [i:l5x6k1ki]The Hobbit[/i:l5x6k1ki] takes place exclusively in the (relatively isolated) northern part of the region.
I agree entirely with your points Eldo. If it were a film about middle age europe then Moors and the like would be fine, but its not. Its about an imagined world and set within a small isolated northern community, well established and settled. And its a white community. White with tans maybe but white nonetheless.
[quote="Eldorion":31oy6jhp][quote="Gandalfs Beard":31oy6jhp]Except "white" people in "Black-face" have traditionally been cast as Othello until the last few decades. :P [/quote:31oy6jhp] Which was an unfortunate historical byproduct that is now being fixed. Seeing as neither petty nor I advocate for white actors to play Othello, I fail to see how that is a meaningful response to our points.[/quote:31oy6jhp] it is a meaningful response to that particular point of Petty's. :roll: [quote:31oy6jhp][quote:31oy6jhp]Given that many Hobbits were incredibly well tanned (with tans that George Hamilton and John Boehner would kill for), and the plausibility of Hobbits from other parts of Middle Earth, and Especially the fact they are Fantasy creatures; I see little reason not to cast a few "darker" skinned Hobbits.[/quote:31oy6jhp] Except [url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/4400118/Hobbit-hopeful-pulled-up-short-over-skin-colour:31oy6jhp]the woman in question[/url:31oy6jhp] is considerably darker-skinned than a European person with a tan.[/quote:31oy6jhp] Funnily enough she doesn't even look as tanned as George Hamilton or John Boehner: :? [img:31oy6jhp]http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1290946259/817/4399817.jpg[/img:31oy6jhp] [quote:31oy6jhp][quote:31oy6jhp]Personally, as a general rule, I'm all for casting the main characters of an adaptation with the "racial" characteristics as written. But I see little reason to have an all-white cast of extras in any production nowadays.[/quote:31oy6jhp] I don't see any problem with getting extras whose physical appearance matches that of the people they are supposed to be portraying. I would be annoyed by watching a movie like, say, John Wayne's Genghis Khan movie with white actors trying to play people who were Asian, but I think it works both ways. [/quote:31oy6jhp] I don't think it's annoying for extras to be mixed. Your point is more valid for the main characters. Besides, it's not meant to represent real history like John Wayne's Genghis Khan...Right?.... [quote:31oy6jhp][quote:31oy6jhp]It's more than just being PC, it's actually historically accurate.[/quote:31oy6jhp] We're not talking about real world history, we're talking about Middle-earth. I could see the case being made for Gondor, but [i:31oy6jhp]The Hobbit[/i:31oy6jhp] takes place exclusively in the (relatively isolated) northern part of the region.[/quote:31oy6jhp] ...Oh...so NOW it's Fantasy. :roll: And maybe you are insisting that Ancient Britain (the Shire) never had Arabic or North African visitors (some of whom stuck around): [quote:31oy6jhp]BBC: The Black Romans — Articles on Black History Was Septimius Severus the 1st Black man to rule England? Did you know that Black and Asian people first came to the North East in Roman times? Or that England was once ruled by a Libyan? These and many more historical facts were revealed as part of BBC Black History Month. Early Black History Emperor Septimius Severus wasn’t the only Black Roman in Britain. There were other African officers, soldiers … stationed on and around Hadrian’s Wall in the 3rd century. Black Romans From the 9th century onwards, there are records of Vikings bringing Moroccans to the region. There’s a gap in the recording of black presence in the North East of England for nearly 400 years until the start of the 16th century. Black and Asian presence in the North East of England can be traced back to Septimius Severus, a North African Libyan, who ruled England as Roman Emperor between 193-211 AD. Severus was unique amongst the Roman emperors as being the first Black citizen to hold the highest office in the empire. Son of Septimus The most celebrated example of an early Black presence in Britain is the case of the Roman military garrison on Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria. A 4th century inscription tells us that the Roman auxiliary unit, Numerus Maurorum Aurelianorum, was stationed at Aballava, modern day Burgh-by-Sands. This unit had been mustered in the Roman province of Mauretania in North Africa, modern Morocco. septimus-severus The Black Romans Genetic evidence It was recently suggested that African DNA might be found to be present in the local populations near to Hadrian’s Wall. However, this would not conclusively show that the Black Roman soldiers on the wall intermarried with the local population because of the problem of ‘admixture’. Admixture is a process whereby the DNA of a population becomes diluted over time and it cannot be shown at what period in time that dilution took place. African Legacy During his time in office, Septimius Severus legalised marriage during military service. There is also evidence that that some Black Romans married, had children, and remained in Britain after their tour of duty. Skeletons unearthed in a Romano British Cemetery outside York revealed the limb proportions of some of the men suggested that they were Black Africans. Perhaps they might be considered to be Britain’s first Diaspora people, making Cumbria the birthplace of Black British history?[/quote:31oy6jhp] [quote:31oy6jhp]Borders Folks May Be Descended From Africans (Hadrian's Wall) The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 6-11-2004 | David Derbyshire Families who have lived in the English-Scottish Borders for generations could be descended from African soldiers who patrolled Hadrian's Wall nearly 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists say there is compelling evidence that a 500-strong unit of Moors manned a fort near Carlisle in the third century AD. Richard Benjamin, an archaeologist at Liverpool University who has studied the history of black Britons, believes many would have settled and raised families. "When you talk about Romans in Britain, most people think about blue eyes and pale complexions," he said. "But the reality was very different." Writing in the journal British Archaeology, Mr Benjamin describes a fourth century inscription discovered in Beaumount, two miles from the remains of the Aballava fort at Burgh by Sands. The inscription refers to the "numerus of Aurelian Moors" - a unit of North Africans, probably named after the emperor Marcus Aurelius. The unit is also mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum, a Roman list of officials and dignitaries. It describes the prefect of the "numeri Maurorum Aurelianorum, Aballaba". The unit was probably mustered in the Roman province of Mauretania, in modern-day Morocco, by the emperor Septimus Severus and arrived in Britain in the second or third centuries AD. Aballava lay at the western end of Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria. Mr Benjamin suspects that the unit would have been blooded in battles in Germany and the Danube where more inscriptions refer to a unit of Moors. Their number is unknown, but the fort could have held up to 500 men. "There was freedom of movement for civilians and those in administration of the armed forces. Discharge certificates indicate that the veteran soldiers settled in Britain," he said. "Soldiers would have had plenty of money to spend in native settlements on the outskirts of the forts. They would have sought entertainment in brothels. Many would probably have wanted more permanent relationships." Mr Benjamin is calling for a major study of black Roman Britons. He believes that DNA tests of locals could reveal genetic links with modern-day north Africans, while skeletons of Romans found in the area might contain telltale clues to their childhood origins. Buildings in the village may have been built from recycled Roman materials. Some might be of African origin, he said. The unit is likely to have been composed of Berbers from North Africa, but may also have had darker-skinned soldiers from Nubia. In 1989, archaeologists discovered a 1,900-year-old wooden sculpture of a black African head in London carved in the first century. Contemporary records also point to Africans living in Britain during the Roman occupation. The emperor Septimus Severus is reported to have been approached by a black African soldier while he crossed Hadrian's Wall on his return from a battle in Scotland. In South Shields, a Roman tombstone refers to a 20-year-old "Moor by race, the freed slave of Numerians". [/quote:31oy6jhp] Whether it's Fantasy or Reality, it seems it makes little difference in the end. Apparently Reality is sometimes more Fantastic than Fantasy is. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> [b:31oy6jhp]GB[/b:31oy6jhp]
I don't see the relevance of all this real world history (none of which is early enough anyway for Tokens imagined lost age). This about casting TH. Hobbits of the Shire. Based on the sort of small english rural setting in which Tolkien grew up and in which the people were white. Therefore the hobbits should be white. If your casting roles where the people or characters are black you cast black actors if white you cast white. It should be common sense not somehow mixed up in racism.
GB, you certainly take your liberalities well beyond the bounds of respectablity. Tolkien is no doubt turning in his grave. :roll: (NB [i:2308at2h]Tolkien[/i:2308at2h] is the guy who [i:2308at2h]wrote [/i:2308at2h]The Hobbit, GB - just in case you forgot. Here to help! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> )
'Except "white" people in "Black-face" have traditionally been cast as Othello until the last few decades.' 'it is a meaningful response to that particular point of Petty's.'-Gb If it is I've missed the meaning GB. Are you saying they should have cast black actors for white roles and 'whitened them up'?! :shock: "I don't think it's annoying for extras to be mixed."- GB It would annoy me in LotR. Tolkien wrote a story supported by a fictitious but well worked out history. If there were black hobbits in the film I'd want to know how and where they came from. Where did they migrate from? Are they Harad hobbits? How did they end up so far north in the Shire? Is there racism as a result? How do white hobbits treat black hobbits? And a host of other questions. Tolkiens work expects and is written in anticipation of such questions. And he provided no answers to explain racially divergent hobbits in the Shire, based on that there are [i:1v4hinn8]no[/i:1v4hinn8] racially divergent hobbits in the Shire. They are [b:1v4hinn8]white[/b:1v4hinn8]. I see no reason to introduce racially divergent hobbits except for silly reasons of pcness. 'BBC Black History Month'- there were indeed some excellent and interesting, even eye opening documentaries in that series but not I think very relevant to hobbits of the Shire! I wonder if we are going to have this again when they get round to casting Thranduils elves!
Excuse me, but you are all missing the point. On the one hand Eldo claims that it shouldn't be because it's not historical (and I proved him wrong on that score), and on the other hand he claims it shouldn't be because it's fantasy, yet if it's a fantasy there is nothing wrong with, and it's not "PC," to include a mix of races. And the MAIN point is that if you look at the picture of the woman that Eldo claims is a "Darkie", she frankly doesn't look any darker than a tanned Hobbit. In fact she looks very Hobbitish, and it was racist for her to be denied a part based on the colour of her skin. [b:1jr8ddjx]GB[/b:1jr8ddjx]
'yet if it's a fantasy there is nothing wrong with, and it's not "PC," to include a mix of races'- GB I would strongly disagree GB when the fantasy in question is Tolkiens for all the reasons I gave above in my last post and which you have ignored. However I do agree this particular person does not seem noticeably too dark to play a hobbit of the Shire and I doubt anyone would have noticed her in a background shot anyway.
[quote="pettytyrant101":37ntywy6]'yet if it's a fantasy there is nothing wrong with, and it's not "PC," to include a mix of races'- GB I would strongly disagree GB when the fantasy in question is Tolkiens for all the reasons I gave above in my last post and which you have ignored. However I do agree this particular person does not seem noticeably too dark to play a hobbit of the Shire and I doubt anyone would have noticed her in a background shot anyway.[/quote:37ntywy6] I didn't ignore them Petty, i just disagreed with them. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> But in the end the main point was to smack Eldo for suggesting the lady in question was "too dark" and for making some dubious and contradictory assertions. Other than that, our disagreements are purely subjective and your opinion is as valid as mine. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> [b:37ntywy6]GB[/b:37ntywy6]
I was going to bow out of the thread, but since GB can't resist misrepresenting me.... [quote="Gandalfs Beard":3651p5zv]Excuse me, but you are all missing the point. On the one hand Eldo claims that it shouldn't be because it's not historical (and I proved him wrong on that score), and on the other hand he claims it shouldn't be because it's fantasy, yet if it's a fantasy there is nothing wrong with, and it's not "PC," to include a mix of races.[/quote:3651p5zv] I re-read every post I made in this thread just to be sure, and I didn't claim that it was historically inaccurate. In fact, I pointed out in the last post on page one that I wasn't talking about history, despite your repeated attempts to drag that into the discussion. The closest I came to this was making [i:3651p5zv]analogies[/i:3651p5zv] to films with historical subjects, but anyone with even a passing familiarity with the English language can tell the difference between comparing two things and saying that they're the same. This has progressed from a red herring to an outright strawman. [quote:3651p5zv]And the MAIN point is that if you look at the picture of the woman that Eldo claims is a "Darkie", she frankly doesn't look any darker than a tanned Hobbit. In fact she looks very Hobbitish, and it was racist for her to be denied a part based on the colour of her skin.[/quote:3651p5zv] I said she doesn't look European. Surprise, surprise; she doesn't - because she isn't European. Somehow a simple observational statement becomes a racist accusation complete with outdated slurs in the mind of GB.
"I didn't ignore them Petty, I just disagreed with them."- GB Given when we discuss Tolkien we nearly always are speculating based off the detailed history Tolkien left us, I'm not sure you can disagree so dismissively GB. Don't you think if there had been a migration of dark skinned hobbits north Tolkien might have thought to mention it somewhere? As Odo pointed out Tolkien did write the thing after all and what he wrote should be the starting point for anything, including casting. And got to agree with Eldo over the 'darkie' bit GB. You put that word in Eldo's mouth, he was only ever talking about different racial groups based on location, not how light or dark they were and he certainly never used that particular word. Whilst I agree that women would go unnoticed by most as an extra in the background your wording is a bit below the belt imo.
Thanks petty. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> I've actually reconsidered my position after someone on another forum pointed out a quote in the Prologue mentioning that some Hobbits were "browner of skin" than others (though that's far from conclusive). However, I really took issue with GB's twisting of my words.
"The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless...the Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger...the Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others.'- Prologue FotR Copied and pasted form the first page. We discussed this on (I think) the origin of hobbits thread. I still think what I said then, that this is the sort of browning of skin you get among white Europeans who spend a great deal of their life outdoors rather than indicating a racial difference. I think if it had been meant as a racial difference there would have been more made of it by Tolkien in his descriptions. As far as I can remember the prologue is in fact the only place this browner skin is mentioned. However it is just vague enough that if you really wanted to take it as meaning a different racial type of hobbit with a noticeably different skin tone you could I suppose. But it still lacks any supporting evidence.