Racism in Middle-earth

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l
Posts: 18

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#1 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:07 pm

Does anyone of you know good examples for racism in Middle-earth?
i am thinking about examples like the Elves and the Dwarves but the question is: is that already racism?
Are Hobbits just suspicious towards outlandish folk or is this racism, as well?

Are the wizards a race on their own or "just" Maiar?
Are Orcs treating Wargs like racists because they use them for their purpose?

What are your thoughts on the subject?



Balrogs R Us
Posts: 539

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#2 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:58 pm


Hm, an interesting thought for sure. After really thinking about it, I think the best example would be elves and dwarves. Not very dissimilar to, say, America and Iran. Not every American hates Iranians, and vice versa. However there is still a degree of racism among the many who do, simply because we are American or they are Iranian. They never "directly" harmed the US, yet many think they are untrustworthy.



And just how the two have had their crisis back in the 70s, elves/dwarves had theirs with Thingol's attack. Relations weren't COMPLETELY sundered, and they still did the occasional trade, though it was never the same. I believe I read somewhere the new dwarven caravans were heavily armored thereafter.



So, is this so different? The US still gets oil from Iran, though most think they are the bad guy....and vice versa. I only use the two as an example of real world racism that was never directly influenced by violence.



However, I really can't think of many other examples outside of assuming all orcs are evil monsters but....that seems to be pretty...official. I'm not sure I understand your orc/warg comparison, as it's not much different from humans and horses. Perhaps wargs were slightly smarter than most creatures, as they seemed to know who to attack and when, whereas a horse might just run off or stand there, but they were still just that...creatures. So they are not a comparable race as they are a completely different species. Now animal rights in ME is a different story.



I don't doubt for a second many of Thingols people were resentful they stayed in ME. And then after the Kinslaying, many probably thought they would've done better or they were superior to those killers. This is the difference between Noldori and Sindari, which I guess could be considered different races?? This of course is just wild speculation but, if our real life human behavior has any indication, it's really not that unlikely.



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Ainulindale
Posts: 36

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#3 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:15 pm


 



I think when the Elves used to hunt the Petty-Dwarves for sport and then stopped when they decided it was wrong is racism almost genocide.  



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brego
Posts: 1275

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#4 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:33 pm

Interesting. I don't consider that Men,Dwarves and Elves are races, they are totally different people's.


I think an actual example of racism is between the Weatern Men and the Rohan vs the Southrons and The Hill Men who have, thanks to Sauron hated each other for centuries.


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galin
Posts: 1369

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#5 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:17 am



I think when the Elves used to hunt the Petty-Dwarves for sport and then stopped when they decided it was wrong is racism almost genocide.




Your description here might give the wrong impression, I think. The Petty-Dwarves attacked the Eldar for example, and the more detailed scenario reads (JRR Tolkien, The War of The Jewels):




'The Eldar did not at first recognize these [Petty-Dwarves] as Incarnates, for they seldom caught sight of them in clear light. They only became aware of their existence indeed when they [the Petty-Dwarves] attacked the Eldar by stealth at night, or if they caught them alone in wild places.'



'The Eldar therefore thought that they were a kind of cunning two-legged animal living in caves, and they called them Levain tad-dail, or simply Tad-dail, and they hunted them. But after the Eldar had made the acquaintance of the Naugrim, the Tad-dail were recognized as a variety of Dwarves and were left alone.'




neithan
Posts: 8

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#6 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:49 pm


In The Children of Hurin, Saeros's motives for offending Turin can be partially, if not wholly, interpreted as racist - he even refers to Morwen as "clad only with her hair", evoking an association of her being a wild animal.



I will give you the quotation which sounds to me particularly racist :



 



Saeros then plied him with questions, concerning the news from the borders, and his deeds in the

wild; but though his words seemed fair, the mockery in his voice could not be mistaken. Then

Túrin became weary, and he looked about him, and knew the bitterness of exile; and for all the

light and laughter of the Elven-halls his thought turned to Beleg and their life in the woods, and

thence far away, to Morwen in Dor-lómin in the house of his father; and he frowned, because of

the darkness of his thoughts, and made no answer to Saeros. At this, believing the frown aimed at

himself, Saeros restrained his anger no longer; and he took out a golden comb, and cast it on the

board before Túrin, crying: 'Doubtless, Man of Hithlum, you came in haste to this table, and may

be excused your ragged cloak; but there is no need to leave your head untended as a thicket of

brambles. And maybe if your ears were uncovered you would heed better what is said to you.'

Túrin said nothing, but turned his eyes upon Saeros, and there was a glint in their darkness. But

Saeros did not heed the warning, and returned the gaze with scorn, saying for all to hear: 'If the

Men of Hithlum are so wild and fell, of what sort are the women of that land? Do they run like

the deer clad only in their hair?'



User avatar
l
Posts: 18

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#7 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:14 am


To explain my warg/orc example:



In The Hobbit the wargs have the ability to speak to humans, though only Gandalf understands their language.



And in the battle of the five armies they are counted as one of these five armies.



They seem to have their own history of battles with other races, so i would go as far as say, that Tolkien was trying to tell us, that even animal-alike creatures are counted as own race in Middle-earth.


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brego
Posts: 1275

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#8 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:13 am

Indeed however these are all different species, not races. Perhaps this thread should read "peopleism or Breedism" of which there is plenty of examples in ME.

Balrogs R Us
Posts: 539

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#9 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:09 pm


I find it very interesting Lilia you consider wargs to be a race equal to elves/humans/dwarves. I had never considered this. Interesting point, however I'd have to disagree. In your analogy some other races of ME would include dragons, balrogs, eagles and I'm sure a few more.



So is it speech that defines what a race is compared to a species? Or is it classification? I've read a few stories that include an army of wolves that are referred to as such...does this mean wolves are their own race? Or no because they don't speak a language known to humans? Also if Gandalf is the only one to understand them, how is that different from, say, dogs or cats? They love to talk to us, even though nobody really knows what they're saying. Yet I assume you do not consider them another race among humans?



In our world races include Africans, Caucasians, Asians, Indians, Natives etc etc. Humans who just look different. I just find it interesting you'd consider what I'd always considered a slightly smarter/larger wolf as a race in and of itself. Not necessarily saying you're wrong, because I suppose depending on your reasons I could see how that conclusion could be made, just an interesting perspective.



Indis
Posts: 332

Racism in Middle-earth

Post#10 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:20 am



Interesting. I don't consider that Men,Dwarves and Elves are races, they are totally different people's.



I think an actual example of racism is between the Weatern Men and the Rohan vs the Southrons and The Hill Men who have, thanks to Sauron hated each other for centuries.




I see it in a similar way. When it comes to Elves/Dwarves I think it's rather based on different cultures than on a racist level. Those races were interested in so different things (and also they were developed so differently) that they just couldn't get along together too well.



When it comes to Dwarves I also see the element of them being brought to life by Aule without Eru's consent at first. I could see it would affecting their history.




In The Children of Hurin, Saeros's motives for offending Turin can be partially, if not wholly, interpreted as racist - he even refers to Morwen as "clad only with her hair", evoking an association of her being a wild animal.




Oh, I remember that part - thanks for putting the quote here.



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