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Editing Racism in Tolkien's Works

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[[Image:John Howe - Easterlings.jpg|thumb|''Easterlings'' by [[John Howe]]]]
 
[[Image:John Howe - Easterlings.jpg|thumb|''Easterlings'' by [[John Howe]]]]
  
Some fans and critics of Tolkien's works could observe several ambiguously '''Racist and race-based elements'''; these go further into stereotyping or the symbolism of good versus evil in the Tolkien's [[legendarium]]. Though the latter is a more canonically valid and established area of study, as early as the first edition of ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' the topic of 'race' has been discussed, including by [[C.S. Lewis]].{{fact}}
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Some fans and critics of Tolkien's works could observe several ambiguously '''Racist and race-based elements'''; these go further into stereotyping or the symbolism of good versus evil in the Tolkien's [[Legendarium]]. Though the latter is a more canonically valid and established area of study, as early as the first edition of ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' the topic of 'race' has been discussed, including by [[C.S. Lewis]].{{fact}}
  
 
In the [[The Lord of the Rings Foreword|Foreword]] to the revised edition of ''The Lord of the Rings'', Tolkien cautioned strongly against viewing it as an allegory, saying that he disliked allegory himself. Furthermore, according to his own claims, Tolkien denounced Hitler, Nazi beliefs, "race-doctrine" and apartheid and praised the Jews, calling them a "gifted people" (see below). Tolkien can therefore be described as an author whose messages, allegories (or lack-thereof), and agendas as being set aside from the social-political domain and entirely focused within a fantasy-fiction context.  
 
In the [[The Lord of the Rings Foreword|Foreword]] to the revised edition of ''The Lord of the Rings'', Tolkien cautioned strongly against viewing it as an allegory, saying that he disliked allegory himself. Furthermore, according to his own claims, Tolkien denounced Hitler, Nazi beliefs, "race-doctrine" and apartheid and praised the Jews, calling them a "gifted people" (see below). Tolkien can therefore be described as an author whose messages, allegories (or lack-thereof), and agendas as being set aside from the social-political domain and entirely focused within a fantasy-fiction context.  
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Some critics have declared that there is racism in Tolkien's works through his use of the words such as "light" and "white" vs. "dark" or "black". In 2002, John Yatt in ''The Guardian'' wrote: "White men are good, 'dark' men are bad, orcs are worst of all.<ref>''The Guardian'' (2 December 2002)</ref>.{{fact}} Other critics such as [[Tom Shippey]] and [[Michael D.C. Drout]] disagree with such clear-cut generalizations of Tolkien's "white" and "dark" men into good and bad.
 
Some critics have declared that there is racism in Tolkien's works through his use of the words such as "light" and "white" vs. "dark" or "black". In 2002, John Yatt in ''The Guardian'' wrote: "White men are good, 'dark' men are bad, orcs are worst of all.<ref>''The Guardian'' (2 December 2002)</ref>.{{fact}} Other critics such as [[Tom Shippey]] and [[Michael D.C. Drout]] disagree with such clear-cut generalizations of Tolkien's "white" and "dark" men into good and bad.
  
The whole of Tolkien's legendarium contains a conflict between "light" (The Trees, the [[Silmarils]]) and "darkness" (the literal absence of light). Morgoth's standard was ''"sable unblazoned"'' (that is, plain black). ''"Mordor"'' means "black land" in Sindarin. If one were to analyse this through a racial lense, the ongoing clash may be interpreted as containing racial symbolism of light skinned versus dark skinned peoples, although Eol, father of Maeglin was known as the Dark Elf, and the Moriquendi were called the Elves of Darkness. Both these terms refer to remaining outside the light of the two trees, not to skin tone. The [[Black Númenóreans]] are likewise named because of the color of their allegiance to Sauron and their heraldry, not their skin tone. Considering this, Tolkien's assignment of Good and Evil to "light" and "dark" cannot simply be dismissed as racial undertones within the broader narrative.  
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The whole of Tolkien's Legendarium contains a conflict between "light" (The Trees, the [[Silmarils]]) and "darkness" (the literal absence of light). Morgoth's standard was ''"sable unblazoned"'' (that is, plain black). ''"Mordor"'' means "black land" in Sindarin. If one were to analyse this through a racial lense, the ongoing clash may be interpreted as containing racial symbolism of light skinned versus dark skinned peoples, although Eol, father of Maeglin was known as the Dark Elf, and the Moriquendi were called the Elves of Darkness. Both these terms refer to remaining outside the light of the two trees, not to skin tone. The [[Black Númenóreans]] are likewise named because of the color of their allegiance to Sauron and their heraldry, not their skin tone. Considering this, Tolkien's assignment of Good and Evil to "light" and "dark" cannot simply be dismissed as racial undertones within the broader narrative.  
  
 
But white is not associated only with Good. [[Saruman]] the White has the [[White Hand]] as his symbol. Similarly black is not only associated with evil as Gondor uses a black standard bearing the White Tree, and the Guards of the Citadel of Minas Tirith wore black chain mail. In [[The Peoples of Middle-earth]], three Númenórean ships are followed by a boat with black sails. One of the mariners explains to a native of Middle-earth, scared that the black sails indicate doom, that the blackness is in fact a thing of beauty, the night sky of Elbereth (who kindled the stars). Indeed, Tolkien states that one of Morgoth's (literally, the ''Black Enemy'') victories was in associating darkness and night with fear and evil.
 
But white is not associated only with Good. [[Saruman]] the White has the [[White Hand]] as his symbol. Similarly black is not only associated with evil as Gondor uses a black standard bearing the White Tree, and the Guards of the Citadel of Minas Tirith wore black chain mail. In [[The Peoples of Middle-earth]], three Númenórean ships are followed by a boat with black sails. One of the mariners explains to a native of Middle-earth, scared that the black sails indicate doom, that the blackness is in fact a thing of beauty, the night sky of Elbereth (who kindled the stars). Indeed, Tolkien states that one of Morgoth's (literally, the ''Black Enemy'') victories was in associating darkness and night with fear and evil.

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