🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Political Correctness

Ossiriand Blade

Registered User
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
yorkshire england
Its seems fairly obvious that one of the major changes will be in the flims depictions of the Haradrim and easterling soldiery Tolkien make no bones of the fact that the Haradrim are black men with plaited hair and that the easterlings are orientals similar to genghis khans mongol horsemen.I cannot see a major hollywood film being released with such deliberate racial overtones(especially when set against the very aryan host of the west who all-even the elves-have very nordic appearences) this is a shame in that it robs us of the spectacle of battle as described in the books(as well as altering sams oliphaunt encounter)but maybe in this day and age its for the best?
 
Last edited:

PRH

Registered User
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
689
Reaction score
0
You know, I kept meaning to bring this up but I kept forgetting...

Has anyone heard any mention or seen any pictures to suggest there that the Haradrim, Easterlings or Dunlanders will be shown in the films? Will there be any evil men at all or just orcs? Will even the Corsairs become seafaring orcs?

Surely the complete omission of evil men (if this is the case) is a vastly more substantial adulteration of Tolkien's work than Arwen at the Ford! Sauron's corruption of so many men to his service is a major plot line of Tolkien's writings.


btw - we already know that Helm's Deep will just be Uruk-Hai vs. Men & Elves. PJ described the battle just as such in a recent quote.
 

dapence

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2001
Messages
469
Reaction score
6
Location
San Diego, CA
Where is their a description of the Haradrim being 'black men with plaited hair?'

Just curious
 

Ossiriand Blade

Registered User
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
yorkshire england
Here is Sams description in Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit:- "His BLACK PLAITS of hair braided with gold were drenched with blood.His BROWN hand still clutched the hilt of a broken sword"
And Gollums description in The Black Gate is Closed :- "DARK FACES......they have black eyes and long black hair......not nice very cruel wicked men they look"

I realise this is an American website and any touching on subjects of race and gender in the land of the free is liable to be reported,but i am not a racist just interested in the nature of pc in movies as well as the selective romanticisation of many Tolkien fans.The fact is many of them,if they ever had the opportunity to meet Tolkien,would not have been confronted with some earthly incarnation of Gandalf.He was very reactionary and conservative,raised in imperial South Africa-he believed in the divine right of English Kings to rule half the world,despised democracy and most things"foreign" ie outside Northern Europe and these things(ie the demonisation of the east and south) didnt appear in his books by accident.Now he was no Nazi and despised Hitler but many of his views are not the airy-fairy new age ones that many Tolkien fans hold (i myself listen to syd barretts pink floyd and 60s music,have long hair,live in a multcultural area etc) I find the contradiction very interesting and i am sure it is unpalatable for a lot of Tolkien fans to confront.
 
H

Harad

Guest
I happen to know that JRRT loved "Baby Lemonade" and took his inspiration for Galadriel from an early version of "Goldenhair."
 

dapence

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2001
Messages
469
Reaction score
6
Location
San Diego, CA
Interesting ... Could be. I wonder what PC changes PJ might make along these lines. Though, it would be NLC more likely making PC changes.
 
G

greypilgrim

Guest
i think that political correctness is a sign of weakness, of blanketing ones true thoughts to appease the masses. i never thought that pj omitting events in these movies(which i think he did a fine mess of in FoTR), or changing events in his own way(which was horrible) was because of a wish NOT to offend anybody. i don't know if i want to spit on him or shake his hand. i loved the first movie, regardless, and have decided to wait for the two towers to come out to make up my mind about him. we shall see how real he keeps it.
i know i could not have done better! but i would have kept it real. so what if somebody gets OFFENDED!!! thats a sign of that person's OWN WEAKNESS. aaaarrrgghhhh!!!! am i wrong?
 
H

Harad

Guest
Its a tough call, but in some sense "balance" is the key. If all literature portrays an ethnic group in one negative way, even if that one way was lifted directly from history, for example, than that IS stereotyping. The balance would be if other literature portrays the same ethnic group in a positive way. Of course portraying it incorrectly either positive or negative is just plain wrong.

PJ should not, in principle, be held to account for all stereotyping history that preceded him. Nevertheless a more "important" point might be the desire to appeal to all ethnic groups at the box office. Would having the bad guys closely associated with one ethnic group (if thats possible in a fantasy?) be bad business?
 

Thorin

LOTR Purist to the end
Joined
Aug 20, 2001
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
15
I don't know...I'm a little torn here.

I highly doubt that when Tolkien created the Haradrim, he was thinking of African-American....They were created dark to distinguish themselves from those of Gondor and Rohan...Once again, dark and light, good against evil..Tolkien shows a distinction in these regards very thoroughly...

Some may think, "Well, Tolkien is saying, then, that white people represent good and dark people represent evil." I think that that is stretching it, and missing the imagery that Tolkien was trying to portray in his distinctions between the different races.

The way the people of Harad are described are "dark" with "black eyes" and long "black hair" and "brown hands". Who's to say that they never painted their faces, or that they spent a long time in the sun? I see no description that the Haradrim had afros and dreadlocks and full lips or spoke with Jamaican accents..

Trying to associate the Haradrim with any race here on earth, is like saying that the hobbits represent dwarfism, and the elves are like Fabio....

PJ can still get around the PC issues just by making them look fierce and thuggish like the Celts were in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". To not put any men in the battle and just have orcs is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
 
G

greypilgrim

Guest
there better be some new character races in the next movie! there are enough left out of the first.
 

PRH

Registered User
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
689
Reaction score
0
To quote myself citing a quote of PJ:
we already know that Helm's Deep will just be Uruk-Hai vs. Men & Elves. PJ described the battle just as such in a recent quote.
He said almost verbatim: "It is a battle between the Uruk-Hai and Men and Elves at Helm's Deep."

No mention of Dunlanders.

HOWEVER....PJ has talked about the incident with the Haradrim soldier dying right in front of Sam as an example of Tolkien's non-racism. I don't see why PJ would mention this episode if it wasn't going to be in the film....still, he might.
 
M

mikado

Guest
Hello everyone!

I had the impression that consciously or not Middle Earth was a pretty close copy of pre-war Europe (barbarians to the east, dark-skinned barbarians to the south, emigration to the west, etc). However I wouldn't go so far as to say that Tolkein/LOTR equates caucasian with good and dark skin with evil per se. I think it just reflects a vague cultural mindset.

I would be sorry if the Haradrim etc were written out as they add variety and the story would be pretty boring if it was just non-stop orcs. I would have thought the film makers could have figured out a way to make the evil humans resemble the LOTR descriptions without overtly equalling any particular racial groups.

Mick :)
 

Ossiriand Blade

Registered User
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
yorkshire england
Thorin- although I agree with your assessment that Tolkien was not trying to portray black people as evil per se(especially bearing in mind what a comitted christian he was)there is no doubt he was portraying the haradrim as black-there is a more explicit quote in the battle of the pelennor fields where he describes(this is not a direct quote)evil black men with red tongues from far Harad like half trolls.
 
H

Harad

Guest
I dont believe that Tolkien was racist, but religion is hardly a reason to justify that belief. Some of the most virulent intolerance arises from all sorts of religion.
 
G

greypilgrim

Guest
the war of the ring is a story of good versus evil, not black men versus white. the soldiers that sauron recruited were all different races, and i don't see how any one race of people would be offended at seeing their own kind on the evil side. if they are then they are weak persons.
 

Thorin

LOTR Purist to the end
Joined
Aug 20, 2001
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
15
Originally posted by Ossiriand Blade
Thorin- although I agree with your assessment that Tolkien was not trying to portray black people as evil per se(especially bearing in mind what a comitted christian he was)there is no doubt he was portraying the haradrim as black-there is a more explicit quote in the battle of the pelennor fields where he describes(this is not a direct quote)evil black men with red tongues from far Harad like half trolls.
Yet, Blade, look at the last description you gave...how many African-Americans or East Indians, or even Latinos (how about French-Matis like myself?) can honestly classify themselves with red tongues and looking like half-trolls? (Though I have been called a hobbit before :D

People have to get over the dark skin/white skin issue and realize that Tolkien was just making a contrast, not stating or feeding a sterotype or trying to associate anyone with a certain race....

This world is going to hell in a hand basket with all this screaming racist and prejudice at every opportunity. I agree with greyprilgrim...Good and bad people are represented by every race (heck, probably 80% of villains in movies are white!!!) People have to lighten up and stop taking things so personally.
 

daisy

Registered User
Joined
Jan 4, 2002
Messages
163
Reaction score
0
Location
canada
I think it is easy to tell other people to lighten up - I would probably feel more comfortable if there were people of all races accounted for in various films - but FOTR as Tolkien wrote it had no noble people of colour so PJ can't really add any - although he did add a larger Arwen part...
80% of villains may be white, but 90% of heroes are white so it balances out - and greypilgrim what is with all this weird rhetoric against what you see as policial correctness - so someone who gets offended at someone else's racism or intolerance is weak to be offended? Please clarify this
 

PRH

Registered User
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
689
Reaction score
0
so someone who gets offended at someone else's racism or intolerance is weak to be offended? Please clarify this
greypilgrim - If you address this you're just gonna get pulled into admiting your a racist or apologizing for the remark. You should do neither.

Allow me - what he meant by weak is in terms of self image of esteem. I think it's a very viable point.


QUOTE]I would probably feel more comfortable if there were people of all races accounted for in various films - but FOTR as Tolkien wrote it had no noble people of colour so PJ can't really add any[[/QUOTE]

No, he just had a Fellowship of 9 representing 5 races. That kind of diversity should make even Benneton blush but I guess it only counts if the skin colors are different.

When did it become so important that we need to make sure people aren't offended? This is a ridiculous notion and frankly a little scary - it's part of that 'thought police' thing. It's just sad that PJ (probably) can't represent the Haradrim and the Easterlings the way the good professor described them in his wonderful book 50 years ago all because we've all become so complacent in our lush lifestyles that we've got nothing better to do than spend all our energies worrying about whether people might get offended.

You can probably tell this issue gets to me...I just so badly miss my Polock jokes!

alright, I'm gonna get some heat for this post...
 

Snaga

The Usual Suspect
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
5
Ok lets just say PJ had cast Denzel Washington as Aragorn, because race wasn't an issue and he needed a good strong male lead. I want to hear all of you who have no time for 'political correctness' to tell me this would not be a problem for you.

PRH and greypilgrim - you need to take a good long look at yourselves. What is so wrong with trying to avoid insulting people? Going around with an arrogant attitude that you can insult anyone and its their problem not yours is just crass and immature. I'd venture to suggest that you are being weak and insecure, because you feel the need to posture like this.

My take on this is that I want the film to be liked and enjoyed by all people of all races. Why would I want to put up barriers to that, just through my own insensitivity?
 

Thread suggestions

Top