Another day another accusation of racism. Because it seems not an hour can go by in America in which a person, group, piece of American culture, or a famous work of literature is attacked for being either homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, sexist, patriarchal, or (in this case) racist.
Ah, yes, that old accusation. Those of us in the good ol’ days of the Obama Administration remember fondly when you were a filthy racist if you breathed anything shy of glowing praise of Barack Obama. The level of absurdity it reached caused many of us to suppose that perhaps the false race accusers might’ve reached their “Jump the Shark” moment, crying “Racism!” one too many times.
And then Donald Trump was elected and Trump Derangement Syndrome set in. He is evil incarnate to progressives and apparently racist to the core, so accusations of racism have reached a frenzied pace since 2016.
Donald Trump is by no means the only one in the Racism dragnet. Last week it was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (we all suspected, didn’t we??). This week it’s The Lord of the Rings.
Joining the Woke SJW ranks is Sci-Fi author Andy Duncan. Speaking on the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, produced by WIRED magazine, he said:
It’s hard to miss the repeated notion in Tolkien that some races are just worse than others, or that some peoples are just worse than others. And this seems to me — in the long term, if you embrace this too much — it has dire consequences for yourself and for society.
As a Sci-Fi author, shouldn’t Duncan know that Orcs are elves who have been tortured into being evil? Interestingly, only a few sentences after painting Tolkien’s work with the broad Racist brush, he urged sympathy for people who helped the Nazis “out of simple self preservation,” saying they “had not a great deal of choice in the matter.”
Oh, really? A moment ago, The Lord of the Rings “has dire consequences. . .for society,” but people who worked for Nazis “had not a great deal of choice in the matter”? To be sure, I agree with him that there were plenty of people who did what they were told because the alternative was death. But how about carrying the nuance you show in one area into other areas?
In context, the author was using these points to draw a parallel between the demonizing of an entire race (Orcs) and how we portray immigrants and the refugees in Europe. To this, I thought Sargon of Akkad (aka Carl Benjamin) of The Thinkery said it best:
If we sit there pathologizing, say, all Muslims as flesh-eating Orcs, it might have a dire effect on peoples’ perceptions of Muslims.
Yes. I can 100% get behind not doing that.
But how about not ignoring the major theme of racial reconciliation in the very book Duncan threw under the bus as racist? Elves and Dwarves hated each other as races because of past grievances. However, through the progression of the story, Legolas the Elf and Gimli the Dwarf became the closest of friends and broke down the barriers between their races.
I agree that much of non-Middle Earth history has a greater context to it that we like to sweep over to in order to bash an opponent over the head with an often simplistic point. It would be a good idea for Mr. Duncan (and all of us, for that matter) to look at context in more areas than only those in which he is trying to advocate for his point of view.
The Sci-Fi author went on to say, “it is easier to demonize one’s opponents than to try to understand them.”
That is on full display with a neon light show in America today. I wonder if he tries to understand his opponents or if, like so many, he merely demonizes them. I hope it is the former.
Photo credit: YouTube