The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy tale that has inspired millions. Its story of good versus evil transcends generations. And it uses rather unconventional forms to do it: with fictional beings like hobbits, dwarves, and elves.
But there are men and women in this fantasy too. And orcs. And goblins. And trees that talk and walk. And...racism? Wait...what?
Last month, I came across an article on the Internet that caught my attention. A fellow science fiction writer was being interviewed for a podcast and when the topic of Tolkien's classic came up, the author went on to say that the Lord of the Rings has "hard to miss" themes of racism throughout. Considering how I'd never heard this claim before, I did some research and found that there have been others who have felt the same way (not a lot, but they are out there if you look). So I did what any social media personality with a platform would do: I did an episode detailing what I thought of this accusation.
Because this is a serious thing to say. Not just because the Lord of the Rings has birthed an entire genre or because it made millions at the box office - it's because of the nature of the claim. It touches deeply on sacred grounds. And if tossed around flippantly, we run the risk of being short-sighted on what could be considered "racist" and what is not.
So, is Tolkien's work racist? Enclosed in this episode are my thoughts on that matter as well as why I felt the need to address it.