Today on the Oklahoma Green party email discussin list there has been much talk as to whether Tolkien’s great work Lord of the Rings is racist or not. One person said that Tolkien was racist in his depictions of the Orcs as being an evil race with an inferior culture, etc. but the majority opinion on the list is that this notion is absurdly ridiculous, and the real confrontation was less about race and more about the struggles between a nature based agrarian multi-ethnic civilization against a mechanistic evil civilization.

    Anyway in the course of the discussion someone said that the issues of Tolkien and race were discussed in an

    What I found interesting in the article was this excerpt…

      The best response comes from Tolkien himself. After Hitler came to power, but prior to World War II, the German government officially requested, through Tolkien’s publisher, that he establish his racial purity so they could authorize a translation of The Hobbit (the prequel of “The Lord of the Rings”).

      The Oxford don, struggling financially to support his family, could have used the income from Third Reich sales. Instead, though Tolkien is a Germanic name, he took the opportunity to remind the Nazis of the ludicrous pretension of racial purity.

      “Thank you for your letter…. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend,” he wrote. “I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are inquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people….”