1. Although I didn’t personally say the words “fuck these movies”, I can see why the person who said it did - they feel excluded by them, so they reject them. Which is legit, can’t disagree.
2. “Writing what you know” isn’t a good reason to not include diversity. Tolkien didn’t know dragons but he included them. Some POC on the side of good wasn’t impossible. I appreciate that he grew up in a different age, he wasn’t intentionally racist, and didn’t have such ready access to the wider world as we do today, perhaps - BUT that doesn’t magically mean people aren’t affected by being excluded, or that it was impossible for him to do better.
3. Jackson may have tried, but, as the post shows - people still feel excluded. There was no way the original poster was going to be allowed to be a Hobbit. The amount of diversity in the films is still minimal.
4. Bye! :D
Hi Anon, I wrote the line you find so anger inducing “fuck these movies”.
I was having a conversation about being a person of color who loves Lord of the Rings with another person of color. We were talking, specifically, about how demoralizing it is to go to the movie and watch a film where no one like us is allowed to be a heroic character — OP was, in specific, talking about how people of color were not even allowed to audition for Peter Jackson’s films in a hobbit role; they were turned away. Literally the only people on screen who aren’t white are villains. Yikes!
There’s no reason to do that, as my post was illustrating — when you don’t read for whiteness, lots of other ethnic possibilities appear, some of my interpretations being listed. Heck there’s plenty of characters who are described as being darker than others who are in the main cast! Among the hobbits! And the dwarves! How did Peter Jackson interpret that? ….hair color.
When I watch the films, I see a grand total of zero people who look like me who are heroes. I’m Filipino and Cherokee. A surprisingly large amount of the world shares at least some of my features — I know because everywhere I go with Indigenous or Asian populations, people ask me if I belong to one of their local culture groups. I could look like any number of people in Middle-earth! An Easterling or an Umbarean corsair, one of the darker hobbits (I’m pretty short), descendants of the House of Haleth, or one of the people in Gondor or Rohan who was indigenous to the local area and married into the culture. I could be practically anybody! (But probably not a dwarf because my beard-growing skills are pitiful, though in other ways I match their text descriptions).
But Peter Jackson deliberately made a version of Middle-earth in a visual medium where pretty much everybody you’re supposed to like is white. The only brown people are evil! Even Tolkien himself didn’t do that (though he came awfully close and loads of what he said was racist, I am not giving him a pass here). Peter Jackson even cut out the heroic Druedain who are dark-skinned! Peter Jackson cut out the reader discovering the reasons the Haradrim and Easterlings fight for Sauron (they believe our heroes committed horrible war crimes against their people! That’s a pretty heroic reason to march against them, protecting your own civilian population.)
There’s no reason we, the viewers, and especially we, the viewers of color, have to hold to Peter Jackson’s movies as something pure and special and magical and beyond reproach. They are an interpretation of Tolkien. Just one. They’re a white-washed, PoC-erasing interpretation that got loads and loads and loads of money. I can say “fuck the movies” if I want to. Because they said “fuck the brown people” when they made them! Accidental, casual, or unintentional racism is still racism. And reducing brown people to nameless villains and foils for our heroes to mow down violently? With not even a token heroic person of color? That’s racist. And I don’t have to be nice to a franchise that has made thousands of dollars on a white fantasy. I don’t! They’ve already got my money.
I stand by my original comment: fuck the movies, no matter what Peter Jackson’s casting team thinks, brown people belong in Middle-earth. I can even like the movies (which I do) and say: fuck them. I don’t have to pretend they’re perfect movies or justify them or tell the OP that experience she had was okay or that she’s right, she can’t be a hobbit, hobbits aren’t brown. That’s crap! Making the movies a white fantasy wasn’t okay. And we shouldn’t pretend it was.