Orcs, Racism, Ignorance, Will it ever end???

How has racism, racist violence, colonialism, and imperialism shaped the stories we read how is it possible that some of these things are disputed and aren’t made aware of.  The Lord of the rings may seem like a nice fantasy story about a different world, but that is very from the truth and has many racial stereotypes involved with some of the characters. I was unaware of these things when I read these books or watched the movies, but after reading James Mendez Hodes article “Orcs, Britons, and the Martial race Myth, Part 2: They’re not human”. As talked about in his part one of the article the author talked about how the creation of the orcs was to depict Asian people, which is crazy to think about. The worst part about this is the fact that I was able to read his books and wasn’t made aware of this, which is detrimental because people will go through reading these works and have no clue that there is racism sprinkled throughout these stories. 

            Lord of the rings had an influence on the way dungeon and dragons was made and made an impact when it was brought to America. This started to become a problem when people started to migrate to America, the biggest issue was the fact that they started to lose their sense of belonging and identity. People emphasized European values instead of theirs which lead to losing their culture which was an attempt to fit in. The way this is different than the way Americans treated black people is that these people feared the black Americans, they viewed them as a threat as comparison to Asians where they thought they were non-threatening. For years these Americans were able to justify the slave trade and considered them less than human, often referring to them as animals. 

            There are many different types of characters that are in dungeon and dragons, the most interesting part is that the things they have to deal with are quite similar to the things some people have to do with in real life. “a hulking dragonborn here, pushing his way through the crowd, and a sly tiefling there, lurking in the shadows with mischief in her eyes. A group of gnomes laughs as one of them activates a clever wooden toy that moves of its own accord. Half-elves and half-orcs live and work alongside humans, without fully belonging ato the races of either of their parents.” This quote of the article is a good example of how characters in these games can have the same experience as people in real life. It talks about how Half-elves and Half-orcs  live and work with humans but they don’t belong to either of the races as they are most likely shunned by both sides. This ties into people who are bi-racial and aren’t fully accepted by both sides, which is something that could take a toll on someone. There are several groups of people the first is normal, which include humans, elves, dwarves, halflings. The second would be exotics, which include dragonborn, Tieflings, dark elves, and gnomes. The next would be Orcs, which we all know what they are based on. “Whether united under the leadership of a mighty warlock or having fought to a standstill after years of conflict, orc and human tribes sometimes form alliances, joining forces into a larger horde to the terror of civilized lands nearby. When these alliances are sealed by marriages, half-orcs are born. That’s where half-orcs come from? Orcs and humans decide to be evil together and have babies?” Now this is when we start to see the racial stereotypes and how these stereotypes lead to negative outcomes. Based on this they imply that the only time a Orc and a Human would be together is if they want to be evil together and cause destruction. “Some half-orcs rise to become proud chiefs of orc tribes, their human blood giving them an edge over their full-blooded orc rivals. Some venture into the world to prove their worth among humans and other more civilized races.” It continues to get worse and worse, this begins to really show how racism has crept into pieces of work and even games as well. It is so deeply wrapped into it that it is hard to see it at times and becomes a problem when people just don’t care either way. The sickening part of this is that these orcs are labeled as barbaric and savages. I bet you can guess the people Americans have applied these terms to. If you said Africans and Native Americans then you are correct. 

            The demonization of orcs continue which leads into the next area of discussion which says that half orcs are the result of a Orc sexually assaulting a human. “Half-orcs are monstrosities, their tragic births the result of perversion and violence—or at least, that’s how other races see them. It’s true that half-orcs are rarely the result of loving unions, and as such are usually forced to grow up hard and fast, constantly fighting for protection or to make names for themselves.” This better explains how orcs and half orcs are viewed, there is this constant demonization which leads to real life examples and America has similar stereotypes in regard to Native Americans, Latinos, and African Americans. The crazy part about all of this is that I had no clue that something like this was happening. I was fully aware of the fact that these stereotypes and racist tendencies were happening in real life but I had absolutely no clue something like this was happening in dungeon and dragons and that it was heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien’s racist stereotypes he includes in several characters.

            There are several things we can take away from reading an article like this and also it allows us to open our eyes and not think that things like these aren’t happening. The article even explains how several people will try to say that there is no racism involved. There are many things wrong with thinking like that but it could come down to ignorance or it may be that these people don’t even care that these characters were born from racist stereotypes or not. We can gain lots of knowledge from reading things like these but it can also better help us understand the world we live in. Once we realize the world we live in, it is easier for us to really understand why horrible things in the world happen. It shouldn’t be a shock to you if some horrible racist act happens because it’s been happening since the dawn of time, let’s not act like racism is better than what it used to be, it is just disguised in different ways. As some may say “well there isn’t slavery anymore”. Yes that may be true but we have continued to do worse and worse actions, it may not be as blatantly obvious as slavery but a cop killing an unarmed black man doesn’t seem to me as much better than things used to be. What we can take from this article is be better people, stop acting like it’s not our problem and actually stand for something. Do you want to be on the right side of history or the wrong side? 

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