“But Why Can’t There Be Any Black Hobbits?”

Have you heard the oft-repeated complaint from anti-racists that “black people are over-represented in prison”? One article I found as an example begins, “For a while now, we’ve known that black men are more likely to end up in prison than white men. Why isn’t this changing?” MediaMatters.org whines about it too.

The people who say this deny that it’s because there are more black criminals than white criminals, or, to put it less “offensively,” that criminals are “over-represented” in the black community. Rather, they say, it’s the courts that are to blame.

It’s true that whites sometimes receive more lenient sentences than blacks do for the same crime, though usually it only appears to be the same crime to those of us who don’t listen to the full trial and don’t know all the details of the case. But it’s also true that blacks sometimes receive more lenient sentences than whites.

However, in those cases in which there is a disparity in sentencing between whites and blacks for the exact same crime under the exact same circumstances, yes, the white criminal usually receives a more lenient sentence than the black criminal. But this is usually because the blacks have a history of criminality that the whites do not. Blacks are usually repeat offenders. That plays a huge part in sentencing.

But more annoying than the anti-racist’s denial of this truth (which denial sounds like, “Society just hates blacks, blacks aren’t more criminal”) is the very premise of their argument: representation.

Prisons are not there to represent people; they are there to house criminals.

There’s also the complaint of under-representation.

A stand-up comedian by the name of Wyatt Cenac has a bit about how an Indian woman auditioned to be an extra in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit but was told she was too dark to be a Hobbit.

Oh no, how offensive.

It’s supposedly a true story. As one commenter wrote, though, “Unless a bunch of different groups of hobbits evolved in different climate regions all over the world, there’s only gonna be one color of hobbit.”

However, I’ve been informed that in Tolkien’s universe there were actually three different sub-species of hobbits: the harfoots, the fallohides, and the stoors. The harfoots are the ones that are in the books and the movies, and they are not described as being dark-skinned. The fallohides are “fair-skinned” (and tall), but that doesn’t mean the harfoots didn’t look like average, non-fair-skinned white people. Wikipedia says nothing about dark-skinned hobbits.

But, supposing there were dark-skinned hobbits, why would they be living in a region where there are light-skinned hobbits? Does The Shire have lax immigration policies?

A liberal felt it a productive use of time to send me a quote by Whoopi Goldberg: “When I was nine years old, Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ [She was talking about the original Star Trek‘s black female character Uhura] I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.” The liberal then told me that Mae Caroll Jemison, a black woman, was inspired to join NASA also because of Uhura.

The liberal then asked me, “Do you really think they’d be who they are today if Uhura was played by a white woman?”

Why is that any of my concern? I don’t care what race a NASA employee is and I don’t like Whoopi Goldberg. In fact, if Uhura is what got Whoopi into acting, then a pox on Uhura’s house.

All the races don’t need to be represented in every movie. It’s okay to have all-black movies, all-white movies, all-Indian movies. Nobody’s telling Tyler Perry to hire more diverse actors in his movies. It’s not a creative person’s mandate to make sure people feel better about themselves.