The White City is an essay by Ashanti Fortson that investigates aspects of racism found in the beloved trilogy, The Lord of The Rings. First, Ashanti addresses the obvious assignments of “good” on the white protagonists—whose appearance and culture are inspired by European cultures— and “evil” on the dark orcs and other foreign armies—whose appearances are inspired by African and Asian cultures. Ashanti then studies the architecture of the different cultures, and the significance of these choices.
In their foreword, Ashanti clarifies that this discussion is not about J.R.R. Tolkien’s intentions, but about the people who have felt marginalized. An important distinction, centering those most affected by the racism seen in The Lord of The Rings, and an important way of pointing out the power of white supremacy: to create narratives of White “goodness,” and “inferiority” of people of the global majority, regardless of the author’s intent.