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Black Elves? History of PoC in Europe



#dnd #blackelves #history #ringsofpower
Everyone seems to be up in arms about black elves! whenever People of Color are brought into any fantasy media, we get an avalanche of folks talking about how it is just SJWs and not realistic.

The truth is, there were Europe wasn’t a monocromatic, mono-skin tone place. There was great diversity in Europe, even in the ancient world! this is the first in a two part series discussing the history of POC in european history, and later, european fantasy stories!

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Emperor Frederick II rules over a cosmopolitan empire (ca. 1230s) by Jeff Bowersox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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The History of the Vikings – Gwyn Jones
Keita, Maghan. “Race: What the Bookstore Hid.” Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice. Eds. Celia Chazelle, Simon Doubleday, Felice Lifshitz, and Amy G. Remensnyder. New York: Routledge, 2012: 130-140.
Edwards, Paul. The Early African Presence in the British Isles: An Inaugural Lecture on the Occasion of the Establishment of the Chair in English and African Literature at Edinburgh University. Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh University, 1990. 30 May 2015.
Germany and the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914 by Mischa Honeck, Martin Klimke and Anne Kuhlmann
Hitler’s black victims : the historical experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi era by Clarence Lusane


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  1. @DM-Zack

    April 21, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    I love the suit up montage at the beginning😂

  2. @jeremiah_12

    May 10, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Good video. The book, "Origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race" by Thomas William Shore Chapter 7 is a very good source that tells of the indigenous swarthy or "black" vikings and Danes. Another thing, "white" people aren't indigenous to Europe but they migrated in waves from Central Asia. They eventually conquered the continent and phased out the original peoples (death, expulsion, and intermarriage were the main causes of why this "old information seems farfetched).

  3. @ookamiblade6318

    May 30, 2023 at 4:49 am

    Well, this provides an interesting context to my German mother's last name, Moorman…. I'd be interested to see if she has African DNA markers. I cannot test myself for this as I got an influx via my father. My family made multiracial pairings something of a tradition, evidentially possibly both sides of my family!

  4. @Agarwaen

    June 1, 2023 at 12:28 am

    "people mixed".. well I sure love a long night of heavy mixing

  5. @cullenami

    June 2, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    Black elves in middle Earth is disrespectful to Tolkien's legendarium. Nothing in this video even tries to address this issue.

  6. @benjamincarlson6994

    June 4, 2023 at 12:23 am

    Ok, but like, idk how common POC being in Europe was, I just wanna say before I watch this that assuming they weren't the most common in our history, Middle Earth history isn't our Earth's history, so why can't elves, dwarves, or hobbits be black. Idk if any hobbits were black in the show. I just thought the armor and weapons were low quality, and the fight scenes didn't look good

  7. @mnk9073

    June 16, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    We have to keep in mind that having a "Hofmoor" and black guards in various European courts and depictions of Saint Maurice and other Moors like Caspar in churches and folklore do not point to a sizeable black population in these regions, otherwise it wouldn't have been "fancy" to have them in the first place. Southern Iberia and Sicily did have noticeable minorities just like the thalassocracies like Venice and Genoa. There always were some PoC in Europe, from traders to legionairies to refugees and honestly "white" in the US-understanding is idiotic since it pretty much encompasses the vastly different peoples from Algeria to Iceland and from Ireland to the Ural into a single arbitrary drawer.

    BUT we all have to agree that it's exceptionally stupid to give a subterranean race PoC in RoP…

  8. @toodleselnoodos6738

    June 17, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Great points!

    Something that extremely annoys me: when they say POC aren’t “realistic” to a medieval setting…and then do a setting in medieval Spain…

    It’s like…wha?

    And, I’m still working through the FF16 demo, but the very beginning they clearly have fictional Norse vs. fictional Iberia. But the Iberia soldiers are all dressed as Moors…which are African…but they were made light skin and covered up. But all the folks in charge are…White.

    I’m a bit upset with Yoshi-P’s statement, but I give him a pass because he’s a Japanese game developer. I’m unsurprised that he would have false ideas of European and Christian history based off fantasy pop culture (D&D).

    Edit: And the Byzantines were THE medieval and advanced setting.

    Edit 2: Also, apparently POC are unauthentic, but smoking…something from the Americas…is NOT unauthentic? Just geez…

  9. @0chuklz0

    July 6, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    You seem to have missed the point of most of the reason behind the negativity in the comments. I am ignoring the fact that there will always be the possibility of trolls and racists getting their bit in, I am taking the position of the honest fan of the genre/story being misrepresented. Tolkien did not have any black elves. Was that because of a sense of racism from him, not likely. It was most likely due to his inner vision of the story and that was what he saw. I am not going into speculation about 'could black elves exist', that is not relevant to this issue. Then lets talk about a black dwarf…I mean really? Why have some members of the human race developed deeply melanated complexions? Because they existed in areas that received huge amounts of sunlight, and they needed it to survive. Now tell me why an underground race would have the same skin tone development? We will ignore the fact that Tolkien made it clear by references by other characters, that female dwarves looked almost identical to male dwarves, so where is the beard, the rough skin? As for the Witcher, the author created the characters a certain way, with a certain appearance. If you are going to change the description of key characters, you are already deviating from canon. Why are these changes being made? That is what is meant by 'woke'.

    These stories aren't based on historical precedents or standards, they are part of a narrative scripted by the author to achieve a specific image. If people want stories that reflect the reality in history, that could be fun…but that is not the purpose of either The Witcher nor Tolkien's works. My question is, are you unintentionally misrepresenting the context, or making a point of conflating an unrelated point? The comments have nothing to do with history of the world anywhere, so the long rambling point you make about there being multiethnic people in places that no one would expect, is fascinating…and completely beside the point. Though I am sure the stories surrounding them are worth making movies and stories about, that is not related to the negative comments about The Rings of Power, nor The Witcher.

  10. @14pat78

    August 1, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    oh you talking about western europe

  11. @Akeche

    August 20, 2023 at 2:21 am

    Yeah, no.

  12. @els1f

    September 22, 2023 at 2:12 am

    17:06 I appreciate that you're trying, but I believe you keep mispronouncing "Moops"

    🙃 Ignore the Seinfeld reference, I couldn't fight it lol. This video was amazing!🙌

  13. @greenarrow.

    November 12, 2023 at 5:08 am

    The fact that these conservatives think that Europe was all white and poc only came from one place makes me laugh people need to learn more about history 😂😂😂😂

  14. @jfm.d5180

    December 14, 2023 at 11:51 pm

    "Hey guys! There were definitely notable PoC in Europe"
    >Proceeds to share the dozen or so striking outliers
    You realize this doesn't help the argument?

  15. @Redbeardblondie

    December 21, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    The problem is NOT there being a diverse cast in Tolkien or Sapkowski’s works.
    The problem is RECASTING the race of KNOWN characters in their works.

    Black Dwarves sound awesome; the Fathers of the Dwarves were hewn straight out of stone, so imho they can be all earthen colors!
    Black Elves are a reach, requiring the finagling of murky unwritten history in Tolkien’s works to find a place to put them, since the named Elven lineages are never described as parting from “white” skin.
    Black men are Haradrim, there’s already a place for them. WotC race-swapping Eragorn is no less ridiculous than raceswapping Nelson Mandela into a white man.
    Yennifer is EXPLICITLY described as being pasty white.

    And finally, none of these stories which are fabricated by someone are required, obligated, or even “better off“ with a more diverse cast. It is perfectly acceptable to have an all white, or all black, or all Asian, or old Native American, or on Maui cast. There is literally nothing wrong with it. If you were trying to describe historical events and there are diverse casts in those actual historical events, yes it is at least bad taste if not racist to exclude any of those people that show up there who are important to the story. But if it is a fictional world and the author sees fit to only include certain races, whether they be factual or fictional, there is simply NOTHING wrong with that. Shunting diversity into an existing IP when the original IP had no such diverse casting is forced, preachy, and completely unnecessary.

  16. @Fenrisson

    December 25, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Most interesting video! Much respect, and please come to Brazil.

  17. @user-bh1op8bp9y

    December 27, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    I lol'd when you pulled out your eReader at the beginning of the video because I got the same cover for similar reasons (wanting to seem more pretentious as I read my pulp urban fantasy)

  18. @grandmanitou6563

    December 28, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    three minutes in and this guy starts pumping the bullshit, while moors where indeed from Africa, when saying "African man" most people in the West will mean a black man, moors weren't black, they probably wouldn't look that different from South Europeans, you wouldn't notice them in a crowed of "white" people. Next he starts citing the Roman occupation of Britain as a reason why there would be non Europeans in Britain since the classical era. Which is also wrong, Roman soldiers didn't leave any particular genetic on the local population, when you take in consideration that extremely few romans stayed and that extremely few of them would look different that any white person, this "argument" looks more and more like a load of crap. I honestly watched enough to know that there won't be any accurate or relevant information in this video but I'll leave you with an interesting fact, even the BBC trying their hardest can't give you a list of ancient British black people that could be counted on two hands.

  19. @mikelundun

    January 13, 2024 at 12:32 pm

    Highly likely then that King Arthur was black! 😊 Kinda love that!

  20. @mikelundun

    January 13, 2024 at 12:41 pm

    I can feel the bones of Victorian, white-suprememicist romanophiles squirming in the grave!

  21. @mikelundun

    January 13, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    Worth keeping in mind that the whole idea of whiteness itself is made up and fluid. People might be considered "white" in one time and place and not in another. Its completely arbitary.

  22. @Werebat

    February 29, 2024 at 1:45 pm

    I have one issue with your presentation here. You claim that the Moors conquered and ruled Spain. That is not true. It was the Moops.

  23. @UltraDonny5000

    March 5, 2024 at 11:50 pm

    Every historical reference pointed out in the video is noted in context as being outliers and exceptions to the general population.
    There is no dispute that individuals and small populations moved around but it is silly to see historical figures ethnicity changed or treating ancient cultures as havingbthe ethnic diversity of modern urban centers.
    In fantasy stories geography, cultures and the setting's history should matter when it comes to the melanin content of the inhabitants.
    I'm not saying that stories should be monochromatic, but put some thought into the why and go less heavy handed on the allegories and the changes wouldn't be so controversial.

  24. @M.M.83-U

    March 17, 2024 at 10:16 am

    Yes, in very small numbers, plus they where usually considered "others" and erased or assimilated in a few short generations.
    For the "black" people in the sources, there is also a lot of "red" ones, and they very definitely were not native americans; it usually refer to the hair color or some other more moral/cultural trait.

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