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What I find very, very weird is the notion, widely accepted among sf fans, than Farnham's Freehold is a racist work....I don't see how the novel is racist: a virulent anti-racism polemic seems more the mark.

I have thought about this a bit in the days since.

I imagine that Heinlein intended it as an anti-racist polemic. However, I can also see that some people might think the novel is a display of his own unacknowledged prejudice. The white, slave characters are idealized; the dominant black society is not given very much respect. All we know about them, really, is that they keep slaves. The cultural trappings that we look to in our own country's history that counterbalance the crime of slavery (music, art, great philosophical thinking, the idealism of the American Revolution) are non-existant. When you break the book down, it's black people against white people, bad against good. Heinlein includes a black time-traveller who is protrayed sympathetically but ultimately decides to join the slave-holding society, tactily approving of slavery.

It can be considered racist in the same way a SF novel set in a society where women control everything and suppress men could end up scarily sexist, even if it was intended as a condemnation of sexism.

-mapletree
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