This is one of those times when you can genuinely feel proud of an author you like turning out to be a thoroughly decent human being (and believe me, there are admirers of some authors' works who don't get to feel that v. often -- e.g. the Joyceans). Of course, nobody's perfect, and Tolkien did occasionally make regrettable remarks displaying casual racism typical of his time. And there's also the matter of his sympathy for Franco, whom he saw rather as Defender of the Church than the fascist tyrant he was. But when it really mattered, JRRT's firm stance against the Nazi's veneration of 'Aryan purity' and his specific denunciation of their anti-Semitism was uncompromising -- and all the more welcome in that he was willing to risk something (royalties from the German translation under negotiation) rather than silently acquiesce. Yay, Tolkien.
For a good contrast, compare Tolkien with his contemporaries, novelist Evelyn Waugh (who wrote a book supporting Mussolini's war on Abyssinia) or poet Roy Campbell, a starkly homophobic, misogynist anti-Semitic who enthusiastically praised Hitler and even more enthusiastically backed Franco.
And then of course there's H. P. Lovecraft, who is so notorious a racist that one World Fantasy Award winner posted a piece not that long ago about her qualms in displaying an award shaped in his image (warning: the following link contains some offensive language on HPL's part):
I may be more attuned to this issue right now partly because I'm getting ready to run a C.o.C. adventure based on HPL's most overtly racist story, "The Horror at Red Hook" [circa 1925] (naturally, I'll be taking out the offensive parts, wh. aren't essential). The other contributing factor is that while digging out my copy of THE FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH (his Mythos sonnet cycle, wh. is actually quite good) I've just recently come across the chapbook that reprints pieces from his apa, THE CONSERVATIVE [1915-1923]. I'll probably devote a separate blog post to this work, so for now I'll just say that while the editor insists Lovecraft was no racist, Lovecraft's own words in this very booklet emphatically prove him wrong.
current reading: ORTHODOXY (GKC), THE CONSERVATIVE (HPL), THE BRIDGE OF BIRDS original draft (Hughart)