Created By: lexicon on October 12, 2012 Last Edited By: lexicon on November 1, 2012

Like Goes With Like

Characters of the same race will be paired up together.

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“And they are a perfect match for us... Okay what I mean is one woman is white and the other just happens to be of the African-American persuasion.”
-- Black Best Friend John Hamilton, 7th Heaven, to his white roommate

If there's a love triangle with a man and woman of the same minority race and another person who's white, the people of the same race will be meant to be together. Differs from a Token Minority Couple in that there the only races that matter are white and non-white but this is about the two people matching.

White women always like black men and white men want Asian women but some times couples are just happier with someone who's the same race, nationality, or even religion. It might be a conscious choice of the characters saying that they feel obligated to be together because they're both the same. They might feel entitled be together but a white person tries to keep them apart but fails and so we see the strength of their relationship. To emphasis the difference between the white person trying to keep them apart and the black people, the white one is probably blonde. It might be done as a black on black Token Minority Couple as the Black Best Friend making a Beta Couple with another black person.

The belief of white going with white will be found under Where Da White Women At?. The belief of blacks belonging together will be found here.

Usually Salt and Pepper are not a romantic couple, but a friendship. Contrast Maligned Mixed Marriage.

Examples

  • Obsessed tells the story of Lisa, an office temp, who falls in love with her boss, Derek Charles (a black man) and attempts to seduce him and break up him and his wife Sharon (also black), by claiming that she had an affair with him.
  • The Law And Order: Special Victims Unit episode Snitch has an African man married to a couple of African women and a white one. In the end of the episode it's just him and his black wife.
  • This is thoroughly explored on South Park when a new girl comes to the school and is the only black female student (in the same year as the main characters anyway). She and Kyle share a mutual crush but Cartman insists on pushing her together with Token since Token and the black girl, Nichole, are the only ones at the school of their race and gender. At the end of the episode Kyle ends up alone since Nichole is with Token.
  • An episode of 7th Heaven has Matt's best friend and roommate, who is black, try to pair up him and Matt with a couple of women in the building and it's obvious that he'll be with the black one and Matt will be with the white one.
    • Another episode has Simon's friend Nigel says that there's a desirable girl in his class who could have picked anyone to be her boyfriend and she picked him. Come to find out that she's black like him.
  • Season 8 of Degrassi has an episode where Connor, who's black, helps get KC and Clare, who are white, together. In gratitude the writers give him a black girl as admirer. It's like when Liberty (black) is rejected by Sean but in the end she finds out that his black friend likes her.
  • In Heroes, Hero Nakamura is transported to feudal Japan where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Yaeko. He also meets his hero Takezo Kensei who is in love with Yaeko as well. Hero's Japanese hero turns out to be a white Englishman. Yaeko falls in love with Hero, not Kensei.
  • Daria: Mack and Jodie, who are two of the few African American students at Lawndale High, are dating each other. While they do like each other, they also feel the social pressure to be good role models for the local black community. It is not clear how much of their relationship is due to one and how much to the other.
  • In Save The Last Dance A black female character criticizes the white girl for falling in love with a black youth with a bright future. She says she hates how white girls always take the decent black men, leaving black girls with the black men that are criminals and gang members.

Web Original
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • October 12, 2012
    MrRuano
    The Zeroth Law Of Trope Examples gives us Othello, which has this play a role in general events, as antagonist Iago manipulates events to ruin the marriage and lives of the Moorish Othello and his Venetian wife, Desdemonda, though Iago has other, more legitimate reasons to antagonize them.
  • October 12, 2012
    captainpat
    I'm not sure about that Hitch example. If you need Word Of God for an example of a trope then it's probably not an example.
  • October 13, 2012
    lexicon
    The fact that Will Smith was not paired with a white woman makes it an example, Word Of God just says why. (It also made me start looking for all this.)
  • October 13, 2012
    captainpat
    Ok, is this just gonna be a list of any main black character that dates a character that just happens to be within their race?
  • October 13, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Romeo Must Die was a twist on this. They had originally planned Jet Li's character to be paired romantically with Aaliyah's but test audiences didn't like it so they used the "just friends" edit they'd also filmed as a fallback.
  • October 13, 2012
    lexicon
    If a black character has a normal relationship with a black character then it probably has an all black cast and isn't applicable. This trope is about how a mainstream audience doesn't want to see (or the producers don't think they want to see) the main characters be in a happy interracial relationship.
  • October 13, 2012
    LobsterMagnus
    ^^ Huh? That their relationship in the released edit was just meant to be platonic has never occurred to this troper... (I guess the movie's title threw me off...)
  • October 14, 2012
    MorganWick
  • October 14, 2012
    lexicon
    Miscengenation? Is the meaning of Romantic Segregation not clear?
  • October 17, 2012
    lexicon
    bump
  • October 18, 2012
    Omeganian
  • October 18, 2012
    lexicon
    Yes it's a good article but does it make you want to change anything about the current page? Should it be on the page?
  • October 18, 2012
    McKathlin
    I think the Cracked.com article is merely given as an example of something that talks about this trope. So it would go under examples, probably Web Original.
  • October 19, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    This is played with on South Park. When a new girl comes to the school and is the only black female student (in the same year as the main characters anyway) Cartman immediately decides she should be going out with Token, the only black male student and his racism makes him bizarrely fetishistic about the two of them. She and Kyle share a mutual crush but Cartman insists on pushing her together with Token.

  • October 19, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Star Trek, Dear God, Star Trek!

    I'm sure that in over 40 years of the franchise, there have been exceptions, but I can't remember any. Sure, white Starfleet officers could get away with banging a Green Skinned Space Babe, but if a black officer were to have a romance of the week, you can bet the romantic interest would have been played by a black actor. Even as late as Star Trek Enterprise (made in the 2000's), cast pairings still seemed to be dictated by the color of the actor's skins.

    Note, that this was at least finally averted in the 2009 movie, with Spock and Uhura.
  • October 20, 2012
    lexicon
    Star Trek, the series famous for having the first US inter-racial kiss on tv is about romantic segregation? Also "Inter-species and inter-ethnic relationships have been commonly depicted."
  • October 20, 2012
    Duncan
    ^ "The first US inter-racial kiss on tv"? Aliens Made Them Do It.

    But yes, Star Trek has several inter-ethnic relationships. Though specifically Black/White, there isn't a lot. Worf and Troi had something going on, though neither are technically human, Geordi marries Leah Brahms in a future alternate universe, ...

  • October 20, 2012
    unfound
    How are you supposed to find examples for this? List every couple in fiction and complain about each one failing to depict an interracial relationship?

    Obviously this exists, but there isn't any good way to get examples. Listing black/other nonwhite race relationships like the Hitch example won't work, because the wiki hive mind isn't very good at drawing distinctions like that and we'd end up with every single black/Hispanic relationship in fiction on the page.

    The problem is that this stigma is dying, but at an inconsistent pace. It's averted pretty regularly nowadays, but it's definitely not gone. That means modern aversions are sometimes meaningless, but modern straight example are hard to discern, and there's no clear cutoff to when examples of either are notable or not. At the same point in time, there are some creators defiantly, intentionally averting this while others who avert it do so casually and might not even consider race a factor.

    I can't see this working without it turning into a clueless shaming of works for failing to be sufficiently race-blind.
  • October 22, 2012
    lexicon
    Does anyone agree that this isn't tropeable?
  • October 22, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Yes, Trek did break ground in the 60's. But I was referring spcifically to patterns found in human/human relationships and human/alien relationships, not alien/alien relationships or half-human hybrid/alien relationships.

    There were very few exceptions to this rule.
  • October 23, 2012
    lexicon
    But is this tropeable?
  • October 23, 2012
    Rognik
    I'd include this as a Discredited Trope, or at least on its way out. I think a few other examples can be how the only two non-white characters in a work somehow manage to hook up by the end also counts; pretty sure a few 80's cartoons can fit that one...
  • October 24, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    This might be tropeable, but the description needs some work.

    Regarding Star Trek, Miles and Keiko, anyone? An Irishman and a Japanese woman with two biracial children? And what about Seven and Chakotay? Maybe there aren't many examples of black-white pairings, but I think that has more to do with the fact that the cast of Star Trek was disproportionately white than a specific resistance to interracial pairings.
  • October 24, 2012
    lexicon
    @ Rognik - "The only two non-white characters in a work somehow manage to hook up by the end" is specifically a Token Minority Couple. This is more like when there's a love triangle of two black characters and a white one but there's no chance of the white one being with the black one in the end.

    @ Blue Ice Tea- Any help with the description we be appreciated. Just let me know what it needs. I agree about Star Trek and let's not forget the marriage of jadzia and worf. They're aliens but the actors are obviously black and white.
  • October 24, 2012
    lexicon
    What work does the description need?
  • October 24, 2012
    Sheora
    That description is nearly illegible. It's rambling, too long, and talks in contradictory circles. You may have a seed of a trope here, but it's far from thought out. Whoever gave this a hat at this point should be ashamed of themselves. This can develop into a workable trope, but it's nowhere near ready. Undeserved hats is why YKTTW has been spitting out crap.
  • October 25, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Can you express clearly and concisely in a single sentence what the definition of this trope is? That is to say, what criterion a work needs to meet in order to fit this trope? I'd suggest something myself, but I'm still not sure what exactly you're going for here.
  • October 25, 2012
    lexicon
    Would it be clear to say, "The writers will not let the main romantic pairing be a Black Man with a White Woman (Unless That's What the Whole Movie Is About)?"

    Cracked.com says it nicely. "Think for a minute about the last time you saw a black guy with a white woman in a mainstream movie. OK, now take away every single movie where they're using that relationship to preach to us about racism. So that knocks out Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Jungle Fever, Save the Last Dance, Far From Heaven and any incarnation of Othello."

  • October 25, 2012
    captainpat
    I still don't get it. There are a number of works that feature a black man white woman pair that don't make a big deal about.

    What exactly is the criteria for a work to fit this trope?

  • October 25, 2012
    lexicon
    Besides Rachel Getting Married and Love Actually? Those were the only ones that Cracked.com could come up with. I couldn't find any myself, just a bunch of stories where the white person was trying to get with the black person when the black character is obviously meant to be with the other black character or the writers otherwise broke up a bi-racial marriage but not because of race.
  • October 25, 2012
    Dacilriel
    I'm a bit confused by the description. If I understand it correctly, it's about cases when writers/executives deliberately avoid depicting a romantic pairing between a white person and black person? And it is due either to personal bias or to a preconceived notion about what the audience will accept?

    I'm not sure how you can trope that without knowing exactly what was going through the creators' heads. If there is a romantic pairing between say, two African-American characters how do you know whether they were deliberately avoiding an interracial romance, or whether the two best actors to audition just happened to be the same race? It seems that Word Of God is the only thing you would have to go on.

    Boy Meets World had Shawn (Caucasian) and Angela (African-American) as an interracial couple, and I don't think they ever brought up race as an issue.

    Scrubs had Turk (African-American) and Carla (Latina). They actually talked about race and cultural issues in a very mature and realistic way. They never made a huge deal about it, but they talked about things like whether they would raise their children to be bilingual. They focused less on race, and more on cultural differences.

    Romantic pairings in Rent are almost all interracial.

    In The Princess And The Frog Naveen is prince of a fictional country called Maldonia.

    I'm not sure whether this is tropeable or not. It seems like any romantic pairing where a black character and a white character don't end up together could potentially qualify, in which case it's just a list of things that don't happen, possibly People Sit On Chairs.
  • October 26, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    ^^^^ No, that's not remotely a clear description. Think about it, how could you possibly apply that to a work? You'd have to ask yourself: a) Is the main romantic pairing a black person with a white person? and b) Is the movie specifically about interracial relationships? Any movie in which the answer to the first question was "no" or the second question "yes" would have to qualify - that is to say, almost all of them!

    Rather than speculating on the intentions of the writers, you need a definition based on the content of the work itself. In the work, does x happen, and does y not happen? Something like that.

    For example (and this is an example only): a) Is the main character a black person who has at least one white and one non-white potential love interest? b) Does the black person ultimately end up with the non-white love interest?

    Then you could define your trope as follows: A work in which a black character has potential love interests who are white and non-white, and ultimately ends up with the non-white love interest.

    That at least works as a definition of a trope. I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're going for, though.
  • October 26, 2012
    unfound
    If you want to make people aware of this as a problem, link them to the Cracked page. There just isn't anything we can do with this in trope terms. If you're banking on Word Of God like in the Hitch example, it will be rare; there are too many people working on creating and casting a movie or TV show to discern when racism is in play. We'd just end up looking like assholes trying to accuse everything of being racist while praising aversions that may or may not have been deliberate. And for all we know, a "straight example" of a black guy ending up with a black girl after several love interests could just be an accurate depiction of the (black) writer's dating experiences, as could an "aversion" where he ends up with a white girl.
  • October 26, 2012
    DCC
    IIRC, the interracial marriage is a minor matter in Othello. (Shakespeare wasn't from the 20th/21st century US, so he wasn't as obsessed about this issue as we are.) My impression was that her father wasn't happy about it, and it raised a few eyebrows, but Othello was so damned awesome that everyone just let him do whatever he wanted. Then Iago starts messing with him, For The Evulz (Iago has a whole soliloquy about this.)
  • October 27, 2012
    lexicon
    What if I narrow it down to something based on what Blue Ice Tea says, A work in which a black character has potential love interests who are white and black and ultimately ends up with the black love interest? Black could be replaced with something else non-white like Japanese. It would include Obsessed, Special Victims Unit, and South Park. It could be called Like Goes With Like.
  • October 27, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Perhaps you could expand it to include that if there are multiple romantic story-lines with characters of different races, characters of the same race will get together. That is to say, if there are a white guy, a white girl, a black guy, and a black girl, the characters of the same race will end up together.

    That would cover the example given in your page quote. You could also apply it to something like the movie Clueless, where Cher only dates white guys and Dion has a black boyfriend.
  • October 28, 2012
    lexicon
    Thank you Blue Ice Tea. How does it look now?
  • October 28, 2012
    Sheora
    It's starting to get there. I think your concept is much clearer now.

    I might suggest a better title. Like Goes With Like is OK, but it's very broad and doesn't denote the specific idea. Maybe, Pair The Minorities?
  • October 28, 2012
    lexicon
    I'd be okay with a title change but I don't think Pair The Minorities works because that would imply that that most of the population is white when that's not necessarily the case. It also doesn't specify that they have to be the same race. I could call it Blacks Belong Together but that would imply that it's just about blacks.
  • October 28, 2012
    Sheora
    Well, minorities is still used to reference anyone who is not white. And the way the trope usually works, it doesn't matter if they're not the same minority as each other, as long as they don't pair up with the whities.
  • October 28, 2012
    lexicon
    What you're describing is a Token Minority Couple. In that the couple can be a black and an Asian because it says that only two races matter in Hollywood: white and not white. That is not this. This is about pairing up two characters who are black and black or Japanese and Japanese or Mexican and Mexican. In the Untied States it might be able to be Asian and Asian or Hispanic and Hispanic but other countries will make a big deal about the nationality. The requirement is that those who are together are seen as the same.
  • October 30, 2012
    lexicon
    Is there anything else wrong with this?
  • October 30, 2012
    JoeG
    Daria: Mack and Jodie, who are two of the few African American students at Lawndale High, are dating each other. While they do like each other, they also feel the social pressure to be good role models for the local black community. It is not clear how much of their relationship is due to one and how much to the other.
  • October 30, 2012
    lexicon
    Thanks!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3ry0svcz58r3i2jt3j94tcxw&trope=LikeGoesWithLike