[[quoteright:300:[[Series/{{Outsourced}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/outsourcedtvshow_193.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Guess who's the main character.]]

->''"Our team consists of two black guys, two white women, and one white guy, so I guess it's pretty clear who's in charge."''
-->-- '''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica''', ''Website/TheEditingRoom's'' abridged script for ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''

No matter how diverse a show's cast or how positive its portrayal of minorities, the lead character will almost always be a conventionally heterosexual, caucasian, vaguely Christian, and often American male. Common wisdom in the Western entertainment industry is that a show or film needs a lead character that the [[MostWritersAreMale target demographic]] can [[LeadYouCanRelateTo identify with]]. At least in the target of "caucasian men", that despite being a diverse country, are still majority in Hollywood, especially considering the same creators of content are mostly caucasian men, and some think they are more "Identifiable", at least in places where they are majority as in the same country and more "profitable", so this is usually an EnforcedTrope. The Caucasian Male Lead is often TheHero.

You may be surprised to learn that this trope has less to do with Western bias (though that's still prevalent, make no mistake) and more to do with [[MoneyDearBoy courting the international dollar]]. In the United States, for example, you're more likely to see female, and LGBT leads in TV shows, where the viewership is mostly domestic. But in big-budget blockbuster films, such actors don't do nearly as well in international markets, particularly China and Russia; LGBT characters are outright ''banned'' due to the countries' laws against "gay propaganda", and a woman as The Hero might upset social mores depending on the movie. As a result, Western studios often play it safe by casting a plain male as the lead.

Adaptations aren't safe either; even if the main character is explicitly a person of color, they are often subjected to {{Race Lift}}s in TV or film so that there will be a white guy in the lead role. And if they were gay, expect them to be turned straight or have their sexuality downplayed as much as possible. Another common tactic is for an adaptation or historical piece to focus on a white male who played a minor role in the original story, then overblow his importance so that he's the lead.

Tropers are reminded that '''[[TropesAreNotBad tropes are not always bad]]'''. Many works with white male leads have been praised for their positive portrayals of minority characters. And of course it's a vicious cycle of investors who want to put their money in a sure thing and studios who want to have something to point at to seem like they know what's going to "sell" to their Target. It is also due to self-insertion, whether from the same creators, writers or producers who are mostly Caucasian men in Hollywood; there's no one group to blame.

Compare GirlShowGhetto and MinorityShowGhetto (which this trope is intended to avoid), RidiculouslyAverageGuy, and WhiteAngloSaxonProtestant. Compare and contrast {{Mukokuseki}}, making characters racially ambiguous so that multiple demographics can relate to them. Unless a work is consciously avoiding it, he is often the leader of a TokenTrio or FiveTokenBand. If the one white person is not the lead character, then he's the TokenWhite.


* Averted in many martial arts films, especially those starring Creator/BruceLee, Creator/JackieChan, and Creator/JetLi. The martial arts genre is perhaps the only genre in which a large number of films with Asian leads found success in the United States.
** ''Film/TheForbiddenKingdom'' takes place in ancient China, but its lead is a white male from the present day. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forbidden_Kingdom#Critical_reception One reviewer]] said "As a Hollywood blockbuster, ''The Forbidden Kingdom'' offers no apologies for its American-centrism. In fact, it wears it with pride like a badge of honor." It was star Jackie Chan's own idea that the protagonist be a white kid, precisely to attract interest in the West for what was basically a WireFu movie. This example is unusual in that the White Male Lead is not featured prominently in any of the advertising. The purpose of a White Male Lead in a movie with a minority-heavy cast is usually to attract white audiences, but as mentioned above, Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies usually do not have this problem.
** Unfortunately, [[https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/05/bruce-lee-biopic-whitewashing-anger-birth-of-the-dragon played painfully straight]] in ''Birth of a Dragon'', a film that was advertised as a Bruce Lee biopic but turned out to focus more on his white friend who didn't even exist in real life.
* Universal's ''Film/FortySevenRonin'', based on the Japanese historical legend of UsefulNotes/The47Ronin starring [[http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118033107?haasFormId=98003e0c-be4d-4ba0-886d-07c949a13db8&haasPage=0 Keanu Reeves]] is a debatable [[SubvertedTrope subversion]], since Creator/KeanuReeves ''is'' part-Asian, but he is not Japanese and [[OriginalCharacter no character like his]] (a British-Japanese "[[ButNotTooForeign half-breed]]") appears in the original story. ExecutiveMeddling had several scenes [[http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/universal-pulls-47-ronin-director-budget-swells-225m-exclusive-57111?page=0,0 reshot]] because the originals did not give enough focus to Reeves. Keanu tends to play this role a lot -- a generic-looking blank that is easy for audience members to project themselves onto (even if this doesn't speak well of his acting ability).
* ''Film/TheLastAirbender'' is based on a cartoon with two lead characters of ambiguous race (tan skin and blue eyes) and a culture based on Inuits. The film cast unambiguously white actors to play the lead roles and Inuit actors as the rest of their tribe.
* ''Film/NoEscape'': Despite being set in an Asian country, the film is focused solely on Jack Dwyer (played by the very white Owen Wilson) and his desire to protect his family, and not focused on any Asian character.
* ''Come See the Paradise'' is a story about Japanese internment camps centered on Dennis Quaid.
* In the original novel ''Literature/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'', the narrator is the Native American Chief Bromden. [[Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest The film version]] centers on the white male Randle P. [=McMurphy=] without any narration from the Chief. This is a case of PragmaticAdaptation, because Chief Bromden is a SupportingProtagonist who does not speak for the vast majority of the film (and it's a surprise reveal in the movie that he actually can), while the main conflict in both the book and the film revolves around [=McMurphy=] and Nurse Ratched, not Chief.
* ''Film/{{Glory}}'' is about UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar's 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first formal units of the U.S. Army to be made up entirely of African-American men. The movie's viewpoint character is Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Creator/MatthewBroderick), the 54th's white commanding officer.
** This is the case in RealLife as well. The relief sculpture on the Boston Common commemorating the 54th centers on Colonel Shaw, who was a Boston native.
* ''Film/GoForBroke'', a movie about the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, starred the very blonde Van Johnson.
* Averted when Creator/NeilGaiman was approached by film studios wanting to adapt ''Literature/AnansiBoys''; he refused because they wanted to [[RaceLift cast white actors]] in place of the all-black leads.
* Averted and parodied in ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle''. The opening scene contains two white guys rather than the actual lead characters and sets up their storyline, [[HeroOfAnotherStory which happens almost entirely offscreen]]. The film's creators initially feared that ExecutiveMeddling would turn Harold and Kumar into "Joe and Dave." The two white guys are the movie the creators were afraid that '' Harold And Kumar'' would become.
* Creator/ChristianBale played a funeral director in ''[[http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2010/12/22/christian-bale-nanjing-heroes/ Nanjing Heroes]]'' (Now called ''Flowers of War''), a story about the Nanjing Massacre during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Fortunately, there ''were'' many foreigners in China prior to the rise of communism. This example is unusual in that the movie was made by a Chinese studio.
* The 2011 film ''Film/TowerHeist'' was supposed to have a mostly black and Latino cast with Creator/EddieMurphy in the lead. The lead role instead went to Creator/BenStiller.
* Inverted in ''Film/LiliesOfTheField''. Creator/SidneyPoitier plays a JerkWithAHeartOfGold who decides to help out some rather disaffected German nuns.
* In the film version of ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', Alan Quartermain is the lead character and the team leader. In the [[Comicbook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen original comic]], Mina Murray is the team leader. [[RuleOfSeanConnery But he's]] Creator/SeanConnery!
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse
** Every hero with their own movie is white and male. This seems to be changing with film adaptations of ComicBook/BlackPanther and the [[ComicBook/MsMarvel Carol Danvers]] incarnation of [[ComicBook/CaptainMarVell Captain Marvel]] being announced. Film/IronMan came out in 2008 and Film/BlackPanther is scheduled to come out in 2018, meaning a decade and 17(!) films before a non-white male lead movie in the MCU. However, Black Panther has since gone on to challenge the notions that a white male lead is necessary, becoming the highest grossing superhero origin movie to date and one of the top five highest grossing superhero films overall, when adjusted for inflation.
** Marvel's various TV shows are more diverse. ''Series/{{Daredevil|2015}}'' and ''Series/{{Iron Fist|2017}}'' star a white man, and ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' has an ensemble cast that includes multiple women and people of color but is led by a white man; but ''Series/AgentCarter'' stars Peggy Carter, and the ''Series/{{Jessica Jones|2015}}'' and ''Series/{{Luke Cage|2016}}'' series star a woman and a black man, respectively. This isn't too surprising, since the small screen is generally better than the big at featuring women and minority characters in lead roles.
** Rumor has it that one of the reasons that the long-planned ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' languished in DevelopmentHell is because of the lack of white male characters in the team. Of the characters from the comic, Alex Wilder is black, Nico Minoru is a Japanese-American girl, Karolina Dean is a lesbian, Gert Yorkes is a Jewish girl, Molly Hayes is a girl, Victor Mancha is Latino, and Xavin is a shape-shifting alien that usually settles on the form of a black girl. Chase Stein is the only straight white male on a team of 5-6 characters.
* During the time Jeff Robinov (who infamously said in 2007 that he would never greenlight a film with a female lead after the box office disappointment of ''Film/TheBraveOne'') was there, most of the films at Creator/WarnerBros consisted of these. In June 2013, Robinov was finally fired (over greenlighting ''Film/PacificRim'') and replaced with a three-person committee (two men and one woman). It has yet to be seen if Warner Bros. will change their practices.
* Creator/DannyGlover blames this trope for his biopic of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Ouverture Toussaint L'Ouverture]] being stuck in DevelopmentHell for years. The script was finished long ago, but every time he shows it around the studios demand the inclusion of "white heroes" as a condition to produce it. ''[[CompletelyMissingThePoint White heroes in a L'Ouverture biopic.]]''
* ''Film/TheLastKingOfScotland'': A movie (and [[AdaptationDisplacement its source novel]]) about Idi Amin's dictatorship in Uganda, with a fictional Scottish doctor as the lead. Though, admittedly, it ''is'' a heavy plot point, with at least one LampshadeHanging. And it's VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory.
* Max from ''Film/{{Elysium}}'' is a light-skinned Hispanic, but is played by the very [=WASPy=] Matt Damon. While it's true that [[LatinoIsBrown not all Latinos have olive skin]], the fact remains that they cast ''Matt Damon'' for the role instead of someone of the appropriate ethnicity, when pretty much all of the background characters were non-white.
* One of the most common criticisms of the film adaptation of ''Film/WorldWarZ''. The novel was a collection of interviews with a large variety of witnesses and survivors of varying genders and nationalities, while Creator/BradPitt's character -- the sole protagonist in the film -- might as well have been named Punch Whiteman.
* This trope backfired HARD with the 2015 ''Film/{{Stonewall}}'' film, a BeenThereShapedHistory account of the Stonewall Riots that kicked off the modern gay rights movement. The real-life riots were headed by ButchLesbian Stormé [=DeLarverie=] and two {{Transgender}} women of color: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, among many others. However, the movie focuses on fictional Danny Winters, a white StraightGay teenager from Indiana who bused to New York City after being kicked out of his home. Filmmaker Creator/RolandEmmerlich stated in interviews that he created Danny to appeal to straight white audiences, which pleased nobody. LGBT activists and historians were angered that the film did no justice to the real heroes of Stonewall, film critics were unimpressed by the ClicheStorm plot, and even many straight white people--particularly the ones who'd be interested in seeing this movie in the first place--were insulted by the notion that they'd be unable to empathize with minority characters and would need the most whitebread kid possible (not even a native New Yorker but someone from [[DownOnTheFarm the rural Midwest]]) to identify with. Predictably, the film was an utter bomb in the box office.
* In the Franchise/PowerRangers reboot film, ''Film/PowerRangers2017'', the only Ranger played by a white actor is Red Ranger Jason Lee Scott, the leader of the team. The film attempts to balance it out by giving Kimberly and Billy prominent amounts of screentime and focus.
* The movie ''Film/AbductionOfEden'' is based on a true story about an Asian-American girl who was kidnapped and sold in to sexual slavery. Jamie Chung, the lead actress, has said the movie struggled to find funding or a distributor because the executives wanted to add in a likable white male protagonist who would ultimately rescue Eden, even though such a character never existed in real life.
* ''Film/TheLastSamurai'' is a loose retelling of the Boshin War and Satsuma Rebellion [[HollywoodHistory rolled into one event]]. It stars fictional American advisor-turned pro-Samurai defector Nathan Algren (played by Creator/TomCruise), whose real inspiration is Frenchman Jules Brunet. While the studio insists that the "Samurai" in the title is plural and [[WordOfGod does not]] reference [[MightyWhitey Cruise's character]] (who is not a Samurai) but Creator/KenWatanabe's Lord Katsumoto (a reimagined Saigo Takamori) and his allies, the advertising featured Cruise prominently and the final scene [[spoiler:where SoleSurvivor Algren schools the young Emperor of Japan into respecting his own country's history]] drew some criticism.
* The ''Film/GhostInTheShell2017'' has cast Creator/ScarlettJohansson as the very Japanese Major Motoko Kusanagi, a decision leading to a BrokenBase. However, her name in the movie is ''[[AdaptationNameChange Mira Killian]]'' which is only revealed a month before the movie's premiere. What really clinches this trope, however, is the claims that at one point the production team were seriously considering CGI-editing her to look Japanese. It would be more acceptable, apparently, to have a white actress in yellowface--and not just boring old makeup yellowface but ''expensive computer-generated yellowface''--than an actual Asian actress in the lead role. The response to ''this'' has been rather universal bewilderment. [[spoiler:The BrokenBase was broken ''even further'' by the movie's [[TheReveal Reveal]] that Mira actually ''was'' a Japanese girl who had been placed inside a caucasian android body against her will, with some arguing this made the whole thing even more offensive]].
* ''Film/SpeedRacer'', though based on a Japanese cartoon, is cast mostly with actors of non-Asian descent and has Emile Hirsch playing its lead; ''one'' of the supporting roles went to a Korean. Even though ''Speed Racer'' was very much a {{Mukokuseki}} series, the casting is still vaguely odd.
* ''Film/DragonballEvolution'', a LiveActionAdaptation of one of the most popular and iconic Japanese anime/manga series, cast Asian actors in every important hero role... except for Goku and Bulma, who were played by white actors.
* ''Film/TheGreatWall'' pushed the top billing on Creator/MattDamon in a predominately Chinese cast which made many accusations of the MightyWhitey. The movie is co-produced by Chinese companies and American companies which deliberately aimed for the international market, thus explaining Matt Damon's top billing. His character, William, and Creator/PedroPascal's character, Tovar, are actually mercenaries who were searching for the explosive black powder only to get involved in the Chinese Imperial Army's war against a horde of green-skinned monsters. The Chinese characters are portrayed as heroic and being veterans in fighting these monsters while William and Tovar are amoral and contribute in the fighting only to save their own skin. However, William slowly learns his lesson after his experience with the Chinese Army while Tovar abandons him with the black powder during his escape but gets captured by the Chinese soldiers and stays out in the final battle.
* ''Film/PacificRim'': Pan-Pacific Defense Corp is very multinational (American, Japanese, German, Russian, Australian and Chinese) but the protagonist is a white man. This was reversed in the sequel, ''Film/PacificRimUprising'', where Creator/JohnBoyega is cast as the protagonist whose father is Creator/IdrisElba's character.
* During early meetings with prospective producers for ''Literature/CrazyRichAsians'', Kevin Kwan recalls being asked if the female lead could be changed into a white woman in order to make her more relatable to an American audience. Kwan resisted, and Constance Wu from ''Series/FreshOffTheBoat'' eventually landed the part.
* ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow'' received some criticism for its AdaptationalNationality. It's based on a Japanese light novel and changes the setting to Europe, casting Creator/TomCruise as the lead character. The supporting cast have some minorities, but the only other character with prominence in the story is also white.

* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', 90% of the population are women, but the lead is ...male. Justified in that the gender-inversion of many tropes wouldn't be interesting if we just got the point of view of the women, as it would then be almost exactly like any other novel with a male lead. Confusing, but it makes sense if you read the novel. And the second narrator ''is'' female. Played straight with the cover, where the protagonist carries an unconscious woman. While this does happen in the novel, it doesn't really represent the role this woman, and other women, play in the novel; they aren't nearly as passive.
* Played with in ''Literature/GivesLight''. The main character is a light-skinned Native American boy (his father is Shoshone and his mother was white). As a result other children on the reservation see him as white, and because he was raised off of the reservation (but by the aforementioned Native American dad) he doesn't always fit in with them.
* ''Literature/{{Remnants}}'' plays the trope unfortunately straight. The cast was enormously diverse, filled with [[TokenMinority minorities]], but Jobs, the lead, is a white male.
** One of the authors who co-wrote ''Remnants'', Creator/MichaelGrant, later did the exact same thing in ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' with Sam.
* Max in Bryan Miranda's ''Literature/TheJourneyToAtlantis''. Not only is he this trope, even his (last) name is White.
* ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'' series:
** The series [[AffirmativeActionLegacy amps up the minorities]] compared to its predominantly white prequel, but Percy and Jason are still the attractive, straight, white, male [[TheAce leads]] of the Greek and Roman camps, as well as of the Seven.
** Subverted in ''Son of Neptune'' - Frank is the official leader of the quest. And again in House of Hades, when Jason promotes Frank to praetorship to lead the ghost army.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', the titular Animorphs group consists of a Hispanic male (Marco), a black female (Cassie), a white female (Rachel), a white male [[ShapeshifterModeLock permanently trapped in the form of a hawk]] (Tobias), a blue alien (Ax), and a white male (Jake). Guess which one of them is the group leader. (Though it should be noted that the series gives pretty equal POV time and attention to each character.)

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Outsourced}}'', a fish-out-of-water story about a white male American running a call center in India.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}''
** ''Glee'' has a very diverse cast, boasting characters of all different races, sexual orientations, and levels of ability, but the stars of the show always seem to be the white, heterosexual teacher Will, and the leaders of Glee club: white, straight couple Finn and Rachel (albeit Rachel is ethnically Jewish, but the point remains the same). {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Emma at one point.
** It gets to the point where one episode has a tacked-on musical number for the black Mercedes and the Asian Tina. This number is explicitly said InUniverse to have been added to give two underutilized characters something to do.
** ...Until the fifth season with the untimely death of Finn's actor Creator/CoryMonteith, which led to Kurt and Blaine becoming ''Glee's'' OfficialCouple, though they are both white males.[[note]] Actually, Darren Criss is Eurasian: half-white, half-Filipino, but no mention is made about Blaine's race and ethnicity within the show (his mother is portrayed by Gina Gershon, a white Jewish actress, but not much is known about his father).[[/note]]
** Finn is also an example in-universe. Apparently he is the only suitable "male lead" for the Glee club at the time the other two boy members are white, but one is a CampGay and the other one is disabled. Shortly later three other boys join in, but one is Jewish, one is black and one is Asian, so Finn, the only non-minority boy, stays as the designated lead, soaking in Will's favoritism, despite definitely not being the best male singer in the group and actually being one of the worst dancers.
*** It helps that the other boys do not seem that interested in being the lead, so it could be also the fact they don't fight for the position like the girls do.
* ''Series/SavedByTheBell'': Zack, Screech, and Mr. Belding are all white males. Zack is the protagonist during the most popular 1989-1993 run. Screech and Mr. Belding were in all the incarnations. Mark Paul Gosselaar is part Indonesian on his mother's side, but he sported [[ButNotTooBlack bleached blond hair]] during the show which made him look decidedly more Anglo.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' probably qualifies as a subversion of this. When it was first being advertised, it came off to some as yet another show about a white guy and his new quirky minority friends, but the show's {{Troperiffic}} nature quickly put an end to that. While Jeff isn't the main character in all the stories, he often is. He is certainly the one the group expects to come up with solutions to most of their problems, even if they know he's often self-centered and egotistical. While the 'mother figure' in the group alternates between Britta and Shirley, the "father figure" is firmly in Jeff's ballcourt. The only member who would challenge him is Pierce, who is also white and comes with a whole host of problems. To be fair to the show, Joel [=McHale=] was the cast member with the most TV credits to his name (save for Chevy Chase, who—not being the main character at all—was given the And Starring credit).
* ''Series/DeathInParadise'' has a racially diverse cast, with a black women and two black men as the main characters, as well as several black side characters. The head of the show always ends up being a white man, however, with the arrival of Richard Poole, later replaced by Humphrey Goodman.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''
** All the Doctors through Creator/PeterCapaldi (Twelfth) were white males, though it was eventually confirmed during Creator/StevenMoffat's tenure that Time Lords can change race and sex when they [[TheNthDoctor regenerate]]. There had long been debate among fans -- and indeed, Creator/{{the BBC}}, who've considered black actors for the role -- of getting a female or alternate race in, but this quickly degraded into accusations that it would be wrecked. The announcement in 2017 that the Thirteenth Doctor would be Creator/JodieWhittaker, a white woman, caused the notoriously UnpleasableFanbase to erupt and [[BrokenBase break]] -- some were overjoyed, some would rather have had a male Doctor of an alternate race, some wanted a non-white woman, and some wanted another white man (the British public, judging by polls, were generally neutral or positive to the idea).
** For the run on the classic show, the Doctor was treated as asexual, but the TV movie and the revived series frequently make overtures of the Doctor having sexual tension with orientation-appropriate companions. There are conflicting stories as to whether Creator/PeterCapaldi (the Twelfth Doctor) wanted to make him aromantic again when he took on the role. What is clear is that initially the show '''seemed''' to be going in that direction in his first season...but by the end of Series 9 it was clear that the Doctor and Clara Oswald's relationship ran '''far''' deeper emotionally than simple friendship (to the point that the season finale has him mocked for claiming she's just his friend, given that he [[spoiler: would risk the universe to bring her back from the grave]]), while the post-season Christmas special was an out-and-out RomanticComedy involving him and River Song, one of his several wives.
* ''Series/TheSingoff'''s third series was won by a now famous group called Music/{{Pentatonix}}. Despite all the singers being diverse and talented, the lead singer during the show was definitely the conventionally good looking white male.
* The ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' franchise usually has one of these, typically from a salty, no-nonsense, working class background, plus or minus an [[ActionGirl Olivia Benson]] or two.
** Averted as of season 13 of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' when Olivia Benson moves into the role of lead character, and the male lead, Nick Amaro, is Latino. By season 15, all of the regular male cast members (Ice-T, Danny Pino and Raúl Esparza) are black or Latino. Though in season 16, one white man is added to the regular cast.
* Despite boasting a far more diverse cast than it's [[Series/{{NCIS}} parent show]], the ''Series/NCISNewOrleans'' team is lead by one of these in Special Agent Dwayne Pride. Technically, two, as his second-in-command Agent [=LaSalle=] is one of these too.
* Jim from ''Series/TheOfficeUS'' isn't exactly the only white male at his small paper company in small town Pennsylvania, but he often served as being the young, attractive, savvy [[SitComCharacterArchetypes wisecracker]] who would make fun of the middle aged eccentric losers around him. Naturally, the [[SpotlightStealingSquad spotlight gets stolen from him]] on a regular basis. After a good deal of CharacterizationMarchesOn, he's learned to be NotSoAboveItAll.
* The ''Series/{{CSI}}'' shows, at various points. The two spinoffs, ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' and ''Series/{{CSI Miami}}'' all the time and ''Series/{{CSI}}'' started out with white male William Petersen and then went into an aversion phase with Lawerence Fishburne as its lead, and now back to the white male lead thing with Ted Danson.
* As diverse as ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' tried to be in the [[TheSixties racially charged 60s]], they still had to have a white man as the Captain; the [[ExecutiveMeddling meddling executives]] wouldn't even stand for a female NumberTwo. This was followed by Jean-Luc Picard in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' and Jonathan Archer in ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. It was averted with ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', in which the eponymous space station is commanded by BaldBlackLeaderGuy Benjamin Sisko, and ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', in which the eponymous ship is captained by the female Kathryn Janeway.
** TOS went even further in its final episode, where a character is given a line which, in one reading, may be explicitly stating that in Starfleet, women ''can't'' be Captains. (It's possible, however, to parse this line as meaning Kirk doesn't have room in his life for a steady relationship, because he's too obsessed with the job. It's ''possible''...)
** One episode of ''Deep Space Nine'' revolved around a war-weary Ben Sisko slipping between the world he knows and one where he's a struggling sci-fi writer in the 1950's who is ''writing'' short stories about [=DS9=]. The biggest problem he faces is that nobody wants to publish them. His editor suggests that Ben replace his black lead by applying this trope.
* Inverted on ''Series/{{Benson}}'': the main character is black while the rest of the characters are white.
* When the [[Creator/{{Syfy}} Sci Fi Channel]] adapted the Literature/{{Earthsea}} novels into the mini-series ''Series/{{Earthsea}}'', they decided to make the main character white. This [[DisownedAdaptation did not sit well]] with the [[Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin original author]].
* ''Series/CriminalMinds''
** Although more properly an EnsembleCast, in its first two seasons billed Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson as the show's leads. Furthermore, the pilot only had one female lead character (Elle Greenaway) and one African-American lead character (Derek Morgan) surrounded by white males, indicating that they were tokens. More female characters were added or became relevant, and Morgan's character has gained depth and prominence as the series progressed, but the show's "stars" are still white males- Gibson and Joe Mantegna.
** The [=UnSub=] in "Broken Mirror" lampshades this when he "profiles" the team while taunting them during one of his phone calls, deriding Morgan as simply a "side of beef" and telling Elle she had no chance of "joining the all boys' club".
** The first {{spinoff}} ''Series/CriminalMindsSuspectBehavior'', in its pursue to be radically different from the original series while keeping faithful to its [[StrictlyFormula basic structure]], had a BaldBlackLeaderGuy played by Creator/ForestWhitaker among an [[InvertedTrope otherwise whole white main cast]]. The character "Prophet", who had been originally envisioned as [[TokenMinority black]], was made white.
** Played straight in the second spinoff, ''Series/CriminalMindsBeyondBorders''. The team includes two white females (one played by a Hispanic actress though the character is not), a half-Asian male, a black male and an older white male played by Creator/GarySinise, who is the team leader.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'': Taking place [[OnlyInMiami in Miami]], the series [[TruthInTelevision features many Hispanic characters]] and those of other races and ethnicities/nationalities, though Dexter himself is white.
* ''Series/{{Elementary}}'': Despite genderbending and racebending Watson (Lucy Liu) and having a host of genderbent original characters from the Sherlock canon and the racial diversity expected of a New York show, Sherlock Holmes remains the White Male Lead.
* ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'': The 99th precinct has a good number of racial minorities and women as main and one-shot characters, but the lead character is the white Jake Peralta. Although he does at least subvert the "vaguely Christian" part of the trope, being Jewish.
* ''Series/MarcoPolo'' is about the eponymous Italian merchant's adventures in the court of Kublai Khan. He is the only major white character.
* ''Series/{{Sense8}}'' features protagonists from all around the world, two of which are white males. Of those two, Will, [[CreatorProvincialism a clean-cut Chicago cop]], is the only one to receive any sort of training in their newfound abilities and possesses ChronicHeroSyndrome. The first season finale focuses on his efforts to save another member of the cluster from dying. Subverted, though -- he may have started out as this, but [[spoiler:he ends the season as TheLoad and has to stay unconscious or heavily medicated, the others now having to look after him]].
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Four white men, two white women, one Latina woman, one black woman, and one black man in the main cast. The captain and pilot make up two of the white men. However, the black woman is second in command, and the captain avoids the "vaguely Christian" description by being belligerently anti-spiritual.
* Subverted in ''Series/DarkMatter'' - the show started out with the most milquetoast white guy in the racially diverse crew acting as the lead and audience sympathy character (he wakes up first and he's the only human character who doesn't have a criminal background). But then at the beginning of season 2, the writers [[spoiler: kill him off (right after a new plot line for him started, no less)]], and then they also [[spoiler: kill off]] another, much less moral recurring character the same actor was playing, just in case you thought he was supposed to take over the lead now that the rest of the crew [[CharacterDevelopment had become more sympathetic.]] And, just to drive the point home, another, new white male character who joins the crew and seems like a replacement in terms of personality gets [[spoiler: killed off even more abruptly]] after a few episodes, with the rest of the crew not even caring to find out what happened to him. A black female character gets to permanently join the regular cast instead. And the Asian female ActionGirl love interest from the first season becomes the primary protagonist (and captain of the ship). By the end of the second season, the only white male character still on the crew is the show's [[Series/{{Firefly}} Jayne-expy]], who is perfectly content just being the muscle for "Boss Lady".
* ''Series/{{Narcos}}'': DEA Agent Steve Murphy serves as a subversion. He's one of the few American characters on a show with a primarily hispanic cast and looks the part of the square-jawed white lead leading the fight against the narco-terrorists, but for most of the series he's really more of a FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator with the Colombian characters getting more focus than he does. In Season 3, he's written off the show and the narrator role is given to his Mexican partner, Javier Pena.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** In Magic's earlier years, the Weatherlight was crewed by a diverse bunch of people - men and women, with many skin tones, and even including elves, minotaurs, and cat-people. But who is their leader? That would be Commander Gerrard Capashen, a light-skinned human male. And he gets extra discomfort points [[spoiler: for being the product of Urza's bloodline project, meaning that he's genetically perfect for fighting the Phyrexian invasion.]]
** Later on in the story, the planeswalker Jace Beleren - another light-skinned male human - was introduced and poised to be at the center of many of the story's most important plots, including the Eldrazi invasion of Zendikar and the Maze crisis on Ravnica. In recent years he was chosen to be blue mana "representative" of the Gatewatch, an Avengers-style alliance of planeswalkers dedicated to protecting the multiverse from extraplanar threats; and, like before, he's had a central role in solving each problem that the Gatewatch has thus confronted.

[[folder: Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/{{Rent}}'', despite its racially and sexually diverse cast and high praise by the LGBT community, the two central characters are still the straight and white Mark and Roger (HoYay between them notwithstanding). While Mark is explicitly [[AllJewsAreAshkenazi Jewish]], Roger's race isn't discussed but he's usually cast as white due to his grunge rock style.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Zig-zagged with the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' franchise. The VanillaProtagonist in the present-day storyline is just AmbiguouslyBrown enough to be considered any ethnicity (including white) by those who wish, while his ancestors in the historical storyline are of various ethnicities (Arabic Hashashin, Italian, British and Native American). He was eventually replaced by [[PlayerAndProtagonistIntegration you, the player]], starting with ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'', which was also where the historical protagonists began to play it agonizingly straight to the point where the parade of white male leads can be hard to tell apart. This was not helped by the fact that the titles centering on a half-black woman (''AC III: Liberation'') and a black man (''AC IV: Freedom Cry'') are a GaidenGame and DownloadableContent respectively, neither of which received much promotion, to the point where few have heard of them. ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedSyndicate'' featured a woman as a co-player character alongside her twin brother, although both of them were white. To their credit, Ubisoft looks to be attempting to rectify this problem with the heavily-promoted ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedOrigins'', whose Ptolemaic Egyptian protagonist has appropriately dark skin.
* Subverted in the early ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' games. For the first two games, Samus wears armor that completely covers her body and is described as male in the manual. At the end, it is revealed that SamusIsAGirl.
* The original North American localization for ''{{VideoGame/Persona}}'', ''Revelations: Persona'', turns the Japanese main protagonist into a white American red-headed teenager, along with making the rest of the characters diverse. This would be an example of a RaceLift.
* Averted in the online dollmaking game [[http://www.dolldivine.com Doll Divine]], in which most of the dollmakers are for female characters, but the default for skin, hair, and eye colors, shapes, and styles is totally random.
* Also averted in any other character customization system that starts out with a randomized appearance, like ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
* Lampooned in ''VideoGame/SouthParkTheFracturedButWhole'', taking particular aim at the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse with the gag.
-->'''[=SuperCraig=]''': {{Creator/Marvel}} is making a [[Film/BlackPanther black superhero movie]].
-->'''The Coon''': Yeah, ''now!'' They waited years to get to that! [[FollowTheLeader We follow their plan]] - we do all the real people first, then we sneak the black guy in at Phase 3.
* Booker [=DeWitt=] from ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' is able to walk about Columbia because he is neither an ethnic minority nor Irish. He has Native American heritage, but there's no indication of this at all in the advertising materials or on the game's cover.
* Aiden Pierce, the main protagonist of ''VideoGame/WatchDogs''.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Chris from ''WebAnimation/BravestWarriors'' is the only white character in the show, and also the main protagonist and leader of the group.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Tarquin has one blind spot in his GenreSavvy dominance: he believes the hero of the story is Elan (white male), when in fact Elan is part of an ensemble and the ''de facto'' protagonist is Roy (black male). A large part of Tarquin's VillainousBreakdown is that other characters are overshadowing Elan, whom he insists ''should'' be the hero to his BigBad--and according to WordOfGod, it's no accident that Elan and Tarquin both are straight white males while the characters sidelining Elan include a black man, a woman, [[WordOfGay an individual outed as genderqueer in that very piece of Word of God]], and a Latino guest star. Tarquin not only can't stand [[ControlFreak losing control]] of his carefully-crafted narrative, he can't stand the idea that the character who best fits the White Male Lead mold ''isn't'' the lead.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' parodies this in ''WebVideo/ATrailerForEveryAcademyAwardWinningMovieEver'' with Wealthy, Successful Protagonist. They cover this trope again [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19549_5-old-timey-prejudices-that-still-show-up-in-every-movie_p2.html here]].
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic likes calling these out in movies, often expressing belief that the female sidekicks/love interests should take over because they're usually more interesting. He's also called himself this, although if you know him, you'll get that he fits the description InNameOnly.
* Deconstructed with Donnie [=DuPre=] from ''WebVideo/DemoReel''. He's the "main" InnocentBigot in a show that has a woman, a black man and two foreign guys, but he's very bisexual, very nice and very woobie, really wants to be a good friend to all of them, and after some firm prodding, works to make up for his initial racist/sexist comments.
* The Daily Currant: [[http://dailycurrant.com/2013/05/16/ann-coulter-walks-out-of-star-trek-claims-too-many-minorities/ Ann Coulter walks out of star trek claims too many minorities]]
-->''Apparently in the future the liberals have extinguished all the white people,'' Coulter explained, ''I mean they got a black girl running the communications, an Asian guy driving the ship and a pointy-eared alien doing pretty much everything else. I guess we're supposed to just accept that minorities will be the new majority. This isn't an entertainment film - it's nothing but a pro-Obama, multicultural piece of propaganda. And of course its not even realistic. Since when have black people been able to speak foreign languages? And shouldn't Sulu have crashed the ship into a quasar by now?''
-->''Now Ann, you know I love you,'' a puzzled Hannity said, ''but I've seen the film, and although there were minorities, there were also plenty of whites. So I guess I don't see your problem.''
-->''Sean, the only other white people are foreigners,'' she retorted, ''you got one Communist from Moscow and a lazy, socialist engineer from Scotland.'' '''There's only one red-blooded American white person in the whole movie - and thank god he's the captain. The ship would fall apart in minutes without him.'''
* ''Literature/ChronoHustle'' is fairly diverse in it's cast but, while it isn't explicitly mentioned, Jack seems to be white based the fact that his race likely would have come into play otherwise when he went to the Old West.
* Given a LampshadeHanging in the ''WebVideo/HonestTrailers'' for ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' after the narrator goes over the many factions of differently colored aliens.
--> '''Narrator:''' In case you get confused, the hero is still the white guy.
* A theory known in some internet communities as the Galbrush Paradox posits that the reason that straight white male characters (especially leads) are so ubiquitous is that they are the only type of characters who creators feel like they write as realistically flawed without being required to use PositiveDiscrimination, and that often the people demanding better representation for women, minorities, LGBT, etc. end up calling for the creators' blood when those characters are portrayed as anything less than perfect. The name comes from the ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' series of video games, as the theory explains that if the protagonist Guybrush Threepwood was a woman named Galbrush instead, the developers would be called misogynists if they portrayed her as the exact same hopeless dumbass that Guybrush is.
-->"A white male can be a lecherous drunk. A woman can't or it's sexist. Sexualizing women and what all. A white male can be a mentally disturbed soldier whose mind is unravelling as he walks through thehell of the modern battlefield. A woman can't or you're victimizing women and saying they're all crazy. [...] Men can be comically inept halfwits. Women can't. Men can be flawed, tragic human beings. Women can't. And why? Because every single female character reflects all women everywhere."


[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'''s main cast includes a robot, a mutant woman, a Jamaican, a {{Space Jew|s}} lobster-thing and a Chinese-Martian woman, but the main character, Fry, is still a white male (admittedly, one odd in [[HumanPopsicle being from modern times]]).
** Notably, as the show evolved into more of an ensemble comedy, Fry lost his status as the sole lead character.
* Played straight in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', where Robin is the leader, main character, and the only white male on the team (unless one counts Beast Boy, who is ethnically white but physically ''green''). Justified in the original comics, where the Bat family are trusted mostly because they are unpowered (not because they are white men). Knowing that your boss can't casually mind-rape or lobotomize you with a glance is important.
* Notably averted in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', which also focuses on DC's young superheroes- while the show doesn't have a single central character, the closest is team leader Aqualad, who is black. Notably, this Aqualad, Kaldur'ahm, was [[CanonImmigrant created for the show.]]
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', in which the titular character is both female and the universe's equivalent of an Inuit [[spoiler:and confirmed via WordOfGod as a [[BiTheWay bisexual]]]]. Notable because in doing so, the creators risked the GirlShowGhetto in addition to the obvious {{Animation Age Ghetto}}, though the former proved to averted when young boys responded very positively to the character during initial test screenings, and the show's first season proved popular enough to be renewed for three additional seasons.
* Played (almost) completely straight in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse''. Steven, the lead character, is an alien-human hybrid, yet he still entirely appears to be a white, male human. The alien Gems tick many boxes: they're [[OneGenderRace all female]], ([[NoBiologicalSex or at least present themselves that way]]), they're DiscountLesbians, and their voice actresses are almost all nonwhite women, but the central figure is always Steven. He's also, however, TheChick, and the WhiteMage in a show where all the combat-oriented characters are women [[spoiler: including his sword-wielding Indian-American girlfriend]], and no one sees it as a big deal.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Finn is a white male lead in a world where he is actually the only human.