Sometimes, the Token Minority
will be glaringly out of place for their locale (e.g. seemingly the only black person in medieval Europe).
Often, the producers will go out of their way to avoid racial issues regarding their Token Minority
. For example, Warrick Brown in CSI
rarely or ever discusses race issues. In this case, the Token Minority
may either be in the show to broaden its appeal without risking angering any media watchdogs with stereotypical depictions of minorities... or it may be an example of race-blind casting, and not tokenism at all.
If a character is of two
minority groups, this is referred to cynically in the industry as a Twofer (see Twofer Token Minority
). This is quite common on news programs, for example, which often have one white male and one black or Asian female newscaster. Note that for the purposes of this trope women are a "minority"
, when in fact they make up a small majority
in the population of most countries. This logical inconsistency is usually attributed to the fact that women are often still perceived to be relative newcomers in many job fields, including broadcasting (this perception is helped along by the fact that female newscasters are often fired at the first sign that they're aging, meaning they're almost always younger than their male counterparts).
If the opposite gender of this minority appears in an episode, they're almost always a love interest
In Britain, the Token Minority
is just as likely to be South Asian as Afro-Caribbean. With the increasing number of Central and Eastern Europeans in the UK, they're slowly starting to turn up as characters other than The Illegal
and criminals (Coronation Street
now has a Polish character). It may take a while before we start seeing them in as police officers, though.
In some casts of animal, alien, or monster characters, World of Funny Animals or not, there is a majority species and one or more minority species. If there are animals in a cast of characters, the majority of them are going to be mammals in most works, whether the world is a World of Funny Animals
or not. Understandable as humans are mammals and cats and dogs are easier to anthropomorphize than snakes. To keep the the cast of characters from being completely mammalian, the token non-mammal comes in. Usually a bird, though reptiles, amphibians, and even invertebrates are certainly not unheard of.
If there is a cast made up of anthropomorphic animals, most likely most of them are of the Funny Animal
persuasion, whether the cast of animals lives in a Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
world or a World of Funny Animals
. In such a world, it's likely that one or a few of the anthropomorphic animals in the cast are of the more anthropomorphic Petting Zoo People
vein. These few Petting Zoo People
are called Token Petting Zoo People