A character who is well-liked or respected by bigoted individuals or institutions despite belonging to whatever group that's being discriminated against. Perhaps they had a friendship that predated whatever turned the bigots into bigots, perhaps there was a Fire Forged Friendship
, perhaps they make the top guy laugh and no one crosses the top guy, perhaps they are so good they are worth making an exception for. Whatever the case, it's obvious they are an exception.
Compare and contrast You Are a Credit to Your Race
and Some of My Best Friends Are X
, the former generally being an attempt at a well-meaning statement just layered with plenty of unfortunate subtext, while the latter involves the trope invoker being in denial about their bigotry.
- In the Imperial era, Star Wars Expanded Universe Grand Admiral Thrawn, first appearing in The Thrawn Trilogy, is a Chiss in a military that disdains anybody who isn't a human male. Emperor Palpatine was so impressed with Thrawn's sheer skill as a soldier and strategist that he made an exception to the Empire's High Human Culture ideal for him.
- In their schooldays, the Muggle-born Lily Evans was this to Snape in Harry Potter, until he finally crossed a line and she ended their friendship.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's elves and dwarves have a mutual distrust, but in The Lord of the Rings, and especially played up in the movie, Legolas and Gimli make exceptions for each other.
- Implied in Margin for Error, where the fanatical Nazi Otto Horst has a trusted lawyer named Benjamin Rosenblatt.
Moe: If he gets you off on this, you oughta make him an honorary Aryan.
- In Fiddler on the Roof, the local policeman is often easier on Tevye (until he's given orders to stage a pogrom in the village) and Tevye seems to like him better than most Gentiles.
Tevye: It's almost a pity you're not a Jew.
Policeman (laughs): That's what I like about you, Tevye. Always joking. (Goes on for a bit, then stops laughing as he realizes Tevye meant it)
- In The Boondocks episode "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", a racist white country singer named Jimmy Rebel befriends a black guy named Uncle Ruckus, though this is because Ruckus hates black people as well. Jimmy decides that Ruckus is one exception for his hatred of black people, and even performs a song for Ruckus entitled "One Good Nigger". In the ending, Jimmy admits that he doesn't really hate black people that much anymore... though he's still very racist against Hispanics.
- Bender from Futurama is a robot who despises humans, yet ironically his best friend is a human named Fry. In the episode "The Sting", Bender at Fry's funeral (in what turns out to be Leela's coma dream) claims that whenever he said "Kill all humans!"...