Minority representation in media is a tricky thing. Usually, with most media the majority is represented pretty well with minorities fighting for airtime. And with historically-oppressed minorities, you don't want to add insult to injury by portraying them badly. So what is a writer to do?
Why, simply make them more rational!
Closer to Earth is a specific form of Positive Discrimination
in which the minority character is portrayed as wiser and more level-headed than The Hero
(who is usually played by a member of the majority). This trope is more prevalent in Western media, particularly with works with the White Male Lead
. The minority character will usually be the moral center
of the work. They dish out plenty of reasonable advice. They're level-headed and rational. They can and will give the main lead a good talking to if he gets out of line. They're always there when the hero needs a shoulder to cry on. As for themselves, they've always got it together and never need help. Personal struggles? Overcome years ago. Flaws? They don't have any.
It all sounds great, but unfortunately this trope carries a hefty load of unhappy subtext
and ultimately flatters no one. The White Male Lead
comes across as helpless, unable to succeed without his hypercompetent minority assistant. Meanwhile, the minority character (lacking any problems to solve or flaws to overcome) is reduced to a Flat Character
who is only in the story to serve the clueless Caucasian lead. So this trope can be offensive even as it earnestly tries not to offend.