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Deggans Rule
Similar to The Bechdel Test, a narrative is Deggans compliant when it has:

  1. At least two non-white human characters in the main cast...
  2. ...in a show that's not about race.

If the socially dominant race in the country where the show was made is not white (say, in Japan), the first clause may need to be adjusted accordingly.

It's worth noting that Deggans' Rule doesn't precisely parallel the Bechdel Test; it requires that the characters in question be in the main cast, but the clause about conversation is dropped. Since it was originally proposed during a discussion of the Bechdel Test, this is almost certainly intentional.

Shows that meet this requirement are more common than ones following the Bechdel Test. Many of them do it by being the kind of show with a Token White.

Named for St. Petersburg Times TV Critic Eric Deggans (and not of the webcomic Deegans). Compare Five-Token Band.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist is based in Amestris, which is basically the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Europe. In addition to the normal ethnic Amestrians, we've got Xingese Lin, Lanfan, Mei, and Fuu; "black" Amestrians like Jerso and Paninya; Ishvalan Major Miles and Scar. Also, if being ethnically Xerxian counts, we've also got Edward and Alphonse Elric, Hohenheim, and Father.
    • Race, especially as it pertains to the Ishvalans, is significant, but the issue of "sovereignty" and "religion" are mixed in with it.
    • Nobody cares that Lin, Lanfan, Mei, and Fuu are Xingese. The only exception is a throw-away gag about passports.

    Film - Animated 
  • Several movies in the Disney Animated Canon are Deggans compliant.
    • Aladdin has a middle-eastern human cast, and is a fairly standard fantasy love story about class.
    • Mulan has a predominantly Chinese human cast, and is about war and gender roles.
    • The Emperor's New Groove has a native South American cast and is a zany buddy comedy involving transformation antics.
    • Lilo & Stitch has three native Hawaiian main characters and one black one, and is a movie about aliens and keeping families together.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Die Hard, an action film, has three prominent black characters—the villainous hacker, Theo, the heroic police officer, Al, and the Plucky Comic Relief, Argyle.
  • Oceans Eleven, a heist movie, has the tiny Chinese acrobat Yen and the Black and Nerdy techie Basher.
  • Secrets & Lies Hortense and her best friend have a conversation about their mothers that also passes the Bechdel Test. The film does briefly mention Hortense's race when Cynthia initially doesn't think it's possible that Hortense could be her daughter. The rest of the film is all about Cynthia, Hortense and Cynthia's family.
  • Pacific Rim has Japanese Mako Mori and black Stacker Pentecost. (Not "African-American", as he's from England.)
  • The Matrix series. In the first film, the crew of the Nebuchednezzer is fairly diverse, and later films show that this not only applies to Zion in general (including seemingly all levels of military and civilian administration), but every single other ship's crew. Even the Logos, the smallest ship in the fleet with a total of three crewmembers, is staffed by a white man, an Asian man, and a black woman.
  • Out of the seven human main characters in Little Shop of Horrors, three of them (who act as the Greek Chorus and occasionally interact with the others) are black. Race is mentioned in only one scene—the description of a Spear Carrier as an "old Chinese man."

    Live Action TV 
  • Scrubs, for Turk, (black) Carla (Dominican) and Laverne (black).
  • LOST, for Michael and Walt, (black) Jin and Sun, (Korean) Sayid, (Arab) Eko, (Nigerian) Miles, (Asian) Ana-Lucia, (Latina) and Hurley (Latino). Michael and Jin's very early interactions involved race, but they got past the issue quickly and were soon having Han-Chewie interaction on a regular basis.
  • Power Rangers, usually with one Asian guy and one Black guy in the Five-Man Band. The few times they don't have one of each tend to be (but aren't always) when the core cast starts with a Power Trio instead - and even then at least one of the three is a minority, and there's still room for the Sixth Ranger to be non-white as well. Minorities aren't always Black or Asian, either: Power Rangers Mystic Force in particular has neither, instead having Nick (visually Middle Eastern), Daggeron (Ambiguously Brown), and Xander (Australian - visually white but with the actor's native accent). It's probably also worth noting the show is filmed in New Zealand with Fake Americans these days.
    • What are Madison and Vida supposed to be? The manual says their last name is Rocca...
    • Power Rangers Samurai follows up with the Mexican-American Antonio. Whose actor is again neither of those ethnicities - he's half Thai, half German.
  • The Middleman has Wendy Watson (Cuban) and Noser (Black). The rest of the cast is pretty white, though.
  • Dexter starts off with Doakes (African-American), Angel and LaGuerta (both Cuban - sensible, given the show's set in Miami), and Masuka (Japanese-American). Later seasons get rid of Doakes, but add other non-white characters for varying amounts of time.
  • All the Star Trek TV series pass, except for TNG:
    • TOS has Sulu (Asian) and Uhura (black).
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation fails because the only nonwhite human character is Geordi (who is black).note 
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Sisko (black), his son Jake (also black) and Bashir (Arab). Deep Space Nine is actually one of the more racially diverse main casts (at least the characters' races) with only ONE white human (O'Brien) and he's Happily Married to an Asian woman and they have Eurasian children.
    • Voyager has Chakotay (American Indian) and Kim (Asian). Torres is half-Klingon, but her human father is Hispanic.
    • Enterprise has Hoshi (Asian) and Mayweather (black).
  • Mortal Kombat: Conquest has the Asian Shang Tsung and Kung Lao, and the black Jade (not to mention a few one-shot characters). And this would be okay even with a mostly white cast, if the show wasn't set in ancient China.
  • The American The Office, with Kelly, Stanley, Oscar, and Darryl.
  • Lampshaded in the NewsRadio episode, "Daydream," when Catherine, the only non-white member of the cast (and who the writers clearly realized by this point they had no idea how to write for) went into the break room for lunch, and was joined by a group of other African American - and at least one Asian - coworkers, where they talk about their day and about how nice it is to work in a place with so many "people of color in it." She then snaps out of her daydream as her blond-haired white actual coworkers ask if they can eat lunch with her, and immediately start talking about Friends.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, Dr. George Huang, and Dr. Melinda Warner. While some episodes of the series include race as a theme (when relevant to the crime of the week), the series itself is not about race. As of Season 15, out of the five main characters, two are Latino and one is black.
  • Law & Order was compliant with this rule for the last fifteen seasons of its run: After Chris Noth was controversially sacked in 1995, he was replaced with Benjamin Bratt, and from that point forward, there have always been at least two minority characters on the show. One of these was always Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, who joined the 27th Precinct in 1993 and stayed until the end.
  • Gilmore Girls (Lane and Michel).
  • Stargate Atlantis has Teyla and Ford in season one and Teyla and Ronon from season two on. (Teyla and Ronon are Human Aliens, but they still count.) Additionally, the first season had Sergeant Bates and Dr. Grodin, both played by Ambiguously Brown actors.
  • Firefly has Book and Zoe. There are also the Tams, who are supposed to be half-Asian, although played by white actors. That stands in contrast to the ambiguous character of Inara Serra played by hispanic Morena Baccarin.
  • Flashforward has has Dmitri and Stan in the main cast, plus Gough and Vreede who appear in most episodes despite not being starring.
  • The West Wing fails at least in terms of its main cast. Although Martin Sheen is Hispanic rather than white, his character is white, leaving the only non-white character in the main cast as Charlie Young, until he is joined by Jimmy Smits in the last two seasons. If Jewish characters are considered non-Whites for purposes of the test, it does a little better thanks to Josh and Toby. Not to mention that there's just no way a show about American politics can be said to not be about race on some level, as racial issues reliably pop up every 3 or 4 episodes, and are central to the last two seasons. In terms of recurring characters it does pass; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Fitzwallace and National Security Adviser Nancy McNally are both black.
  • The rebooted Battlestar Galactica had white, black, Asian, Indian and Latin American actors in a far-away setting where Europe, Africa, Asia, India and Latin America didn't actually exist. Although racism was a theme throughout the show, it somehow never had anything to do with the characters' skin tones.
  • Heroes started out with DL, Hiro, Isaac, Micah, Mohinder, and Simone (and that's not counting recurring characters like Ando and the Haitian). Season 2 promoted Ando and introduced newbies Maya & Monica to the main cast...but after that the series, while still passing, started to get rid of non-white cast members. Season 4 barely features one (Mohinder) and ends in a way that could write out all three.
  • Clueless had Dionne, Murray, and Sean.
  • Ghostwriter had a predominately black, Salvadoran, Puerto Rican, and Asian cast throughout its run, with Lenni and Rob being the only major white members of the team.
  • Community passes easily: of its nine main characters, only five are white (and at least two of them are members of non-racial minority groups). The remaining four consist of one Asian character (Chang), one middle-eastern character (Abed), and two black characters (Troy and Shirley). Even as the cast shuffles around in season 5, losing Troy, it still passes as it still has three.
  • Generation 1 of Skins passes, with Anwar and Jal in the main cast.
  • The Huxtables in The Cosby Show. The show actually received criticism among the Black community for making the characters' race not be an important factor in the show, portraying instead an upper-class family that happens to be black. The topic of race is rarely brought up.
  • The title characters of Kenan & Kel (as well as the rest of Kenan's family) are black, and the show has a Token White. Mostly, the show is a buddy comedy about Zany Schemes and race is usually unimportant. The most focus it got was when Kenan realized he was not switched at birth with Kevin Rockmore because the other Rockmores were Asian.
  • On psychological crime drama Perception, Daniel's assistant, Max Lewicki, and his old friend/colleague, Paul, are both black. One episode is about race, but the rest of the show is not.
  • Grimm features both black Hank and Asian Sgt. Wu. Interestingly, they are some of the few normal human regulars on the show, with the white Juliette being the only other one.
  • Suits features both powerful executive Jessica Pearson, and the Love Interest Rachel Zane, who has a black father.
  • Supernatural has a few episodes featuring Kevin Tran and his mother, such as "What's Up Tiger Mommy?" and a "A Little Slice Of Kevin", but generally fails. Even when they give Dean a mixed race love interest, the story line involves a racist ghost truck.
    • Especially now that Kevin has been killed off.
  • In Castle, race comes up very rarely, if ever. Dr. Lanie Parrish (Black) and Detective Javier Esposito (Latino) star in the show, so it passes.
  • Once Gwen's brother, Elyan, is added in the third season (they're both Ambiguously Brown), Merlin passes.
  • The Walking Dead passed easily early in its first season with a large body of black and hispanic characters in the main cast. By the end of the 6-ep first season, though, attrition had claimed all but two of the non-Caucasian characters (and a whole lot of Caucasian characters as well). In the second season, despite the quasi Locked Room nature of the season arc and the continuing body count rise, both non-Caucasians defied the Black Dude Dies First trope, and the third season saw the cast enlarged to include various non-Caucasians in various flavors of good guy, bad guy, and neutral. (As well as flavors of doomed, not doomed yet, and still running for their lives.)
  • The cast of Gray's Anatomy is Deggans-compliant, with three African-Americans in the original cast, all in positions of authority (in fact, the only non-New Meat white character is Dr. McDreamy), and an Asian amongst the interns; it was noted as being more integrated than Real Life Seattle. However, race is occasionally an issue, so it may fail the other element of the test.
  • New Girl has the east Indian Cece and the black Winston. During season 3, the original black roommate Coach (whom Winston replaced after the pilot due to the actor having a conflict) has joined the main cast as well.
  • Orange Is The New Black is a show set in a woman's prison; the main character, her fiance, and ex-girlfriend are white, however there are lots of non-white characters with individual plotlines. It's especially notable in that it features a black transwoman actually played by a black transwoman.
  • True Blood has two black characters in its main cast: cousins Lafayette and Tara note . This has one unfortunate downside though: at least two thirds of the show's recurring minority characters (not all of them black) are directly connected to them and primarily involved in their storylines, making the show feel a bit...segregated at times.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, only three of the seven main characters are white. The rest are two black men (Sgt. Terry Jeffords and Captain Ray Holt, the latter of whom is also gay) and two Latina women (Rosa Diaz and Amy Santiago).

    Newspaper Comics 
  • For most of its run, Safe Havens has had a black protagonist and her family, eventually befriending a Hispanic and an Asian. There have been only a few vague hints of anyone noticing any difference.
  • Between Friends: Kim and her son, Danny, along with Maeve's co-worker Helen, are black. The strip is mostly about age-based and gender-based issues.

    Video Games 
  • While the Fire Emblem series doesn't normally comply with this rule, Fire Emblem Awakening does with the Ferox nation's (black) Khans, Basilio and Flavia. Its plot is also devoid of racial themes, except for one ensemble character with Fantastic Racism as part of her personality and back-story.
  • Mass Effect is complicated, due to the shear amount of racial and cultural intermingling that occurs in universe, making it difficult to discern a characters race by glance and leading to a fair number of ambiguously brown characters. However, this level of racial and cultural intermingling means racism is not only a non-issue, its basically extinct. To wit:
    • The first games has Ashley Williams (Ambiguously Brown, confirmed by Word of God to be "mostly Hispanic") and Kaiden Alenko (White but with non Caucasian features, given name common amongst the Middle East with a Ukrainian surname and to be a biotic at his age he would have had to have been born in Singapore, however he is specifically mentioned in the third game to have been raised in Vancouver, Canada) as party members and has Donnel Udina (a perfect example of that afore mentioned racial and cultural intermingling, having an Irish given name, a Russian surname but being North African by descent) and Captain (later Admiral) David Edward Anderson who is actually Afro-British but has lost his accent and thus just comes off as African-American. T
      • Though the books also state Admiral Anderson isn't 100% sub-Saharan African, having North African, Southern European, Indian and East Asian ancestry as well. His sub-Saharan African ancestry is just dominant in his racial features.
    • Mass Effect 2 initially fails with this, what with Anderson and Udina being relegated to supporting roles and the only non-white member of you're crew being Jacob Taylor, who is clearly African-American. However DLC adds in the Japanese Kasumi Goto and the game still has numerous non-white and ambiguously brown supporting characters. Its worth noting that the lack of racial diversity might have something to do with the increased number of important alien character in this game, with a generally decreased focus on humans overall. Kinda ironic considering you're now working for a human supremacist organisation...
    • Mass Effect 3 passes no issues, with the return of Anderson, Udina and either Kaiden or Ashley as major characters, plus the addition of the clearly Hispanic James Vega and Steve Cortez as well as British Indians Samantha Traynor and Maya Brooks and the villainous Kai Leng (Chinese/Russian).
      • Kai Leng is oddly only the second non-white Cerberus member we've seen so far, the other being the afore mention Jacob Taylor, which seems odd considering the organisation claims to represent humanity as a whole. Of coarse they borderline on A Nazi by Any Other Name at times so this may have been intentional by the developers in order to lampshade their racist tendencies (granted its supposed to be racism and xenophobia directed at aliens but the analogy still stands).
    • The games also contain numerous minor but still important to their relevant sub-plot/mission charcaters like Fai Da and Emily Wong (both Chinese), Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani (judging by her name she most likely descends from various Islamic south east Asian ethnicities), Gianna Parasini (Italian/African), Rear Admiral Kahoku (Native Hawaiian) and others.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 passes with the African-American Sergeant Foley (voiced by Keith David) and the player character James Ramirez, who is Hispanic, making him the first confirmed non-white playable character in the series. Race of course never comes up as an issue, as like most Call of Duty games it more about shooting Russians/terrorist in the face than racial issues.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a black main protagonist, CJ. His family and gang are also black, but the supporting cast beyond that is fairly diverse. The only time the subject of race is brought up is when his brother Sweet and sister Kendl argue over her dating a Latino, Caesar, but the relationship endures and Caesar becomes one of CJ's most loyal allies.
  • All of the games in the Saints Row series does a rather good job of this. You have the series mainstays Johnny Gat and Pierce Washington, as well as a variety of other prominent nonwhite characters in each game who fight for your cause, including Lin, Dex, Zimos, Ben King, Asha Odekar, and Keith David. Race almost never comes up as an issue in the game.
  • In Mortal Kombat, the majority of the Earthrealm fighters are non-white, with the majority being Asian.note .Furthermore, three characters are black: Jax, Cyrax, and Kai; Nightwolf is Native American (albeit one who's painfully stereotypical); and Mavado is Hispanic.

    Web Comic 
  • Shortpacked! demonstrates and discusses the trope here. Note that aside from those two, we also have 2.5 Asians in the main cast.
  • Penny and Aggie features, among sparse recurring characters of color, the black Duane and Brandi and the half-Asian Sara in the main cast. The story is mostly about gender, sexuality, and high school drama.
  • El Goonish Shive has in the main eight, two cousins, one of whom is full-Japanese and one of whom is half-Japanese. There's also a technically questionable example in Grace, who is a Half-Human Hybrid, whose human side is black. However, the prominent supporting character Greg is also black, and as of 2014, Elliot is dating another Asian character, Ashley. Between being about gender and sexuality, overcoming past traumas, and magical threats, it doesn't even touch upon race.
  • Freefall has had a number of Ambiguously Brown humans, among them Niomi's family, the mayor, and Mr. Raibert. The artist, Mark Stanley, says he doesn't want to make the same mistake as The Jetsons, which seems to imply a past ethnic cleansing that never comes up.

    Web Original 
  • The Descendants features Kareem (Iranian) and Laurel (African American). If one wants to split hairs, you can add Alexis (described as Romani), and Warrick (Italian American).

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : The main cast includes people based on Inuit, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Tibetans, and a few more. While there is antagonism between nations and personal conflicts, race is not brought up as an issue.
  • Futurama, with Hermes Conrad and Amy Wong.
  • Fireman Sam has the Flood family: Mike (white), Mandy (black, technically Caribbean), and their daughter Mandy (mixed-race, obviously). One of the few kids' cartoons with a mixed marriage.
  • Hey Arnold! has both Gerald (black) and Phoebe (half-Japanese) in the main cast of kids, as well as the prominent boarder Mr. Hyunh (Vietnamese immigrant). There are also a number of non-white recurring characters such as Maria (Hispanic), Harvey (black), Nadine (half-black), and the rest of Gerald's family. Mr. Hyunh's previous nationality is occasionally plot-important, but their races get brought up rarely if at all.
  • Total Drama is very Deggans-compliant; roughly a third of the (52) contestantsnote  and the host's assistant, Chef Hatchet, are non-white, and only two of them (Leshawna and Alejandro) treat their race as a very important part of their characters.
  • Pelswick has both the black Sandra and the Asian Ace. The show was far more about disability than it was about race, and far more about learning lessons of the world as a young man than it was about disability.
  • As Told by Ginger has two black main characters: Miranda and Darren. The show is all about girls going through middle school and puberty.
  • The Simpsons, though generally sparse on non-white characters, does feature Carl, Apu, Lou, and Dr. Hibbert prominently. Most other non-white characters are very minor.
  • Rugrats started out with Monochrome Casting, but eventually grew into following this rule with the fairly early addition of the African-American Susie Carmichael, followed much later by the addition of the Japanese-descended Kimi Watanabe-Finster, as well as her mother, Kira. Though Susie already had a fairly large family, all of her relatives are very minor characters.
  • On Danny Phantom, both of Danny's human Romantic False Leads are non-white. Paulina is Hispanic and Valerie is black.
  • On The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Sheen is Hispanic and Libby is black.
  • The Fairly OddParents has Black and Nerdy AJ, Asian Airhead Trixie, and eventually the east-Asian Sanjay.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man passes easily, notably giving a Race Lift to many characters that were white in the comics. Liz Allan is now Hispanic, as is her brother (stepbrother in the comics) Mark. Likewise, police officer Jean DeWolffe is Native American (according to Word of God). Ned Leeds and Kenny "King Kong" McFarland also go from white to Asian (with names changed to Ned Lee and Kenny "King" Kong), while Raymond and Miles Warren are both Indian. Fancy Dan, Debra Whitman and Roderick Kingsley, all white in the comics, are now black.

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