A form of Bait and Switch comedy that teases with prejudice and discrimination, where one party looks like they're about to discriminate against someone for one reason, a reason that would be appalingly un-PC, but in reality ...it's because they like avocado ice cream. (What? Don't judge it 'till you try it!)
Can include gender, race, religion, or other sensitive issues, and will be switched with anything from liking that insufferable Opposing Sports Team, being from Snubsburg, or just because.
A subversion is possible: The character seems to be discriminated against for an unacceptable and bigoted reason, and then it turns out that they're being discriminated against for a completely different, equally unacceptable and bigoted reason.
Not to be confused with Pretend Prejudice. Compare Mistaken for Racist, Stereotype Reaction Gag
Officer: You know why I pulled you over today? Maxwell: Because I'm a pig driving a convertible? Officer: [annoyed at the insinuation] Tail light's out. Fix it.
An early episode of Darker than Black has a white hitman telling his black partner that his kind are scum, fit only to serve others. The catch is that the black partner is a Contractor, essentially an amoral living weapon. The scene is probably a Lampshade Hanging on how Fantastic Racism is often used as a blatant parallel to actual racism.
In the ADV Films Gag Dub of Ghost Stories, while the protagonists are defeating the Monster of the Week, a pet bunny rabbit which has brought back to life, turned into a giant rabbit monster, and is chasing after its former caretaker, the caretaker says to her former pet
"Shirotabi, please forgive me for bringing you back to life! I know now that it could never work between us. As much as we want it to, it could never be! Not because you're a rabbit, but because you're BLACK!"
A possible case of this exists with Greenback Jane in Black Lagoon. She takes to calling Feng Yifei (a Chinese hacker) things like "Miss Fu Manchu" and "Miss Peking Duck," but this might only be because she was spying for the PRC.
In Runaways Karolina's relationship with Xavin is seen as disgusting by her fellow Majesdonians not because she's a lesbian, but because Xavin is a Skrull.
In an earlier issue, when Klara is first introduced she is shocked by Karolina and Xavin's relationship (being from the early 1900's) but she doesn't seem to be too bothered that Karolina is white and Xavin is "a negress."
In an Archie Comics story from The Sixties, Veronica, seeing Chuck and Jughead some distance away, tells Archie she doesn't want "his kind" at her upcoming party. Archie assumes she's prejudiced against blacks and launches into a tirade, saying if Chuck isn't welcome there, "you can take your party and go plumb to blazes. Dig?" Veronica explains that Chuck is most welcome at the party, and that by "his kind" she meant Jughead, who's a "slob." Somehow this mollifies Archie, despite Jughead being his best friend.
Well, Jughead is a slob...
In ElfQuest, white elf chief Cutter is lifemate to black elf Leetah. The series' Big Bad, Winnowill, likes to call Leetah her "dark sister" and at one point starts a discussion with her about race. It turns out all elves consider skin color to be purely aesthetic - the discussion is actually about Cutter's animal heritage, which Winnowill considers vile.
Anarchist from X-Force was a black child who was adopted by wealthy white parents. He claims that his parents never once made him feel different for being black, but disowned him when they found out he was a mutant.
During the United We Stand crossover in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Miles gets captured by a brainwashed Cassie Lang. When Cassie reports to her superiors that the new Spider-Man isn't what they'd expect, Miles calls her a racist, only to then realize she's referring to the fact that he's only 13 years-old.
In No HoperAmanda thinks that Light hates the now-dead fledgling Diana because she turned her nose up at him during lunch that day. It's actually just because he's a sociopath and Diana is a fledgling vampyre. Also when Light goes berserk and nearly kills Damien during their fencing lesson, Damien wonders if he's a homophobe or something but then Light didn't seem to have a problem with Jack. Light doesn't have a problem with Damien being gay-he has a problem with him being a vampyre.
In Kira Sweetheart after Light began dating L, his relationship with his father became strained. Light assumed that his father was being homophobic. It's actually because he knows that Light was Kira.
In Of Lilies and Chestnuts, when Fleur De Lis and Fancy Pants see a bat pony as their prime adoption choice, Fleur pulls fancy aside and demands they pick somepony else. Although racism against bat ponies pervades the Canterlot Elite of which Fleur is a member, Fleur just guesses (and is proven right) that Chestnut just acts ostensibly lower-class and would sabotage the family's good standing. Eventually, Fleur warms up to Chestnut.
Finbar McBride, the protagonist of The Station Agent, has achondroplasia — one of a number of disorders causing dwarfism. He begins the movie staying with a friend who works in a model train shop — a hobby they both share — but after the friend's death he ends up moving to rural New Jersey, where he meets Joe Oramas and Olivia Harris. Later on in the film, while Joe is busy cooking up some food:
Joe: Do they have clubs for you people? (Beat. Finbar and Olivia exchange glances.) Finbar: What? Joe (oblivious): You know, for train watchers.
In a variant, Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack brings his friend Mr. Wang to the country club. He warns the Asian not to admit to being Jewish, because the club is restricted.
In the American remake of Death at a Funeral Elaine, a black woman is going to her uncle's funeral accompanied by her white fiance Oscar who is extremely aware that his prospective father in law hates him, the implication being that it is because he doesn't want a white man marrying his daughter. Actually it turns out Elaine's father just hates Oscar because he thinks Oscar is an idiot and he wanted Elaine to marry her ex, Derek, who is also white.
In Rush Hour 3, Detective Carter, played by Chris Tucker, enters a taxi cab in France, and the driver remarks he won't serve "his kind"—meaning Americans, not black people.
In Flodder In America, the mother of Kees's new boyfriend is upset with her not because she's foreign, non-religious, ditzy, and a total slut; but because she might be "(gasp) republican!"
The fall of the Berlin Wall being to Goodbye Lenin what the American Revolution is to Rip Van Winkle, the sheltered East German mother's reaction to the obviously gay couple moving into their building is one of absolute shock... because they're from Wuppertal, in West Germany.
Pratchett's Men at Arms, when Angua says "is it because I'm a w-" and you think she's saying "woman" until it turns out she's also a werewolf.
Carrot also assumes that's what she meant, leading to an unfortunate incident when the full moon is out.
Both Angua and Carrot (and the reader, given how certain lines are phrased) think that Vimes doesn't want her in Watch because she's a woman. No, he just doesn't like werewolves. But the misunderstanding persists for most of the book, and of course means that Angua initially has very little respect for him.
Morris Kazenstein, the genius inventor from Sewer, Gas & Electric, is stricken with a bad case of Jewish liberal guilt when dealing with his Palestinian foster siblings. They take constant merciless advantage of his feelings — even though they were raised in the UK — until, when he finally gets fed up and suggests they go fight to liberate Palestine, they launch into a tirade against Morris ... for being an American.
Vlad Taltos, of the Dragaera novels, is occasionally shocked when a Dragaeran despises him for being a Jhereg, as opposed to being an Easterner.
In the Dalziel and Pascoe novels, DC Shirley Novello discovers that when the CID team go to the pub, she is always expected to fetch the drinks no matter whose round it was and assumes this is because she is a woman. She later discovers that it is simply a custom that the lowest ranking officer present has to get the drinks in.
In the Mercedes LackeyThe Last Herald-Mage trilogy, the eponymous herald-mage Vanyel is gay and extremely sensitive about it. When he discovers that people are trying to keep him at a distance, he assumes it's because he's gay. One of the other heralds sets him straight and explains that it isn't the fact that he's gay that scares everyone, but the fact that he's an uber-powerful mage with a less than warm and friendly personality, and under a lot of stress to boot - people are worried that he might freak out and level half the city.
In Shannon Donnely's Proper Conduct, Nevin assumes Penelope's aloof and unfriendly attitude towards him is because he's half-Roma. It's actually because his (white) father is responsible for her family's dire financial straits.
Artemis Fowl: Holly finally snaps at Commander Root for being so by-the-book with her, and that if she wasn't a woman (she's the only female officer along with the public-relations bimbo) he wouldn't be doing half of what she's going through. Root agrees that it is because she's a woman... but for the wrong reason. On the contrary, if she can handle the unpreferential treatment, then there's hope that other women will one day join the force as well. He also notes that her capabilities are far beyond what he'd expected.
Live Action TV
Diane on Cheers claims to have integrated her sorority. Turns out the oppressed masses for whom she secured membership were... girls with poorly publicized coming-out parties.
In Gimme A Break a black female character was rejected for a job, and she thought it was because she was black. So while she was bringing discrimination charges, several black (male) employees seemed to gratuitously walk by. The character asserted they were just hired to refute the charges, causing the suspected racist to say, "And people wonder why I don't hire women!"
Sorta in Teen Wolf. Sorta. In one episode, Scott is banned from a school dance, shows up anyways, and when his coach starts chasing him, he comes across an openly gay classmate and convinces him to dance with him. When the coach catches up to him and starts yelling, the whole gym thinks he's yelling about the two boys dancing together rather than the fact Scott isn't supposed to be at the dance.
There's a related scene in The Golden Girls when Dorothy objects to her son's marrying a black woman, but only because she's twice his age, while the bride expects her mother to object to the age difference, but she really objects because Dorothy's son is white.
Blanche dared to attend her prom with Benjamin, despite the scorn of others. Dorothy assumes Benjamin was black. Nope. He was a Yankee from New Jersey.
The Kids in the Hall spoofed this. A white gay man is being bashed by his cab driver, but it turns out the cabbie thought he was Chinese.
In Goodness Gracious Me, one scene has one sketch where an Indian man comes out to his parents with his partner. The scene ends with him getting slapped and told he should have found a nice Indian Boy instead.
In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Hal's the only white guy at a game of poker, and spends the whole evening feeling like an outsider, then rants for days at the way they treated him. Eventually, he confronts one of them and, after some baiting, exclaims "You and your friends ganged up on me because I'm not a professional", the others being lawyers, dentists and so on.
Seventh Heaven: Reverend Camden overheard an argument between Matt's Jewish father-in-law and Ruthie's Muslim friend that sounded like they were attacking each other's religions. When he came into the hall to break it up, he realized they were arguing about their favorite baseball teams.
In another episode the Camdens are hosting a party with that same Muslim family, only to find nobody wants to attend. He eventually finds out that people assume the family is French because of their last name. (The episode was made around the time the Iraq War started. Subverted somewhat because people are still nervous about attending when the truth is found out.)
In Flight of the Conchords Bret and Jemaine are "racially" abused for being New Zealanders by a fruit-seller. Finally they stand up to him with a stirring speech about the rights of all human beings, whereupon it all turns out to be a big misunderstanding - the man thought they were Australian! So then they all go and make offensive gestures outside the Australian Embassy together.
On Veronica Mars, when Veronica's Black Best Friend Wallace moves in with his new roommate, the roommate acts uncomfortable. He explains, "I specifically said I didn't want a roommate who was...uh, you know...better looking than me."
On My Name Is Earl, Joy feels like she has to hide her second (black) husband from her father because in high school, he wouldn't let her date a black guy. Turns out Dad loves black people (especially black women)...and he didn't want her dating anyone that might just be her brother.
Pushing Daisies, when Emerson is refused service in a bar not because he's black but because he's tall.
Used on Blue Collar TV in the "Fat Family" sketch, when the daughter brings home her boyfriend: "It's not that we don't like you because you're Jewish...it's because you're-" * look of disgust* "-skinny."
Played with in Everybody Hates Chris, when the white coach informs Chris that he hates "people". The narration snarks "black people", but as the coach continues, it becomes clear he's a misanthrope. He mentions several negative stereotypes applied to black people, concluding with "they're lazy. White people are so lazy that they needed slaves to do the work for 'em."
Stephen Colbert: Now, I'm no supporter of Obama. But if he does win... Anyone would have to admit, this is a night long overdue. We, as a nation, have reached that mountaintop because at long last, the United States have fulfilled the greatest part of freedom. We have a President... who is Hawaiian.
Colbert also had a scene in which he blasted a gay rights poster that showed two men kissing under the words "Shocking? For who?" as Sick and Wrong... because it's supposed to be "for whom."
In The IT Crowd, Moss and Roy get roped into seeing Gay: A Gay Musical, "a story of a young man trying to find his sexuality in the uncaring Thatcher years", containing "scenes of graphic homoeroticism". Moss comments "Oh, yuck! It's set in The Eighties!".
Peculiar example from Whoopi Goldberg's shortlived sitcom Whoopie. She's been charged with smoking in public and tries to get the judge to dismiss the charge, but he refuses and gives her a stiff fine. She accuses him of being prejudiced. When he declares he's not racist, she clarifies: He's prejudiced against smokers. And then he declares that he is and that she'll pay the fine anyways.
In Desperate Housewives, Carlos knows his wife is having an affair, but not with whom. Suspecting the TV repairman, he breaks into his house and beats him up. Then he looks around and notices the artwork... it's pretty clear the man is gay. The same thing happens to Carlos again. Carlos goes to jail for hate crimes. He actually gets off, but lost his temper at the trial on an unrelated matter and went to jail anyway. Temper, temper.
It gets better. The second gay man he beats up is a friend of their gardener, who Carlos thinks is a swell young man. Carlos winds up losing his temper at the trial because the gardener wonders aloud why their lawn was the only one that needed mowing three times a week...
In the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, Captain Samantha Carter, Stargate Command's new astrophysics expert, eventually loses her cool over Colonel O'Neill's poor attitude towards her and gives a "just because my reproductive organs are in the inside" lecture that would itself become ripe for lampshading in later seasons. Afterward, O'Neill kindly explains that he has no problem serving with women. It's scientists he doesn't like.
Of course, she confidently replies that she logged time over Iraq in the Gulf War (it was 1997, the other one hadn't happened yet).
There's also a notable inversion of this trope in an episode where the SG-1 team meets with some aliens who are understandably somewhat uncomfortable with the team's resident Jaffa, Teal'c. Turns out it's because they're racists (in the non-Fantastical sense).
In episode 12 of the third season of NewsRadio, Lisa gets the nod for "Cutest Reporter in New York." Catherine gets upset that Lisa was picked over her and explains that every time she's gotten a promotion, it was because of "you know what." "Because you're black?" Lisa asks innocently. Catherine responds: "What? No, because of these! And this!" (as she points to her bosom and behind, respectively.)
The unfortunately short-lived Andy Richter Controls The Universe contained an amusing variation. In one episode Andy delivers an offensive tirade against the Irish, not realizing that his new coworker is Irish. The new coworker is also black, so when the incident is reported to Andy's superiors, they assume he was insulting black people. When he corrects them that he was insulting the Irish they reply, "Oh... well then what's the problem?". The scene then smash cuts to another scene of said superiors being chewed out by their superiors, and the cycle repeats.
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Cardassian scientist tells O'Brien that she's 'not used to your kind being good engineers'. 'You mean humans?' 'I mean males.'
On the other hand, the sniping between them is revealed later to be the Cardassian equivalent of flirting. Miles did not know this at the time.
Although where Cardassians get off criticizing anyone's engineering...
In the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney Stinson's gay, black half-brother James (played by Wayne Brady) announces he's getting married, Barney is shocked and appalled. Not at gay marriage, but marriage in general. Especially because if gay guys start getting married, then soon everybody will want to. "Think of how the American family will be strengthened!"
In another episode, a slightly different version after Ted and Robin have a fight:
Lily: (to Robin) Come on, he's mad at you because of [some reason], not because you didn't like Field of Dreams.
The girls then continue to discuss Ted and Robin's relationship while the boys talk about how emotional Field of Dreams makes them.
Played totally straight in an episode of The Father Dowling Mysteries in which the crime involves an African-American family. Father Dowling's housekeeper gets on well with the wise old grandfather, but when he suggests taking their relationship further she explains she can't do that, they're too different. Because he's Episcopalian. And everyone shares a good laugh about religious intolerance.
In the Doctor Who episode "Human Nature", Martha (who is black), working as a maid, is the subject of jeers from the privately educated kids in the school she's undercover in. She later says to a colleague that it's quite nice that at least the temporarily human Doctor is nice to her, because not everyone would be nice...
Martha: He's just kind to me, that's all. And not everyone's that considerate, what with me being... [points at her face]
Subverted in "The Snowmen." Dr. Simeon says that the public would never accept that Madame Vastra, the legendary Veiled Detective is... (throws back the veil, reveals she's a lizard-woman) "...a WOMAN!"
In the episode "Day of the Moon", Canton Everett Delaware III is shown to be a badass government agent who helps the Doctor defeat the Silence after getting kicked out of the FBI for "wanting to get married" in 1969. Right at the end of the arc, Nixon asks him if the person he wants to marry is black, because he would be willing to push to overturn that law. "Yes," says Delaware, "he is."
Leverage inverts it. In "The Homecoming Job", Hardison needs to distract some security guards, so when they pull him over to search his truck he starts ranting about how they're prejudiced against him... because he's Jewish.
Hardison: Can't a brotha like matzo ball soup?
The defense attorney on Picket Fences spent most of the series assuming that people keep giving him the cold shoulder because he's Jewish. The sheriff's wife eventually calls him out on this, telling him to his face that it's because he's obnoxious.
In an episode of Scrubs, JD brings Turk to a patient's room to get him to consider surgery. The old-fashioned white patient tells JD "You know I don't like his people." Both look shocked before he clarifies that he meant surgeons.
Doorman: Holy crap! It is you! Sorry for the mix-up, Tan.
Shawn Spencer: I beg your pardon? My name is Black. His (Gus) name is Tan. I can't believe you just made that assumption. You should be ashamed of yourself and your family.
Lampshaded in a Saturday Night Live skit which featured Heather Locklear as the saleswoman of a home shopping channel who made incredibly racist statements throughout the broadcast, drawing the ire of viewers. At the end of the skit, a disclaimer was posted in which the writers claimed that they wrote the skit in an effort to show how wrong prejudice and bigotry are..."But of course, that should be obvious to anyone who isn't a retard."
In an edition of Weekend Update, Tina Fey accused Jimmy Fallon of being a "specist" after reporting a story about a man being attacked by two black bears, asking "if it was polar bears would you have said 'two white bears'?" Jimmy responds by revealing that he is married to a black bear, shows the audience the wedding photo, and then asks Tina "Who's the idiot now— you, or me, the guy who married a black bear?" making this a subversion of an already subversive trope.
That '70s Show: When a gay couple moves in next to the Formans, it's not the fact that they're gay that ruins any chance at a friendship with conservative, old-fashioned Red. It's the fact that they're Minnesota Vikings fans, while Red is about as big of a Green Bay Packers fan as you'll ever see.
In Arrested Development, Lucille complains about having been woken by a "colored man." The color in question being blue; her son-in-law was trying out for the Blue Man Group and didn't warn her before coming over.
However, Arrested Development being the show that it is, this is actually one of many hints that Tobias is secretly an albino black man/part black (a story line they didn't get a chance to use before the cancellation).
In another episode, a pair of African-American brothers accuse George Michael of bigotry. Not because they're black, but because he hates twins.
On Supernatural, a couple of African-American hunters are accosted in a bar by a hostile white skinhead. His taunts seem like the standard "Your kind don't belong in here" schtick ... until his Black Eyes of Evil are revealed. In this case, "your kind" means monster-hunters, because the skinhead and everyone else in the bar is possessed.
On 30 Rock, Jack encourages Liz to date a character played by Wayne Brady because "he's a Black." Turns out that Black is his last name, and Jack is good friends with his family.
"Remarkable people, the Blacks. Musical, very athletic, not very good swimmers. Again, I'm talking about the family."
Used in a frequently quoted bit from Seinfeld. Jerry's dentist tells him a mildly offensive Jewish joke, then explains that it's OK, because the dentist just converted to Judaism. Jerry later complains that he thinks the dentist merely converted for the jokes. When someone says, "And that offends you, as a Jewish person?" Jerry says, "No, it offends me as a comedian!"
And in the same episode, Jerry tells a joke about dentists and gets accused of being an "anti-dentite". When the dentist mentioned above talks about how his people have been persecuted, Jerry asks "The Jews?", to which he responds, "No, dentists!".
In Eureka, Carter is warned that Allison's brother Marcus is prejudiced.
Carter: "Against white people?"
Kevin: "No, against dumb people."
Some changes to the team at the start of season 3 of Warehouse 13 led to men briefly outnumbering women in the main cast for the first time. When Mika returned, Claudia told her how glad she was to see her back, after having felt outnumbered in this sausage-fest. She didn't care about gender ratios, the others just eat way too much meat at breakfast and she was glad to have another healthy eater on the team.
Charles Gunn: Since when can't a brother buy some ginseng tea?
Old Chinese Man: Not you. Him. (Points at Angel) Vampire not welcome.
In Neighbours Chris briefly suspects Kyle of homophobia when he shows reluctance to let him rent the spare room at No. 26. Kyle clarifies that it was because Chris is in a relationship, something that Kyle and Rhys don't exactly want rubbed in their faces while both are going through bad breakups.
Horribly subverted in an episode of Community. Pierce is well known to be incredibly racist, sexist- well, basically everything that ends in 'ist'. He one times warns Annie to be careful around an Asian overachiever, because they're "ruthless".
Brazilian comedian Danilo Gentili, in a number about a new law in São Paulo that didn't allow the use of cell phones on libraries, imitated a person in the library reporting a violation...by calling from the cell phone.
There's someone using a cell phone in here. [Pause] Black. [Pause] No, the cell's black, dude's white.
Tim Minchin would like to share some thoughts on prejudice.
In a standup routine, Dave Chappelle was talking about an incident where he was confronted by the KKK. "I mean, I was shocked. It's the 21st century." (Beat) "Are there people still afraid of ghosts?"
In another bit he told a story about going to a restaurant.. "I go to a restaurant to order some food, and I said to the guy I would like to have.. and before I could finish my sentence he said The Chicken! I could not believe it, (beat) this man was absolutely right, how did he know I was gonna get some chicken?"
In Khaos Komix, Charlie's mother runs into Charlie and Tom out in town as Charlie, in a dress was getting her ears pierced. Her mother berates her about how she "Thought she'd brought him up right" and she "knew who influenced her into it". Turns out she freaked out about Charlie getting piercings. Women's clothes? Fine and dandy. Except couldn't she think of anything less stereotyped?
Played with in The Pigs Ear. When Barkeep is looking for some hired help, a couple of the rejected applicants assume they didn't get the job because of their race, even though poor Barkeep was thinking of something completely different (like the black guy with a pair of hooks instead of hands).
In NSFW Comix, Becky thinks Grant, Psymantha and Spatula have been driven to see a psychiatrist because they found out she has a penis. Later on they assure her that her penis wasn't the cause of their distress: It was walking in on her masturbating to a picture of their Gonk roommate, Cuthwald.
In thisPenny Arcade strip, Gabe notes that he's worried that a friend's girlfriend is just a fake geek girl, Tycho responds to this by angrily chewing him out about judging who qualifies as a "true" geek. It turns out that Gabe meant she's a literal fake girl made from a bundle of sticks in a Batman T-shirt and lipstick.
In Questionable Content, Dora's father thinks bisexuality is just a phase, like some baggy pants Dora liked to wear. He doesn't care about Dora being bisexual, but he really doesn't like the pants.
This comic◊ starts out like a rant against homosexuality.
When Francine kicks out a classmate of Steven's, they think it was because she was black, but it turned out to be because she was left-handed. She'd been taught by the nun that raised her that lefties were evil (even though she was one).
In another episode, Francine becomes a real estate agent Stan chastises her for selling her house to a gay couple. She is about to defend it but it turns out he doesn't like them because they are reporters. He doesn't even seem to know they are gay, he thinks they're just two bachelors who live together.
"Do you know what those two are? Reporters! That's right Francine, members of the liberal media!"
In another episode, Stan has a classic line about this, after he abuses an anti-terrorism law to seize the house of any neighbor who doesn't like him:
Season 5 episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood" where the town goes on a crusade against rich people, called "richers", all of whom happen to be black. It's subverted at the end, when all the rich people have left and some aesop was delivered, and Mr. Garrison says "Well, at least we got rid of all those damn ni-(cut off by end credits)".note The original plan was to have the next episode Cold Open with Garrison finishing, "—gers." The network nixed the idea. The episode had characters scaring off the rich people by setting fire to "Lower Case t's, for 'time to leave'". And that the rich people took these things (the burning lower case t's, etc) ''exactly'' the way they were meant. Later all the townsfolk dress up as "ghosts" to scare away all the rich people. The rich people are indeed extremely frightened to discover that the town is "haunted". Also the rich people organize a "Rich Pride" march and, upon passing by Chef, offer for him to join them. When he objects on the grounds that he's not rich, they offer him ten thousand dollars, which he readily accepts.
People who annoy you: N_GGERS. The answer is NAGGERS of course. What else could it be?
There's also the episode where the town is divided over whether to change its flag, which depicts a lynching. The kids defend the flag, but they don't realize that it has anything to do with race. They didn't see it as white men hanging a black man, but as dudes hanging another dude. This display of innocence moves the adults to tears, and convinces them to change the flag...by making the lynchers multiracial.
In "Troq", the Fantastic Racism episode of Teen Titans, Starfire (the subject of said fantastic racism) asks black teammate Cyborg if he knew how it felt to be the subject of discrimination. The implied discrimination on account of being half machine, rather than being black. OK, Half- black, half machine.
Family Guy had Peter telling a crowd of black men at the Million Man March that they were responsible for most of the crime in the world, not aiming at them being black but men (he had temporarily become a Straw Feminist). They didn't really get it...
In an another episode, when Peter is doing crack:
Brian: Where'd you get crack?
Peter: From Black's.
Peter: Yeah, right behind Black's Hardware store. There's a white guy selling it.
And in "Jerome is the New Black", Peter appears dressed in a Klan robe, in an attempt to drive out their unwanted (black) houseguest. Turns out he's trying to scare him by dressing up as a ghost.
One episode of King of the Hill had Dale's father, who turns out to be gay, try to come out of the closet to Dale, who thinks that his father is a real lady killer. After informing Dale that the rodeo he works at is a gay rodeo, and that the man he's friends with is his "partner", Dale explodes at him, uninviting him to his wedding, and telling him to get out. It certainly looks like Dale is incredibly homophobic, but as it turns out, he thinks his father just admitted to being a government agent. Turns out Dale's got nothing against gay people. After all, he's been friends with John Redcorn for years!
Another episode had Hank acting very angry and being off-put to a black man who'd arrived to fix his water heater, and Ladybird, picking up his hostility toward the stranger, attacked him. Everyone assumed Hank was racist, performing church songs in front of his house to "cure his intolerance," and Peggy got him to do some humiliating things to "learn to overcome." Eventually, when a new, white repairman came, Hank and Ladybird acted the same way- Hank just hates repairmen.
Shayera Hol (Hawkgirl): "You'd be wasting your time, anyway, I hear she's... yknow...Brazilian."
Rocko's Modern Life: In the episode where Filbert (a turtle) and Hutch (a cat) get married, Hutch's mom repeatedly lectures her how cats and turtles are natural enemies and can never get along. In the end, it turns out she only thinks so because she's always angry with Hutch's dad (who's a turtle). But she still loves him.
In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the ponies are initially terrified of Zecora, a zebra. You're led to believe it's because zebras are apparently the pony-equivalent of Africans, but the real reason they're afraid of her is because she lives in The Everfree Forest.
When Eric McCormack told his mother he would be playing a gay lawyer, she winced and said "Oh God... you're playing a lawyer?"
Similarly, Swedish actor Björn Kjellman about his role as the main character in Four More Years, about the leader of a political party who falls in love with a man from a rival party. When asked by an interviewer if he'd had any difficulties with the role (the implication being, of course, that it must've been hard to play a gay character), he stated that yes, it had been quite difficult... to play a character involved in that particular political movement.
Inverted in Northern Ireland, where the people on the two ends of the religious and national conflict also support different football teams. Just stating that you support one of those teams will turn half the population hostile in your immediate vicinity.
Christopher Hitchens likes to tell about a friend who was stopped by a gang that demanded to know if he was Catholic or Protestant. After informing them he was an Atheist, they demanded to know if he was a Catholic Atheist or Protestant Atheist.
While the openness of the discrimination is jarring, it has led to some odd effects such as various minorities in the country being sympathetic to one or the other of the major traditions. This has led to people talking openly about race and stereotypes, often without a damn given about who is listening and, surprisingly, rarely with any actual hatred. Though racism does exist.
One particular news story has someone's quote as the title of the article preview, which said "I won't photograph ugly people." Only when you actually click the link to read the whole article that the person who said the quote means that she won't take pictures of bullies for the high school yearbook since she considers bullies as ugly people.
In a speech to the Missouri City Council, preacher Phil Snider initially seems to be giving a typical religious "gays are an abomination in the eyes of God" rant, only to unexpectedly shift into a very pro-gay stance halfway through.
Back in the 2008 election of Barack Obama, a great number of jokes focused on the fact that for the first time in US history, Americans had finally elected a president who was... from Hawaii.
Dan Savage reports on his blog about gay bowler Scott Norton, who shared a hug and a kiss with his husband after winning the PBA Chameleon Championship. "What a great day for an historically oppressed minority group," Savage comments, linking to an article which says "Norton ends left-handed drought".