In real life, people who are strange or eccentric tend to be treated badly, avoided, or even bullied. Sadly, the same often happens to various minorities. As fiction tries its best to reflect reality, that's often the case in TV Land, or books. Sometimes, such works will have one or several characters who are accepting of the minority or odd, eccentric individual, but prejudice will be shown by others.
But sometimes, the character lives in an unusual land where literally everyone is totally accepting, where discrimination is minimal, or even nonexistent, as it never occurred in that reality or it has been permanently dealt with. Not only that, but the only way discrimination would exist if it's literally fictional, as in, the characters or individuals can only see racism and other forms of bigotry in fictional media (watching it on TV, reading comic books and stories, etc.), but never non-fictional media and never in their real world. If that's the case, the other characters are unusually tolerant
. This is on the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
Sometimes, this is done in comedies so that a silly or odd character can be accepted into society while providing laughs through their odd interactions with others. Sometimes, this is done in more serious stories because the story hinges on someone being accepted who in real life might not be readily accepted into society, and some amount of unrealism is necessary in order to make the story work.
Other times, it's done because the author wants to avoid the real-life drama and sadness that accompanies actual bullying and ostracizing, while still allowing an unusual character or real-life unpopular minority to take part in the story. Similarly, in historical-themed stories, it's done to avoid exposing viewers/readers to Values Dissonance
. For more examples of that in particular, see Politically Correct History
- Many examples of Politically Correct History are this. For example, racial tension that existed in real life in older time periods is sometimes nonexistent in stories that take place in those time periods.
- In Disney's The Princess and the Frog, set in 1920s New Orleans, black and white people get along a lot better than they did in original real life at the time. Tiana is even good friends with a very rich white woman. Some elements of racial prejudice are hinted at, however, to avoid being totally unrealistic for the time period.
- In the Quantum Leap episode "Miss Deep South", Sam is a contestant in the titular beauty pageant in the 1950's. Stock footage shows a racially mixed audience applauding his song in the talent portion. A racially mixed audience in the Deep South at that time is very unlikely.
- In the book series Not Quite Human, Chip the android takes almost everything people say to him literally, has strange responses to common questions, and misinterprets simple commands at times. Despite this, and being in middle school (where real-life bullying is often at its worst), he is treated with a lot of genuine respect and has a number of friends and even a girlfriend, all of whom don't suspect he's really a robot.
- The town in the gay-themed high school romance novel Boy Meets Boy is incredibly tolerant towards LGBT folk. However, the surrounding area isn't, so the town itself is basically a bubble of Exceptional Tolerance surrounded by a more cynical real world.
- Used cynically, but close to straight, on Discworld, where nobody seems to like anyone else very much, but you'll probably be able to do all right for yourself even if you're a dwarf, troll, werewolf, zombie, semi-sentient orangutan, or Nobby Nobbs, because Ankh-Morpork is a proud merchant city and can't be kicking its customers out for being too short, rocky, hairy, or dead. (Though in an early book it was stated that the exceptional tolerance extended mainly to humans; "black and white got along fine and ganged up on green." The non-humans became a part of the Ankh-Morpork landscape soon enough.)
- Also, as the series progresses, the city grows more tolerant, thanks (in part) to the City Watch, which hires all species and forces people to deal with those species. That said, there are still intolerant people and certain species (undead and Golems mostly) that aren't as accepted as say trolls and dwarves.
- On Teen Wolf, homophobia is not only wholly absent from Beacon Hills High School, the students are genuinely and visibly appalled when a teacher appears to express such an attitude (he wasn't).