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Often in media, the creator wants to tell a story about people who aren't like the majority of the target audience, but worries that said audience won't be able to relate to those different people. So they will put in a protagonist or point of view character who is like the presumed audience, and therefore "relatable." The hope is that the audience will then transfer their ability to care for the protagonist to the group of people the story is actually about. In a mainstream Hollywood film, for example, the protagonist is likely to be a White Male Lead who's middle-class, heterosexual, cisgendered and able-bodied, while the majority of the characters are anything but those categories. A film aimed primarily at black people would substitute "black" for "white", a Japanese film would have a Japanese person as the point of view character, and so forth. Sometimes this can be stretched a bit; a mainstream Hollywood film might have a middle-class able-bodied black man as the protagonist in a story about wheelchair-bound urban youth, for example. While this storytelling device is often used in situations involving race or ethnicity, it is not confined to those by any means. Usually, the audience-like character has their own subplot within the story, overcoming their prejudice or romancing a member of the unlike-audience group. If handled poorly, this can become a Plot Tumor that takes time away from the film's supposed focus story. Now, this can be a good thing in moderation. It's true that many people relate better to a protagonist/point of view character they can identify with on some level. But it can also come across as insulting both to the target audience (if the story assumes the audience knows absolutely nothing about the outside group) or to members of the outside group (suggesting that that group would not be able to handle their own problems without the intervention of an in-group person, especially aggravating if the POV character is either completely made up or a "normalized version" of an outside group member.) Common subtropes of this are Foreign Correspondent, where a person from "our country" goes to "their country" and gets involved in local affairs and issues, White Man's Burden, in which the protagonist (usually white) works to uplift disadvantaged people of the outside group, and Black Like Me, in which a member of the audience's group goes undercover as a member of a different group to discover what life is like for the other group. Examples that are purely one of these subtropes should go on those pages. Compare Audience Surrogate, where one character is designated to ask the sort of questions the audience would logically be asking during the story; and Escapist Character, where the protagonist differs from the audience, but in positive, wish-fulfilling ways that the presumed audience finds relatable; and This Loser Is You, for when the executives believe that a character with major flaws will be easier for the audience to identify with, because the audience members themselves are similarly flawed. Contrast Mighty Whitey, in which a person from the presumed audience's culture goes somewhere and is better at what the natives are good at than the natives themselves, and Exotic Backdrop Setting which is what happens when someone from the audience's culture goes somewhere, and the exotic people/culture there only serves as a backdrop to the protagonist's actions, with local affairs and issues largely irrelevant to the plot.
Examples:Anime and Manga