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Playing With: White Man's Burden
Basic Trope: A white character sets out to help improve the lives of a (usually racial) minority.
  • Straight: Alice takes Bob into her Big Fancy House, and helps him achieve his dream of becoming famous.
  • Exaggerated: Alice seeks to help the entire country of Bulungi.
  • Downplayed: Bob drops his books, and Alice stops to help him pick them up.
  • Justified:
    • Alice is a teacher at an Inner City School; getting through to students and helping them succeed in life is her job.
    • Alice is well-connected and really does have the resources to help Bob, who happens to be her friend regardless of race.
  • Inverted: Bob takes Alice into his home and helps her achieve her dream of becoming famous.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob tells Alice, "Thanks, but no thanks."
    • Alice's motives are not pure at all; she's doing this as part of an Assimilation Plot or something.
    • Alice passes Bob's resume along to her contacts, but the rest is all his doing.
    • Alice is non-white, or not wealthy.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Then he decides he could use Alice's help anyway, and contacts her again.
    • But Bob doesn't know that.
    • She did not ask Bob if she could do that.
    • But she is privileged in some other way, shape, or form.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice teaches Bob basic skills, such as how to use a spoon.
    • Bob is actually a Starfish Alien.
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Alice doesn't help Bob, for any reason.
  • Enforced: "Let's make our story more inspirational!"
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked:
    • Alice meets Bob, and he seems really down on his luck, and Alice feels bad for him.
    • Bob poses as poor and ignorant to help Alice learn to use her advantaged situation to improve the lot of others.
  • Exploited: Alice is sent as a missionary to Bulungi to give them access to clean water and food...and also convert them to the church of Crystal Dragon Jesus.
  • Defied: Alice doesn't really know Bob, or whether he would like help (and if so, how much help is OK versus "too much"), so she gives him her best wishes but doesn't take him under her wing.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???

Back to White Man's Burden

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