The description makes it obvious it's supposed to be about one of two kinds of tokenism, which I listed on the Discussion page and will reproduce here:
1) [Out of universe.] Cases where the character is exclusively there to show the protagonist is totally non-racist and give added inclusivity, and is very shallow with no life outside of their friendship with the protagonist - they also act either like a stereotype of a black person or a parody of one of those stereotypes. Basically, they are black and someone else's best friend and defined entirely by this.
2) [In-universe, subversion.] Cases where white characters intentionally befriend black people in universe in order to look non-racist and hip. In this case, the black character can have a little or a lot more depth to them, since the show will probably point out how wrong this attitude is.
However, most of the examples are prominent supporting characters who are black, and Laconic
lists this trope as "Black character is best friends with non-black main character." There are even real life examples. Someone once listed Proof's friendship with Eminem as an example
, which is completely appauling - listing a real person and someone's real grief over their death as an example of a shallow racist trope - and I'm glad it got deleted.
The description is written in a sarcastic tone which implicitly mocks the racism of this trope, so I'm assuming that a few people eager to shoehorn in examples of their fandoms who don't understand sarcasm made this trope derail over time. As of now, it's become something even worse than Chairs - Unintentionally Racist Chairs. Fun!!
Currently, I think it needs a better description. I feel this is a trope distinct from Token Minority
in that it is a character type a Token Minority
is likely to be. A Token Minority
can have any personality, but a Black Best Friend
is always a sassy, hip, two-dimensional racial stereotype, or someone wondering why this creepy white guy is expecting them to be a sassy, hip, two-dimensional racial stereotype. Token Minority
characters can be innocent stabs at diversity, but Black Best Friend
characters are about appropriating diversity to look cool without understanding why we need diversity in the first place.
At the VERY LEAST, can we PLEASE not have real life examples for this? I'm sure there are Real Life Examples of subtrope 2), but I would rather forego those in favour of not having anyone list RLEs of subtrope 1).