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randomsurfer
topic
11:20:37 AM Jun 12th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.45
I dispute the Planet of the Apes part where Pete is described as "a recognizable African-American". Pete was played by James Naughton. Here's a photo of Naughton along with his costars (he's the one on top). Does he look African-American to you? Here's a more recent picture of Naughton.
Larkmarn
11:41:46 AM Jun 12th 2013
Agreed.

Was Pete ever identified in the show as being African-American? If not, then axe the whole bit. If so, then make a comment on it.
WanderingBrowser
09:46:17 PM Jun 18th 2013
Sorry, trope poster here; must have gotten the live action show confused with the animated "Return To the Planet of the Apes" series, which did have an African-American protagonist.
CaptainCrawdad
topic
02:15:18 PM Dec 27th 2012
Removed:

  • Recycled INSPACE in the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. These featured an Earthman who, due to Mars's lower gravity, had super-strength compared to the humanoid inhabitants of Mars. To modern eyes, this appears to subvert expectations of Puny Earthlings who might-or-might-not be special. However, the Puny Earthlings trope had not yet evolved at the time the books were written. Attempted subversion later in the series, when (blonde) White Martians are introduced. And they're jerks. It seems to try to change the message to "red martians and some exceptions".
    • There's also the black martians. Who are fairly advanced and, almost universally, pretty darn fit; Carter (who, it must be remembered, fought in the Civil War on the losing side) comments more than once that he feels a little odd admiring them. (The black martians are also mainly jerks, though it turns out that a lot of them are just arrogant rather than evil after their truly evil rulers are deposed, and a few of them are actually quite decent.)
    • And the yellow martians. Pretty decent people for the most part, ruled by a real jerk.
    • And the green martians, who while humanoidish are not exactly human (they have six limbs and multi-inch fangs and they'd consider someone 7 feet tall to be a dwarf), stand out as a Proud Warrior Race even on Barsoom (where the only culture that wouldn't qualify for that designation by Earth standards is possibly the white martians). Carter becomes a minor chief among them by killing two of them in single combat, but this is almost accidental on his part... he himself realizes that he's incredibly strong, comparatively speaking, and that if a green martian were to be transported to Earth, he probably would not even be able to stand up against something like three times the gravity he's used to.
    • In short: The red martians are a scientifically advanced Proud Warrior Race, the yellow martians are a scientifically advanced Proud Warrior Race, the black martians are a scientifically advanced Proud Warrior Race to an even greater degree, and the green martians are a rather scientifically backward (except for what they can scavenge) mostly nomadic Proud Warrior Race on steroids. If anybody gets an unsympathetic treatment, it's the white martians, who come across as something like Nazi Cannibals. Carter's superiority, such as it is, comes from being from Earth, not from being white.

John Carter is compared to aliens, not humans of other races. The whole issue with the different color martians might be an example of Space Jews, but has nothing to do with this trope.
CaptainCrawdad
topic
02:06:30 PM Dec 27th 2012
edited by CaptainCrawdad
Removed:

  • Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia goes native and leads the Arabs to great victories. Of course, a big part of the reason he did so well was because he could talk to his British commanders and get support in the form of money, machine guns, armored cars, and explosives... things that the Arab rebels were notably short on. Also, Lawrence had the leadership advantage of being completely removed from Arab tribal rivalries. The trope is subverted, however, when Lawrence's hubris and bloodthirst appall his Arab companions and ultimately cause his efforts to fail.

Lawrence's success has nothing to do with any kind of intrinsic or genetic advantage. As listed, he has a whole lot of tangible assets at his disposal.
CaptainCrawdad
topic
12:09:34 PM Oct 30th 2012
Removed:

  • The Last Airbender: The movie made its world more "diverse" by casting white actors to play the show's originally Asian and Inuit-inspired heroes, which, when combined with the ethnic casting of the background characters and extras results in strong example of Mighty-Whitey. The pan-Asian world of Avatar: The Last Airbender was expanded to include Caucasians, Middle Easterns, "African American" (per M. Night), and other ethnicities, but the heroes with actual speaking-roles somehow ended up being Caucasian while the villains are dark-skinned Indians, Arabs and other assorted dark-skinned ethnic groups. Every non-villain person of color that performs a heroic action needs inspiration from the white heroes before they take action.
    • Rifftrax lampshades this near the start of the movie with the line "How come some of us are white, and the rest of us look like for real Eskimos?"

The hero of the film, as I recall, isn't white. His white sidekicks aren't shown to be any more powerful than the other, darker characters. As I recall, they're pretty useless.

Also, this trope is really about white people beating other races at their own game. The white characters here never join another race's culture.
CaptainCrawdad
topic
02:09:22 AM Jul 12th 2012
Dances With Wolves is a poor example of the trope. I changed the wording instead of removing it because it's the trope image right now and it'd just get added back in by someone else anyway. If the image gets changed, it should be removed. Costner's character is never shown to be any better than the Sioux. In fact, the whole movie is about how totally awesome the Sioux are.
CaptainCrawdad
topic
01:51:20 AM Jul 12th 2012
Removed:

  • A recent example is the Tom Cruise drama The Last Samurai. Cruise is captured by Japanese warriors who are impressed by his Determinator status, goes native, and eventually becomes the Samurai's equal (though not quite their superior) in sword-fighting skills and honor. He then uses his superior knowledge of modern weaponry to heroically lose against the greedy dishonorable other whites and their army of Japanese mooks. He is the only survivor and also gets the (native) girl.

Cruise's character is already a decorated professional soldier before he ever starts living with the samurai clan. The fact that he's outclassed by them in so many regards and grows into a complete person by learning their culture is actually an inversion of this trope. People got bent out of shape about this film because Cruise's character is the only one who doesn't die (he survives because he doesn't sacrifice himself, not because he fought better) and because they think he's the eponymous last samurai (the title refers to the actual samurai he fought with).
Jordan
09:25:06 AM Jul 12th 2012
Now that there is a White Male Lead trope, I agree that Cruise's character fits that better (ditto the protagonist of Dances With Wolves).
Polaris
topic
07:38:32 AM Apr 3rd 2012
>>Can be a Justified Trope as it did happen in real life. Explorers from a more advanced civilization had access to education, technology and general skills and experience that a native who never traveled further than the neighboring village didn't. Especially as only those who were already among the strongest and bravest in their home countries did have the courage and motivation to become explorers in those dangerous times.

Is this paragraph necesesary? It's really not true, historically speaking, especially the last sentence — plenty of explorers were missionaries (and thus motivated by religious zeal and enthusiasm more than common sense and experience, resulting in plenty of deaths) or were looking to profit from being the first to cash in on resources in unexplored (by white Europeans) territory. Also, the "dangerous times" line is kind of ridiculous — which times are we talking about? How were they more dangerous than now? Weren't these people only in danger because they were walking into foreign lands and cultures and trying to impose their opinions and ideas on the people who were already living there and were understandably not particularly receptive?

Not to mention that the whole "more advanced" line is pretty offensive to begin with, and is based on the assumption that "technologically superior" = "better".

/historian soapbox
MikuAngelVoice
08:27:08 AM Apr 3rd 2012
Agreed. Let's wipe it out.
Froody42
topic
06:08:50 AM Mar 6th 2012
Does anyone know why the original introduction was axed? I always liked it, it explained the trope in a nutshell, but in a humorous way:

"Anything you can do, he can do better. He can do anything better than you. Oh yes he can, especially if you happen to be of Asian, Pacific Islander, Indian, African, Aboriginal or Native American descent. It doesn't matter that you have spent your entire life living in the densest African jungle, being taught how to survive there since you were old enough to stand up — the moment a colonist arrives in your town (most likely as a prisoner of war, an orphan or a lost traveler), you might as well hang up your blowpipe and take up crochet."
Abodos
08:02:35 PM Aug 10th 2012
My guess is that it came across as a bit too bitter, which can be problematic for pages dealing with touchy subjects such as race.
Madcapunlimited
topic
09:48:39 AM Nov 26th 2011
I have a few doubts about a number of examples of this trope. It seems like this trope really is "White person goes to another culture... doesn't COMPLETELY suck at it" and then the fandom elevates them to seeming "superior" even if the original work does not imply it.

In a lot of these works (Dances with Wolves, Last Samurai) it seems people who'd jump to a "Mighty Whitey" conclusion are themselves completely missing the point. Costner or Cruise is the protagonist, and thus important to the narrative, but both are far from the best. Pretty well corresponds to Banderas in the 13th Warrior (but yet that's not "Mighty Arab" or something)- where he's competent AND the protagonist, but is never presented as SUPERIOR. These characters often need some kind of defining "well this is what *I* do well" component to offset their fish out of water status...

just seems people make more of the racial aspect of this trope than there really is.
Dragonmouth
topic
12:44:38 AM Nov 18th 2011
Could someone clarify what is meant by "Original Version" and "Modern Version"?
Zatoichi2011
topic
01:01:00 AM Feb 26th 2011
I'm surprised that Ian from tower prep is not there.
Abodos
08:03:39 PM Aug 10th 2012
Then add it in rather than complain about it not being added in.
69.170.217.52
topic
09:17:53 AM Feb 21st 2011
Real Life Example of Gonzalo Guerrero?
WeirdRaptor
topic
04:35:19 PM Jan 13th 2011
Alright, we seriously need to start limiting the use of this trope. I understand what it's about, but it seems nowadays any film or whatever that features an especially talented White person gets the "Mighty Whitey" label.
Zatoichi88
07:25:33 AM Jan 21st 2011
not Leonardo Dicap... I he's good in his own right. I do wish him and Denzel Washington to a movie together.
fanboymaster
topic
12:22:22 PM Oct 19th 2010
  • In "RedDeadRedemption" the Mexican rebels and the Mexican army are in a stalemate until John Marston (white guy) comes along and tips the balance

Went ahead and chopped that out. This trope is about a character from one culture coming in and being automatically better than another culture at something he really shouldn't be. Marston is a gunslinger, and while his contributions are unrealistic this applies to every fight a player gets in during the game.
Jordan
topic
04:49:48 PM Aug 17th 2010
I really don't think Lelouch of Code Geass counts. He's not the best pilot on his own side. Also, he's far from being morally superior to the Japanese characters.

Really, you could easily see the show as having a stance closer to Japanese superiority than the Mighty Whitey trope.
shiro_okami
05:05:45 PM Aug 17th 2010
He's not the best pilot, but he is the best strategist and capable leader, and Episode 25 goes as far as to having the Black Knights fall apart in his absence, eventually ending in their defeat.
Jordan
05:09:16 PM Aug 17th 2010
edited by Jordan
That's true, but one of the typical tropes associated with Mighty Whitey is that they are "better at being that culture" than the people from that culture themselves- Lelouch isn't like that at all.

Also, I don't know this for certain, but I wonder if the Caucasian Asian trope means that the Japanese audience would pretty much look at Lelouch as like them rather than as a European person.
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