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Analysis / Token Minority

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Sometimes, the Token Minority will be glaringly out of place for their locale (e.g. seemingly the only black person in medieval Europe).

Often, the producers will go out of their way to avoid racial issues regarding their Token Minority. For example, Warrick Brown in CSI rarely if ever discusses race issues. In this case, the Token Minority may either be in the show to broaden its appeal without risking angering any media watchdogs with stereotypical depictions of minorities... or it may be an example of race-blind casting, and not tokenism at all.


If a character is of two minority groups, this is referred to cynically in the industry as a Twofer (see Twofer Token Minority). This is quite common on news programs, for example, which often have one white male and one black or Asian female newscaster. Note that for the purposes of this trope women are a "minority", when in fact they make up a small majority in the population of most countries. This logical inconsistency is usually attributed to the fact that women are often still perceived to be relative newcomers in many job fields, including broadcasting (this perception is helped along by the fact that female newscasters are often fired at the first sign that they're aging, meaning they're almost always younger than their male counterparts).

If the opposite gender of this minority appears in an episode, they're almost always a love interest.


In Britain, the Token Minority is just as likely to be South Asian as Afro-Caribbean. With the increasing number of Central and Eastern Europeans in the UK, they're slowly starting to turn up as characters other than The Illegal and criminals (Coronation Street now has a Polish character). It may take a while before we start seeing them in as police officers, though.

In some casts of animal, alien, or monster characters, World of Funny Animals or not, there is a majority species and one or more minority species. If there are animals in a cast of characters, the majority of them are going to be mammals in most works, whether the world is a World of Funny Animals or not. Understandable as humans are mammals and cats and dogs are easier to anthropomorphize than snakes. To keep the cast of characters from being completely mammalian, the token non-mammal comes in. Usually a bird, though reptiles, amphibians, and even invertebrates are certainly not unheard of.



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