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Ambiguously Brown

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The Other Wiki had to settle on "dark-skinned" just to end a massive Edit War.

Tom Hanks: Dwayne, together we would get 100% of the vote. I would get the senior vote, because I fought in World War II in like ten different movies.
Dwayne Johnson: And I of course would get the minority vote, because everyone just assumes I am whatever they are.

An Ambiguously Brown character is one with a skin tone that's definitely not European, but it's not entirely clear what ethnicity they are supposed to be. It's used to avoid Monochrome Casting, but for some characters, you have no clue what ethnicity or race they are just by looking at them. Are they a light-skinned black person? Latin American? Native American? Romani? Mediterranean? Arab? South or Southeast Asian? Pacific Islander? Mixed? Or judging by most anime character design styles, even tanned white or tanned East Asian? Their facial features don't correspond to any particular race either, as is often the case in highly stylized animation, so it's unknown. They're just brown.

This can be especially confusing in animated works, where it may be unclear whether it's a true example of a random and common appearance, a non-specific visual shorthand the creators liked or perhaps a stylized attempt to actually portray a real ethnicity. Or even if the design is visually inspired by something totally different rather than having a basis in real life. The character in question is also usually the only person in the entire show with this appearance, making it especially strange.


It can also be confusing in works of literature, particularly those written in Western Europe and particularly older ones, where the population is predominantly white and the word "dark" is often used to mean someone white, with dark hair and dark eyes.

Note this is generally a fandom issue and happens whether or not the debate is even relevant to the character. Expect a lot of assumptions of how ethnicities only look a particular way. You can pretty much give up all hope of identifying their backgrounds if they're in a fantasy world, especially one that goes light on recognizable cultural counterparts. If there are a large number of ambiguously brown people in a future world, then it's In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race.

In a general sense, this is common in anime because while the Japanese standards of beauty prefers light skin and thus lighter tones are more often represented in media, Japanese skin can actually have a wide range of tones which include dark browns. There are many cases of genuine Ambiguously Brown anime characters who are implied to have full or partial ancestry from another ethnicity, but just as often the characters are meant to be fully Japanese and recognized as such in the Japanese fanbase, with the ambiguous part only coming from the point of view of non-Japanese viewers who don't realize that fully Japanese people can have dark skin.


You should understand that this isn't simply "brown skin equals ambiguous" but there are several qualifiers involved here, such as:

  1. The character or culture must have features that do not fit with the stereotypical appearance of whatever the most commonly depicted race is for the setting (i.e. White American for most Western Animation; Japanese for most anime—usually accomplished through brown skin).
  2. The character or culture must have no real life racial stereotype.
  3. The character or culture's nationality must not be based on a real life nationality (that would instead fall under Fantasy Counterpart Culture).

Compare Mukokuseki: in principle anime characters are supposed to be "stateless". The Dark-Skinned Blond and Dark-Skinned Redhead will commonly fall under this as well. See also Amazing Technicolor Population for a more colorful way of making you ask, "What ethnicity are they, anyway?" (Especially when some of the Technicolor people are a shade of brown similar to those which cause the Ambiguously Brown trope.) See also But Not Too Foreign, of which this is a sub-trope, and But Not Too White.

This is Truth in Television since brown in its various shades is statistically the most common human skin color—and also because there are some "brown" people who are able to pass (sometimes just barely) for lighter colors, so if they change their names and don't emphasize that heritage, you might not ever get to know just what they are.

Plays Great Ethnics is for when actors are ambiguously brown and can play a wide variety of ethnicities. In fact, "racially ambiguous" is often something actors are told to put on their CV if they fit the trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Alice in Borderland, several characters such as Takeru Danma/Boshiya, Aguni Morizono, Ginji Kyuma and Hikari Kuina look like people from Caribbean islands or southern parts of Africa rather than a Japanese-Japanese person.
  • In the original Japanese version of Bakugan Battle Brawlers, the character Julie Hayward is Australian with implications that she's Aboriginal. The dub changes her name to Julie Makimoto, implying Japanese descent while removing the specific notion that she's from Australia.
  • Berserk:
    • Casca has medium brown skin, straight black hair, and a face type that's pretty unclear about her origins. For years fans have been arguing with each other over whether she's supposed to be black, Arab, East Indian, Southern European, mixed, or just about any other real-life brown race you can think of. Berserk does have races in the story who resemble black Africans and South Asians, but Casca looks ambiguous enough that she can't be indisputably categorized with either. It's entirely possible that Kentaro Miura just wanted to give her a unique appearance without having a particular intention about her race, since he hasn't commented on the issue. Making matters even more muddled, the Golden Age film trilogy and Berserk (2016) depict Casca's skin as a much lighter shade of tan than in the manga, while making her hair dark brown or reddish-brown instead of black.
    • Pippin is ambiguously brown skinned like Casca but unlike her, Pippin has prominent lips suggesting he is of a different ethnicity and none of the adaptations change his skin tone. Corkus has notable darker skin in the 97 anime, but like Casca is whitened up in the movies.
  • Edrear from Bizenghast is depicted as having notably darker skin than his siblings in the manga, but it's not stated what their heritage is. They're all give the same light skintone in official art.
  • Bleach is set in Japan and individual ethnicities are not discussed in the story. The following three characters stand out as being of ambiguous heritage.
    • Yoruichi Shihōin, and to a lesser extent her brother Yushiro, is a quintessential example, if the flamewars are anything to go by. One of the anime outros implies that they're black and Yoruichi's ability to transform into a black cat raises an additional question. At least as can e surmised from their names, they are Japanese.
    • In the anime, Mila-Rose is made very dark-skinned, as is her superior, Tier Harribel. In the manga, Mila-Rose is paler and Tier Harribel seems to be a ganguro. Of course, given that arrancars are humanoid amalgamations of souls, it may be debatable if they even technically have a race.
    • Jackie Tristan is dark-skinned with an Odd Name Out in a series filled with Japanese characters. Ethnicity isn't very important for most characters in the story, so hers is never discussed.
  • Marie Itami from BNA: Brand New Animal has darker skin than most of the other characters and dreadlock-esque hair, but a Japanese surname.
  • Kojiro Hyuga/Mark Lenders from Captain Tsubasa. Spanish fans use to joke saying that Lenders was the first/only Japanese Gypsy.
  • Code Geass:
    • Villetta Nu is from the Britannian Empire, but since it geographically covers not only the USA but all of Central and South America as well it could account for the wide variety of skin tones among its members.
    • Dorothea Ernst is slightly darker than Villetta and is killed off after only a few minutes of screen time.
    • Dalque in Nightmare of Nunnally is from one of the numbered areas, but it's never revealed which one.
  • In Death Parade, Castra has dark brown skin and Ginti is noticeably darker than the rest of the cast as well. Neither are human like the others (they deal with the afterlife) and so like them they don't seem to have a particular race.
  • Delicious in Dungeon has Kabru, Kiki and Kaka. All the people in Kabru's village had the same dark skintone, but we're never actually told where the village was. The series hasn't revealed anything about Kiki and Kaka's past before they were adopted.
  • Deltora Quest:
    • Jasmine is described in the having sunbrown skin in the books and the anime surprisingly matches it especially compared to the other characters). The exact reason why Jasmine's skin is like this is debatable, most likely is because she has lived outdoors for most of life or possibly she inherited her pigment from her father as well as her green hair which was not in the books.
    • Doom the Rebel Leader is described as tan skinned in the books and he's even darker in the anime, easily more brown than every other character. Doom also has green hair like Jasmine two of the three obvious visual clues that Doom and Jasmine are actually related.
  • Subverted in Dr. Stone, since the village has Plenty of Blondes. This could easily be written off as Implausible Hair Color, especially since the Japanese protagonist looks like this, until said protagonist notes that they obviously must have foreign blood based on their appearances.
  • Tom Tanaka from Durarara!! not only has noticeably darker skin than most characters but also has dreadlocks, and this combined with his first name raise the possibility that he has some non-Japanese ancestry. That, or he's just really tanned and has odd style habits.
  • Raven from Earl and Fairy is the Heroic Bastard half-brother of a clearly white Ermine, meaning that he's half British, and his other half is eventually revealed to be a demon. His appearance is also used to show the discrimination obviously non-Anglo people in Victorian England faced.
  • In Eureka Seven, we have Matthieu, Hilda and Gidget. Their skin colors are actually slightly different shades.
  • The whole Taiyou's school in Eyeshield 21 are Japanese with brown skin. Handwaved that since they live so close to the beach they surf a lot and fashion Ancient Egypt as the school's hats.
  • Anime (and anime-based game) only Lucy Liberty of F-Zero Falcon Densetsu/GP Legend is this. She shares roughly the same skin color that Kate Alen has (who is black in the core games) in the series, but her hair color is a fairly pinkish shade of red.
  • Raoh and Kaioh in the Toei adaptations of Fist of the North Star become this, in a case of Adaptation Dye-Job gone Up to Eleven (in the original manga and all non-Toei adaptations, both of them are white with silver hair).
  • Rose and most people in her town are this way in the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime. In the manga and Brotherhood, the town is a mountain town full of light-skinned people; however, in the 2003 anime, it's a desert town. They're darker than most other characters, but this is never commented upon by anyone. The skirmish involving them is comparable to the Ishvalan Massacre. In Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, Rose's counterpart Noah is Roma, as are Lust and Scar's counterparts. It's implied that the people of Rose's town are related to or possibly descended from Ishvalans.
  • Alex Benedetto from Gangsta. has rich brown skin, long black hair and an accent. Yet she and her brother Emilio don’t really resemble the other black characters in the series. The police chief Chad Adkins reveals Alex is Blasian, specifically a mix of Chinese and African.
  • Rally Vincent in Gunsmith Cats. Her mother was British and her father is either Indian or Pakistani, although his already very dark tone suggests South Indian heritage.
  • A few characters in Haibane Renmei are Ambiguously White. Kuu and Hikari are blue-eyed blondes in a cast predominantly made up of dark-eyed brunettes. However, their names are still Japanese and nothing is noted in-series about their designs. The characters all name themselves, which explains their names, and they all have Laser-Guided Amnesia about their pasts. It's implied that the characters live in purgatory, which makes everything more ambiguous. Kuramori and Hyouko have dark hair and blue eyes as well, which might imply the characters are just Mukokuseki or might imply otherwise.
  • Almost all the characters in Haré+Guu have dark skin. In fact lighter skin characters are a little rare in the series. Justified as it takes in a jungle, likely somewhere in south Asia. Oddly enough Weda came from "the city", where Haré goes later and more or less everybody is white-ish. She still has the exact same appearance of the other inhabitants of the jungle. So... that was some lucky choice for a place to be banished.
  • Psy from Heroman seems to fit the Black and Nerdy trope, has puffy hair, and lives in America but it's hard to tell. He might be Mexican, mixed, or African-American.
  • Kenta Nakamura from Initial D is fairly dark-skinned in the manga, anime, and video games. Nobody finds anything unusual about this, and his ethnicity isn't addressed even once. It's later revealed during Fourth Stage that he just likes to tan his skin regularly.
  • Tsubaki Collbrande in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, the head of Hephaistos Familia is this. Her skin tone is pretty close to that of most Amazons but is stated to be half-human / half dwarf. To make it even more confusing all dwarves shown have been fairly light skinned and her human heritage is specifically from the local Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan.
  • Enrico Pucci from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure looks black, but it's actually an important plot point that he's not. His parents are both white as snow. Given that he's of Italian descent, he may be Sicilian and his dark skin a product of recessive genes.
  • Kill la Kill gives us Ira Gamagori and Rei Hououmaru. The former is a Dark-Skinned Blond who was confirmed by Word of God to be Half-American as his father was an American soldier. For the latter, the OVA reveals that Rei originated from an African country that was torn apart by war.
  • Aomine Daiki of Kuroko's Basketball. He's dark enough it can't just be explained away with him exercising outside a lot. Especially when he combines it with blue hair. Momoi even calls him a ganguro once.
  • In Laughing Under the Clouds, the Iga ninja have inexplicably darker skin that everyone else, even though it's set during the Meiji Restoration.
  • Kaolla Su from Love Hina. Her origins aren't revealed until towards the final chapters (she's from a fictional country on the International Date Line), but her appearance was actually relevant to a subplot involving Keitaro assuming she was from India (which she denied).
  • Goemon Ishikawa and Inspector Zenigata of Lupin III went back and forth on this one in the early years.
    • Goemon was portrayed with tan skin early on for the original manga series and the pilot, had pale skin for the first TV series, and then went tan again for the first Lupin movie, The Mystery of Mamo, which was based on the original manga art. The second TV series returned to the pale tone, and he has kept it ever since. The argument would be because Goemon's nationality (Japanese) is the only one known of the gang and so it makes him stand out more ethnically. Except...
    • Zenigata is also Japanese and was pale for the pilot, but got noticeably tan in the first TV series, the opposite of Goemon. He also has a slightly ruddy complexion in The Castle of Cagliostro, but since then, has also evened out to paler tones.
  • Endemic in Michiko & Hatchin, which is to be expected, considering the series takes place in a fictional version of South America. Atsuko Jackson is explicitly half-black and half-Japanese but we never know for sure what Michiko's racial makeup is. Both women appear to be Afro-Latina (for those to whom this isn't immediately obvious, there is an episode in which Michiko wears her hair natural), Michiko being more likely to be considered "Zambo"—as opposed to Atsuko's "Jambo"—and the racial demographics of the show are surprisingly accurately represented. Characters in the series tend to have a mish-mash of Portuguese (sometimes Spanish) and Japanese names, which is most likely a nod to the fact that Brazil has the largest Japanese population in the world barring Japan.
  • Johann Trinity in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Further complicated by the fact he's brown with dark hair, his brother is white with blue hair, and his sister is white and freckly with red hair. Probably explained by the fact that they're artificial humans.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Titans' second-in-command Bask Om is a light tan that seems to get darker depending upon the lighting.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Rakan Dahkaran is darker skinned then the rest of the cast, and depending on the episode and the lighting ranges from tanned to almost black in skin colouration. When combined with his facial features he looks almost, but not quite Arabic.
  • Mirko from My Hero Academia is native to Japan but has noticeably dark skin. Her attack names tend to involve Gratuitous Spanish, implying she's at least partially of Latin American descent. There's also Rock Lock who stands out as the first, and only, Afro-Japanese character in the series.
  • Used deliberately in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water to underscore Nadia's mysterious origins. Nadia's brown skin, straight hair, green eyes, and "stateless" anime heroine looks all stand in marked contrast to the rest of the Nautilus' multinational crew, who all have recognizably European, African, Indian or Asian features. The fact that Nadia herself has no idea of her true heritage is a major plot point. (She's actually Atlantean.)
  • Naruto:
    • Kidomaru. On the cover for Volume 24, his skin is even darker than it is in the anime (despite it being almost completely white in the regular pages, but that's a frequent occurrence in manga). Later, several characters from the Cloud Village are shown to be unambiguously black.
    • Also Kakuzu, the dark-skinned, Combat Tentacles using Akatsuki member.
  • One Piece has a few characters like this, though if you look at the original designs the "darkness" of some of the characters seem to come from the designers of the anime taking liberties.
    • In the main cast, there's Usopp, who also has creamy brown skin, kinky black hair and drawn lips (which most characters lack), and Oda said that if the Straw Hats were from the real world he would be from Africa, so he is most likely intended to. The Spanish dub of One Piece had Usopp talking in a heavy Arabic accent, plus he was renamed as Usuf. However, Usopp's mother Banchina was very pale, and had an Italian name, whereas his father has similar features including drawn lips. Also, while he now has blond dreadlocks, he was shown when Shanks first recruited him to have curly black hair, so it's likely he dyed/bleached it. This might point to Ussop being biracial.
    • There's also Robin as a borderline example, whose skin looks slightly darker than most of the other Straw Hats but looks slightly tanned at most. However, Oda stated in the SBS that if the straw hats lived in the real world Robin would be from Russia. As of the Time Skip, there isn't any Ambiguously Brown anymore. Her tanned skin is gone.
    • Zoro has noticeable tanned skin in the anime and keeps this skin tone right up til the timeskip. Since Zoro nationality would be Japanese in real life it's likely just a heavy tan like Robin.
    • Before his death Brook fit this trope, and even as a skeleton he still has an awesome afro.
    • Kuzan aka Aokiji is also distinctly brown and has pronounced lips like Usopp and in Funimation dub has a low voice like a Jazz singer. But since Kuzan is based off a famous Japanese actor, it's likely just an animator's decision.
  • Ria Hagry in Oreimo has noticeably darker skin than most of the Japanese cast and is referred to only as "American", leaving her exact ethnicity uncertain.
  • Panzer World Galient: Redd Winduu was brown-skinned, but it is hard to tell what his race is supposed to be.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the original anime series Brock varies in color from light brown to dark brown. There's been a gag a few times where he dances in a sombrero and maracas, but most fans consider him Asian.
    • Ash always had a skin tone was always slightly darker than other characters, though he's undeniably Japanese. Starting in Hoenn he's just barely lighter than Brock and has stayed that way since.
    • Skyla is given a darker skin tone in the anime, however it's ambiguous if it's a tan or not.
    • As in the games, there is Iris. Fans usually consider her either black or Native American, but there isn't much to go on besides her being darker than Ash.
    • Word of God is that Tracey was designed to seem white and replace the more Asian-looking Brock. Despite this, Tracey has a Japanese name in the Japanese version and nothing in-series suggests he's a different ethnicity from any other Kanto character (who are most likely all Japanese bar Lt. Surge).
  • Fakir in Princess Tutu has tan skin and dark green (almost black!) hair, in a town that appears to be set in Germany. Fanon states he has some Middle-Eastern blood in him (because of his name and appearances), but the creator tends to dodge the subject when a question is asked about it.
  • Since The Promised Neverland has quite the Cast of Snowflakes, the characters' skins can range from white to various shades of brown. While characters like Phil or Zack fall squarely into this trope, others like Sister Krone or Pepe are more unambiguously African black − the authors have admitted that it was intentional in the former's case, to make her look more distinct.
  • Claire Forrest from Red Garden is definitely one. Her race is really unclear, mostly because both she and her brother have darker skin tones, while her father doesn't. Also, her brother incidentally has blonde cornrows. Most fans assume that she is potentially bi-racial, as she's had that color since she was a child. To add to the debate, in a later episode Claire seems to get noticeably more upset and hesitant when she sees a picture of the white man they have to kill standing next to his black wife although the reason could have more to do with her parents' past relationship than their races.
  • Akio and Anthy from Revolutionary Girl Utena. Some believe that they're from India due to the forehead marking, though the fact that they may be ancient gods or something very similar makes things moot.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Pluto has significantly darker skin than her comrades, (it's lightened somewhat in The '90s anime). Though her ethnicity remains vague, Naoko Takeuchi quite obviously took inspiration for one of Pluto's artbook portraits from British-born Afro-Caribbean model Naomi Campbell modeling Chanel couture.
    • Kunzite in the original anime has darker skin than the other generals and noticably darker skin than his manga counterpart.
    • Haruka's friend Elza Gray from the first anime. Her name would suggest her being of African American descent.
  • Saint Seiya has a cast of characters hail of very different countries and ethnicities. Good luck trying to ascertain the race of some of them, though. A good example is Chrysaor Krishna: he is from Sri Lanka, he is brown-skinned and white-haired.
  • In Samurai Champloo- technically, everyone is Japanese except for those explicitly designated as foreigners, but as part of the hip-hop style, there's a lot of darker skinned characters (often mooks) who often look black or Hispanic. In contrast, higher class characters have paler skin. Mugen looks Ambiguously Brown compared to the other main characters, which might be Truth in Television, since he's from the Ryuku Islands, and it's traditional to draw Okinawans darker, and there has for decades been contention about whether they are to be recognized as a racial minority or not, and in the time the show is set, the king of Ryukyu was still paying tribute to the emperors of Japan and China as a subject state.
  • Master samurai Kambei and Gorobei from Samurai 7. Word of God says that Kambei was originally intended to be deliberately distinctly African-looking in appearance but ended up being Southeast/Southwest Asian/Latin American. His original design was then used for Gorobei.
  • Maria from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. She's an illegal immigrant, but her country of origin was never specified. It's possibly intentional, since the series has another character who's also a generic foreigner (of a different variety). Considering her brown skin color, Hispanicized real first name, illegal immigrant status, war-torn past, lack of formal education, and stereotypically genki personality, along with the fact that she's still supposed to be from "Asia", it is most likely that she is actually Filipina, which would make sense considering the historical relationship and geographical proximity between the Philippines and Japan.
  • Kenji Harima from School Rumble has significantly darker skin than most of his classmates. Lara, from Class 2-D gets away with it due to being explicitly stated to be Mexican, though somehow she has a Russian accent in the English dub.
  • In Summer Wars, Kazuma is quite dark-skinned compared to the rest of the cast, including his own pale-skinned parents. He's also something of a Hikikomori, so his skin likely isn't just tan, which adds to the confusion.
  • The people that Talking Bird Dela works for in Tamako Market. They live on what looks like a tropical island and is a monarchy, but the food Choi prepares in episode nine looks suspiciously Vietnamese.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Lordgenome is noticeably more olive-toned than other human characters. His facial features and clothes suggest he's Middle Eastern, although this may just be the result of his Nonstandard Character Design, and when he was a child he looked exactly like his daughter Nia. There's also one recurring background member of Team Dai-Gurren (the wiki calls him "Old Coco") who is like this, although his skin tone is closer to a black person's than Lordgenome's is.
    • Giha's Village Chief (and also Kamina, to a lesser degree) may also qualify as this, seeing as how he presumably grew up underground without sunlight, yet is suspiciously more tan-complected than the rest of the villagers.
  • Tooru Mutsuki from Tokyo Ghoul :Re is brown-skinned, with a Japanese name and anime-typical features. An orphan, there is absolutely no information concerning his possible racial background leading to much theorizing.
  • Pick a guy, any guy, from Tokyo Mew Mew (except Keiichirou, any of the aliens, and the Blue Knight/Deep Blue). They're all incredibly tanned. What's more, Ryou's mother was white.
  • A significant number of people in the Trigun manga, which (brownness and its ambiguity) makes sense given the setting, though Nightow switches to greyscale skintones for dramatic effect so often it's hard to tell what's significant.
  • ∀ Gundam is chock full of characters like this:
    • Dark-Skinned Blond lead Loran has curious platinum hair that's sometimes drawn fairly straight, sometimes looking more like dreads. He doesn't really look like anything, but expect lots of jokes about "Black History Month" every February on /m/, anyway (it helps that he spends most of the first episode dressed up as Hoke).
    • Guin Rhineford is fairly dark-skinned, too, but judging by his facial features and hair, he's probably just a white guy with a really deep tan.
    • Meshy/Meshie/Miashe/Mia-Shay Kune/Kyuun(/Coo- whoah, let's not go with that romanization!) Is yet another Dark-Skinned Blond, but her facial features are pretty "black"-looking (very prominent lips for an anime character, for one). Her hair and complexion, along with the fact that her very white, hick-ish father is a minor character suggests she's supposed to be a mulatto, though we never see her mom.
    • The Moonrace is considerably whiter (a few Asians, too), but Evil Chancellor Agrippa looks like he's supposed to be But Not Too Black. Justified for the Earth-based characters in that they're a result of millennia's worth of multiracial intermingling following the Moonlight Butterfly apocalypse.
  • Grand Master of Witches, Credelle, Miletis, Barunn, Tohma, Grande, and Sigma in Tweeny Witches have noticeably darker skin than most characters. This is never commented on or explained.
  • Variable Geo: It's never said whether Jun's complexion is her natural skin color, or a really deep tan. None of the others seem to find anything unusual about her appearance, even though she looks like a foreigner; including having green eyes.
  • Victory Gundam has Shakti Kareen. This particular Gundam actually features a good number of dark-skinned characters, but Shakti is a bit odd considering her mother is extremely white, living in a society (Zanscare) of predominantly white-skinned people. No explanation for this is ever given (her father is never shown).
  • In ...Virgin Love, Daigo's mother is Japanese and his father is American. Though his father's ethnicity is never specified, both he and Daigo are ambiguously brown.
  • Dilandau is this in the manga version of The Vision of Escaflowne. Dilandau is also a female who stays female in the manga. In the anime Dilandau is a female who was kidnapped and turned into a male, and in the OVA, Dilandau is male from the start. In the anime version and the OVA, Dilandau is an albino.
  • Words Worth: Rita is the only dark skinned character shown to be in the Light Tribe besides her mother, Sabrina, and doubles as a Dark-Skinned Blond.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Hiroto Honda/Tristan Taylor, Saruwatari/Kemo, and Ryota Kajiki/Mako Tsunami from the main series.
    • Yusei Fudo of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is noticeably darker-skinned than everyone else, but not by much.
  • Moonbay from Zoids: Chaotic Century is the only primary character with a much darker skin tone than everyone else.

  • Comedian Russell Peters once commented that we live in a multicultural society and that in a matter of time, there will be no black, white, or yellow people, but that everyone's going to be beige.

  • Comedienne Cecily Strong referenced this trope multiple times during her set at the White House Press Correspondents' Dinner.

    Comic Books 
  • Kevin J. Taylor also loves this trope as colorized or not, there are only two characters that aren't this trope, Blue (White) and Jesse James (Black with tan-tipped dreadlocks.) His main character, Girl/Jaliera Dane, originally could pass for Pacific Islander, then possibly Mexican, then almost the complexion of DCAU Lex Luthor during a cameo, and finally temporarily Indian for a special based on the Kama Sutra until time-travel reveals she's actually But Not Too Black by way of the original Dane being a Black slave and his lover being a white woman (and a witch) in Salem, Massachusetts. Additionally, the reveal of contemporary relatives shows her younger brother being identical to Prince. Girl's friend, Jill is even more ambiguous as she's got green eyes, apparently natural orange-caramel skin, matching straight hair, looks similar to Jaliera's French half-sister and while narrating her story, mentions the races of the men she's with without identifying herself with one or the other as well as an explicit Race Fetish for Black men with the ones shown being darker and lighter than her. Lastly, Marty (a girl) is similar to Storm with shorter, but still white hair with an extra referring to her as a "hot Black chick".
  • Storm herself began as this. The intent was to show her as a 'woman of the world' and she was drawn with a mixture of African, white and Asian features. But as the character explicitly hailed from Africa, she's counted as a black superhero, and is usually drawn as such these days. She has however been portrayed by half white, half black actresses in the live action films.
  • DC Comics's time-travelling hero Walker Gabriel, aka Chronos (not be confused with the villain of the same name) was adopted as a baby, and never knew his parents or his ethnic background, though he clearly wasn't white. He eventually met his father, who was Chinese, and learned that thanks to said father being a time traveler, his mother was an ancient Mayan.
  • Capture Creatures has Tamzen, one of the main protagonists of the series.
  • British girls' comic Nikki had a strip called The Comp about a Good Old British Comp, which featured a vaguely Asian-looking character named Aisha, whose ethnic background was never elaborated upon. The trope was abandoned when the strip moved to Bunty, who re-named the character Kiko and made her Japanese.
  • Dallas Barr after his cosmetic surgery early on in the series.
  • In Gen¹³, there's a running gag of sorts that nobody can guess what Sarah Rainmaker's ethnicity is when they first meet her. An entire issue during Adam Warren's run features Sarah in the background waiting for drinks at a bar, all while an idiot next to her tries to guess her background, getting further and further from it as he goes. (She's half American Indian.)
  • Generation X and X-Factor member Monet St. Croix is the daughter of a dark-skinned French father and mother of Algerian citizenship and indeterminate ethnicity. She is always depicted as brown-skinned, with the precise hue varying from issue to issue. Whenever it gets too light, there's an outcry that Marvel is trying to make her "less black" for nefarious purposes, and when it gets too dark, there are cries that she was never black in the first place, but it was never stated that she is or isn't. She and her siblings (who are more consistently dark-skinned, the few times we see Emplate's human form) are most likely mixed, though colorists should settle on a tone and stick to it. Obvious Fridge Logic answer: Her Healing Factor causes her to both tan rapidly, and lose that tan when it's no longer needed.
  • Also X-related, Bishop was long assumed to be African-American, even though his long straight hair didn't quite add up. This assumption carried well into the mid-2000's when the time-travelling mutant cameoed as a little boy in present-day New York in X-Men Legends. It wasn't until later that he was established as an Australian Aborigine (one can assume he learned to disguise his Aussie accent to avoid unwanted attention).
  • Judge Dredd was originally designed to deliberately invoke this. The artist who originally designed him, Carlos Ezquerra, drew him with thick lips to suggest some racial ambiguity, the idea being that Dredd would be The Faceless to such an extent that even his ethnicity would be unknown to the readers. Unfortunately, he didn't tell every artist at 2000 AD his plan, so some of them drew him with European features, and some of them with African features, which, since the comic was drawn with outlines only and you could only see the bottom half of his face, no-one really noticed, and it was eventually decided that Dredd was white.
  • Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker has Ayo. Her features could be read as hispanic and her name exists as African, Spanish, and Indian, though the Spanish definition of "tutor" and "guardian" fits with her role in the story.
  • Alana and Marko from Saga, in deliberate aversion of the Humanoids Are White trope. Word of God from Fiona Staples is that Marko and his family are supposed to be of Asian descent (or at least the Rubber Forehead Alien equivalent), and that she based his design off of various Japanese actors and male models. She also commented that people may not have been aware of this since she avoided the stereotypically exaggerated features associated with Asian people in most comics, which falls into Reality Is Unrealistic. Likewise, she claims she envisions Alana as mixed race with an Indian (again space equivalent) father, while her mother similarly qualifies but looks like a real-world person of African descent.
  • The Superior Foes of Spider-Man has three examples; Shocker (who Word of God states is white but really tanned), Beetle (who is mixed race being half-black, half-Dominican), and Boomerang's girlfriend (who is Black Cat in disguise, presumably including some kind of makeup).
  • April O'Neil's race in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage) is a point of debate amongst fans: was she supposed to be white, Asian, or multiracial? She was frequently depicted early on with a dark skin tone and her brown hair was curly, though explicitly permed instead of natural. Various artworks depict her with different skin tones and hair colors. Later she appeared un-ambiguously white. The 1987 cartoon had her as a white, redheaded woman (which has been her default ever since); however, it's unknown if she underwent a Race Lift or not. Notably, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles breaks tradition by making April unambiguously African-American.
  • Vandal Savage in the New 52. He has a crooked nose, ridiculously high cheekbones, and dark skin but perfectly straight hair. It makes sense his ethnicity would be hard to place since he's more like a cromagnon than any modern race.
  • Batman: Ra’s and Talia Al-Ghul are usually some vague mixture of Arab and Chinese. Although Ra’s was born in the 14th century, before the modern understanding of genetics and ethnicity was formed.
  • Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl, once admitted that she didn't know her ethnicity; she looks Asian, her father is white, and she never knew her mother. Eventually it turns out that her mom is the Asian assassin Lady Shiva.
  • In the comic adaptation of Rush's Clockwork Angels, the protagonist, Owen Hardy, is illustrated as... not white. He looks vaguely Polynesian or Southeast Asian most of the time.
  • Kinju Dayal, the protagonist of Spiritus, is of the Dark-Skinned Blond variety.
  • The second Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders, was this in JSA. She was coloured as darker skinned than the Caucasian members of the team like Stargirl and Jay Garrick, but lighter skinned than the black Michael Holt and Jakeem Thunder. Her ethnicity is is never stated in the series, but the Hawkman series later establishes that she is half-Caucasian and half-Hispanic.
  • Robin Series: Deputy Chambers of the Gotham County Sheriff's Department is light brown with brown downturned eyes, dark hair, and a strong jaw. She usually looks like a she has a mix of African American and Hispanic heritage but it's never addressed.
  • The Relative Heroes antagonist Kittyhawk has darker skin than the blonde blue-eyed Allure, lighter skin than the African-American Blindside and wears a helmet that masks her bone-structure and hair color. The appearance of her brother doesn't help matters as his skin is metallic gold.
  • Djinn: The main protagonist Kim Nelson is British, but she has a noticeably tanned skin due to Turkish descent from her grandmother Jade, with whom Kim is the spitting image with the exception of having straight hair instead of curly.
  • Pantha from Vampirella. It certainly didn't help that her looks were Depending on the Author, and the fan letter pages discussed to hell and back if Pantha was ethnically black. The only agreement: She is black in her black panther form.
  • DMZ: Zee's ethnicity is never discussed. Her appearance varies a bit Depending on the Artist, but she generally has narrow eyes, naturally black hair and a freckled skin tone, suggested some combination of white and Asian. Her last name is Hernandez, indicating some Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
  • Sophie Moore, Kate Kane's girlfriend when the two attended West Point, is consistently depicted as not white, but her appearance has varied over the years and her ethnicity has never been mentioned. In her very first appearance, she's the most ambiguous, and could be seen as black, Latina, or even of Middle Eastern heritage. In the New 52, she's depicted as black, while in DC Rebirth, she could potentially be biracial (one black and one white parent) or of East Asian descent.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield:
    • Liz the veterinarian (now Jon Arbuckle's steady girlfriend) was implied to be East Asian in an early strip, with Jon, while sweet-talking her, insinuating that she looked Chinese. ("Haven't we met a rice paddy in Hong Kong?") This was quickly dropped: Liz's last name was eventually revealed to be "Wilson", and on Garfield and Friends she has what sounds like a Texas accent.
    • Another early strip shows Jon on vacation in the South Pacific. He tries to sweet-talk a Polynesian-looking woman in a sarong by calling her "my little wahine" (Hawaiian for "woman") and saying he assumes she lives in a grass hut. Without smiling, the woman responds, in perfect English, "I'm a computer programmer from Cleveland."
  • For Better or for Worse: Michael's best friend Lawrence is eventually revealed to be the result of his mother's relationship with a dark-skinned man during an extended stay in Brazil. At first he was colored white/pink, but when society began accepting mixed-race people he got a tan.
  • Brad's friend TJ in Luann is this whenever the strips are colored. He never states where he's from, but implies he might be Mediterranean. TJ has since been revealed to be biracial: Italian and South American. At a minimum, we know his mother and unclenote  are white.
  • Phil Jackson from Stone Soup. Probably black, but between his ethnicity having never been remarked on and the art style giving him the same facial features as everyone else (with brown skin), it's still up in the air.

    Fan Works 
  • In From Bajor to the Black Eleya's human Starfleet Academy roommate Jasmine "Jazz" Velasquez is pretty clearly multiracial, with brown skin, black hair, almond-shaped eyes, and a Multi-Ethnic Name (Jasmine is Persian in origin, while Velasquez is Spanish or Latina). And then we get to the part where she's had family in uniform going back to the Revolutionary War, implying Jazz has white ancestors as well.
  • In the Free! fanfic Chlorine Grown Roses, one of Azusa's maids, named Anzu, is described as such; "Anzu had dark skin (Im not rasist or anything im just saiyng that she has dark skin!!)"
  • In Freedom's Limits Madavi, Pratima and Sima are implied to be Haradrim (Southrons) or possibly Easterlings (both of whom are described as having dark or swarthy skin), and Madavi is explicitly stated to have black hair. In artwork helenamarkos has done of them, they're depicted as brown-skinned with dark hair and eyes.
  • The second chapter of Enter Ken Finlayson sequel "Snickery When Damp" manages to use this trope without the individual in question actually appearing in person. Mrs. Finlayson is only identified as Afro-Eurasian and since "Afro-Eurasia" is the name of the collected landmass that is Africa, Europe and Asia that does not narrow down anything, which Heidi of course lampshades. Apparently that is the extent of the rest of the Finlayson family's knowledge and would they ever find out Mrs. Finlayson would kill the entire family, extending it to in-laws and the children of Ken's older half-sister Ulrica.
  • In A Subtle Knife, Jacob Rodrigo's name and "nut-brown" complexion imply he's a Latino, but his facial features are described as Oriental. Note that Jacob himself isn't very sure of his background due to amnesia.
  • In Leviathan, Original Character Aki "Bit" Okyoita is rather tan despite being ostensibly Japanese, with the only plausible justification being all the time he spends on the beach scavenging for parts.
  • In Life Ore Death the main character originated on the planet Scadrial, and her ethnicity "Terris" doesn't have a counterpart on Earth. Her skin is definitely black as though she's of African ethnicity, but people occasionally comment that there's something just wrong with her facial features, and she's been mistaken for Indian, Egyptian, or anywhere in Africa.
  • Citadel of the Heart
    • Starlight Ablaze: both depicts and has a major plot point with the Kanto Region as having people who have an inherently dark skin be completely exotic when compared to the average, pale skinned Kantonian human. Brock's lineage has his grandfather hailing from Kalos or possibly Alola (Brock never could recall which region exactly, and it's never outright confirmed which region his grandfather comes from), who has significantly dark skin as to make Brock almost appear white by comparison. Sina, who is depicted in Starlight Ablaze as having been born in Kanto (and as a 15-16 year old, just like the Power Trio of the fic), has a dark enough skin tone to make her completely stick out like a sore thumb compared to anyone else her age who is also native to Kanto. When she and Blue meet, Blue's completely caught off guard by her dark skin because she basically made Blue mentally compare her to a Shiny because of not just her darker skin coloration than almost 95% of Kanto's natives, but also because of her Purple Hair and crystal blue eyes; a combination of these three traits is implied to not be completely natural. It's worth noting that this also coincides with the games themselves; even in the likes of Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, if the player happens to pick the darkest skin coloration at the beginning, they'll never encounter anyone else in the game who has anywhere near the same dark skin as they do.
    • On a more broader and general scale, there is Chronicler. In regards to his heritage, his mother is a dark elf with straightforward dark skin. His father? A Human Aliens Human Subspecies who would normally have a demonic red shade of skin, but both a defective gene and hailing from a tundra climate leads to him being a barely noticeable shade of pink that to the first glance would appear pearly white. Chronicler's skin is initially pearly white, but this is due to the fact Chronicler isn't eating a supplement in his diet he needs to maintain a healthier look, which is a natural part of his father's diet by comparison. Once Chronicler begins consuming this supplement, his skin tone changes from a very pale, often sickly color palette to that of a peach colored skin. However, it's worth noting his paleness at this point forward is naturally occurring; his father's paleness is only the result of a genetic disorder that wouldn't be natural to his own species. Meanwhile, at the time of Chronicler's birth, nobody was able to keep record of which body his mother was using, considering she was an AI inhabiting an cyborg body which had a tendency to shapeshift quite a lot whenever it was needing to repair itself when suffering damage. Which, to say, while birthing Chronicler, was literally every second of the remainder of her life. For simplicity's sake, Chronicler is listed as Japanese-American in heritage, by virtue of his mother's body always being half-Japanese in composition, and his father hailing from what was a counterpart to North America from his own homeworld. As far as actual ethnicity is concerned, nobody will ever know the exact details because of the circumstances of his birth regarding what was going on with his mother's body at the time as mentioned previously. Chronicler indirectly mentions all of this during his tangent he goes on when asked about his origins when meeting the staff of a private school.
      Chronicler: "Who or what I am or where I even came from in this world is ultimately irrelevant in the end, simply because trying to unravel the whole thing is a pointless endeavor with more questions than answers. My point is, however, that who you are looking at right now, by all known accounts from everyone else present, is 100% human by the end of the day."

    Films — Animation 
  • The Atlanteans from Atlantis: The Lost Empire are deliberately designed to be an ethnic mish-mash, since they predate the various ethnicities. They have darker skin tones but Caucasian facial features, as well as white hair. Some like Kida also have blue eyes.
  • Wybie from Coraline can come across as this. He's supposed to be black (or at least partly, it's not entirely clear) but the racial cues are harder to notice given the animation style. Alongside a blue-haired Coraline and blue-skinned Mr Bobinsky, it's easy to believe Wybie's an orange-skinned white boy with afro-textured hair.
  • Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog was deliberately designed to be this to avoid upsetting any minorities. Since he was going to marry the first black Disney princess it would either tell people Disney didn't believe in mixed race marriages or were cheating their fans out of a black prince. Henceforth he is a thoroughly ambiguous mish-mash from his name, the native words he uses, his skin, his hair, his eyes, etc. When we see his parents at the end of the movie they both have white hair from age, but that doesn't offer much in the way of clues either.
  • Minty Zaki, a minor racer in Wreck-It Ralph, has skin that varies from a medium to darker brown, though not all merchandise and artwork are consistent with this (sometimes depicting her as light-skinned). It has been debated whether she's meant to be black, or if she's a darker-skinned Asian. In the Japanese release, her skin is considerably lightened and she's altered to be a kimono-wearing Japanese girl.
  • Chris, the Master's girlfriend, is portrayed this way in The Brave Little Toaster. Is she light-skinned black? Indigenous? Tanned?
  • Marnie from When Marnie Was There looks like the Token White character, however she might actually be biracial. She lives in Japan and her parents have a vague design that could pass as either white or Asian.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Power Rangers (2017):
    • Trini was already given a Race Lift as her actor is Latina whereas her television counterpart's actor was Asian yet the character's full name is still "Trini Kwan", though it doubles as Mythology Gag as Trini was Latina in the original pilot for the show. This is not mentioned in the dialogue but via Word of God which states that her father is named "Mr. Kwan". Making matters more confusing, Mr. Kwan is played by the Canadian actor of Egyptian descent Patrick Sabongui.
    • Kimberly from the same film is implied to be of partial South Asian descent in comparison to her original counterpart being Caucasian, given that her actress Naomi Scott is of Anglo-Indian (English father, Ugandan-born Indian mother) descent and that her mother is played by English actress of Indian descent Anjali Jay.
  • While speaking perfect Norwegian and having Norwegian features Kim from Ulvesommer is quite brown and does have non-Norwegian traits. This is never spoken about, her mother looks very Norwegian, and the ethnicity of her dead father is never specified, neither is he really seen except for an old-looking photo which one doesn't really see his features in, but he grew up in Norway. Given that Norway does have immigrants from other places, he could be black or Middle Eastern.
  • In Super Troopers, no one seems to know Arcot Ramathorn's ethnicity. People think he's either African-American, Mexican, or Arab-American. He is Indian.
  • In Knives Out protagonist Marta is Latina but her family’s country of origin is never stated. The ignorant Thromby family say anything from Uruguay to Ecuador to Brazil. Her actress Ana de Armas is Cuban of pure Spanish descent but she uses more of a Central American accent when speaking Spanish. Given that the story revolves around her mother being an undocumented immigrant, she’s probably not Cuban like De Armas due to the US’s former policy of giving any Cuban refugee asylum if they stepped foot on American soil.
  • Doctor Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is either Samoan (what Thompson introduces him as) or Mexican (what everyone else mistakes him for). Justified in that he was based on a real Mexican-American attorney, who Thompson was using as a source for a story, and the whole point of going to Vegas was to keep quiet that he was talking to Thompson.
  • Paxton in the first Hostel film. Played by Mexican-American Jay Hernandez, the character's Ambiguously Brown status goes unremarked-on until he is about to be tortured to death (by someone who's paid a lot of money to torture and kill an American): "Look at me! I'm not a fucking American!" But then the torturer is shown Paxton's U.S. passport...
  • Two characters in Satan Claus, due to the extremely poor lighting, as one review pointed out (referring to them as "ambiguously ethnic").
  • In Ted, Lori's ethnicity is never revealed. Her boss comments that it's ambiguous, hazarding "Baltic" and "Czech." Actress Mila Kunis is from a Ukrainian Jewish family.
  • The Green Lantern movie has Hal's friend Thom as the Token Minority among a largely white (human) cast. His actor, Taika Waititi, is Maori and Jewish, and openly admitted he was cast because they wanted a non-white actor for the role but didn't want a Token Black Friend. In the comics Thom is Inuit, but the movie keeps it deliberately ambiguous.
  • In Iron Man 3, the Mandarin is of indeterminate but apparently Middle Eastern birth (played by the Anglo-Indian Ben Kingsley). Further confused by his American South accent, Chinese name, and tactics similar to South American militants. This is in contrast to the Mandarin of the comics, who (as his name implies) is partly of Chinese descent. Perhaps surprisingly, the movie manages to make sense out of all this by the time it's over; basically, he's merely an impersonator deliberately invoking a mishmash of various stereotypes about anti-American terrorists.
  • The character Brooke in Virgin Alexander may very possibly be of Native American descent at least partly, as she has many Native American features
  • The character of Jimmy in That Thing You Do! is played by dark-skinned actor Jonathan Schaech, whose ancestry is mostly German and one-quarter Italian. Jimmy's full name is the very British-sounding "James Mattingly III" (his official credit on the rock album he and his band record), but Schaech made no attempt to lighten his skin tone for the role. It really makes you wonder about Mattingly's true ancestry, especially when A.M. White (Tom Hanks) orders Jimmy to record the title song in Spanish, causing Jimmy to become very peevish and sarcastic and unceremoniously quit the band, implying he's possibly a Latino who uses a stage name.
  • The Warriors: Deborah Van Valkenburgh, a slightly dark-skinned actress, plays Mercy, a girl who lives in the South Bronx (which is heavily Puerto Rican) and speaks in a voice not unlike that of Jennifer Lopez. But since Mercy's surname never comes up in the script, there's no way to know where her family is from.
  • Quest for Fire: Ika and the Ivaka tribe cover their entire bodies in paint and have noticeably non-white features. Ika is played by Rae Dawn Chong, who is mixed raced. The director wanted the Ivaka to not conform to the appearance of any single race, in that they're a tribe of Cro-Magnons who predate modern ethnicities.
  • Dear White People: Tessa Thompson's Sam White gets this reaction repeatedly and resents it. Gabe goes so far as to accuse her of playing up a "Tragic Mulatto" front. Sam herself identifies unambiguously as black, and does not once question, deny, or attempt to hide her own blackness. In fact she gets accused of overcompensating due to this.
  • Ryan of High and Tight has tanned skin, dark hair and green eyes. His actor Thomas Fitzgerald has Irish, British and Italian ancestry. He starred in Aaron, mentioned under Web Original, and in real life has been mistaken for Turkish, Latino and Croatian.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Sameer gets this reaction in-universe, which he uses to effect. Early twentieth-century racism lets him impersonate several nationalities, since most people just assume "brown=foreign". There are several clues about his true origins: he wears a red chechia, which was worn in the Army of Africa, which was formed in French colonies in Northern Africa (it also explains his French language and accent) and participated in the war in Western Europe. The actor, Saïd Taghmaoui, was born in France to Moroccan immigrants.
  • Charlie's Angels (2019): Elena's ethnicity is not stated, though she's clearly a person of color (Naomi Scott's Anglo-Indian).
  • Thelma: Anja has dark skin and seems like she might be part Black from her features. Her mother is White and we don't see her father, leaving it unknown if he's Black or not.
  • Clara: Clara is clearly not white, but her ethnicity remains unclear. She's played by Troian Bellisario, who was born to a white father and black mother.

  • Lampshaded in American Gods. The undertakers Mr. Ibis (Thoth) and Mr. Jackal (Anubis) note that they can pass for "white" or "black" with their Egyptian looks. Shadow agrees that he's seen both "white" and "black" people who look like them. They also mention that they're seen as more and more unambiguously "black" over time, to the point that in the modern day most people don't think it's ambiguous at all (both characters are played by black actors in the TV adaptation). Shadow himself is mistaken for every ethnicity under the sun throughout the book, but you can ultimately figure out by various clues that he's half black, half Scandinavian (the author has said he pictures Dwayne Johnson as his dream casting, just to give you the idea).
  • Jude St. Francis from A Little Life is described as ethnically ambiguous, and according to his friends' descriptions he's neither identifiably Black nor White. As it turns out, Jude was abandoned as a newborn and has no idea who his parents are, let alone their races.
  • A Little Princess actually has Sara Crewe in this (most adaptations cast white actresses). She's described as being dark and having a "brown" hand. Victorian standards of brown could just be referring to a tan from growing up in India, but it is possible to read Sara as being mixed race. Her mother was said to be French, so she could have a Mediterranean complexion.
  • The Brightest Shadow: The exact appearance of the fantasy ethnicities is unclear due to Unreliable Narrator POV, but several different ethnicities appear to have brown skin of some shade.
  • The humans in Everyone Poops have brown skin and smooth black hair. Their ethnicity is not touched upon.
  • Queen Marisol from the Frozen licensed book "Anna & Elsa: A Warm Welcome" comes from a warm country, has black hair, and has darker skin than Elsa. Her name being Spanish implies she is from a Latin American inspired country. It is also possible she's Middle Eastern due to the names of others from her country.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones's The Lives of Christopher Chant, Tacroy/Mordecai Roberts is described as having very curly light brown hair and light brown skin. He is later revealed to come from a different world, and may not even really be human.
  • In Dragon Bones, the valet Axiel has brown-ish skin, and the only thing Ward knows about where he comes from is that his father brought him back from a war. It later turns out that he's half-dwarf, and had his own reasons to stay in Hurog. Everyone else in Hurog is white, with blond, brown or reddish hair, or Raven Hair, Ivory Skin.
  • In Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, the character Dan is described with black eyes, black hair, and, at several points where his skin is mentioned, brown skin. But it's unclear as to whether this is racial, tanned, or just dirty. Everyone else in the book seems to be white (several are specifically blond Germans) except for a Black cooknote , but Dan just seems like the odd boy out.
  • In Little Women, the last chapter makes mention of a "merry little quadroon", who might be Dan. Then again, considering said quadroon acts nothing like the taciturn Dan, Alcott may have had a different boy in mind (possibly Nat, due to the child's "sweetest voice of all"), or she might have radically changed his characterization between books.
  • In Friday, the eponymous protagonist of the Robert A. Heinlein novel, is some shade of brown. Justified in that she's an Artificial Human, genetically engineered with genes from around the world. Her mentor even remarks that she couldn't be racist, as she'd be shooting herself in the foot.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • "Brown" Ben Plumm. He claims descent from every major ethnic group in the world, including Valyrian.
    • Most people in Slaver's Bay count. The original Ghiscari were mostly wiped out by the Valyrians, and the modern Ghiscari are a mix of many different races.
    • From the one of the prequels, Nettles. All that's known about her is that she was dark-skinned, brown-eyed, and black-haired. It's believed that she had some Valyrian blood, but no one really knows where she came from.
  • In Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, all humans living in the Beyond are said to descend from Nyjora, one of ancient Earth's colonies. They are all described as being black-haired and brown-skinned, but what cultural markers Nyjora has are Scandinavian. Pham Nuwen's red hair and slanted eyes engender much comment, as he's obviously a different race.
    • To the point where the protagonist actually accuses Pham Nuwen of being a created construct by the Old One rather than a real human being, since those two features are so rarely found together. The truth was a bit more complicated. He is a real person, but much of his body was destroyed in the deep-space accident from which he was later revived. The Old One made up his hair from the DNA of another passenger who was killed at the same time... which is a bit of Fridge Horror when you realize that the red-haired woman was once his lover.
    • Given that the Vikings are known to have considered foreign women hot and would import exotic-looking women, nothing that a Scandinavian-derived gene pool might produce ought to surprise terribly. It's actually rather curious that they don't have more variety now.
  • Deconstructed in Hero by Perry Moore. Golden Boy is a speedster and sidekick to Silver Bullet (a Flash expy); he grew up in an orphanage and he himself doesn't know what race he is. This has kept him from being adopted since "The blacks thought I was Hispanic, the Hispanics thought I was Arab, and the whites didn't want any questions." The patronizing nature of his codename isn't lost on him either, but Silver Bullet is the closest thing he has to a father, so he just goes with it.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space series:
    • Louis Wu is described as having (when he's not using cosmetic drugs that change his skin, hair, and eye colors), "black hair, brown eyes with no discernible slant and yellow-brown skin". By the year 2850, Ambiguously Brown has become the dominant natural skin-tone on Earth due to the fusion of all of the ethnic races.
    • Two of Louis's parents (his genetic father, Carlos Wu, and his mother, Sharrol Janss) and his sister Tanya had similar coloration. Beowulf Schaeffer, his adoptive father (and the father of Louis' stepsister Jeena) was an albino. Jeena Wu had the same skin color as Louis, but was naturally blue-eyed and blonde-haired.
  • The Erdlings in the Green-Sky Trilogy are darker-skinned, darker-haired, and "sturdier" compared to their willowy, pale Kindar counterparts. This is explained somewhat by the fact the only places the Erdlings are able to gather food are places where the tree cover has been cleared away, exposing them to direct sunlight (and a tan) whereas the Kindar are almost always shaded by the leaves of their tree-cities. In fact, an Erdling child living among the Kindar quickly loses the tan; as one Kindar reports to another, "Even her skin seems to be a more normal shade now."
  • Johnny in The Outsiders, despite being played by Italian-American Ralph Macchio in the movie, has a "dark tan" and is too dark-skinned to look okay with blond hair. Some fans of the book consider Johnny to be Native American.
  • Vlad Tepes's family in Count and Countess.
  • Animorphs:
    • Ax's human morph is described this way. He's a Mix-and-Match Man derived from the four human Animorphs: Jake and Rachel (Jewish and white), Cassie (black) and Marco (Hispanic).
    • Marco himself never has his race directly stated, but pretty much all the clues point to at least his mother, Eva, being Hispanic. His father, Peter, never really gets described, though; for what it's worth, the TV series cast a white actor.
  • The Big Bad of The Stand, Randall Flagg, is able to mix with terrorists of every colour to further his agendas, from the Ku Klux Klan to the Symbionese Liberation Army ("no one disputed his claim to be a black man, although his skin was very light"). Given who he is, he could just be hypnotising people, but in any case his appearance is kept vague, and he really could be of any race.
  • The Kabra family in The 39 Clues is described as having dark skin. London's large population of Indian-Brits may make the skin color of Ian and Natalie, the children, less ambiguous, but that doesn't explain why their mother (whose maiden name was Vesper-Hollingsworth, which doesn't hint at anything) also has "coffee-colored" skin.
  • The skin tones and facial features of Billy Slade, from Simon Hawke's Wizard novels, incorporate such an ambiguous blend of ethnic traits that he could well have a bit of any race in his ancestry. Having been orphaned young, he doesn't even know what ethnic group(s) his parents might've resembled; the one thing known for sure is that there's a bit of Celt and Old One in him, by way of being Merlin's and Nimue's last descendent.
  • Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights is described as dark-skinned and probably Romani, but it's stated that seemingly no one knows his ethnicity really. One film adaptation cast Heathcliff as a black man.
  • In Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization of Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Harvey Dent is described as having "brown skin," with absolutely nothing else said about his appearance. You have to watch the movie itself to confirm that Dent is being played by the African-American actor Billy Dee Williams.
  • Trillian in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is "darkish", with brown eyes and black hair. On-screen, she's always been played by white actresses.
    With her red head scarf knotted in that particular way and her long flowing silky brown dress she looked vaguely Arabic.
  • In Cold Mountain (the book only), Ruby, a homeless woman of Tennessee, is described as being dark-skinned, with a broad nose and hair the texture of a horse's mane. Whether this is due to mixed racial heritage, or simply her rough outdoors life, is up to interpretation. The film cast Renée Zellweger, a white woman, in the role.
  • It's implied that all three teenagers in Dr. Franklin's Island are nonwhite, but only Semi gets more detail - she has Jamaican ancestry. Miranda is "brown", and there are no hints with Arnie. Semi always notes when she sees someone for the first time if they are white, and doesn't do this meeting them.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, several fairies have brown skin of differing tones.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry has a reaction like this the first time he sees a picture of Dumbledore’s mother, Kendra. He notes that her facial features and straight black hair look vaguely Native American. Bear in mind her children are described as having blonde or auburn hair.
    • Some readers speculate that Hermione is this, as J. K. Rowling never outright stated what her skin color was. All that's described in her appearance is her having brown eyes and frizzy hair; given frizzy hair is often associated with African descended woman's hair, it would make sense as to why some may assume Hermione is a dark-skinned girl (not that frizzy hair is unique to African descendants).
    • This speculation received major support with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has exclusively cast black actresses (Noma Dumezweni, Rakie Ayola and Jenny Jules), as Hermione in both its West End and Broadway runs. The casting prompted Rowling herself to point out the above mentioned (that only brown eyes and frizzy hair were specified, not any race), showing support for the notion. Although race-bending casting is something that happens fairly often in the world of theatre.
  • Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy, is described as naturally tan and black-haired. Her father is Turkish, which explains where she got her looks from.
  • In The First Law Series:
    • The magus Bayaz's servant Yoru Sulfur is described by another character as having a somewhat ethnically ambiguous appearance, being darker skinned than is the norm for someone in the Union (a European Fantasy Counterpart Culture) but lighter than people from the neighboring Gurkhal (The Empire, home to people of Arabic and African appearance). This ties into Sulfur's blandly pleasant manner and blandly pleasant features that make him The Nondescript, able to fit in everywhere. It's implied that the ambiguity relates to the fact that like his master, Sulfur is Really 700 Years Old, and thus came from a culture which no longer exists.
    • Temple, one of the main protagonists of Red Country is darker skinned than most of the cast and other characters wonder (sometimes offensively) at his ethnicity. At one point, Temple asserts that he's the Son of a Whore and that his mother was Dagoskan (which evokes both India under the British Raj and Constantinople) and his father was a Styrian (a stand in for Italy during The City State Era) mercenary.
  • Suzanne Collins has stated that we're so far in the future that racial mixing has blurred any categories that might exist today in The Hunger Games. She refuses to elaborate on what modern races the characters would be categorized as. Katniss herself has olive skin and straight black hair just like her best friend Gale, in contrast to her blonde-haired and blue-eyed mother and sister. Rue and Thresh have "dark skin."
  • Similar to The Hunger Games example above, Julian Comstock, which is set in a post-apocalyptic 22nd century America, never explicitly gives the racial background of any character, but instead simply describes physical characteristics. Julian himself, who is blond, blue-eyed and pale is probably what we would nowadays consider white, as are his mother and Evil Uncle. Another character, Marcus Sedgewick, is described as having very dark skin and tightly curled black hair, and would probably be considered black in the 21st Century. However, everyone else is more ambiguous, the narrator Adam is paler than Marcus and darker than Julian and has curled hair, suggesting a biracial background, however his sister was a natural blonde; meanwhile Calyxa, his wife, has hair like Marcus, but also has "pink" skin, and probably has some Quebecois ancestry being a native French speaker from Montreal.
  • The Wicked Years:
    • Fiyero from Wicked is described as having dark skin and being covered in blue tattoos. It's implied that he's the Ozian equivalent of Native American.
    • While the Vinkus are likely Fantasy Counterpart Culture Native Americans, the Quadlings are harder to pin. They generally have dark skin and red hair isn't unheard of either. They also live in the swampy marshes of south Oz.
  • The norm in the far future setting of Starship's Mage, but especially true for the aristocratic Mage Caste that originates on Mars.
  • The skin of the Paratime race seems to be light shades of brown allowing them to 'pass' in many cultures and timelines.
  • In The Witchlands, several characters are noted as black, but most seem to be some unspecified shade of brown, as the Nomatsi people are easily recognizable by their pale skin.
  • Most of the cast of The Reader (2016) falls under this, their skin described with words like "tan", "copper", "honey", "dark", or "black". This is justified, though, since Kelanna is a fictional world with no real-world equivalents to nations where such characters would come from, and no one group is signified as coming from a specific island or kingdom in the book.
  • The title character of Kate Daniels is described as looking somewhat ethnically ambiguous, with dark hair and light brown skin that makes her look somewhat Roma, but not lining up completely. Her mother was Russian, but her father is Roland real name Nimrod, an immortal Middle-Eastern sorcerer-king who hails from an ethnicity that no longer existsnote . When Roland finally shows up in person later in the series, he's also described as having an ambiguous appearance that makes him look like he could pass for a local in any number of countries, from Latin America to North Africa to his native Mesopotamia.
  • One of the more common clues that someone in The Cosmere books might be a worldhopper is when none of the characters can figure out what ethnicity he (or she) is supposed to be.
  • Brandon Nichols from The Visitation is described as looking Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean, or Hispanic, or Native American. Nichols is actually Justin Cantwell, who has Hispanic ancestry on his mother's side. The real Brandon Nichols was Native American.
  • Ferrari in Mr. Hook's Big Black Box. She has mixed ancestry, is from an unspecified foreign country, and is described as having a "deep Mediterranean tan".
  • In the Honor Harrington series, people from the two planets of the Mfecane System have Sub-Saharan facial features, understandable since the original colonists were Sub-Saharan Africans, but conditions on the planets ended up selecting for albinism so the present population is predominantly light-skinned with blonde, white, or silver hair, and light-coloured eyes.
  • I See a Cat: The dog's apparent owner clearly possesses dark skin.
  • Tenzing Tharkay from the Temeraire series is half-Nepali on his mother's side, with dark hair and eyes, a skin tone compared to polished teakwood, and to the shock of many, a perfect, upper-class English accent. In the series' Regency-era setting, most characters have a hard time determining what his race is beyond "not white", with many dismissive types settling on just calling him "Oriental" or "a Chinaman". Upon meeting him for the first time in Macau, the extremely white British protagonist initially thinks him some offshoot of Chinese, but decides against it, owing to Tharkay's un-Chinese clothing and lack of East Asian epicanthic folds.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Brandon has mentioned in interviews that most Rosharan ethnicities would appear to us to fall under this trope. For example, Alethi (the ethnicity of most of the POV characters) would look something like a cross between Asian and Middle Eastern, while the Vedens look much the same but with red hair.
    • This also comes up in-universe with the Heralds, who were born something like six millennia before the story starts and thus pre-date modern Rosharan ethnicities.
  • Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg's The Positronic Man: When upgrading himself into an android body, Andrew deliberately invokes this, wishing for a blend of skin tones because he is not a member of any ethnicity.
    For his skin color Andrew had selected something neutral in tone, a kind of blend of the prevailing skin colors of the various human types, darker than the pale pink of the Charneys but not quite as dark as some. That way no one would be able to tell at a glance which race he belonged to, since in fact he belonged to none.
  • Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg's The Circle (2011): Minoo is described as having black hair and dark eyes, and her name is Arabic (a language her relatives speak). But her race is never mentioned.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Deke from 2 Broke Girls. His father is Jewish and his mother is African-American.
  • 30 Rock: Carmen Chao, a rival reporter to Avery. Her actress, Vanessa Minnillo, at least is Filipino on her mother's side and Irish/Italian on her father's side
    Jack: Carmen Chao is relentless, like a bloodhound. Perhaps literally. We still don't know her genetic background.
    Jack: She's very sneaky, which isn't racist since we don't know what she is.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Skye is played by the half-white, half-Chinese Chloe Bennett, but went through the first season without clarifying her ethnicity (one episode states that she was found in the Hunan province as a baby, but it's far from confirmation - the same episode starts casting doubts on whether she's even human). This led to some controversy during the first season where some critics of the show's admittedly white-dominated cast refused to see Bennett's real-world ethnicity as relevant until there was explicit in-universe confirmation that Skye shared it, leading some other people to accuse them of whitewashing. The second season eventually confirms that Skye shares Bennett's ethnicity, showing that her parents were a white dad and Chinese mom; though with the twist that Skye has some Inhuman ancestry that Bennett obviously doesn't share.
    • Reina is another example. While her appearance and accent suggest that she's a light-skinned African-American, she spent much of her early life in Asia and we know next to nothing about her. Actress Ruth Negga is Irish and Ethiopian, but Reina's background is still a mystery except that she's at least partially Inhuman like Skye.
  • Anger Management: Lacey, one of the characters on the TV series, is a light-skinned Asian-Indian - as is the actress who plays her, despite having a vaguely German- or Dutch-sounding surname (the actress is Punjabi, one of the lighter-skinned Indian nationalities). One of the other group-therapy members, who is quite the redneck, dislikes her because she looks like an Arab to him. Many viewers seeing her for the first time will probably just think she's a white brunette (Italian or Jewish, say).
  • Slade Wilson from Arrow was Race Lifted from white in the comics to this. He's from Australia and the actor who plays him is half-Māori, but other than that we have no clue what his ethnicity is.
  • Zan from Atlanta. Nobody knows what he is, and the other characters speculate that he might be anything from Indian to Dominican to half-black, half-Asian.
  • Luis Avalos, "Roberto" from The Electric Company (1971), somehow wound up playing an Arab suitor to Gretchen Kraus on Benson.
  • black•ish:
    • Rainbow has a white father and an African-American mother, and mentions in one episode that she stole a scholarship from a Polynesian student because she can easily pass for Samoan.
    • In another episode, Zoey is chosen for an international-themed ad for the fictitious holiday "Daddy Day," because the ad executives think she looks ambiguous enough to appeal to all racial demographics. When she refuses to do the commercial, the role goes to her friend Maya, who the execs similarly think looks ambiguous enough to fit the ad. In real life, Yara Shahidi (Zoey) is half-black and half-Iranian, while Zendaya (Maya) is half-black and half-white.
  • The Boys (2019): Victoria, a woman of color with olive skin, although her ethnicity is not stated, and her last name (Neuman) is German (in many cases used by Ashkenazi Jews). The actress is of Italian and Lebanese ancestry.
  • Spy series Burn Notice: did this intentionally by casting the bi-racial Coby Bell as Sixth Ranger Jesse. The show's creators saw the ambiguous race as a plus for the character of Jesse, as it would allow Jesse to go undercover as different ethnicities and make it easier for him to infiltrate different groups.
  • Phoebe in Charmed has notably darker skin that her sisters Prue and Piper and half-sister Page. The character is played by Italian-American actress Alyssa Milano. This is never acknowledged in the series, though.
  • The Cosby Show had a whole episode revolving around this trope, wherein one of the kids got a new teacher who asked her pupils to guess her ethnicity. It was a mix of several: African-American, one specific European nation, and one specific Native American tribe. While she obviously had much fun with her own ambiguity, Cliff also told a story about a boy he knew, who got upset with everyone wondering about his ethnicity, and one day decided just to answer every inquiring with: "I am an Arachne."
  • Covert Affairs: Lampshaded slightly in reference to Jai (played by Chicago native of Indian descent Sendhil Ramamurthy): his father is white and his mother's ethnicity has not been elaborated upon, and Annie's sister calls him "the George Clooney of...wherever he's from!"
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Daredevil (2015): Elektra Natchios in the comics was Greek in origin. However, in Daredevil and The Defenders, she is played by Élodie Yung, who is French-Cambodian. Eventually, it's revealed that Elektra is Greek by adoption, and like her actress, has Asian ancestry.
    • Iron Fist (2017): Bakuto has a Japanese-sounding name, but Ramon Rodriguez, who plays him, is a Puerto Rican. In one episode, he mentions that his childhood boogeyman was the Sack Man, which implies Latino or Eastern/Southern European heritage. It's worth noting that in the comics, Bakuto ran a South American faction of the Hand.
  • Da Vinci's Demons: Zoroaster is half-Italian, and half... something. Whatever this other heritage is, it makes him noticeably darker than his fellow Florentines. It's relatively common for people to presume that he's part-Arab.
  • Eric Andre from The Eric Andre Show is the child of a Haitian father and an Ashkenazi Jewish mother. He's stated that because of this mix, he is often mistaken for Puerto Rican or other Latino nationalities.
  • Flight of the Conchords: The Jemaine of the series is part Maori, just as the the real-life Jemaine Clement. This gets confirmed late in season 2; prior to that viewers simply get exchanges like this:
    Police officer (describing Jemaine): About 6'1, 6'2, Caucasian?
    Bret: Eh... He's from New Zealand.
  • Musa of Fate: The Winx Saga, compared to the original cartoon. There she was coded as East Asian, and modelled after Lucy Liu. In the live action has very light brown skin and some features that do seem East Asian or possibly Middle Eastern mixed with Caucasian. Her actress Elisha Applebaum is part Singaporean and Ashkenazi Jewish.
  • Forever: Neither Oscar or June's racial background is revealed, though the actors Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph are both mixed race. Mark says he'd like to find out what June's racial makeup is. The only hint we get is that June has a Jewish nephew. Rudolph herself has an Ashkenazi Jewish father.
  • Galavant points out (in song) how Princess Isabella is "ethnically hard to pin down". This may have something to do with how both her parents are clearly white while her cousin Harry has darker skin. She's also the princess of the Mediterranean-sounding kingdom of Valencia, and her full name is Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta, which certainly sounds Italian. Given Sicily's history with anyone bordering the Mediterranean, someone with very dark skin compared to mainland Italy isn't actually all that unusual. Meanwhile, her cousin's kingdom is styled more like Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Her actor, Karen David, was born in India, with what she describes as "Chinese, Indian and a sliver of Jewish heritage".
  • Game of Thrones:
    • It turns out Grey Worm's from the Summer Isles, though he's substantially lighter than the only other character we've met from the Summer Isles, Xaro Xhoan Daxos. His ancestry has yet to be revealed in the books; Martin has stated that he has no plans as of yet to go further into Grey Worm's race or personal history, but he might do so if the notion strikes him.
    • Upon the decision to cast the mixed race (Chilean, Romanian, English and a little bit of Argentinian) Oona Chaplin as Robb Stark's love interest (a fair skinned Westerosi noblewoman called Jeyne Westerling in the books), they made the character Talisa from Volantis. Although in the books, the people of Volantis are said to resemble the blonde Targaryens more than anything else, and Talisa's features match those of people in Myr more. The actress recalls once being told by a drunk casting director that she was "miscellaneously ethnic".
    • All of the Sand Snakes, and their mother Ellaria, hail from Dorne - which is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Spanish and Mediterranean cultures. The Sand Snakes are all daughters of Prince Oberyn - played by the Chilean Pedro Pascal - but none of them have any Latin heritage. Jessica Henwick is mixed Chinese and English, Keisha Castle Hughes is mixed Maori and white, Rosabell Laurenti-Sellers is Italian and Indira Varma is Indian and Swiss. Of course this is possibly intentional, as all of them are 'Sands' - illegitimate children born in Dorne so they could be mixed-race in universe.
  • Glee:
    • Santana is this initially, though she later confirms that she is Hispanic. Other characters aren't as sure, like Sue who says to her "I'm still not certain on what your ethnicity is." Her actress, Naya Rivera, is half Puerto Rican, a quarter German, and a quarter African American.
    • Puck is this as well. It's lampshaded when Lauren says that she was initially attracted to him for this reason, and was disappointed to learn he's just a tanned white guy.
  • Judge Gen from The Good Place, who is also played by Maya Rudolph, visits Earth and is surprised to learn that she's considered black (Rudolph is mixed race).
  • Duncan MacLeod from Highlander has olive skin and straight black hair, despite having grown up in the Highlands of Scotland, in stark contrast to the pale, redheaded Connor. He was apparently a foundling so his actual origins are unknown, like many Immortals. Adrien Paul who plays him is half-British, half-Italian.
  • Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele. He is half-black and half-white, but looks ambiguous enough that he sometimes plays Latino, Indian, and Middle-Eastern characters. Interestingly, Jordan Peele has the same ethnic background as his costar, but Peele has slightly darker skin, so he tends to just play Black characters.
  • Leverage beat Burn Notice to the punch with Sophie Devereaux. Sophie is British, but as a con woman has convincingly portrayed multiple characters from around the world. Her actress, Gina Bellman, is of Russian and Polish descent.
  • Never Have I Ever: Inverted with Paxton. He's a light-skinned biracial kid and it doesn't click for his peers that he has Asian heritage, even with his last name, until they hear him speak Japanese or bring up this fact. Trent, one of his best friends, even thought that his visibly Japanese father was his neighbor.
  • Rashida Jones is of black and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, and her ambiguous appearance has been lampshaded of her character on both The Office and its "sister show" Parks and Recreation.
    • In The Office, Jones' character Karen Filippelli has an Italian last name (and admits to Italian ancestry), but the character also speaks some French and Chinese and it's also speculated whether she might have Filipino ancestry. At one point, Michael tactlessly tells her she looks very exotic and inquires whether her father was a G.I.
    • In Parks and Recreation, the season 4 finale has it commented of Jones' character Ann Perkins, "I’ve said this to you before and I know it makes you uncomfortable, but you’re thoughtful and you’re brilliant and your ambiguous ethnic blend perfectly represents the dream of the American melting pot." There's also an earlier episode where Tom (Aziz Ansari) tries to set up a dirty joke by asking if Ann has any Indian in her (for extra irony, the same Tom is once thought by his boss Leslie Knope to be Libyan).
  • Kako in Oobi. All of the characters are literal bare-hand puppets, so it's difficult to tell. His parents look and sound African-American, but he uses Spanish phrases constantly.
  • Revolution: Nora and Nate. The former is canonically Latina, as revealed in "Sex and Drugs". The latter is revealed in "Soul Train" to have a (half) black father played by Giancarlo Esposito and a white mother.
  • Lampshaded in Scream Queens (2015) at Chanel #2's funeral where Chanel #5 says it's a shame that they never found out what ethnicity she is - as she was the only non-white blonde in the Girl Posse. Her actress Ariana Grande is of Italian descent - but has often been mistaken for a lighter skinned black woman or Latina. The fact that she's fond of spray tanning doesn't help.
  • Seinfeld: Parodied in the season 9 episode "The Wizard". Elaine has a new boyfriend who Jerry thinks is black, even though the actor playing him is pretty lightly-skinned. Elaine spends the episode trying to figure out his race and gets pretty conflicting answers, but concludes he is black when he says that they are an interracial couple. In the end of the episode when Elaine tells him she thinks he's black, the boyfriend reveals he thought Elaine was Hispanic. Realizing they're both a couple of white people and not an interracial couple, they decide to take a trip to The Gap.
  • Shake it Up: Eventually subverted. Rocky and Ty Blue seem to be ambiguously brown for the entire first season (both of their actors are mixed race), until their mother is revealed to be black and their father is revealed to be mixed.
  • Naevia from Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The original actress Lesley Ann Brandt is Cape Coloured of Indian and European descent. When she exits the show she is replaced with Cynthia Addai Robinson, who is half Black (Ghanaian) and half White. Suffice to say, Naevia's ethnic background is completely unknown and was never specified or referenced.
  • According to Word of God, Julian Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was intended to be of no obvious ethnicity, although of course his surname is Arabic. The actor Alexander Siddig is of Sudanese and English descent, raised in London. When Bashir's parents appear in one episode, his mother Amsha was played by Fadwa El Guindi (Egyptian) and his father Richard by Brian George (of Iraqi Jewish descent).
  • Supergirl (2015): Invoked by Maggie, who only refers to herself as "non-white".note  However, as her father is shown to be Mexican-American later, Maggie could be considered a Latina (though she never identifies herself as such).
  • That '70s Show: Where was Fez from again? His actor, Wilmer Valderrama, is of Colombian and Venezuelan descent.
  • Trauma hangs kind of a weird lampshade on this one in an episode concerning the ethnicity of Cliff Curtis' character, Rabbit.note 
    Marisa: My cousin saw you on the news and she thinks you're super hot. And Mexican.
    Rabbit: Not Mexican.
    Marisa: He's not Mexican. (On the phone) Ugh, don't make me ask him that. (Back to Rabbit.) OK, so what are you then?
    Rabbit: I'm, uh, not going tonight.
  • Tracey from Truth Be Told is ethnically ambiguous to everyone, even her own husband. She's at least part Filipino, having referred to a grandmother living in the Philippines.
  • Victorious: Beck - his actor's of Indian descent, cultivating a "bad boy" image at an arts magnet school averts the stereotype without ever mentioning it and the only background mentioned in the show of his ethnicity is that he's Canadian.
  • Workaholics:
    • Montez. There's even a joke in one episode where he accuses some of his coworkers of discriminating against him because he's black, and they act as though they are genuinely unaware of what race he belongs to. In real life, Montez's actor, Erik Griffin, has a stand-up routine about how nobody can seem to identify his ethnicity (he really has Belizean ancestry).
    • There's an episode where Adam and Blake have a crush on the same woman, with Adam thinking she's black and Blake thinking she's Asian. They awkwardly try to trick her into revealing her ethnicity until she explains that she's both; she has a black father and a Filipino mother.

  • Done unintentionally in Centigrade 37; depending on lighting conditions and the condition of the wood table, the two blonde white women on the playfield might end up with medium-brown skin and light blonde hair.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is half Black Canadian and half American Samoan; his maternal grandfather was in fact the High Chief of the Samoan people. Amusingly, he has portrayed white characters in the course of his acting career. To make it even more confusing, The Rock's childhood background saw him living in New Zealand, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania, before playing college football in Miami, Florida, where he was billed from during his WWE career.
  • Batista (David "Dave" Michael Bautista, Jr.) is half Filipino and half Greek-American, but was often mistaken for being Latino or Hispanic because of his Spanish ring name and last name, which led to him being unexpectedly popular in Mexico and put in an angle with Eddie Guerrero to capitalize on it (the Philippines and Mexico were both colonized by Spain, leading to many cultural similarities including surnames). He was born and raised in Washington D.C., but has since made his permanent home in Tampa, Florida, rather than Southern California, even after his Hollywood career took off. Just to confuse the issue even further, he also has an East Asian dragon tattoo on his back and speaks with a standard Washington D.C. accent. When Batista and Kumail Nanjiani co-starred in the buddy cop movie Stuber, they improvised a scene in which Kumail's character fails to guess Batista's character's background.
  • Perry Saturn is so tanned (especially in his Radicalz period) that in WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role, the programmers made him black by mistake. Saturn is of Italian and Greek heritage.
  • AJ Lee (April Mendez) is Puerto Rican, but she looks like she could just as easily be Chinese, Japanese, Indian (either Hindi or Native American), Middle Eastern, or a Pacific Islander. It's a bit of Fridge Brilliance that her TV surname, Lee, is extremely common worldwide and can belong to people of almost any race. What's more is her character is that of a Hollywood Nerd, which would usually go to a white person.
  • Candice Michelle is sometimes mistaken for a light-skinned black woman, but she's actually mixed white and Costa Rican.
  • Homicide is frequently mistaken for black. (well, black Puerto Ricans aren't too uncommon but apparently Homicide is not one of them). The same can be said for Thea Trinidad, who is pretty dark herself.
  • Homicide's trainee Low Ki is lightskinned, but a lot of white wrestling fans were convinced he was mixed with something else, possibly even entirely non European, either pointing to his lips or the fact Monsta Mack is his cousin. As it turns out, Low Ki does identify as "mixed race" but hasn't said which.
  • When they first debuted on WWE television, MNM all sported extreme fake tans. John Morrison and Joey Mercury are both white, but Melina is Latina and also sported blonde highlights. All three eventually stopped tanning, and Melina darkened her hair - eventually playing up her Mexican heritage in a few ring outfits, and having her last name Perez acknowledged on screen.
  • Former WWE Diva Karlee Pérez has a very ambiguous appearance, as her complete list of ethnicities include Spanish, Chinese, Cuban, Italian, Hawaiian and English. She was given an exotic sounding name 'Liviana' in developmental, but then given the Anglo name Maxine. As such her character had elements of a Spicy Latina, but she was still presented as somewhat Anglo (probably because of Latino Is Brown). She performs in Brownface in Lucha Underground to portray the possibly Mexican Catrina.
  • Sasha Banks has her ethnicity constantly in question. She is of German and African descent but she initially wrestled under her real name of Mercedes KV - which is a Spanish name. Her WWE 'character' 'The Boss' leaned towards a black ghetto girl, but she was originally a Dark-Skinned Blond before eventually dyeing the hair pink.
  • SmackDown commentator Tazz, who is Italian-American, was often mistaken for a light-skinned black man by viewers because of his unusually brown complexion. His also having a shaved head and wearing Cool Shades didn't help matters.
  • Invoked by management when it comes to supermodel Natalie Nelson. She's Mexican-Italian and was given the stage name Eva Marie - and had her hair changed from brown to red (though they wanted her to be blonde initially but she opted for red). She did eventually play up the Spicy Latina angle slightly on Total Divas, describing herself as a "Latin firecracker".
  • Seth Rollins gets assumed to be Latino a lot; he was even explicitly asked his ethnicity in a magazine interview. This is due to a combination of his naturally dark complexion [he's part Armenian], tanning, and his real-life surname being Lopez. His adoptive father actually is Mexican-American, hence the surname.
  • Nhooph Al-Areebi, who is of Arab descent, initially looked as if she was going to play up her heritage - wrestling on live events in ring attire that resembled a Bedlah Babe outfit (and using her indie ring name 'Jasmin') as well as dyeing her hair black. By the time she made it to TV, the hair was back to light brown and she had adopted the ring name Aliyah. The name is Middle-Eastern in origin but has been used for black, Latina and Jewish girls as well.
  • Layla has a mixture of Spanish, British and Moroccan heritage and initially competed with her natural curly hair - but from 2009 onward wore it straight, and occasionally lightened it. The fact that she never competed under her full name (Layla El) and alternated between a Dark Action Girl, Valley Girl and Genki Girl (with no culturally stereotypical gimmick, like say Rosa Mendes playing the Spicy Latina) put her in this trope. Sometimes WWE flirted with giving her a Sassy Black Woman gimmick.

  • Mixed Martial Arts fighter Brendan "Big Brown" Schaub is often mistaken for a mixed-race black man. When a cast mate on The Ultimate Fighter began making racist statements, all of the black cast members approached Schaub for support, telling him, "He's insulting our people!" In reality, Schaub has entirely European ancestry.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS has the perk "Passing Complexion".
  • BattleTech has had human cultures so well mixed that a tanned redhead calling herself "Rabbi Martinez" doesn't even bat an eye.
  • It's not easy to notice at first, but many of the people shown in the artwork of Numenera have traits from multiple ethnicities (this is certainly true of the ones in the cover art, at the bare minimum). Like BattleTech above and Mass Effect down in the Video Game examples; this is due to humanity having co-mingled enough that they are now a single ethnicity. Of course; why humanity still exists in a recognisable form after a billion years and the falls of eight eons-long civilisations (the last few of which weren't human at all) is one of the setting's greatest mysteries which kind-of makes the whole 'ethnicity' thing a moot point. And this is before you factor in mutations, genetic modification, encounters with crazy nanites, etc.
  • Postmortem Studios' Privilege Check has a card for "Proud Brown Person," bearing the flavour text, "Guess my race. Guess wrong and I will guilt trip you into the stone age." There are, in fact, more offensive cards.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Depending on the Writer, the Salamanders Chapter have skin tones that are brown to black (as in Real Life) or jet-black skin that would never occur naturally.
  • Dungeons & Dragons iconic character Regdar was reportedly designed to be this in early artwork, with Monte Cook claiming he saw him as native American. Later artwork just drew him as a white guy.

  • In the American Girls Collection of dolls, none of the "tan" Just Like You dolls are given a specific race, and can generally be whatever the purchaser chooses. The tan dolls now actually have more facial diversity than the light ones. Sometimes this happens with the dolls that are given a specific race. For example, the face template used for the Girl of the Year doll Sonali, who is Indian, is not too different from the template for Addy, who is African-American.

    Video Games 
  • In Mass Effect, the vast majority of human characters are either white or ambiguously brown. There are some exceptions, such as African-descended Jacob, Japanese Kasumi, and Hispanic James and Steve. Specialist Traynor is implied to be Indian due to some comments made in the Citadel DLC.. Everyone else's background is debatable. Expanded Universe material states that In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race, as globalization in the 21st and 22nd centuries broke down social barriers between races.
  • Alyx in Half-Life 2 is practically impossible to pin down at first. Shortly after meeting her, you learn that her father is black and a picture in his lab shows her mother to possibly be Asian (her name is "Azian"). Note that like most (all?) main characters, Alyx's face was modeled after a real person. Alyx's voice actress was born in Japan, to a black American father, and a Japanese mother. So they gave the character roughly the same background.
  • Chell of Portal has a tanned skin tone, dark hair and blue-gray eyes, and given that she never speaks no concrete word on her ethnicity is ever given. The person she was modeled after, Alesia Glidewell, is of Brazilian and Japanese descent. In Portal 2 she's gotten lighter (and noticeably younger) for some reason.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Xemnas/Xehanort/"Ansem" (actually Xehanort's Heartless), all three being permutations of the same man, who is White Haired And Black Hearted with orange/brown/it varies eyes and dark skin. Xehanort himself is a result of Terra's body being stolen by the original Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Both the original Xehanort and Terra had brown skin (although Xehanort's was darker), and besides the fact that Terra was constantly tempted by darkness, he was a good guy at heart, negating the Unfortunate Implications of having the two dark skinned characters be associated with evil. In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep they explain that the Dark-Skinned Blond effect is a result of traveling between worlds without adequate protection.
    • Probably more coincidence than intentional, but the two main monsters of the games, the Nobodies and the Heartless, are white and black, respectively. Xehanort's Heartless is noticeably darker than Xemnas.
  • Kiesha Phillips of Backyard Sports. Unlike, say, Ernie, you cannot tell if Kiesha is African-American or not.
  • The SCV driver from StarCraft. It doesn't help that the picture's damn tiny, but he is kind of dark-ish looking. However, the campaign-only "Civilian" unit, who is completely white, and the SCV have Stop Poking Me! lines which imply they're the same person, who gets drafted into the military as a worker.
  • Much like it has (very nearly) Purely Aesthetic Gender, The Sims series features Ambiguously Brown characters, although it also features Ambiguously White characters because there are no real-world ethnicities; everyone is Simlish. If you want to set up a character as from a real place, it's as simple as naming them right, but NPC names often do have mismatches between first and last name or between name and appearance. The Sims 3 however shows a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Egypt and China, with the sims of the region looking the way they might in the real world.
    • Some of the premade characters are implied by their names and biographies to be a certain ethnicity, but there are just as many who are not and fit this trope.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Godot and Juan Corrida were this in Japan, although they were made Hispanic in the American translation.
    • The jury's still out on Damon Gant and Colias Palaeno, although given the former is an ardent swimmer and the latter is a different color from even his countrymen, they're probably just tanned.
    • Both Zak and Magnifi Gramarye as well. Made more ambiguous by the fact that Magnifi's daughter is clearly white, and his grandchildren (one of whom is Zak's child) are even whiter. Some fans have speculated that the Gramaryes are Romani. Also, Zak's real first name is Shadi, a distinctly middle eastern name.
    • Lotta Hart is pale, but not pink - unlike the other characters. Americanisation gives her a stereotyped Deep South accent and dialect to match that afro. With that and the name, she ends up coming off as a stereotyped, pale caricature of blackness.
    • Marlon Rimes is a caricature rapper with a black bone structure but an ambiguous complexion. He mixes street slang with pirate talk. He goes super-Saiyan and looks whiter, but reveals dreadlocks and rapper bling. Turn on the 3DS' 3D mode for even further ambiguity.
  • Venom and Potemkin from Guilty Gear. Venom is British, but fans have theorized that he's of Egyptian descent, probably judging from the imagery involved in his character design and attacks. It's also worth noting that in the first game, Potemkin was a slave.
    • Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN gives us Ramlethal Valentine, who has light brown skin and white hair and eyelashes. Considering she isn't even human to begin with, it's clear that her appearance is merely a stylistic choice and corresponds to no actual ethnicity.
  • Story of Seasons:
    • Denny, from Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness. Is he black, or just tan from fishing so much? Who knows.
    • Harvest Moon 64 and its related games also have Kai, who practically defines this trope. He's a dark skinned man who works at a vineyard in 64 and always wears a bandanna (or hat in Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town). In Back To Nature and Friends Of Mineral Town he only appears in summer seasons so his skintone might be a tan, though it doesn't fade if he marries Popuri or the female protagonist in More Friends Of Mineral Town so it's probably not.
    • Kai's expy in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, Dan, is similar. Through talking with Dan, he reveals much about is life as a traveler and the odd jobs he's had and indicates that he's Romani.
    • Selena from Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade. She's a belly dancer, her artwork is darker then the other characters but her model isn't much darker then anyone else in the game, and her Japanese name (Sheila) isn't much help. Her child with Luke in the latter game also has a darker skin tone then the other children. Although visiting her home island and meeting her parents Samson and Sue, it is heavily hinted that she's Pacific Islander in descent, often speculated to be closely related to the Okinawan people.
    • Shea from Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness counts. His backstory is unknown besides the fact he was Raised by Natives.
    • Several characters are heavily ambiguous and have unnatural hair colors. Nadi, Amir, and Sanjay come to mind.
  • For most of the Uncharted series, Chloe stood out as the seemingly only non-white major character.The official response was that she was mixed race without specifying what those races were. She’s Australian and has a British last name even though she’s mixed race, further adding to the confusion. Finally in Lost Legacy, it was confirmed that her dad was Indian and her mother a white Australian woman and she just uses her mother’s last name.
  • Advanced V.G.: Judging by her name, you'd think Jun Kubota was Japanese, but her caramel complexion and green eyes makes her appear to be a foreigner. Or, it may imply that she's of mixed heritage. But, since no one ever comments on it, it's unlikely that we'll ever know.
  • While Yggdra Union's cast tends to have easy-to-identify "ethnicity", Ortega is a notable offender; it's hard to tell whether he's supposed to be black or Hispanic. For the English version, he is cast as an unflatteringly stereotypical Mexican, complete with a whiny voice that doesn't fit his Boisterous Bruiser personality and appearance.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The Dictator's true ethnic background is completely unknown. He has always been depicted as darker-skinned than most of the "white" fighters and simultaneously lighter-skinned than most of the "black" fighters. The Dictator was initially believed to be Asian as in his debut game, he was fought in Thailand and had Asian facial features. In the later games, however, the Dictator is fought in different countries and has indeterminate facial features, including white monochromatic eyes. He frequently changes bodies, and both of his names, "Vega" and "M. Bison", are not Asian-sounding. Thus, pinning down an ethnicity for the Dictator is very difficult, if not impossible. Overlaps with Mysterious Past, as not even his country of origin is known.
    • Dudley is English in nationality, but his ethnic background is hard to determine. He is dark-skinned, but his facial features resemble those of a stereotypical white Englishman.
    • Q from Street Fighter III: Third Strike is covered from head to toe in a stereotypical detective trenchcoat and an iron mask, and has very little visible skin, with only his neck showing, and sometimes his legs during some of his more powerful kick attacks. What little can be seen appears to be dark in-game, and his ending implies that he might be David, the CIA agent in charge of investigating Q, who is very much dark-skinned. However, most official art depicts him as having light skin, and one piece even shows a tuft of blond hair at the nape of his neck.
    • C. Viper is darker-skinned than the other female fighters in the series; she is speculated to be either Latina or a mixed ethnicity.
  • Chordia from Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party has light brown skin; Gliss and Sharp are in the same range, but they look more obviously tanned. The game has much darker black characters too, so it's not just But Not Too Black.
  • Escher from Chaos Rings. He has dark skin but blue or grey eyes and has white hair.
    • Maya and Meena from Dragon Quest IV. Considering their designs and abilities evoke stereotypical occupations for Roma (fortune telling and dancing) they might the Dragon Quest IV version of that ethnicity.
  • Mortal Kombat.
    • Jade and Tanya (to a lesser extent) fall under this speculation. Both characters live in Edenia, and Edenia itself is Fantasy Counterpart Culture mishmash of Asian and Middle Eastern cultures which furthers the debate on just what the characters are supposed to be counterparts to in the real word.
      • In the games, Jade has had a brown skin tone but in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, she was portrayed by a Russian woman. Now speculation ranges from black, to Latina, to Filipino, the whole gamut. In Mortal Kombat 11, it appears she's modeled after a black woman.
      • Tanya has been brown-skinned for all the the games (almost averted in Mortal Kombat X) but she is generally speculated to be black. In Mortal Kombat X her attire and hair seem Egyptian inspired, but see the Real Life folder for why that doesn't help.
    • There is also the widely overlooked example of Darrius. He's Seidan like Hotaru (who is clearly Caucasian) and Dairou (who looks more Eurasian, if not straight-up Japanese), yet is obviously Black. It's possible that Edenia, Seido, and the other realms independent of Earthrealm don't even have ethnic differentiation, though.
    • There's also Ambigiously fair-skinned characters as well. Kitana went from being appearing as a Caucasian with Raven Hair, Ivory Skin to unambiguously Asian in Mortal Kombat 11, while her mother Sindel looks a lot more Caucasian.
  • Christie Monteiro from the Tekken series has a pretty divided fanbase on what ethnicity she actually is. Serves as Truth in Television, as she hails from Brazil, home to a myriad of ethnic blends and mixes, or pardos. She could very well be mulatto (Black + White), cafuzo (Black + Indian), Caboclo (Indian + White), Jucara (Black + Indian + White), Ainoco (Japanese + White), among possibly many others.
    • Craig Marduk arguably counts as well. He's darker skinned than certainly white characters like the Williams sisters and is from Australia (which might suggest he has indigenous ancestry) but his skintone does vary depending on the game and/or artwork.
    • There's also Jinpachi Mishima. He's Japanese, but his skin tone is noticeably darker than all of his descendants - in his debut appearance, it was almost as dark as Marduk's (his human form, that is; when you fight him as the final boss, it's more of a reddish-purple or fiery orange, depending on which version of the game you're playing). He could be of mixed ancestry, as he's the only Mishima whose parents remain unidentified, or it could just be a tan. Presumably, Heihachi's mother was especially pale.
  • It's entirely possible to create this kind of ethnicity in The Movies in the Star Maker feature. You can give an actor black features, lighten their skin, turn their hair blonde and give them green eyes.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • During the Nintendo 64 era, Princess Daisy had darker skin than other human characters (possibly to distinguish her more from Princess Peach). She was like this even as Peach's Super Smash Bros. Melee costume and in her trophy from the same game. Daisy is from a country with a desert, but it isn't exclusively desert. She went back to her original light tone starting with the fourth Mario Party game (though, in turn, she received a slightly altered attire and a haircut).
    • There is also a non-human example with Morton Koopa Jr. of the Koopalings, who has inexplicable brownish skin, unlike the yellowish skin that Bowser and the other Koopas have. Made even weirder by the fact that his head is of a literal white color.
  • Since almost all the peoples of Golden Sun games are Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, this trope is mostly avoided. By learning what their home culture is based on, you can figure out anybody's race. The only known exception to date is Sheba, who is a foundling of unknown origin (widely speculated to be Anemos) raised in an Egypt-counterpart (so it might just be a tan).
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Desmond Miles' ethnicity isn't immediately apparent from looking at him, but this is intentional, allowing him to have Syrian, Italian, English, and even Native American ancestors. For the record, Desmond's face model, Francisco Randez, is of Spanish descent. The same also applies to his father William since he has tan skin.
    • Invoked in the case of Assassin's Creed III where the half-English, half-Mohawk Ratonhnhaké:ton who is 'advised' by his mentor Achilles Davenport to pass himself off as a Spaniard or Italian, due to the constant discrimination against his people, hence his English name of Connor. Of course, the impracticality of trying to pass as Spanish or Italian with a name like Connor is brought up all of once.
    • Connor's father Haytham Kenway is the son of the clearly white Edward Kenway and Caroline Scott in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag but he has a swarthier complexion than most British characters in the franchise and an Arabic first name.
    • There's no shortage of diversity in the Hellenic-influenced Ptolemaic Egypt in Assassin's Creed Origins though Bayek has a considerably darker skin tone than most Egyptians since his actor is Black British and his wife Aya has a Mediterranean phenotype since she is the ancestor of the Eagle Bearer in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
  • Orchid from Killer Instinct. She's always had a brown skin tone compared to her brother Jago; conflicting information about Killer Instinct's story either has her as Tibetan or Middle Eastern. Note that her skin tone in Killer Instinct 2 is the same as the Chinese Kim Wu.
  • Raven from Tales of Vesperia has darker skin than the other party members, not to mention, many other people on Terca Lumeris. It's never really established why though. Considering Yaeger's skin turned darker after He supercharged his blastia heart, it may be a result of that and not an indication of race.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • First-time players of The Wind Waker often started out believing that Tetra must be a Gerudo with pointy ears, due to her being dark-skinned and a female pirate like their Majora's Mask incarnation. However she lacks the Arab flavor Gerudos are usually associated with and is a blonde instead of a redhead. It's confirmed latter in the game that she's Hylian. She's the only character with Hylian ancestry in the game with dark skin like that, not even the other members of her crew or her own mother come close to match her tan. It might just be a tan...if she didn't seem to get a lighter skin tone when she is revealed to be Zelda, though the intent could have been to imply her natural tone is the one she has as Zelda and that she's tanned as Tetra. Likewise, Sheik's skin tone in Ocarina of Time is somewhat tanned while Zelda is white, white, white. The answer may lie in some scrapped concept art for the game, as Tetra also had the distinct red eyes of a Sheikah, so her darker skin tone is probably a Call-Back to Sheik.
    • Similarly Din the Oracle from the Oracle Games and The Minish Cap is a Dark Skinned Red Head. Because of her association with Din the Goddess, and by extension Ganondorf, you might assume she's Gerudo also but she lacks the longer nose, yellow eyes and round ears common to the race. Add to the fact that in The Minish Cap she's sisters with Nayru and Farore who both look like Hylians, as she does too despite her skin tone.
    • Telma is obviously black however she bares a heavy resemblance to the Gerudo race. The problem is that Gerudo are apparently extinct by The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. So, does Telma have Gerudo in her blood or is she just a Gerudo-looking Hylian?
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Old Man who guides you in the opening area has a distinct greyish-brown skintone. Combined with his enigmatic nature, this resulted in some early fan speculation that he was secretly an incarnation of Ganondorf. Gets weirder when it turns out he's actually King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule, the father of the pale Zelda. Presumably, his wife was very light-skinned. This game at least establishes to an extent not seen in previous games that dark-skinned Hylians are about as common as light-skinned ones.
  • Pokémon:
    • Iris from Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. She has a darker skin tone than a majority of the other characters, though still lighter than the canonically black Lenora (more so in the anime).
    • The Walking Shirtless Scene that is Marlon from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 has dark skin from head to stomach, but has light skin from waist to toe. This combined with him being a swimmer implies he's heavily tanned.
    • Phoebe, who has a darker skin tone than the rest of the Hoenn Gym Leaders and Elite Four, from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. She dresses in tropical-inspired attire. Hoenn itself is based on the southern Kyushu region, which includes the subtropical Ryukyu Islands, but the later games Pokémon Sun and Moon introduce a Hawaii-based region so she might have relatives there.
    • The player can choose to be this in Pokémon X and Y however your mom is still white, implying you're biracial. The player can also choose to be this in Sun and Moon, though the fact you're from Kanto implies you have some Japanese ancestry in you.
    • Olympia, the Gym Leader of Anistar City, also qualifies.
    • Emma in a post-game arc of X and Y. The mind jumps to her just being a light-skinned black person, but then you realize that the game is set in (effectively) France, and that she could just as likely be of Southern European descent or something similar, and it just becomes a mystery. She does seem to be darker than Shauna, who has an Arabic name and brown skin.
    • Dahlia from Sinnoh is implied to be latina, as she's named after a flower from Mexico and Central America. Pokémon Adventures drives it in further by making her speak Gratuitous Spanish.
    • The protagonist of Pokémon Colosseum is a Dark-Skinned Blond from an Arizona based region. It's impossible to tell if that is his natural skin tone or if it is a tan.
    • In Pokémon GO Blanche, the team leader of Teams Mystic is reminiscent of a Dark-Skinned Blond, featuring a skintone that's inbetween Spark and Candela.
    • The mother in Pokémon Sun and Moon always has light brown skin, no matter what skin tone you use for the protagonist (whose canon/default skin tone is light). She is lighter toned than most of the native Alola characters but is still darker than most Kanto characters, which is the region where the protagonist's family lived until recently. It could be a tan but it's impossible to tell.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield continues the tradition with Nessa (Rurina in Japan) the water type gym leader. She has dark skin, about as dark as Alolans, but she lives in the England inspired Galar region and has bright blue eyes. Guesses on her ethnicities have ranged from African to Greek (Nessa is a common Greek name) to Indian (which is the largest non-European minority in the UK) to Okinawan.
  • Mr. Big from Art of Fighting and The King of Fighters. Either he's a tanned white guy or a very light skinned black guy. His official birthplace is listed as Australia, if that's of any indication.
    • K' from the NESTS Chronicles of KOF's early sprites have him with the same complexion as Heavy D! (who's Black American), but later depictions lighten his skin. Whip, a clone of K's biological sister is largely depicted as light skinned with the exception of her art for KOF XI (see here). To make this even more confusing, Krizalid (K's own clone) and Original Zero (not a clone, but still a high ranking member of NESTS) share K's skin and hair colors while Kyo's other clones are both darker skinned than the original. All considered, it's possible K's current looks are from the experiments he went through under NESTS custody and aren't what he really looks like.
  • Sheva Alomar in Resident Evil 5, modeled after South African-born Michelle van der Water, looks somewhere between fair-skinned black and Indian ethnicity, has an Indian-sounding name, and a quasi-British/Australian accent, although voiced by American actress Karen Dyer.
  • Owen from the Clue Finders is ambiguously light-skinned.
  • The Walking Dead: Clementine's race is hard to distinguish visually. She has light olive skin, wavy brown hair, a narrow nose, thin lips, and almond-shaped eyes that are light brown. Her race is never discussed at any point in the game, but it's prompted a lot of debate among fans. Judging by their picture, both her parents are black, though her mother Diana has light skin. Diana was originally going to be Clem's stepmother, but this was changed in the final game. Clementine's appearance is based on Derek Sakai's daughter, who is Asian. The developers have stated that Clem is definitely African-American, though they have not stated that this is all she necessarily is.
  • Final Fantasy II has Firion and Minwu, mostly in artwork, as their in-game sprites gave them the same skin tone as the rest of the cast. The PSP remake also adds in Deumion.
  • Final Fantasy VI's General Leo is quite clearly a Dark-Skinned Blond in his character portrait and concept art, though his combat and overworld sprites don't show it (likely due to a limited palette; the iOS adaptation darkens his skin there, too.) Like Barret in FFVII, Leo is the only dark-skinned character in the entire world, and his racial origins are not commented on (some of the concept art gives him exaggerated African features, almost to the point of caricature; but his in-game character portrait is ambiguous.)
  • Final Fantasy VII has Rude, who has light brown skin and is pretty much presumed to be a black man, although the designers intended him to be resembling a person of South American heritage.
  • Zen, one of the new characters introduced in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, is this, having light brown skin, green eyes, and somewhat curly dark brown hair. A late game reveal shows that he's actually an aspect of Chronos, the Greek god of time, and The Grim Reaper, so his looks can be chalked up to not being human. There are also a number of artistic portrayals of Chronos having dark skin, so his looks carry some Real Life connections as well.
  • Jade of Beyond Good & Evil was deliberately given an ambiguously brown design so that she could appeal to players of all ethnicities.
  • Naomi Hunter from Metal Gear Solid is ambiguously brown even to herself. She claimed she had Japanese ancestry but that was proven to be a lie by Master Miller. The truth is she's an orphan who has no idea who her parents are or what her original name might have been, only that she was adopted by mercenary, Frank Jaeger.
    Naomi Hunter: Rhodesia was owned by England until 1965 and there were lots of Indian laborers around. That's probably where I got my skin color from, but I'm not even sure about that...
  • Electro in Marvel: Contest of Champions has a noticeably darker skintone compared to the other white characters in the game, but is nowhere near as dark as other explicitly black characters like Storm or Luke Cage. Presumably this is a reference to how Electro is a white guy in the comics but was played by Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and is splitting the difference.
  • Uncommon Time has only one dark-skinned character, Teagan. To make things even weirder, she seems to come from the same area as the protagonist, who has light tan skin. It's never explained why she's different than the other characters.
  • In Dragon Age we have Fenris and Dorian, who are both from Tevinter and both have medium skintones but otherwise no racial features definitively from one race. Complicated from the fact that Tevinter is a fantasy counterpart culture... based on the Roman Empire, which was ethnically diverse, and by that Fenris is shown to have family that's white as a sheet (although Fenris is an Elf so who knows). This causes a lot of contention in the fandom, to say the very least of it.
  • Overwatch:
    • McCree, who is from New Mexico and has dark skin, brown hair and rather vague facial features. Fandom doesn't seem to know whether he's Latino, Native American, mixed race or just a tan white guy, and he could be any of these. Pretty odd given that most of the cast are either explicitly part of a given race and ethnicity or they are given very strong hints that unambiguously place them in a race and ethnicity.
    • Reaper is another ambiguous character; while commonly believed to be Hispanic (his names is Gabriel Reyes, he has a common Hispanic skintone, he's from LA where that's half the racial population and he has Latin-American themed alternate skins) some fans believe his appearance looks more African-American or mixed race. In any case this only applies to the Blackwatch skin and flashbacks, since he now has bleached white skin and an unseen-but-horribly-altered face due to whatever transformation turned him into Reaper.
    • Roadhog's real name is Mako (a Maori name meaning shark) and some hints support he might be a Maori from New Zealand, from one recolor skin called "kiwi", using idioms from NZ in one of his quotes and the lead writer Michael Chu suggesting Roadhog had a pet, it would have a kunekune pet (a domesticated pig from NZ). His islander skins, while not accurate to one Polynesian culture, might support this theory.
  • CyberConnect2 and Croire, two Dark-Skinned Blondes, were for a long time the only humanoid characters in the Neptunia series with a skin color other than "generically pale". Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart introduced Moru who, while not as dark-skinned as CC2, still has noticeably darker skin than her peers. Then again, considering she's both a Cat Girl and the Anthropomorphic Personification of Monster Hunter, it's equally possible that it's either short fur or a tan.
  • Both Alex and her brother Michael from Oxenfree have tan skin, and from the flashbacks we see, naturally brown hair.
  • Fallen London:
    • Most people from the Elder Continent are dark-skinned, but the Elder Continent not being a clear Fantasy Counterpart Culture of any single country and the Prebysterate deliberately obfuscating details about their origins leave their ethnicity ambiguous.
    • An art update made a few characters' in-game portraits noticeably darker-skinned than before. The Artist's Model went from pale-skinned to tan or brown-skinned and the Bishop of St. Fiacre's lost all his hair and went from mostly white-looking to being just as dark-skinned as most Elder Continent people. The Bishop of St. Fiacre's case is further complicated by him secretly being a Snuffer wearing the face of a dead human and hence possibly having no true ethnicity.
  • God of War: Even though his skin is white as ashes because of a divine curse, Kratos beforehand looked rather dusky despite being Greek. Being a Mediterranean nation is a melting pot for various peoples after all, and there is also the fact that both of his primary voice actors were African-American. On the other hand, the children he had (Calliope and Atreus) were white presumably taking after their mothers, so it's unclear if he was just tanned or had a different ethnicity. Possibly tanned, since both his parents, the mortal Callisto and the Olympian Zeus, are fair skinned.
  • Citra Talugmai/Montenegro, the Jungle Princess from Far Cry 3, is apparently the sister of Vaas Montenegro, a brown-skinned Latin American. On the other hand, their complexions are different, as are their accents, so possibly they're Not Blood Siblings, or they are siblings, but she engrossed herself with the Rakyat culture more than her brother, who ingratiated himself with Hoyt Volker and the Privateers. Hurk briefly describes Citra as a "Malaysian (he'd) Like to Fuck", but Hurk's not all that intelligent, so he might have been just generalizing based on the location of the Rook Islands. For what it's worth, Citra's voice actress, Faye Kingslee, is Australian, with mixed Chinese and Irish parentage, and she grew up in Malaysia.
  • Earthlock: Olia Alagbato is darker-skinned than the other human characters, and the -gb- in her name is often found in West African names (e.g. the politician Laurent Gbagbo). On the other hand, she's a very light brown, and her hair is bright red.
  • Ellie Langford from Dead Space has brown skin, hazel eyes, dark brunette hair, and an English accent. Her ethnicity is never discussed, but she seems mixed-race. (Like her voice actress, whom she is also modeled after)
  • Zana from Path of Exile in her original appearance, had fairly dark skin and a Russian-sounding accent. Her physical traits, including her bright red hair, makes her origin impossible to pinpoint. No other character in the game has the same accent as her, and while there are dark-skinned people in the setting, they are Karui (the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Māori people) and Zana doesn't use any of their culture or vocabulary, not to mention no one else has her hair color. The fact she's a master who deals with uncharted realms, this might be the intent. In the Atlas of Worlds expansion, which retconned Zana's original lore, she lost the accent, and explanation for her skin color could possibly be narrowed down to her missing mother. A model update 3 years later changed her to having light skin.
  • Devil May Cry:
  • Blast Man of Mega Man 11 has a darker skin tone compared to the other humanoid Robot Masters.
  • Cyberpunk 2077:
    • The deafault female V, shown on the game's boxart, merchendise and promotional materials has a noticably darker skin than her male counterpart. It's unlear if she's of another race/ethnicity or just tanned. Doesn't apply in the game proper, where either V can be of any race/ethnicity.
    • Panam Palmer has a darker skintone, dark eyes and hair, but European last name and features. She belongs to a Nomad clan, which means she travels a lot across the deserts of southern United States, meaning that her darker skintone might just be a tan. Doubly strange is that she's the only romance option that doesn't have an explicitly stated ethnicity (Judy is Latina, Kerry is Filipino, and the artbook confirms that River is Native).

    Visual Novels 
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has Seven who is a big burly man with a dark complexion but it's been explicitly said that he's Japanese.
  • Katawa Shoujo has two ambiguously brown characters in the classroom scene. Hilariously, when the characters are finally given small profiles (with names, clubs and disabilities), one of the brown girls (Molly) has her defining feature as being Indian rather then legless.
  • Archer in Fate/stay night has skin dark enough to clearly mark him as distinct from most other characters, but lacks any clear markers of his race. Subverted when it's revealed he's actually Japanese; overuse of his thaumaturgy changed his skin color, among other things.
  • We Know the Devil: Neptune is darker than the other characters but her ethnicity is never mentioned.
  • The series Danganronpa is known for having at least one or more dark skinned characters involved in the cast.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Aoi Asahina, a bubbly swimmer girl with a dark skin complexion that isn't from a tan as expected from most athletic characters. Yasuhiro Hagakure, a laid back fortune teller with dark skin and wild dreadlocks. (It's implied that he may be biracial since his mother doesn't share the same physical qualities as him). And Sakura Oogami, the world's strongest fighter who has the darkest skin color among her peers.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: The sequel has Akane Owari, a sporty girl like Aoi (only with a more aggressive attitude) and dark skin that matches her predecessor. And there's Teruteru Hanamura, a Casanova Wannabe chef with tan skin who is stated to be from the more rural part of Japan.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Angie Yonaga, the Ultimate Artist, has dark skin, a non-Japanese name, and her official art shows her carving a Tiki statue, all implying that she is Polynesian. The English translation adds more evidence by naming her god Atua, a Polynesian term. Her ethnicity is never actually stated outright, but Shuichi does point out her foreign-sounding name and asks whether she's from Japan.
  • Intentionally averted in Songs and Flowers, where both the story and Word of God confirm the cast's nationalities.
    • Jazz and Serena are both African-American. Jazz's father Laby is an immigrant from Côte d'Ivoire.
    • Noct and his biological family are Mexican.
    • Nada is Indonesian and a practicing Muslim.
    • Carol and Melo are both Filipino and Jin is Japanese.
  • Zero from Ikemen Revolution has noticeably darker skin than the rest of the cast, but whether or not he's meant to have a specific ethnicity is considerably muddled by him and the other characters coming from a fantasy world different from Earth and him being an Artifical Human who wasn't "born" the normal way.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Emerald is the first character to appear in the show that has a much darker skin tone (albeit with red eyes and green hair) from any of the other characters introduced in Volume 1. However considering that the show takes place on a completely different planet and there have been no set nationalities mentioned, she can only be described as brown.
    • Additional brown-skinned characters including Fox (who has red hair), Amber, Flynt, Ciel (who has blue eyes), and Arslan (platinum blonde hair and gold eyes), add to the ambiguity.
    • While not "Ambiguously Brown", the concept of the Constructed World blurs the lines of several character ethnicities to the point where they're of ambiguous race. There have been debates about whether Yang (who is a light skinned blonde with purple eyes but has a Chinese name, which she received from her equally blond father) is supposed to be biracial or not.
    • Blake's skin darkens slightly in the fourth volume. Whether it's a deliberate retcon or simply a sun-tan is vague. Blake comes from a warm-weather island.
  • Red vs. Blue has a non-visual variant. Lavernius Tucker might be of African descent (he says it doesn't matter either way), but he never takes off his armor, so we only have a few references to go on.
  • Kitten of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device turns out to be this. Lampshaded - when the Emperor claims he's black, Kitten says it's more like brown-ish. Of course, Kitten didn't know the modern concept of "race" was a thing and was comparing to the coal-black Salamander marines.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Dave, Cody, and Asia. Don't be fooled by the last one's name, because she isn't Asian either.
  • There are a series of kid-aimed Jehovah's Witnesses cartoons based about a brother and sister named Caleb and Sofia. The family is racially ambiguous in order to appeal to a general demographic. They have slightly dark skin, light brown, straight hair, and greenish-brown eyes.

    Web Comics 
  • Paige of Agents of the Realm has skin darker than Latino Adele, but brigher than black Norah, so it's unclear what ethnicity she is.
  • Bailey from Avialae is drawn with brown skin in color illustrations, but his ethnicity hasn't been brought up once in 200+ comic pages. His last name, Gilbert, does nothing to narrow down the possible ethnicities for him and the artstyle makes his facial features look very similar to pale-skinned Gannet's in the black-and-white pages.
  • Chloe and her mother in Bad Moon Rising. There's some in-universe debate about who Chloe's maternal grandfather actually was, and both she and her mother are noticeably darker than their known relatives.
  • Gogo and Didi from Bomango. Gogo says she's from Omingo Island, though, wherever that is. The fact that Didi literally budded off Gogo makes the issue even more confusing because of the possibility that they might not even be human.
  • Charby the Vampirate:
    • The vampire Nora has dark skin but her purple eyes, horns, wings and hair do not help narrow down her possible human ancestry.
    • Wes has dark hair and a noticeably olive completion when standing next to other hunters in places with good lighting. He has heterochromia with one green and one blue eye and it's possible he just spends more time in the sun than some of his more pale coworkers.
    • While most of the elves introduced in the story thus far are pale and short there have been at least two of generally human height with brown skin.
  • Nearly everyone in Denma The Quanx. It takes place in a distant space-faring society, and most of the humans in the cast are various shades of brown with various hair colors. The main character has medium-brown skin and peach-colored hair. No one ever comments on this, so it seems that race isn't an issue in their society.
  • Lampshaded in Dumbing of Age with Walky and Sal (who, it turns out, are one-quarter black on their dad's side):
    Joyce: I...I've been trying to determine if it's rude to ask what, um, flavor of human you two are.
    Walky: Well, my sister is black, but I'm generically beige.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • Shiva Crimson from EVIL is noticeably darker than the rest of the cast (aside from Kahn, who is black), but her ethnicity is never mentioned.
  • Gaia from Frivolesque falls under this trope. Her skin is a deep shade of brown, especially compared to everybody else, but she doesn't look especially black otherwise.
  • The Amazonians from GastroPhobia, including the titular Gastro and Phobia, are portrayed as this. In an Alternate Universe story set in The Wild West, Phobia is referred to as a "colored woman".
  • Godslave's main character, Edith, has visibly white facial features (especially when compared with clearly black Blacksmith Girl), but her skin is a darker shade of brown.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name:
    • In a variation on this trope, {...} is ambiguously Asianish. He has almond-shaped eyes, black hair, high cheekbones, a nose that looks a little Asian if you want it to, and a sentimental attachment to paper cranes for reasons not even he knows. He's also, at present, green. If he is Asian, he'd be an Inscrutable Oriental too...
    • There's also Casimiro, who definitely fits. He is noticeably brown (or, well, dark gray), which is weird for a vampire since all the other specimens thus far have been portrayed as pale white. Word of God has Cas claiming that he was just sporting a "nice tan" before he died.
  • Most humans in Harbourmaster are varying shades of brown, on account of lineages mixing together throughout the spacefaring era. In fact, Veras is considered unusual (and ridiculous) for frowning on miscegenation (what with Veras being obsessed with preserving the semblance of pre-spacefaring humans). Aquaans, meanwhile, are always some shade of brown, although that's simply cultural preference on their part.
  • Open-source character Jenny Everywhere "appears to be Asian or Native American".
  • Prior to the third issue of Keeping It Up With The Joneses Linda is this as her brown skin, angular features and long black hair could conceivably be Native American, Polynesian or Southeast Asian to name a few, but a surprise visit from her family in their native clothing reveals they're apparently Indian down to the grandfather looking like Gandhi.
  • In the now-defunct Life of Riley, Cowkitty is an interesting case, as it's not clear if she has dark skin or simply light brown fur.
  • In Long Exposure, Jonas and Sidney Wagner have olive skin but their race and ethnicity isn't discussed in the webcomic - and can't ever really be confirmed by the characters themselves since they barely remember their birth parents. However, Word of God says they might be Saudi Arabian because she referenced Saudi Arabian actors for Jonas.
  • Benny from Looking for Group is a fantasy example, and an in-universe one at that. The series was initially a World of Warcraft parody and her design is based on their trolls. But once the series developed its own world, its version of trolls appeared and she looks nothing like them. She has even been dubbed "Lady of Unknown Pedigree. It is eventually revealed that her mother is a blue elf, and her father is most likely the minotaur Krunch.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Professor Noyes has brown skin with Caucasian features and golden eyes. Nobody in-story comments on this mix of ethnic traits (strange, given that the story occurs in the early 20th century, a relatively more racist time that almost certainly would have prevented Noyes from teaching at a respected university).
  • Lampshaded by name by Commander Badass in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, who explicitly describes himself as 'ambiguously brown'. Possibly justified by the fact that he's an Artificial Human assembled from the genetic material of who knows how many people, and thus hasn't really got a specific ethnic background.
  • PHD:
    • Tajel is a Stanford International Student, but it's never made clear where she actually came from. Her ancestry was finally revealed during her wedding day strip: an English father and an Indian mother.
    • The Nameless Guy is kind of a weird example. He claims to be non-white, but looks just like the white characters, if anything slightly paler. Since he is Jorge Cham's Author Avatar he is most likely Asian-American, but it's never been made clear.
    • Another example is Dee's friend/housemate. He has dark skin, but unlike Tajel or Prof. Khumalo, he has no name or any distinguishable ethnic features to determine his background.
  • Lampshaded in pictures for sad children #64:
    Gary: Oh hey, you're Asian.
    Paul: So?
    Gary: Can you guess what ethnicity I am? Nobody ever can.
    Paul: Brown... ish?
    • To add to the absurdity, the webcomic is in black and white. Gary is drawn white as milk; we can only tell he's non-white from context.
  • The Hunter of Plume has dark skin, green eyes and facial features just comic-book-y enough to obscure his ethnicity.
  • Powerup Comics does this as part of its Stylistic Suck. Darkwinkle is just another character model recolored with darker skin, and the author himself can't remember what race Darkwinkle's supposed to be. In one story arc, he's black, but in another strip, he takes offense at being called black, and insists that he's Mexican.
  • Maree-Celee from The Princess 99 has dark red hair, red eyes, and brown skin but then it's later revealed that her father Docteur Haypenny has pale skin, red eyes, and Skunk Stripe hair to add to the confusion. Admittedly, Skye has dark skin and multicolored hair but this is made moot with the fact that she's an alien. The entire novel tends to fall into this trope when you consider that the setting is based of 1920s New Orleans but isn't set on Earth.
  • Questionable Content falls into this partly because the art style makes everyone look white-ish and partly because its darker-skinned characters are generally no darker than the image that used to be up there. Some characters have non-Western names, like Amir, but they still look just sort of generically brown. Word of God states that one character, Dale, is African-American.
    • A later introduced character is Padma. Her appearance (dark skin, straight hair), combined with her name might strongly suggest an Indian descent.
    • Someone asked the creator what race Tai was, to which he responded, "Tan." He later replied to another person asking what her nationality was with "American." It's also said later in the story that her red hair is actually dyed, implying that it's naturally dark brown or black, which still doesn't answer the question.
  • Tony from Real Life Comics is a webcomic example, though a nigh-indistinguishable one. This at least has the reasoning that nobody knows what the real Tony is, either.
  • In the colored comics for Roommates, Javert is noticeably more tan than the other roommates despite only being identified as French. His darker skin tone is almost certainly a nod to how Javert in the novel was the son of a gypsy woman and a convict, but the webcomic has Javert's mother be Morgan Le Fey, who seems to be white. A spin-off comic has his father be Clopin which would explain things, but it's uncertain exactly how canonical that is.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal introduces new one-time characters for almost every strip, and these are a diverse bunch, not just straight white men by default. (At least starting in 2010 or so.) However, perhaps simply due to the art style, the non-white characters mostly look ambiguously brown.
  • Scandinavia and the World: America is getting darker because the 2010 census indicated that whites will soon no longer be the majority of Americans. His hair is still blonde because he bleaches it.
  • In Spying with Lana, Lana has a dark complexion, but her ethnicity is not explicitly stated.
  • A number of Templar Arizona characters are described by the comic's creator as "Templar brownish", that being the default ethnicity of characters whose race hasn't been pinned down specifically. Because, in her words, "It's dumb to care, if it's not going to be an element of the story."
  • Petunia's entire family in Todd Allison & the Petunia Violet presently falls under this trope, as well as Meredith. Later chapters may change this, however. Considering the setting (early 20th-century Australia), they are presumably Aboriginal Australians.
  • Kurudan, Quant and Quaetro Blitz, Evankhell, Lo Po Bia Dokoko, and basically any other dark skinned character from Tower of God given that the Tower's a multi-cultural melting pot.
  • Ben Park from Korean webcomic Weak Hero has notably darker skin than the rest of the cast, dark red hair, Big Ol' Eyebrows, pronounced lips (before the artstyle was streamlined), can speak Korean and Spanish, and has a Multi-Ethnic Name like the rest of the cast. Whether he has South American ancestry, is a dark-skinned Spaniard, is mixed, or something else entirely hasn't been revealed.
  • Phineas, Camilla and Mirage of Zoophobia are all just "dark-skinned".

    Web Original 
  • Amir in Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl:
    J: He's a walking rainbow of racism and the main reason he gets away with it is because nobody knows what he is.
  • GradeAUnderA: In his "Racism Test" video, Grade himself has stated that he is "A man of color" and briefly drew himself with dark skin and an afro . Then goes on to say that it's only a "Lil bit of color" before lightening his skin tone and sizing down the afro.
  • Julian Avery of Survival of the Fittest, at least in his artwork, is coloured a vaguely brown colour that's not quite black. Justified somewhat in that his profile describes him as being half African-American.
  • Todd in the Shadows, when not sitting in the dark, keeps half of his face covered at all times. From what we can see, his skin is fairly dark, but his exact ethnicity (black? Asian? Hispanic?) is something of a Running Gag, and Todd himself has decided not to comment either way. However, he's rumored to be at least half-Malian on his mother's side, which may even confuse things even more given Mali's demographics.
  • AJCO has Vinnie, who looks vaguely Hispanic but with enough elements of Middle-Eastern Asian to throw off any assumptions. It has yet to be pointed out, possibly because unlike the other factions, there are actually several other people of colour in Katton.
    • Egg is also a shade of brown, lighter than Vinnie but much darker than the white characters such as Kaja or Lorelei. Word of God is that she's mixed race, though Word of God hasn't said exactly what those races are.
  • The Nostalgia Chick:
    • In her review of Pocahontas (see above) she notes that the title character doesn't look particularly Native American, but more like "an a-ethnic mush of unparalleled hotness." Incidentally the face was based on the voice actress, who really is Native American... but her ancestry is from the opposite side of the continent. This is why Pocahontas itself doesn't have an entry.
    • She also uses that word to describe Tommy Wiseau. He's clearly white, but that accent makes figuring out his exact ethnicity... difficult.
  • On the Rejected Princesses site, writer and illustrator Jason Porath will often cite this as something he's done if a historical woman's ethnicity is a bit of a question mark by modern standards, for instance both Tomyris and Tirgatao were both "Scythians" but the historical records conflict a fair bit on how exactly they looked since it was actually a pretty broad category, so he went for a middle ground and figured that both would have been out in the sun a lot regardless.
  • Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale is described as having "dark skin" but no other clues as to his race or ethnicity are given (besides his Spanish name). Fanartists tend to depict him as a sort of brown-skinned Latino person, but you see the occasional black Carlos too.
  • Adam of Aaron has tanned skin and green eyes, but neither of his parents are seen. It's just known that he's Irish. His half-brother Chris is much paler with light brown hair. Coincidentally both actors have the same background - Irish and Italian roots.
  • Roaming Millennial is half-Chinese and describes herself as 'Eurasian' but she has sometimes favored light brown hair and been mistaken as a white girl. She has said that when she lived in Los Angeles, a lot of people thought she was Latina.
  • Salad Fingers' finger puppet, Jeremy Fisher, from what we can guess, seems to be of African/Non-European heritage, in contrast to his fellow finger puppets, Marjorie and Hubert.
  • The writer of this blog - actor Uzair Bhatti - details an incident where a casting director told him his skin tone would work against him, confusing the audience as to where he's really from. He then notes he's of mixed Indian-Pakistani heritage.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Simon Petrikov/the Ice King, back when he was human.
    • Also Moseph Mo Maestro Giovanni. Given the name he might be Italian.
    • Marceline has light blue skin, like her demonic father, but a flashback shows that her mother was a dark-skinned (possibly black?) human.
  • More a voice example, since the character in question is a bright red box of fries, but episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force has Master Shake wondering if Frylock is supposed to be black ("You sound black.") In the live-action episode, Frylock is played by T-Pain, if that solves anything.
  • Archer: Lana's a black woman implied to have some non-black ancestry. And yet in the "Danger Island" season, she becomes a Polynesian princess with no change to her character model.
  • Arthur.
    • A lot of fans think Francine is black but this has never been brought up in the show. She's Jewish and implied to be of Polish descent but is also second cousins twice removed with jazz musician Joshua Redman, who is of both Ashkenazi Jewish and African descent. The fact that she's technically not human, doesn't help either.
    • Even though his skin color is redder/less brown than Arthur himself, Allan/Brain is apparently black; one episode features a visit from his cousin from Africa, and in the Christmas special it's revealed that his family celebrates Kwanzaa.
  • The Batman: The Animated Series' version of Two-Face looks to be a lighter-skinned black man, with fuller lips while not as dark skinned as other characters like Lucius Fox. Apparently, he was supposed to be Italian-American and appears to be based on actor Humphrey Bogart.
  • Bob's Burgers.
    • Darryl, it's even lampshaded when Bob suspects that he might have been bullied for being a minority, but can't seem to figure out which race he actually is. He may be of Indian descent like his voice actor, Aziz Ansari.
    • The Belchers themselves are noticeably darker skinned then the white characters and they all have black hair. Word of God is that "Belcher" is from a French or French-Canadian ancestor, and the rest of their family are "Greek-Armenian-Italian-Jewish-German."
      Mr Fischoder: Are you an immigrant, Bob?
      Bob: No.
      Mr Fischoder: Oh. I just assumed you were since you're, you know, swarthy.
      Gene: What's swarthy mean?
      Bob: It means dark and hairy.
      Gene: That's you! And me in the future!
  • The main family in the Caleb and Sophia videos are a light shade of brown, but no hint is ever given about their ethnicity, other than the father's bizarre accent, which no one else in the family has.
  • An interesting example is Gaia from Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Justified in the fact that Gaia is the Spirit of the Earth, and was drawn racially ambiguous so as to embody all of Earth's ethnicities. Olive skin that can denote anything from a southern European to a northern Indian, wavy black hair, high cheekbones, and almond-shaped blue eyes.
  • Carmen Sandiego portrays the title character as a Dark-Skinned Redhead and actually makes it a plot point that she doesn't know her ancestry, for the entire first season all she knows is that V.I.L.E. found her as a baby in Argentina with a Russian doll.
  • An episode of The Cleveland Show featured a woman who spoke with a Hispanic accent, dressed in a Middle Eastern style, and used French exclamations.
  • In Daria, a fair number of fans thought that Jane is supposed to be Asian, though she's actually white. Interestingly, this might be because her final design is actually a modified earlier design for Ms. Li, the school's Asian principal.
  • Athena in the latest Dennis & Gnasher animated series. It's not made clear whether she's half black or heavily tanned. All we know about her ethnicity is her father is white.
  • Doug. Many characters seem to have brown skin color, but it's never known if that springs out of a real ethnicity when most are far weirder colors. It's hard to tell if Patti is a Dark-Skinned Blond intentionally or the brown is stylized like the green and blue skinned characters.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Callum and Ezran have an Asiannote  mother, a fact which many fans didn't realize until we see their maternal aunt. Meanwhile Ezran's father, Harrow, is clearly black while Callum's father is presumably white. (This whole issue was initially more confusing because early promotional materials described the pair as step-brothers rather than half-brothers.)
  • Jonny 2x4 and Rolf from Ed, Edd n Eddy, though Jonny might be black. Jonny is implied to be black as twice he's been shown to have a curly brown afro when his hair is long, and his short cut is pretty popular with black boys. Rolf is heavily in the air though, with his Ruritanian accent.
  • Family Guy:
    • A Cutaway Gag of a trailer for a movie starring Stewie and the Rock is derailed when the narrator starts questioning the Rock's race.
      Don LaFontaine: One's a baby, and the other's... black. I think. Or at least... part black... Or... Hispanic. You know, I think there might be some Filipino in there, yeah, probably some Filipino. I mean, if he's black, it's definitely... diluted. I mean... one of his parents must be white. What the hell is Jessica Alba for that matter? If I were forty years younger, I'd plow that 'till next July.
    • Peter wrote a romance novel called "The Hot Chick Who Was Italian or Maybe Some Kind of Spanish".
    • Two recurring characters originally introduced as "Foreign guys who've been here long enough to only almost sound American." They're Dark-Skinned Blond and probably supposed to be Europeans of some sort, but all clues as to their origin are deliberately vague or ridiculous.
  • In Gargoyles:
    • When the main characters are temporarily turned into humans, Goliath becomes this. This is because the gargoyles' human forms were designed to resemble their voice actors, but it wouldn't have made sense to make Goliath African-American like Keith David, since the rest of his clan were white.
    • Also, Xanatos himself is darker than most of the other white characters, though he's confirmed as being ethnically Greek.
    • Also Elisa comes off as this before her family is explored (her father is Hopi, her mother is Nigerian). Her brother Derek looked more black like their mother (before he got transformed into a mutant pseudo-Gargoyle), while her sister was just as ambiguous.
  • Ursula of the second George of the Jungle series has brownish skin and greenish eyes.
  • Rhonda's friend Nadine from Hey Arnold! has skin that is a light shade of brown and her hair is blonde. (During the episode "Parents Day," it's implied that she's mixed-race - one of the parent couples consists of a blond white man and a black woman who share Nadine's facial structure.)
  • The Hollow: Adam and Mira are both considerably more dark-skinned than Kai, especially Adam. Subverted in that Adam seems to be white-passing in real life, though Mira is Asian.
  • Melissa (and her dad, Eric) and, oddly, Josie from Home Movies. Maybe that explains the divorce? Except Josie's adopted.
  • Jesse and his family in Infinity Train. Word of God says that they're Apache.
  • Viper from Jackie Chan Adventures has darker skin than the Chans, but her ethnicity is never made clear. The Christmas Episode shows her attending a Hanukkah party, implying that she's of Jewish and Israeli descent.
  • Rio from Jem has a Latino surname and darker skin than the white characters but Word of God is it wasn't intentional to make him Latino. Future adaptations ignore this and have as latino.
  • Henry from KaBlam!. He's tan...ish, with green hair. Of course, he and June are cartoon characters even In-Universe, so it's not like he has to make sense.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Bonnie Rockwaller, though it's implied she's just a white tanning addict based on her vanity and her family members. The alternative is that she is mixed.
    • The Seniors (Sr. and Jr.) are dark and have Spanish accents. Junior is canonically a tanning addict; in his first scene he's under a tanning lamp the size of a hot air balloon note . According to the series bible, the Seniors are Castilian.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts:
    • Averted, while Kipo's father is of African decent and her mother is Korean, Kipo instead has a unique purple skin tone. About the only hint to her ancestry is the fact that she and her mother look very similar physically.
    • On the other hand, played straight with Zane. He has brown skin and purple hair, making it impossible to guess what ethnicity he is. His voice actor, Carlos Alazraqui, is Latino, but he's a white Latino from Argentina.
  • Henri Lefebvre from Liberty's Kids has noticeably browner skin than his two definitely-white companions, and everyone else on the show who is unambiguously white, but his ethnicity is never explained, his only backstory being that he is from France, his parents died from the plague on the way to America, and then the captain made Henri his debt slave until Moses and James rescued him. This is especially odd for a show that frequently dealt with issues of racism in the Revolutionary War period, with conversations about slavery, violence against Native Americans, and even Antisemitism in the colonies.
  • Jasper Jones of Littlest Pet Shop (2012) has brownish skin, dark-brown hair and brown eyes, but has visible freckles (a trait that only occurs in people of fairer complexion), a white dialect and facial features, a Persian-originating given name and an English surname that was adopted by numerous freed African slaves from their estate managers and owners.
  • Kiva Andru from Megas XLR, who doubles as Dark-Skinned Redhead.
  • Abigail in Metalocalypse. Doctor Rockso appeared to be this at first glance, but a photo of him in his childhood revealed he was indeed white-presumably he tanned or the face paint he constantly wore had an effect on his skin.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Thanks to the rather stylised, Animesque art and animation style, it took a couple of tweets from the creator to clear up the ethnicities of supporting characters Alyanote  and Ninonote . And if it wasn't for her surname and the fact her parents (white father, Chinese mother) had shown on screen it'd be hard to tell that Marinette is biracial from looks alone.
  • Mike Chilton, his sister Capri, Tennie, her father Bracket, Kaia and some of the Terras on Motorcity. Word of God has confirmed that Mike is mixed race.
  • Billy Jukes from Peter Pan & the Pirates. The taller twin from the Lost boys as well.
  • Recess: Guru Kid, the Diggers, Skeens, and Miss Grotke. Miss Grotke does have curly hair so she could be at least part black.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick last name "Sanchez" is a Latin American name and he has a very slightly different skin tone from the other characters, but that's about it. When asked about this, Roiland stated that he considers it irrelevant. In the commentary of "Auto-Erotic Assimilation", Rick was confirmed to be of Hispanic descent. "Rest and Ricklaxation" shows that his skin tone might have something to do with his lifestyle, as once he's removed of his psychological toxins his hair and skin become brighter.
  • The Rocket siblings from Rocket Power. Their skin tone is on a similar level as their tan Hispanic friends, and it doesn't appear to be a suntan, but their dad is white. It is suggested that their late mother was of Hawaiian descent; in The Movie their dad even got remarried to an old flame from Hawaii who was her best friend.
  • In Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends one part of the Detail Team is a woman named Neema, who while apparently Greek can pass as a number of ethnicities, which is useful for her job, which requires her to be able to blend into just about any situation anywhere in the world.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Judge Roy Snyder. His skin color has changed from yellow to brown repeatedly throughout the series to stay brown.
    • Sherri and Terri. They have the same sort of pale skin as other Asian characters throughout the show, but it's unclear if they are Asian.
    • One episode has a gag where a dark-skinned Japanese woman is pretending to be Native American.
    • The ethnic street food vendor from “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”. He has a thick unidentified accent and his skin is a noticeably darker yellow than normal. He appears to be an immigrant from somewhere in the Mediterranean or potentially the Middle East.
  • South Park:
    • This show has a particular problem with possibly Asian characters, in part due to its distinctively simple style. When a character is specifically supposed to be Asian, they're usually designed like a white person who's squinting. The head sixth-grader has this look, but his race has never been noted in-story.
      • An early episode specifically notes that Kevin Stoley's parents are from China, and Chef calls out the others for making fun of his "ethnicity." However, Kevin looks identical to all the white characters (without a "squint") and has a rather European-sounding surname. Were his parents white people who lived in China? Was he adopted? But then, how is Chinese his "ethnicity?" Fans tend to just say he's Asian and not question it further.
      • Likewise, Michael of the Goth Kids is animated like any other white kid, but "Goth Kids 3" shows his parents to be a white guy and an Asian woman. To further confuse things, a line of dialogue in "Raisins" could be taken to say that his parents are divorced, implying this woman is his stepmom...but the Goth Kids are somewhat Unreliable Narrators when it comes to angsty back stories, and he specifically calls her "Mom."
    • Big Gay Al also counts. The Wikia page for him just says he's "heavily tanned."
  • Good luck telling what most of the many race lifted characters in The Spectacular Spider Man are supposed to be (except for Ned Lee and Kenny Kong, who are clearly Asian). Race-lifted Liz Allan is at least part Latina, though her exact background is somewhat complicated (to explain why she has a typically British last name despite her ethnicity and slight Puerto Rican accent). Word of God says that Liz is half Puerto Rican (and half white?) For another example, the Warren brothers are supposed to be Indian.
  • Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels is a tricky one. He’s already an Expy of Aladdin, who is Arabic, except unlike Aladdin his eyes are blue. Blue eyes are not impossible but highly uncommon in real-world Arabic people. A picture of his father reveals that his father had brown skin and curly dark hair, while his blue eyes come from his mother who is lighter but still non-white. There has so far been no confirmation of his ethnicity, although saying something like ‘Luke Skywalker is of European descent’ would make no sense considering there’s no Europe in a galaxy far, far away. note  Word of Pablo Hidalgo is that all the human leads are multiracial by Earth standards, and supplementary material as well as the background characters reveal that Ezra's features are common among the humans of his home planet. So if anything, his ethnicity would be "Lothalian".
    • Sabine from the same series is also ethnically hard to pin down. Mandalorians are a bit more diverse and we've seen clearly white and black members, with the most famous being the Maori Jango Fett and his many clones. The reason this stands out is that in The Clone Wars the entire planet was lilly white and one of their leaders loudly claimed Jango wasn't ethnically Mandalorian at all. Her father is clearly East Asian though, and her voice actor (along with the voice actors of her mother and brother) are of Indian descent.
    • Kanan, Ezra's mentor, has the darkest skin of the crew but doesn't have a family or even a planet to pin down. The creators have confirmed he was designed without a specific race in mind (although some fans see him as Latino like his voice actor).
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Kelly has dark skin, but mint green hair (and is more similar to wool than hair), has no nose and comes from another dimension. It is the same case with Brunzetta and Princess Quásar Caterpillar, who look like black women but are actually from another dimension (and Brunzetta is apparently thousands of years old).
  • Steven Universe:
    • Lars in the unaired pilot had brown skin and dark hair, but in the final show he is noticeably lighter (though not quite light skinned) and has orange hair. Word of God initially just stated he was not quite. Later episodes implied he's Filipino on his fathers side and got the orange hair from his lighter-skinned mother.
    • Jamie, Kevin, and Buck have somewhat dark skin tones and no stated ethnicity, though Buck's father is clearly white. The same goes for the Zoomans, but seeing as they are descendants of a small group of humans from various different ethnic groups who have been breeding amongst themselves for five millennia, it's unlikely they are any ethnicity we would recognize.
  • In Storm Hawks, Piper's race isn't stated, but she is the only dark-skinned human in the Storm Hawks.
  • Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series. He has the same skin colour as Superman, which is slightly darker than most of the other white characters — but he has fuller lips, a more prominent brow, and a voice that to many sounded like it had African-American accent (his voice actor, Clancy Brown, is white). He was supposed to look like Telly Savalas, a Greek-American actor. In Justice League, he is given a lighter skin tone to rectify the confusion, which led some viewers to think he'd been given a Race Lift.
  • Whyatt from Super Why! has olive skin, and it's unclear if he is Caucasian or Latino. It's possible he's biracial, since his mother has fair skin and his father has olive skin.
  • Princess Ariel in Thundarr the Barbarian. Justified, since you'd expect there to be different ethnicities 3000 years in the future.
  • Quite a few characters on Total Drama, though Word of God has cleared up some of the confusion: Courtney is Hispanic, Noah is Indian, Justin is native Hawaiian, and Katie is white (with a tan). Sierra remains unidentified, although it's been stated that she has German family members.
    • Mostly averted with the Revenge of the Island cast, where the ethnicities of the various minority characters are pretty obvious—with the exception of Mike (who is stated by Word of God to be Italian) and Anne Maria (who is probably also meant to be Italian, since she's a Joisey stereotype).
    • In the Pahkitew Island cast, Dave (who is Indian according to Word of God) and Jasmine (who is popularly believed to be Australian Aboriginal, but this has never been confirmed by the creators). Also Sky, whom many think is Asian but is said by Word of God to be Native American (which is hinted in the show as she is able to speak Cree and her audition tape has a dreamcatcher in the background). Some fans also think that Max looks Asian and that Shawn may be Hispanic, though these are less obvious examples and have never been confirmed by Word of God.
    • Then there's Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race contestants Devin, and sisters Emma and Kitty, all of whom appear to be East Asian, but it's never specified what kind. There's also Brody, Ellody, Jen, and Lorenzo, who are all dark-skinned but never have their ethnicity stated in the show (Word of God says Brody is Hispanic, Ellody is Indian, Lorenzo is Italian, and Jen is white with a tan).
  • Alex from Totally Spies!. Her dad is white (shown in season 4) and her mom looks exactly like her but darker. Her dad gets a complete makeover and becomes brown in season 6.
  • Sari from Transformers Animated is a Dark-Skinned Redhead although her adopted father Isaac Sumdac is obviously Indian, complete with accent. This may or may not have been intentional, it's revealed that Sari is something of a human/Cybertronian hybrid from a protoform absorbing Issac's DNA. The German dub gives Isaac a Chinese accent. Make of that what you will.
  • Sam Alexander/Nova from Ultimate Spider-Man is shown to be lighter than Ava and Luke, but darker than Danny and Peter. The comics establish that he's mixed race, with a white father and a Mexican mother.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender has Allura, Hunk, and Lance as varying shades of brown. This is a departure from the original source, which depicted the entire team as white.
    • Hunk and Lance were eventually confirmed to be Samoan/African American and Cuban, respectively, removing the ambiguity for them. Meanwhile, Allura is of an alien species, so the ambiguity was likely intentional for her.
    • As seen in a flashback episode of season 3, Honerva, prior to becoming Haggar, though she regains her true form in season 6.
    • Adam, Shiro's ex-boyfriend, and Curtis also fit this trope.
  • Winx Club:
    • Nabu looks like he could be black, white with a tan, or Hispanic. Similar to The Princess and the Frog, this may have been done to avoid controversy since he was engaged to Princess Aisha, the token dark-skinned fairy. Judging by his parents, many fans think he was meant to be Indian-coded.
    • Flora is this to fans as well. There were constant debates as to whether she was a fair skinned black girl or a tanned white girl (and having a sister who's red haired). She's officially supposed to be Latina, going by the Word of God that she was modelled after Jennifer Lopez.
    • Despite being a pale blonde, even Stella could get this, as she seems to be coded as a white Latina/Spaniard. Not only does her Season 1 outfits (such as her princess outfit), her pink princess dress from Season 3, and concept art invoke Mesoamerican and Spanish influence, Word of God confirms she was inspired by Cameron Diaz, who is also Hispanic. Her skin is slightly darker than Bloom and Tecna's, but it also makes sense for a "sun and moon" fairy to have a tan.
    • Princess Galatea is an interesting case. Not only is she a light-skinned blonde, her name literally means "white as milk" and she was even given an Irish accent in the Cinelume dub. That said, she is from Musa's homeland, which is normally painted as Asian-inspired. During the Nick run, her father was introduced as being much more Asiatic in appearance, complete with a kimono, suggesting she is Eurasian coded. By Season 8, however, she practically turns into a clone of Stella.
  • WordGirl :
    • Word Girl gets double points for being a generically-brown girl adopted by a different-color-of generically-brown (a redder shade) family, nothing about whom seems ethnic in any specific way (last name being Botsford), and possibly another half-point for actually being a Human Alien foundling.
    • Minor villain Miss Question is this as well, though her curly hair implies she might be black.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: Xavier and Yadina have tan skin, but their ethnicity is unknown. However, "I Am Tomioka Tessai" implies that they may be Hispanic.
  • X-23 from X-Men: Evolution is ambiguously brown despite being a clone of Wolverine, who is white. It's explained that the Wolverine DNA sample was incomplete, so the female scientist that made her used some of her own DNA as well. Since she was moved to the comics she's generally depicted with Raven Hair, Ivory Skin, though she occasionally appears darker, such as during her stint as Captain Universe. In Logan she is depicted as Mexican but played by a Spanish actress.

    Real Life 
  • There's still a good deal of debate as to what the ancient Egyptians looked like. The general consensus, backed by 2017 genetic tests, is that they looked very similar (though perhaps slightly lighter skinned) to modern Egyptians and probably most similar to peninsular Gulf Arabs, as the waves of immigrants which moved to the area from all over the Middle East and North Africa were not big enough to seriously change the gene pool. A famously reproduced painting from the Egyptian "Book of Gates" shows the four peoples of the world: Libyan, Nubian, Asian, and Egyptian. The Libyan and Asian are white, the Nubian is black, and the Egyptian is... brown. Or even dark red. It doesn't help that the Egyptians used the words "red skinned" to mean vitality and vigor, and painted themselves accordingly.
  • Contemporary descriptions of complexion can often be ambiguous or misleading to a modern reader. See, for example, the numerous references to "black" men and women in the Diary of Samuel Pepys, circa 1660. Cross-referencing to paintings of some of them, it's clear he was referring to white anglos we'd call "dark brown" or "black-haired" in today's language. This is because the term "black" back then simply means someone who has very dark complexion or hair, not "black" as in referring to a particular race as we know of today (in fact, that conception of race is actually new). It is evident when Ancient Greeks called people from Egyptians and Victorian British to the Indians "black".note  So this further complicates whenever a particular historical figure was mentioned to be "black". It's unknown if that referred to their tan/dark skin, hair, or if they had a black African origin.
  • American CIA agent Tony Mendez (subject of Argo), who was of Spanish/Italian/French descent, commented on this phenomenon once. He noted that someone with his look (dark hair, dark eyes, below average 5'7 stature, Mediterranean facial features, and skin that's fair by default but quickly turns olive given even moderate exposure to the sun) can blend in as a local pretty much anywhere in the world outside of Sub-Saharan Africa and East/Southeast Asia. Including the Americas, most of Europe, the Middle East, and even India. This came in handy during his spy work.
  • Mila Kunis, an Ashkenazi Jew from Ukraine, has an olive-brown skin tone that makes her look like she could from the Middle East, Latin America or even southern Europe which is why most of her roles fall under Plays Great Ethnics or Non-Specifically Foreign.
  • As the world becomes more global and mixed, knowing people who are "ambiguously brown" is only going to become more common. Anyone who is darker than olive tone is often assumed to be Mexican even though they can literally be from anywhere in Central and South America, Oceania, Asia and the Middle East. People who are mixed race can live on any continent.
  • Republican senate for Alabama Roy Moore's lawyer said of Ali Velshi, regarding [his ethnicity][1] “In other countries, there’s arrangement through parents for what we would refer to as consensual marriage.” The co-host reminded him that Velshi is Canadian.
  • A respected economist was Mistaken for Terrorist on a flight because someone thought an equation he was writing looked like a secret code, because of his vaguely 'foreign' appearance (olive skin, dark eyes, dark curly hair and beard, large slightly curved nose). The economist in question was Italian, from Turin, Piedmont, northern Italy.
  • This biracial man - although he identifies himself as indigenous - is confused with practically every ethnic group and nationality in the world.


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