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Discriminate and Switch

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Malory: Why, because I don't want my son to end up with a woman like Lana Kane? My God, a black [swallows some pills] ops field agent?
Pam: Totally thought she was going in a whoooooole other direction with that.

A form of Bait-and-Switch comedy that teases with prejudice and discrimination, where one party looks like they're about to discriminate against someone for one reason, a reason that would be appallingly un-PC (race, gender, possibly leading to a Gender Scoff, religion, etc), but in reality ... it's because they like avocado ice cream. (What? Don't judge it 'till you try it!)


If the accuser has some kind of unsavory character trait, expect the accused to reply with, "I don't hate you because you're [minority status], I hate you because you're [perfectly legit reason to dislike them]."

Writers can play with this by switching the second reason. The character seems to be discriminated against for an unacceptable and bigoted reason, and then it turns out that they're being discriminated against for a completely different, equally unacceptable and bigoted reason.

Not to be confused with Pretend Prejudice. Also not to be confused with Persecution Flip. Compare Mistaken for Racist, Stereotype Reaction Gag. Also invokes Good Flaws, Bad Flaws: the snubber is still a jerk, but at least for a "good" reason.



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  • This GEICO commercial has the mobile-app pig assuming he's pulled over because he's... well, a pig.
    Officer: You know why I pulled you over today?
    Maxwell: Because I'm a pig driving a convertible?
    Officer: [annoyed at the insinuation] Tail light's out. Fix it.
  • In this commercial for the Tide To Go stain removal pen, a gay male couple is about to head inside a church to get married when an official-looking woman (a parody of Kim Davis) halts them at the door and refuses to let them "blemish the sanctity of marriage." As the grooms get up in arms, she reaches into her purse and takes out the Tide pen to clean away a large stain on the ginger groom's shirt, then she straightens the other groom's bow tie. With no more objections, she gives the men her blessing and walks off.
    Ginger Groom: [to his partner, mildly embarrassed] Why didn't you spot it?

    Anime and Manga 
  • An early episode of Darker Than Black has a white hitman telling his black partner that his kind are scum, fit only to serve others. The catch is that the black partner is a Contractor, essentially an amoral living weapon. The scene is probably a Lampshade Hanging on how Fantastic Racism is often used as a blatant parallel to actual racism.
  • In the ADV Films Gag Dub of Ghost Stories, while the protagonists are defeating the Monster of the Week, a pet bunny rabbit which has brought back to life, turned into a giant rabbit monster, and is chasing after its former caretaker, the caretaker says to her former pet
    "Shirotabi, please forgive me for bringing you back to life! I know now that it could never work between us. As much as we want it to, it could never be! Not because you're a rabbit, but because you're BLACK!"
  • In the autobiographical manga Honey and Honey, Sachiko tries to come out as a lesbian to her best friend Mai. Mai suddenly grows cold and seems kind of upset, which leads Sachiko to worry that her friend is homophobic. In the end, it turns out that Mai was upset because she thought the "Kana" Sachiko kept mentioning was Sachiko's new best friend rather than her girlfriend. Rather than being upset about her best friend being gay, she was actually upset about potentially being replaced. Once Mai learns the truth, she apologizes and then immediately begins asking about their sex life.

    Comic Books 
  • Used in the Supreme Power comics, where the Lex Luthor stand-in Emil Burbank tells the Ultimate Nick Fury, who looks a lot like Samuel L. Jackson, that he "despise[s] you people." And then clarifies that he, of course, means security specialists. What else?
  • In Astonishing X-Men:
    The Thing: Didn't they come up with a cure for your kind?
    Wolverine: You got a problem with mutants?
    The Thing: I meant Canadians.
  • In the very first issue of Mystique's solo series, she impersonates a male scientist, and ends up kissing a female spy. When Mystique reveals the ruse, the spy is disgusted. Not because Mystique isn't a man, mind you, but because she's a mutant.
    Mystique: But you didn't mind kissing a woman, huh? God, I just love open-minded girls.
  • Runaways:
    • Karolina's relationship with Xavin is seen as disgusting by her fellow Majesdanians not because she's a lesbian, but because Xavin is a Skrull. In an earlier issue, when Klara is first introduced she is shocked by Karolina and Xavin's relationship (being from the early 1900s) but she doesn't seem to be too bothered that Karolina is white and Xavin is "a negress".
    • Played with in the revival series, with Gert objects to Karolina and Julie's relationship... because she finds Julie bossy and annoying. She's alarmed by Molly's crush on her female classmate... because that classmate is obviously a supervillain. She's disgusted by Klara being adopted by a gay couple... because they're parents, which is evil. And she objects to Karolina and Nico dating... because they're playing at being superheroes. It's all totally just a bizarre coincidence that all these situations that she objects to just happen to involve homosexuality, and totally isn't a reflection of her feelings about gay people.
  • In an Archie Comics story from The '60s, Veronica, seeing Chuck and Jughead some distance away, tells Archie she doesn't want "his kind" at her upcoming party. Archie assumes she's prejudiced against blacks and launches into a tirade, saying if Chuck isn't welcome there, "You can take your party and go plumb to blazes. Dig?" Veronica explains that Chuck is most welcome at the party and that by "his kind" she meant Jughead, who's a "slob".
  • In ElfQuest, white elf chief Cutter is lifemate to black elf Leetah. The series' Big Bad, Winnowill, likes to call Leetah her "dark sister" and at one point starts a discussion with her about race. It turns out all elves consider skin color to be purely aesthetic—the discussion is actually about Cutter's animal heritagenote , which Winnowill considers vile.
  • Anarchist from X-Statix was a black child who was adopted by wealthy white parents. He claims that his parents never once made him feel different for being black, but disowned him when they found out he was a mutant.
  • The "Freaky Friday" Flip story "Freaky" from the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man had Peter give a brisk "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the assembled X-Men after they interfere in his life. "Do you know why people hate you? It's not because you're mutants! It's because you're a bunch of @#$#$ $@$%@ ##@$!! That's why!!"
  • During the United We Stand crossover in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Miles Morales gets captured by a brainwashed Cassie Lang. When Cassie reports to her superiors that the new Spider-Man isn't what they'd expect, Miles calls her a racist, only to then realize she's referring to the fact that he's only 13, not that he's black.
  • This exchange from Black Panther:
    Henry Peter Gyrich: I knew you'd come crawling back. Your kind always does. "Super"heroes, I mean.
  • A relatively harmless example comes from an old Iron Man annual where Tony visits the African nation of Wakanda. While flirting with a beautiful Wakandan woman, Tony tells her that she reminds him of a girl he used to date named Wendy, but with one huge difference. The reader expects Tony to say Wendy wasn't black, but instead, he says the difference is that the Wakandan woman is much taller.
  • When the other Misfits saw Stormer talking to a member of Jem and the Holograms (IDW) they became furious and dragged her away. Pizzazz and Stormer get into an argument over the date and it at first seems that Pizzazz is mad because Kimber is a woman. No, Pizzazz is mad because she is a Hologram. Stormer's bandmates consider it treacherous for her to date a member of that band.
  • During Ben Reilly's tenure as Spider-Man during The Clone Saga, he was Mistaken for Racist by an African-American undercover cop for his hostile behavior towards the cop. The real reason for Ben's behavior towards the man was the manager of the coffee bar he worked at was the cop's ex-wife, who expressed concern for her son being near him, and said the man was bad news and wasn't reliable—and also neglected to mention the fact he was a cop.
  • In Anno Dracula: Seven Days in Mayhem, one of the patrons of the dodgy bookshop where the Council of Seven Days meets reacts with horror to Kate Reed entering. She asks if it's because she's a vampire, and he replies "Worse, a woman!"
  • Transmetropolitan: While shopping for guns, Yelena picks up a BFG and excitedly asks to get that one. The store owner turns her down, not because she's a girl, but because it's designed for people with two backup spines.
  • Played for laughs in Uncanny Avengers. Rogue worries aloud that her teammates aren't listening to her orders because she's a woman, but Deadpool counters by saying maybe they're doing so because she's a mutant.
  • The Twelve: Dynamic Man is homophobic to the point where some of the others wonder if he's secretly gay, and can't be bothered to chase a purse snatcher after learning that the victim is a white woman married to a black man. It would normally just be an instance of Deliberate Values Dissonance, were it not for the fact that he's actually disdainful of ANY expression of sexuality; Dynamic Man is actually a Ridiculously Human Robot built by a scientist with vehemently anti-sex views.
  • In DC Future State, the latest Flash is non-binary. They are viewed with suspicion by their teammates in the Justice League and claim that their girlfriend's parents wouldn't like her hanging around with them... because they're from an Alternate Universe.

    Fan Works 
  • In Arc of the Revolution, Jaune leads the White Fang (a Faunus group) in an attack on a Schnee Dust-mining operation. At some points, POV switches to Winter Schnee, who's defending the camp from "animals" who need to be exterminated. She is not talking about the White Fang (she believes the Faunus have every right to hate the Schnee Dust Company), she's talking about the Grimm.
  • In NoHoper Amanda thinks that Light hates the now-dead fledgling Diana because she turned her nose up at him during lunch that day. It's actually just because he's a sociopath and Diana is a fledgling vampyre. Also when Light goes berserk and nearly kills Damien during their fencing lesson, Damien wonders if he's a homophobe or something but then Light didn't seem to have a problem with Jack. Light doesn't have a problem with Damien being gay—he has a problem with him being a vampyre.
  • In Kira, Sweetheart after Light began dating L, his relationship with his father became strained. Light assumed that his father was being homophobic. It's actually because he knows that Light was Kira.
  • In Of Lilies and Chestnuts, when Fleur De Lis and Fancy Pants see a bat pony as their prime adoption choice, Fleur pulls Fancy aside and demands they pick somepony else. Although racism against bat ponies pervades the Canterlot Elite of which Fleur is a member, Fleur just guesses (and is proven right) that Chestnut just acts ostensibly lower-class and would sabotage the family's good standing. Eventually, Fleur warms up to Chestnut.
  • This sort of bait and switch is a common subversion of gaynst in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics, where the lesbian relationship is rejected by their family — not because they're gay, but because their partner is the wrong kind of pony.
  • Mentioned in Its All About The Mind (here): Padma and Parvati Patil's parents have no problem with them being in a three-way relationship with another girl... but are less than thrilled by the fact that Hermione isn't an Indian like them.
  • In the The Legend of Korra fic People Gonna Talk here, the fact that his daughter married another woman doesn't even register with Hiroshi Sato. He is, however, furious that she married a bender... and not just any bender, but the Avatar, "the living embodiment of the ability that had taken her mother".
  • Another The Legend of Korra fan comic Double Entendre did something similar with a hilarious string of Double Entendres/Have a Gay Old Time, such as gay (happiness), faggots (bundles of sticks), and homos (homo sapiens).
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic blog The Royal Sketchbook, Twilight comes out to her friends about dating Luna. Spike tells her that it's "gross", which causes her to faint. It turns out Spike, being a kid, was grossed out by the romance, not Twilight dating another mare.
  • When Sensei shows disapproval for Kim's recent behavior in I'm Scared Too, Ron thinks he's referring to her kissing Bonnie and accuses him of homophobia. He was actually referring to her underage drinking and drunken tirade:
    Sensei: "But nevertheless, Kim Possible has made a mockery of our history. Even our ancestors feel the dread. We can't have a celebrity claiming to know our ways when she's — "
    Ron: "Gay now — or — uh — whatever? Whatever Kim wants to do with her body is fine with me."
    Sensei: "Ahem. I was referring more about the underage drinking and the ruthless destruction of public property with a complete disregard for human life. That is not our way."
  • Early in A Song of Grumbling & Cotton Candy, Pizzazz calls Clash in an angry panic. Clash thinks that Pizzazz is angry about Kimber and Stormer's relationship and threatens to burn all her Misfits memorabilia if Pizzazz is homophobic. However, Pizzazz is actually panicking because she wants Clash to help her figure out if she's gay or not (despite the fact she's sitting in Jem's room after a date).
  • Goldstein has this, in a sense. Anthony "Yehudah" Goldstein grew up in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish community, and his first year at Hogwarts is largely defined by him being afraid that everyone is going to be anti-Semitic. Of course, this isn't really an issue. The thing is, Yehudah is also a Muggle-born, and in his second year...
  • Mother Fluffer (a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic story):
    • Early on, and soon after Twilight gets her castle, five of the Mane Six stumble upon Twilight's mother, Twilight Velvet, as she's kissing Rainbow Dash's old friend Gilda. Having not been seen by the couple, the five decide they have to tell Twilight, but their main concern is not because Velvet was kissing another woman - it's because she was kissing anyone besides her husband.
    • Twilight, meanwhile, reacts to the news with, "Mom has a new girlfriend. Good for her." Then she explains that both her parents are gay and have a mutual agreement that lets them date others (though they're very much in love on an emotional level, they're just not physically attracted to one another without the influence of alcohol), so finding out her mom was with another woman doesn't bother her. It's not until Twilight finds out it was Gilda (the fic takes place before her canon return in "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone") her mom was with that she freaks out.
  • In Welcome to Shiketsu High, after learning that his new classmates Inasa and Seiji are dating, Iida proclaims it to be preposterous. Tensions rise as everyone thinks Iida is being homophobic, before he unaffectedly proclaims that relationships between any students is prohibited in the student handbook. Cue everyone sighing in relief, Seiji face-palming, and Inasa laughing in amusement at the situation.
  • Another My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic lesbian example: In An Apple Comes Out of the Cellar, Apple Bloom, Granny Smith and Big Mac are all horrified and outraged when Applejack tells them she's a "fillyfooler" ... because that word is homophobic.
  • Team 8: Kurenai tries to give Naruto a lesson about sexism by asking him whether he'd prefer to face Shino or Hinata in a serious fight. Naruto selects Hinata, reasoning that while she's a capable fighter, she's gentle at heart. Kurenai then offers the choice between Sasuke and Sakura instead. Naruto immediately chooses Sasuke because he knows how violent and ill-tempered Sakura can be.

    Film — Animated 
  • Sausage Party: When Sammy and Lavash return to their aisles, they are scolded by Gefilte Fish and Baba Ghanoush respectively for traveling back together—because they're racist, not homophobic.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Anger Management, Adam Sandler is frustrated that the stewardess keeps ignoring him and, when an Air Marshall, who is also having a bad day, gets involved, Sandler's character says, "What's wrong with you people (meaning airline people)?" The Marshall, who is black, retorts, "What do you mean, 'you people?'" The marshall had also scolded Sandler a few seconds before that for making reference to a "stewardess" instead of a "flight attendant" and attempted to instill post-9/11 guilt in him for making a scene on an airplane.
  • In a variant, Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack brings his friend Mr. Wang to the country club. He warns the Asian not to admit to being Jewish because the club is restricted. (Truth in Television: Asians were often thought of as pseudo-white due to their light skin color and high social status.)
  • Carlito's Way: Tony Taglialucci, a mob boss in prison, pressures his slimy lawyer, David Kleinfeld, to do favors for him because he suspects correctly that Kleinfeld ripped him off:
    Tony T: I never liked ya, Kleinfeld. Not cause you're a Jew, huh. I know plenty of Jews. No, it's cause you're a lying piece of shit.
  • In Deadpool 2, Wade expresses shock when Negasonic Teenage Warhead introduces him to Yukio, her girlfriend. Just as Negasonic is ready to chew him out for being a homophobe, Wade clarifies that he wasn't reacting to the fact that she's gay, but rather the idea that anyone would want to date her.
  • In the American remake of Death at a Funeral Elaine, a black woman, is going to her uncle's funeral accompanied by her white fiancé Oscar, who is extremely aware that his prospective father in law hates him, the implication being that it is because he doesn't want a white man marrying his daughter. Actually, it turns out Elaine's father just hates Oscar because he thinks Oscar is an idiot and he wanted Elaine to marry her ex, Derek, who is also white.
  • In Flodder In America, the mother of Kees's new boyfriend is upset with her not because she's foreign, non-religious, ditzy, and a total slut; but because she might be "(gasp) Republican!"
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall is to Goodbye Lenin what the American Revolution is to Rip Van Winkle, the sheltered East German mother's reaction to the obviously gay couple moving into their building is one of absolute shock... because they're from Wuppertal, in West Germany.
  • In A Knight's Tale, William deliberately uses this to add sting to a Reverse Psychology ploy to get Kate to fix his armor on credit.
    William: It's just as well, they told me I was daft for even asking.
    Kate: Who?
    William: The other armourers.
    Kate: Did they say I couldn't do it because I'm a woman?
    William: No, they said you were great with horseshoes, but shite with armor. The fact that you were a woman wasn't even mentioned.
  • In A Man Called Ove, the old curmudgeon and ultra-conservative title characters listen in where the young man Mirsad complaining to his neighbor Parvaneh about his family's going I Have No Son! on him. Ove starts to put one and one together and:
    Ove: [out of nowhere] Are you one of them gay-boys?
    Parvaneh: [horrified] Ove!
    Mirsad: Um, yes.
    Ove: Well, that explains that. Now personally I was brought up to not give a damn what other people do in the privacy of their own home.
  • Happens near the end of Männerhort (shelter for men). The (obviously male) protagonists hide there to get time off they would otherwise have spent stressfully with their women. In the end, one of them comes out as gay. The other men at first feel betrayed since he lied to them but he points out he didn't actually lie - his partner Alex's "full" first name just wasn't Alexandra. The dudes calm down only to get angry because he supports the wrong sports team.
  • The ending of My Boss's Daughter sees Hans transferred to Thailand. He goes to get on a bus and the driver tells him that "your kind" belong in the back of the bus. Hans starts to rant about the driver's attitude towards black people when the driver interrupts him and says he is talking about smokers.
  • In Rush Hour 3, Detective Carter, played by Chris Tucker, enters a taxi cab in France, and the driver remarks he won't serve "his kind"—meaning Americans, not black people.
  • Finbar McBride, the protagonist of The Station Agent, has achondroplasia — one of a number of disorders causing dwarfism. He begins the movie staying with a friend who works in a model train shop — a hobby they both share — but after the friend's death he ends up moving to rural New Jersey, where he meets Joe Oramas and Olivia Harris. Later on in the film, while Joe is busy cooking up some food:
    Joe: Do they have clubs for you people?
    [Beat, Finbar and Olivia exchange glances]
    Finbar: What?
    Joe: [oblivious] You know, for train watchers.

  • Inverted Trope for this one:
    A: Why can't Helen Keller drive?
    B: Because she's blind?
    A: No, because she's a woman.note 
  • A similar joke replaces Helen Keller with Stevie Wonder, the punchline being "because he's black".
  • Q: What's black and useless? A: Decaffeinated coffee
    • Q: What do you call a black man flying a plane? A: The pilot, you racist bastard!
  • A man walks into the bar and says, "Lawyers are assholes!". Another man, who has been sitting at the bar says, "Hey, shut up!" (or "Excuse me, sir, I take offense to that!") So the first man asks, "Why, are you a lawyer?" "No," says the other. "I'm an asshole."
  • A t-shirt: "POLYAMORY IS WRONG! It is either Multiamory or Polyphilia but mixing Greek and Latin roots? Wrong!"
  • An Irish girl comes home after not visiting for 5 years.
    Father: Where have you been all this time? You haven't even called or written a letter!
    Daughter: Dad...I became a prostitute.
    Father: You what?!? Get out of here! You're a disgrace to this Catholic family!
    Daughter: Okay, Dad. I only came back to give Mom this expensive fur coat, deed to a ten bedroom mansion, and you a brand new Mercedes and a membership to the country club.
    Father: ...What did you say you became?
    Daughter: A prostitute.
    Father: Oh thank god! I thought you said a Protestant! Come here and give your dad a hug!

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Men at Arms: For most of the book, Carrot, and by extension the reader, assumes that Vimes doesn't want Angua in the City Watch because she's female; at one point, Angua herself starts to say "is it because I'm a w—?" It turns out that she was going to say "werewolf."
    • In Soul Music, a raven comments to Susan about his dislike for the "N-word"—he means "nevermore".
  • One from Good Omens with Neil Gaiman—Shadwell isn't racist; he just hates everybody.
    Shadwell hated all southerners—and by inference, lived at the North Pole.
  • Morris Kazenstein, the genius inventor from Sewer, Gas & Electric, is stricken with a bad case of Jewish liberal guilt when dealing with his Palestinian foster siblings. They take constant merciless advantage of his feelings—even though they were raised in the UK—until, when he finally gets fed up and suggests they go fight to liberate Palestine, they launch into a tirade against Morris... for being an American.
  • Vlad Taltos, of the Dragaera novels, is occasionally shocked when a Dragaeran despises him for being a Jhereg, as opposed to being an Easterner.
  • In the Dalziel and Pascoe novels, DC Shirley Novello discovers that when the CID team go to the pub, she is always expected to fetch the drinks no matter whose round it was and assumes this is because she is a woman. She later discovers that it is simply a custom that the lowest ranking officer present has to get the drinks in.
  • In the Mercedes Lackey The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, the eponymous herald-mage Vanyel is gay and extremely sensitive about it. When he discovers that people are trying to keep him at a distance, he assumes it's because he's gay. One of the other heralds sets him straight and explains that it isn't the fact that he's gay that scares everyone, but the fact that he's an uber-powerful mage with a less than warm and friendly personality, and under a lot of stress to boot—people are worried that he might freak out and level half the city.
  • In Shannon Donnely's Proper Conduct, Nevin assumes Penelope's aloof and unfriendly attitude towards him is because he's half-Roma. It's actually because his (white) father is responsible for her family's dire financial straits.
  • Artemis Fowl: Holly finally snaps at Commander Root for being so by-the-book with her, and that if she wasn't a woman (she's the only female officer aside from the public-relations bimbo) he wouldn't be doing half of what she's going through. Root agrees that it is because she's a woman... but for the wrong reason. On the contrary, if she can handle the unpreferential treatment, then there's hope that other women will one day join the force as well. He also notes that her capabilities are far beyond what he'd expected.
  • In Lisa Lutz's The Spellman Files, Isabel is dating a Guatemalan-born dentist. Isabel's mother doesn't approve—once, talking to him, she uses the phrase "you people." He's surprised when Isabel tells him that her mother wasn't expressing hostility to Latinos, but dentists.
  • Genome: When the crew of the starship Mirror discovers that their passengers are a pair of aliens and their clone guide, some of them are a little miffed. One, who is from a planet, whose population seeks to exterminate all aliens, obviously doesn't like or trust aliens. But the navigator Pak initially also sounds like he doesn't like aliens. Nope. Aliens he's okay with. It's clones he can't stand. Why? They take away jokes from non-clones. Earlier, Pak pulls something similar on Alex. When they first meet, while Alex is looking for crewmembers, Pak asks if Alex has a problem with him being gay. Alex looks at him like he's crazy (it's the distant future, after all, all silly superstitions like that are long in the past) and tells him he doesn't discriminate. Pak then tells him he's a Natural (non-genetically-modified). Alex (being a Designer Baby and distrustful of Naturals) realizes he's been led into a trap, knowing he can't reject Pak simply for being a Natural without going back on his claim of not discriminating.
  • A non-comedic example in Wolfheart, when Varian Wrynn shows up at a meeting of Alliance leaders and expresses his dislike for the proposed membership of the worgen from Gilneas. Everyone initially assumes he has an issue with them being worgen. Nope, he's cool with that. He just distrusts Gilneans and Lord Genn Greymane in particular for abandoning the Alliance during the Third War.
  • Played for Drama in Cursors Fury ; Tavi has just proposed promoting Mistress Cymnea to his own recently vacated Tribune Logistica post, in large part to to her expertise with both resource management and earthcrafting (albeit in a non-combat context, as it can be used to incite lust). Max is doubtful, saying, "it would be a big job for a..." and pausing, causing Mistress Cymnea to angrily demand he finish his sentence with "woman" or "whore"... only for him to quietly clarify that he was going to say, "civilian," and she falls quiet. It’s heavily implied Max was hesitant to finish out of respect for someone who was already doing fairly vital non-combat work for the Legion.
  • Secret Histories: Martha Drood does not approve of Roger and Harry. Both Harry and Eddie assume it's because she's part of the conservative Drood old guard and therefore doesn't like that Harry's gay. Actually, she's fine with his sexuality; her real issue is that Roger's a half-demon... and also Harry's half-brother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7th Heaven:
    • Reverend Camden overheard an argument between Matt's Jewish father-in-law and Ruthie's Muslim friend that sounded like they were attacking each other's religions. When he came into the hall to break it up, he realized they were arguing about their favorite baseball teams.
    • In another episode the Camdens are hosting a party with that same Muslim family, only to find nobody wants to attend. He eventually finds out that people assume the family is French because of their last name. (The episode was made around the time the Iraq War started. Subverted somewhat because people are still nervous about attending when the truth is found out.)
  • On 30 Rock, Jack encourages Liz to date a character played by Wayne Brady because "he's a Black." Turns out that Black is his last name, and Jack is good friends with his family.
    Jack: Remarkable people, the Blacks. Musical, very athletic, not very good swimmers. Again, I'm talking about the family.
  • The unfortunately short-lived Andy Richter Controls the Universe contained an amusing variation. In one episode Andy delivers an offensive tirade against the Irish, not realizing that his new coworker is Irish. The new coworker is also black, so when the incident is reported to Andy's superior, she (a black woman) assumes he was insulting black people. When he corrects her that he was insulting the Irish she replies, "Oh... well, then what's the problem?" The scene then smash cuts to another scene of said superior being chewed out by her superiors, and the cycle repeats.
  • A variant in an episode of Angel, when the team, with Token Minority Charles Gunn, enter a Chinese tea shop, owned by an old Chinese couple:
    Old Chinese Woman: Your kind not welcome here.
    Gunn: Since when can't a brother buy some ginseng tea?
    Old Chinese Man: Not you. Him. (Points at Angel) Vampire not welcome.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Lucille complains about having been woken by a "colored man". The color in question being blue; her son-in-law was trying out for the Blue Man Group and didn't warn her before coming over.
    • In another episode, a pair of African-American brothers accuse George Michael of bigotry. Not because they're black, but because he hates twins.
  • Used on Blue Collar TV in the "Fat Family" sketch, when the daughter brings home her boyfriend: "It's not that we don't like you because you're Jewish... it's because you're— [look of disgust]skinny."
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", Owen, a guy Buffy crushes on, comes by the library to borrow an Emily Dickinson anthology. Her stuffy British Eccentric Mentor Giles tries to play along.
    Buffy: (clearly BS'ing) We're both fans.
    Giles: Yes, uh, she's quite a good poet, I mean for a...
    Buffy: A girl?
    Giles: For an American.
  • Diane on Cheers claims to have integrated her sorority. Turns out the oppressed masses for whom she secured membership were... girls with poorly publicized coming-outnote  parties. (Episode "No Help Wanted").
  • Horribly subverted in an episode of Community. Pierce is well known to be incredibly racist, sexist- well, basically everything that ends in 'ist'. One time he warns Annie to be careful around an Asian overachiever because they're "ruthless".
    Group: Pierce!
    Pierce: What! Not Asians — women.
    • He later has this set up again, but clarifies "not women — Asians!"
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Hotch asks a black, female Army officer not to sit in on an interview with a witness because he noticed the witness is distrustful of her, so he thinks he'll have better luck alone. She asks, "My race or my gender?" and Hotch admits, "Probably both." At the end of the interview, it turns out that the witness didn't trust military personnel, whom he suspected of involvement in the crime in question.
    • The episode "Identity" had the FBI agents question white Right Wing Militia Fanatics, one of whom clearly regarded the African-American profiler Derek Morgan with contempt. This turned out to not be due to Morgan's race per se, but because the man saw Morgan as a Category Traitor for being willing to work for a government that he "should" hate even more than the militia does because of all of the injustices that it had committed against African-Americans.
  • Done beautifully right as The Daily Show was getting ready to announce Barack Obama's Presidential win. Stephen Colbert has been sulking through the entire show because McCain is losing.
    Stephen Colbert: Now, I'm no supporter of Obama. But if he does win...anyone would have to admit, this is a night long overdue. We, as a nation, have reached that mountaintop because, at long last, the United States has fulfilled the greatest part of freedom. We have a President... who is Hawaiian.
  • Inverted in Desperate Housewives, Carlos suspects (correctly) that his wife is having an affair, but not with whom. Suspecting the TV repairman, he breaks into his house and beats him up. Then he looks around in the house and notices the artwork and photos of a boyfriend... it's pretty clear the man is gay. The repairman, shocked by the violent assault, asks Carlos if he is beating him up because he is gay. Carlos sheepishly says, "Yes!" and quickly runs away. He makes the same mistake again towards the end of the season and ends up being arrested and charged with a hate crime.
    Carlos: I didn't know he was gay. I didn't know Justin was either. Now the cops think I'm some kind of serial gay basher.
    Gaby: Well, you sort of are.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Human Nature": Martha (who is black), working as a maid in 1913, is the subject of jeers from the privately educated kids in the school she's undercover in. She later says to a colleague that it's quite nice that at least the temporarily human Doctor is nice to her because not everyone would be nice...
      Martha: He's just kind to me, that's all. And not everyone's that considerate, what with me being...[points at her face]
      Jenny: ...a Londoner?
    • "The Impossible Astronaut"/"Day of the Moon": Canton Everett Delaware III is shown to be a badass government agent who helps the Doctor defeat the Silence after getting kicked out of the FBI for "wanting to get married" in 1969. Right at the end of the arc, Nixon asks him if the person he wants to marry is black because he would be willing to push to overturn that law. "Yes," says Delaware, "he is." Nixon replies that "I think the Moon is far enough for now."
    • Subverted in "The Snowmen". Dr. Simeon says that the public would never accept that Madame Vastra, the legendary Veiled Detective is... (throws back the veil, reveals she's a lizard-woman) "...a WOMAN!"
      • Simeon then goes on to deride Vastra's relationship with Jenny as obscene and unnaturalnote . Vastra answers, "I resent the implications of impropriety. We are married."
    • In "The Day of the Doctor", when Queen Elizabeth I explains how she escaped a Zygon who had been impersonating her:
      Elizabeth I: These Zygon creatures never even considered that it was me who survived rather than their own commander. The arrogance that typifies their kind.
      Clara: Zygons?
      Elizabeth I: Men.
  • In Eureka, Carter is warned that Allison's brother Marcus is prejudiced.
    Carter: Against white people?
    Kevin: No, against dumb people.
  • Played with in Everybody Hates Chris, when the white coach informs Chris that he hates "people". The narration snarks "black people", but as the coach continues, it becomes clear he's a misanthrope. He mentions several negative stereotypes applied to black people, concluding with "they're lazy. White people are so lazy that they needed slaves to do the work for 'em."
  • Played totally straight in an episode of Father Dowling Mysteries in which the crime involves an African-American family. Father Dowling's housekeeper gets on well with the wise old grandfather, but when he suggests taking their relationship further she explains she can't do that, they're too different. Because he's Episcopalian. And everyone shares a good laugh about religious intolerance.
  • In Flight of the Conchords Bret and Jemaine are "racially" abused for being New Zealanders by a fruit-seller. Finally, they stand up to him with a stirring speech about the rights of all human beings, whereupon it all turns out to be a big misunderstanding—the man thought they were Australian! So then they all go and make offensive gestures outside the Australian Embassy together.
  • In Game of Thrones, Cersei accuses her father Tywin of sexism and claims that's why he doesn't trust her with any kind of responsibility. Tywin replies that he doesn't distrust her because she's a woman, but because she isn't nearly as smart as she thinks she is. This exchange was doubtlessly added to make Tywin a tiny bit more likable than in the books where he is a plain old sexist.
  • General Hospital's Stefan Cassadine flips out when he meets his nephew Nikolas' African-American girlfriend Gia... because she's a commoner. Gia still believes that his disapproval is because she's black and even if not, is still angry that her not being royalty means that she's supposedly not good enough for Nikolas.
  • In Gimme a Break!, a black female character was rejected for a job, and she thought it was because she was black. So while she was bringing discrimination charges, several black (male) employees seemed to gratuitously walk by. The character asserted they were just hired to refute the charges, causing the suspected racist to say, "And people wonder why I don't hire women!"
  • There's a related scene in The Golden Girls when Dorothy objects to her son's marrying a black woman, but only because she's twice his age, while the bride expects her mother to object to the age difference, but she really objects because Dorothy's son is white.
    • Blanche dared to attend her prom with Benjamin, despite the scorn of others. Dorothy assumes Benjamin was black. Nope. He was a Yankee from New Jersey.
  • In Goodness Gracious Me, one scene has one sketch where an Indian man comes out to his parents with his gay partner. The scene ends with him getting slapped and told he should have found a nice Indian boy instead.
  • House had a father disapproving of his son's relationship with the black girl next door. Everyone assumes it's because the girl is black, but it turns out the father isn't racist. He had an affair with the girl's mother, so his son and the neighbor girl are half-siblings. Unfortunately, the father doesn't want anyone finding out about the affair, so he doesn't admit the real reason, and the young lovers run away together.
  • In the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney Stinson's gay, black half-brother James announces he's getting married, Barney is shocked and appalled. Not at gay marriage, but at his brother no longer being single. He and James basically functioned as one another's wingman so James' getting married means he won't be able to go along with Barney. However, Barney did become excited since James and his new husband showed serious interest in adoption and thus, allowing Barney to indulge in being an uncle.
    • In another episode, a slightly different version after Ted and Robin have a fight:
      Lily: (to Robin) Come on, he's mad at you because of [some reason], not because you didn't like Field of Dreams.
      Ted: (to Barney and Marshall) How do you not like Field of Dreams?!
    • The girls then continue to discuss Ted and Robin's relationship while the boys talk about how emotional Field of Dreams makes them.
  • In The IT Crowd, Moss and Roy get roped into seeing Gay: A Gay Musical, "a story of a young man trying to find his sexuality in the uncaring Thatcher years", containing "scenes of graphic homoeroticism". Moss comments "Oh, yuck! It's set in The '80s!"
  • In a Key & Peele sketch, a black man is having dinner with the parents of his white fiancée for the first time. He quickly realizes that the parents don't approve of their daughter dating someone who's different from them, so he stands up to leave, revealing a crocodilian tail as the apparent source of their discrimination. However, after he leaves, the mother chastises her daughter for bringing a "colored man" into their home, and it's shown that the entire family has tails as well.
  • The Kids in the Hall spoofed this. A white gay man is being bashed by his cab driver, but it turns out the cabbie thought he was Chinese.
  • Last Man Standing loves this trope. The show frequently does this with the Baxters' African-American friends Chuck and Carol Larabee, beginning with their first appearance.
    Mike: You talk to the neighbors, they're gonna think you want to be friends. I don't want to be friends with them.
    Vanessa: Because they're neighbors?
    Mike: Right.
  • Leverage inverts it. In "The Homecoming Job", Hardison needs to distract some security guards, so when they pull him over to search his truck, he starts ranting about how they're prejudiced against him... because he's Jewish.
    Hardison: Can't a brotha like matzo ball soup?
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Hal's the only white guy at Abe's game of poker, and spends the whole evening feeling like an outsider, then rants for days at the way they treated him. Eventually, he confronts Abe and, after some baiting, exclaims "You and your friends ganged up on me because I'm not a professional"—Abe's others friends being lawyers, dentists and so on.
  • An episode of Modern Family had Claire's van break down, but she's helped by a female mechanic and carjacker who mentions that she was taught how to fix cars by her grandmother, who ran her own garage.
    Alex: There must have been a lot of prejudice back then.
    Joey: There was, but eventually, she started fixing Irish people's cars.
  • Played for Drama in Murdoch Mysteries. It's quite clear that a councilman's objection to Miss James being made morgue assistant is because she's black, but his excuse is that she's a woman. Inspector Brakenreid points out the current and previous coroners are women and he just says, "I've given my reasons."
  • On My Name Is Earl, Joy feels like she has to hide her second (black) husband from her father because, in high school, he wouldn't let her date a black guy. Just like in the House example above, it turns out Dad actually loves black people, especially black women. He'd slept with so many he was afraid that any black guy in the area around Joy's age could potentially turn out to be her half-brother.
  • In Neighbours, Chris briefly suspects Kyle of homophobia when he shows reluctance to let him rent the spare room at No. 26. Kyle clarifies that it was because Chris is in a relationship, something that Kyle and Rhys don't exactly want to be rubbed in their faces while both are going through bad breakups.
  • In episode 12 of the third season of NewsRadio, Lisa gets the nod for "Cutest Reporter in New York". Catherine gets upset that Lisa was picked over her and explains that every time she's gotten a promotion, it was because of "you know what". "Because you're black?" Lisa asks innocently. Catherine responds: "What? No, because of these! And this!" (as she points to her bosom and behind, respectively.)
  • The defense attorney on Picket Fences spent most of the series assuming that people kept giving him the cold shoulder because he was Jewish. The sheriff's wife eventually calls him out on this, telling him to his face that it's because he's obnoxious.
  • On Psych: Shawn claims that he and Gus are a hand-model duo known as "Black & Tan". Naturally, he enjoys screwing with people who make assumptions on which is supposed to be which.
    Doorman: Holy crap! It is you! Sorry for the mix-up, Tan.
    Shawn Spencer: I beg your pardon? My name is Black. His (Gus) name is Tan. I can't believe you just made that assumption. You should be ashamed of yourself and your family.
  • Pushing Daisies, when Emerson is refused service in a bar not because he's black but because he's tall.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • One skit featured Heather Locklear as the saleswoman of a home shopping channel who made incredibly racist statements throughout the broadcast, drawing the ire of viewers. At the end of the skit, a disclaimer was posted in which the writers claimed that they wrote the skit in an effort to show how wrong prejudice and bigotry are... "But of course, that should be obvious to anyone who isn't a retard."
    • In an edition of Weekend Update, Tina Fey accused Jimmy Fallon of being a "speciesist" after reporting a story about a man being attacked by two black bears, asking "if it was polar bears would you have said 'two white bears'?" Jimmy responds by revealing that he is married to a black bear, shows the audience the wedding photo, and then asks Tina "Who's the idiot now—you, or me, the guy who married a black bear?"
  • In an episode of Scrubs, JD brings Turk to a patient's room to get him to consider surgery. The old-fashioned white patient tells JD "You know I don't like his people." Both look shocked before he clarifies that he meant surgeons.
    • Made even funnier by the following exchange:
      WASPy patient: What? Did you think I meant African-Americans?
      Turk: Actually, sir, we're saying 'black' now.
      WASPy patient, to his equally WASPy wife off-screen: I was right, Catherine!
  • Used in a frequently quoted bit from Seinfeld. Jerry's dentist tells him a mildly offensive Jewish joke, then explains that it's OK because the dentist just converted to Judaism. Jerry also catches the dentist telling Catholic jokes and saying that it's OK because he used to be Catholic ("If he ever gets Polish citizenship, there'll be no stopping him!"). Jerry later goes to the dentist's former Catholic church and complains to the priest that he thinks the dentist converted to Judaism purely so he could tell Jewish jokes. When the priest asks, "And that offends you as a Jewish person?" Jerry says, "No, it offends me as a comedian!" And in the same episode, Jerry tells a joke about dentists and gets accused of being an "anti-dentite". When the dentist mentioned above talks about how his people have been persecuted, Jerry asks "The Jews?", to which he responds, "No, dentists!"
  • Sleepy Hollow: Ichabod sees two men holding hands and asks Abbie if "that is considered acceptable now". Abbie proceeds to explain how times have changed and the current progress of gay rights until Ichabod cuts her off explaining that he was actually bothered by one of the men wearing a hat indoors. He goes on to explain that he knows about homosexuals since he trained under Baron von Steuben...and he watched the finale of Glee.
    • Zigzagged in an earlier episode. Ichabod seems surprised by the fact that Abbie works for the police. Not because she's black, but because she's a woman.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In the pilot episode Captain Samantha Carter, Stargate Command's new astrophysics expert eventually loses her cool over Colonel O'Neill's poor attitude towards her and gives a "just because my reproductive organs are in the inside" lecture that would itself become ripe for lampshading in later seasons. Afterward, O'Neill kindly explains that he has no problem serving with women. It's scientists he doesn't like.
    • In a later episode of the series, the Eurondans show a distinct dislike for Teal'c, not because he's a Jaffa (a perfectly good reason considering what the Goa'uld do), but because he's dark-skinned.
  • A subversion of the "equally unacceptable" variety occurs in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Prophecy", where a Cardassian engineer is arguing with O'Brien over how to repair part of the station.
    Gilora Rejal: Why didn't you tell me you'd replaced the secondary field coils?
    O'Brien: If you had told me know what you were planning to do, I would have.
    Rejal: I don't have time to explain everything.
    O'Brien: What, you think I won't be able to understand?
    Rejal: It's been my experience that—
    O'Brien: What? That humans aren't good engineers?
    Rejal: No, not humans, males!
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody:
    • In one episode, Moseby tells his midget older brother that he was given special treatment from his mother. Why? Because he was lactose intolerant! This turns out to be the older brother's Berserk Button.
    • In another episode, a pair of producers want to make the twins' lives into a TV series. They decide to give London's counterpart a Gender Flip so they can hook her up with Maddie, prompting this response from the real London:
      London: I wouldn't want to date Maddie. She's not my type; she's poor.
  • On Supernatural, the season 3 opener has a couple of African-American hunters being accosted in a bar (The Old Terminal Pub) by a hostile white skinhead. His taunts seem like the standard "Your kind don't belong in here" schtick... until his Black Eyes of Evil are revealed. In this case, "your kind" means monster-hunters, because the skinhead and everyone else in the bar is possessed.
  • Sorta in Teen Wolf. Sorta. In one episode, Scott is banned from a school dance, shows up anyways, and when his coach starts chasing him, he comes across an openly gay classmate and convinces him to dance with him. When the coach catches up to him and starts yelling, the whole gym thinks he's yelling about the two boys dancing together rather than the fact Scott isn't supposed to be at the dance.
  • That '70s Show: When a gay couple moves in next to the Formans, it's not the fact that they're gay that ruins any chance at friendship with conservative, old-fashioned Red. It's the fact that they're Minnesota Vikings fans, while Red is about as big of a Green Bay Packers fan as you'll ever see. Though Red was initially uneasy upon learning that the men were a gay couple. He was just able to come to terms with it.
  • On Tosh.0, Daniel Tosh does this a lot, by saying something that sounds racist then clarifying it, usually followed by admonishing the audience for laughing when they thought he was being racist. Inverted, however, in his standup bit about cannibalism.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has Lillian look at a portrait of the Voorhees family patriarch and snort, "The Dutch! I never did form an opinion on them."
  • Veronica Mars:
    • When Veronica's black friend Wallace moves in with his new roommate, the roommate acts uncomfortable. He explains, "I specifically said I didn't want a roommate who was... uh, you know... better looking than me."
    • In an earlier episode, Veronica has implied that one of her teachers, Mr. Woo, is gay, and he plays with this trope:
      When you get out into the real world you'll realize that not all well dressed, articulate, and organized men are gay. Some of them are just... (beat) Asian.
  • Some changes to the team at the start of season 3 of Warehouse 13 led to men briefly outnumbering women in the main cast for the first time. When Mika returned, Claudia told her how glad she was to see her back, after having felt outnumbered in this sausage-fest. She didn't care about gender ratios, the others just eat way too much meat at breakfast and she was glad to have another healthy eater on the team.
  • Peculiar example from Whoopi Goldberg's short-lived sitcom Whoopie. She's been charged with smoking in public and tries to get the judge to dismiss the charge, but he refuses and gives her a stiff fine. She accuses him of being prejudiced. When he declares he's not racist, she clarifies: He's prejudiced against smokers. And then he declares that he is and that she'll pay the fine anyways.
  • In the US version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Wayne (the only black actor) is told to do the African chant.
    Wayne: Why I gotta do the African Chant?
    Drew: Because Colin would just mess it up.
    • (Because Wayne can sing and Colin really can't.)
  • Played for Drama on The West Wing, when the parents of a young gay man who was murdered are invited to the signing of a hate crimes bill. CJ notices that the father looks angry and uncomfortable every time the bill is discussed, and begins to suspect that he had a problem with his son's sexuality. When she finally asks, it turns out that he's actually angry that the administration had never been active concerning gay rights, and was now playing politics with his son's death. The accusation clearly lands for CJ.


    Professional Wrestling 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Brazilian comedian Danilo Gentili, in a number about a new law in São Paulo that didn't allow the use of cell phones on libraries, imitated a person in the library reporting a violation... by calling from the cell phone.
    There's someone using a cell phone in here. [Pause] Black. [Pause] No, the cell's black, dude's white.
  • Tim Minchin would like to share some thoughts on prejudice. Also used by Minchin in his song Cont.
  • In a standup routine, Dave Chappelle was talking about an incident where he was confronted by the KKK.
    I mean, I was shocked. It's the 21st century. (Beat) Are there people still afraid of ghosts?
    • In another bit he told a story about going to a restaurant.
      I go to a restaurant to order some food, and I said to the guy, "I would like to have..." and before I could finish my sentence he said, "The chicken!" I could not believe it. (Beat) This man was absolutely right, how did he know I was gonna get some chicken?!
  • Similarly, Rene Hicks related a story where she saw a racist sign at a shop in the Deep South.
    Hicks: Well that didn't stop me because I don't answer to that! I walked up in there all the way to the counter and I said "Hey, you see that sign out there? Well, the word 'Nigger' is... spelled with TWO G's, you stupid-ass!"
  • Comedian Brendon Burns provided the former page quote, talking about how gay men, in general, have a lot more money than lesbians do... because gay men don't have girlfriends.
    "At first it appeared like I was going to be homophobic. Turns out I was being sexist!"

  • A weird example in the first Only An Excuse live show, parodying sectarianism in Scottish football. Two supporters are in the stands waiting for the teams to come out, and when they do, one supporter lets fly with a torrent of anti-Catholic abuse. The other then does likewise with anti-Protestant abuse. Then the first one says "Right, that's our team dealt with, now for the opposition!"

    Video Games 
  • In MAD's spoof of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, CJ shoots up a gay wedding in a drive-by but explains to Kendl that he's only killing them because they're white.
  • Hate Plus has the log "Worthless as a wife" from a man who, curiously, has been shown to be very supportive of his scientist spouse until then. He still is-he's parroting the words she related to him during her Despair Speech and bout of Internalized Categorism where she's begun to buy into the increasingly sexist culture of her society and is breaking under the strain, and he's more than a little scared for her. Depending on which AI you're with, the reactions are relief (*Hyun-ae) or confusion about him being unhappy she's trying to be a better wife (*Mute).
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, training with Lon'qu is said to be brutal if you're a man. If a Female Avatar or Sully goes through a Support chain with him, they find that he isn't using his full strength. When Lon'qu flat out tells Sully that the reason is that she's a woman, she assumes the worst, but the truth is more complicated.
  • Invoked in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus when the player first meets Super Spesh, a flaky, somewhat effeminate man who talks about how society before and after the Nazis rejected "people like him". The player is set up to believe that he's gay, but it quickly turns out that he's talking about his falling in love with an African-American woman and having a mixed-race daughter.
  • The Closer: Game of the Year Edition sees an NPC ask the titular protagonist to steal a baseball bat from the bedroom chambers of Carlos Rodriguez's mansion in exchange for some money. The Closer—an African-American guy—assumes the NPC is racist and doesn't buy into the sidequest. However, they then clarify it has nothing to do with his race but his status as a main character (one who does favors for random people in exchange for modest rewards while they pursue a more important quest). While he's relieved by the explanation, he's still a bit hesitant on the quest (and there's not much stopping the player from ignoring it entirely, aside from following the thread that quest starts all the way to rescuing Moose from the Gritty Reboot world).

  • Early in the space arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Lancelot is homophobic, but talking about it with his friends helps him realise that this is a problem with him, not with others. Guenevere points out that this doesn't seem to have changed his attitude to Dame Tristram, and Lancelot replies that Tristram is commiting adultery. (He gets over this long before it becomes hypocritical.)
  • Books of Adam: "Arthur": The white woman with an American flag on her shirt is shocked beyond belief at the gay wedding scene from Arthur and takes to the streets... not because it's a gay wedding, but because Arthur is somehow still airing.
  • In Khaos Komix, Charlie's mother runs into Charlie and Tom out in town as Charlie, in a dress was getting her ears pierced. Her mother berates her about how she "Thought she'd brought him up right" and she "knew who influenced her into it". Turns out she freaked out about Charlie getting piercings. Women's clothes? Fine and dandy. Except couldn't she think of anything less stereotyped?
  • Played for Drama in Venus Envy when Nina goes after Zoe because of "what she is" ...which turns out to be a class thing. She doesn't know.
  • Dork Tower:
  • Played with in The Pigs Ear. When Barkeep is looking for some hired help, a couple of the rejected applicants assume they didn't get the job because of their race, even though poor Barkeep was thinking of something completely different (like the black guy with a pair of hooks instead of hands).
  • In NSFW Comix, Becky thinks Grant, Psymantha, and Spatula have been driven to see a psychiatrist because they found out she has a penis. Later on, they assure her that her penis wasn't the cause of their distress: It was walking in on her masturbating to a picture of their Gonk roommate, Cuthwald.
  • In Roommates after Mrs. Norrington and Sarah find Valjean resting an unconscious Javert's head in his lap, the former comments that the two of them seemed "so... you know... the f-word..." She means "French", of course.
  • In this Penny Arcade strip, Gabe notes that he's worried that a friend's girlfriend is just a fake geek girl, Tycho responds to this by angrily chewing him out about judging who qualifies as a "true" geek. It turns out that Gabe meant she's a literal fake girl made from a bundle of sticks in a Batman T-shirt and lipstick.
  • In Questionable Content, Dora's father thinks bisexuality is just a phase, like some baggy pants Dora liked to wear. He doesn't care about Dora being bisexual, but he really doesn't like the pants.
  • In this comic, an old man rants at a younger man, seemingly against homosexuality. However, he really takes offense to the younger man being left-handed, which was seen as a sign of evil in the Middle Ages (where the comic takes place).
  • Played with in Dominic Deegan: The 2005-11-28 comic:
    Dominic: Hold it. We're not going to allow their kind into the show.
    Stonewater: If you are forbidding us from buying tickets because we are orcs...
    Dominic: I'm not prohibiting orcs from the concert. I am prohibiting infernomancers.
  • Parodied in a Wuffle strip. Everyone's surprised when Dr. Greyham reveals that he's Straight Gay, though they're actually surprised about the fact that there's a doctor in the village.
  • Happens often to Wallace White in Leftover Soup. He wants to be the white side in chess (or it's equivalent) not because he's black, but because his last name is White. Jamie is brought to him for a suite not for, as he initially assumed, a "gay makeover" but because they are about the same size and Wallace was sure to be home. Even Word of God States that he has a large penis not because he's black, but because he represents the author's idealized self.
  • Slightly Damned: Kazai does a double. First, you think that gay angels are considered pure blasphemy in angel society (It isn't. Might have something to do with his goddess being slightly hippie-like). Then the angel in question turns into a werewolf, and that would open a can of worms, but he's not concerned about telling his boyfriend that. AND THEN it turns out that because his crush is a Fire caste and he's a Water caste, that might be considered scandalous because X-elemental angels are supposed to inbreed with other X-elemental angels. Kieri is simply baffled, considering HER discriminatory romance is LITERALLY blasphemous...
  • Schlock Mercenary: In the 2004-06-06 strip, Tagon fires a pair of insectoid soldiers after their eggs hatch. Upon being chewed out by his chaplain, he immediately clarifies that he's not a bigot — he just doesn't think a mercenary vessel is a good place to raise a family.
    Tagon: It's not that they're weird, or that they're mating, or that they lay eggs. It's that they laid the eggs, and the eggs hatched, and now someone has to watch kids.
  • In Tripping Over You, when Liam finally comes out to his father, his dad promptly shows relief and comments that he was afraid that Liam was sneaking around because he was doing drugs. He promptly reveals that he's also angry about the whole "dating another guy" thing, but prioritizes the fact that Liam wants to quit law school. Eventually, his dad calms down a little, and it's implied that his real problem with the situation is that Liam didn't tell him about it sooner and instead lied about what he had been doing for so long.
  • Living with Hipstergirl and Gamergirl: This strip has Erika calling a Mileena cosplayer a fail. The cosplayer assumes Erika thinks she's not attractive enough to pull it off, but Erika explains it's because she's carrying a fan (which is Kitana's weapon, not Mileena's).

    Web Original 
  • This trope is the basis for the successful black man meme.
  • 4chan loves this trope.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Played straight, then quickly subverted when Gohan and Krillin see Freeza, Zarbon, and Dodoria for the first time.
    Krillin: Jeez, these aliens are scary. Especially [Freeza]. Looks like a total FAG.
    Gohan: Krillin!
    Krillin: What? A Freaky Alien Genotype. (Beat) What did you think I meant?
    Gohan: Oooh. I thought you were calling him a derogatory term for a homosexual.
    Krillin: THAT THING'S A GUY?!
  • The Nostalgia Chick:
    • She tells us that "Song of the South is offensive because it perpetuates the stereotype that black people are boring."
    • Likewise, she assumes the disapproval over the interracial romance in Cruel Intentions is because the boyfriend is "bla...nd."
  • Not Always Right and its sister sites sometimes get these stories.
    • This woman introduces her sister's wife to some coworkers, with one of them looking very stiff and worried, making one think she's homophobic. Then the wife calmly mentions that she's 26 years old and the coworker relaxes, having mistaken her to be in her mid-teens.
      "Oh, thank god! Don't scare me like that!"
    • Not Always Related has several stories of kids coming out to their parents as non-heteronormative, only for the parents to take it in stride and revealing that they were worried about them revealing something else, usually something nowhere near as dramatic.
    • One story had a little girl saying she really didn't like Tiana because she 'didn't like her color'. The teacher was worried about the little girl having racist views, only for her to explain that she really doesn't like the color green.
    • In this story, the poster and their family had been trying to keep their neighbor's recent gay marriage, a first for their rural and mostly conservative small town, a secret from their elderly grandma. When she found out anyway, the family were prepared to give her a spiel about progress and tolerance, but granny was totally incensed that he would dare marry a man... from a rival small town.
  • In Film Brain and The Rap Critic's review of Big Momma's House 3:
    Rap Critic: Yeah, I know why you want me to review that movie. It's because I am—
    Film Brain: —a student in art college!
    Rap Critic: Uhh... yeah.
    Film Brain: ...what did you think I was going to say?
    Rap Critic: Nothing, I thought you were gonna say it was because I was a rapper.
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), right after Light's sexuality is brought up again Near tells everyone he'll see them all in Heaven-except for Light of course.
    Light: Wait, why did you single me out?
    Near: Well, because you're Kira, obviously.
  • From the website Clients From Hell: "Nobody likes these black things..." As in, not the black man the speaker is pointing at, but the Blackberry phone the man is holding.
  • Battlefield Friends has this in an episode titled Recon C4 which takes place in Battlefield 4, where the Noob (who typically plays Support) is accusing Recon of stealing his "JeepStuff" The C4 explosives that Support used to have in Battlefield 3 before it was moved to Recon, Which is something he expected the black Assault/Medic to do...
    Medic: [Indignantly, overhearing this on the squad's radio] The fuck is that supposed to mean?
    Noob: You do know what that means!
    Medic: No I don't know what that means!
    Noob: Because you're always stealing kills with your overpowered Rifles!
    Medic: [Beat] ...oh, oh I thought you... never mind."
  • RedLetterMedia's Mr. Plinkett likes to do this—sometimes with prejudice, other times with stuff that'd just generally be in bad taste.
    Anyway, so then Marlowe chases after the female dog, but then he runs past the dog he's chasing for some reason. Jesus Christ, who was this dog's trainer, Michael Vick? ... sid you get that joke? It's because Michael Vick would often throw passes that would go well ahead of the intended receiver.
  • Lots of joke comments on a Cambell's commercial featuring two dads.
    "This makes me sick. What kind of corrupted family feeds their child Campbell's Soup? It's just not natural'.
    "This is disgusting. How dare the make a Vader impression at the dinner table. That is downright offensive. Learn some manners, jeez."
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: In Episode 26, Mackenzie acts standoffish about Tristian trying out for the cheer squad-not because he's a guy picking a stereotypically feminine activity or because he's Camp Gay, but because he doesn't go to their school.
  • In an episode of Camp Camp, Ambiguously Brown Max gets refused service by a bartender who doesn't serve "your kind". After Max demands to know who "your kind" are, the bartender points out that he means kids, and that Max is legally prohibited from drinking alcohol.
  • In one of Thomas Sanders' vines, Thomas whistles at a girl, who is rightfully offended. Thomas rapidly explains that he was whistling at her dog. Cue the dog's offended rant.
  • In the "Don't Deny It- Defy It" segment from The Crystal Gems Say be Anti-Racist, two boys make a Childhood Marriage Promise, only for a bully to attempt to discourage them... because "black people can't marry white people", instead of "boys can't marry boys".

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • When Francine kicks out a classmate of Steve's, Steve and Hayley think it was because she was black, but it turned out to be because she was left-handed. Francine had been taught by the nun that raised her that lefties were evil (even though she was one).
    • In another episode, Francine becomes a real estate agent and Stan chastises her for selling a house in their neighborhood to a well-known openly gay couple. She is about to defend it but it turns out Stan doesn't like them because they are reporters. It actually becomes a Running Gag for a while that he doesn't even realize they're gay, he thinks they're just two bachelors who live together.
    "Do you know what those two are? Reporters! That's right Francine, members of the liberal media!"
    • In another episode, Stan has a classic line about this, after he abuses an anti-terrorism law to seize the house of any neighbor who doesn't like him. What makes it more notable is that, as Stan lampshades himself, the actual meaning is even worse.
    "There goes the neighborhood. Ha, ha, ha! Normally that would have racist implications, but I've actually done something far worse."
  • South Park:
    • In the Season 5 episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood" the town goes on a crusade against rich people, called "richers", all of whom happen to be black. It's subverted at the end when all the rich people have left and some Aesop was delivered, and Mr. Garrison says "Well, at least we got rid of all those damn ni-(cut off by end credits)".note  The episode had characters scaring off the rich people by setting fire to "Lower Case t's, for 'time to leave'". And that the rich people took these things (the burning lower case t's, etc) exactly the way they were meant. Later all the townsfolk dress up as "ghosts" to scare away all the rich people. The rich people are indeed extremely frightened to discover that the town is "haunted". Also, the rich people organize a "Rich Pride" march and, upon passing by Chef, they assume he is rich and asks if he would join them. When he says that he's not rich, they offer him a hundred dollars, which he readily accepts.
    • People who annoy you: N_GGERS. The answer is NAGGERS of course. What else could it be?
    • There's also the episode where the town is divided over whether to change its flag, which depicts a lynching. The kids defend the flag, but they don't realize that it has anything to do with race. They didn't see it as white men hanging a black man, but as dudes hanging another dude. This display of innocence moves the adults to tears and convinces them to compromise by keeping the flag the way it is but changing the lynchers to be multiracial, including having a black lyncher.
  • In "Troq", the Fantastic Racism episode of Teen Titans (2003), Starfire (the subject of said fantastic racism) asks black teammate Cyborg if he knew how it felt to be the subject of discrimination. The implied discrimination on account of being half-machine, rather than being black. OK, half-black, half-machine. There's a good reason for that switch, since Starfire probably would just have been confused if Cyborg had mentioned being discriminated against for being black. Not because she's The Ditz, but because she's from another planet and thus would have no experience with Earth's history of racism.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter is sent to sensitivity training and comes back as a Straw Feminist. He gets up in front of a crowd of men and tells them that it's their fault that there's so much crime and violence in the country. Unfortunately said crowd happened to be the Million Man March. They took it the way you'd expect.
    • In another episode, when Peter is doing crack:
      Brian: Where'd you get crack?
      Peter: From blacks.
      Brian: [offended] What?!
      Peter: Yeah, right behind Black's Hardware Store. There's a white guy sellin' it.
    • And in "Jerome is the New Black", Peter appears dressed in a Klan robe, in an attempt to drive out their unwanted (black) houseguest. Turns out he's trying to scare him by dressing up as a ghost.
    • In "Stewie Griffin The Untold Story", Stewie's reaction to Ron (previously Meg) getting a sex change after college is "she went to college?!"
  • King of the Hill:
    • "My Own Private Rodeo" had Dale's father, who turns out to be gay, try to come out of the closet to Dale, who thinks that his father is a real lady-killer. After informing Dale that the rodeo he works at is a gay rodeo and that the man he's friends with is his "partner", Dale explodes at him, uninviting him to his wedding, and telling him to get out. It certainly looks like Dale is incredibly homophobic, but as it turns out, he thinks his father just admitted to being a government agent, the natural enemy of Conspiracy Theorists like Dale. Dale is rather confused as to how anyone could think he hates gays. After all, he's been friends with John Redcorn for years!
      Bug: A government agent? Oh, sweetie, there's been a huge misunderstanding. I'm gay.
      Dale: If only that were true.
    • "Racist Dawg" had Hank acting very off-put around a black man who'd arrived to fix his water heater, and Ladybird, picking up his hostility toward the stranger, attacked him. Everyone assumed Hank was racist, performing church songs in front of his house to "cure his intolerance," and Peggy got him to do some humiliating things to "learn to overcome." Even Hank started to get worried that he was subconsciously a racist. Eventually, when a new, white repairman came, Hank and Ladybird acted the same way. Hank doesn't hate black people. He hates repairmen, because he can't stand the idea of anyone but him fixing things in his own house.
  • Archer:
    Malory: I am not [a bitch]! Why, because I don't want Sterling to end up with a woman like Lana Kane? My God... a black... ops field agent?!?
    Pam: Thought she was going in a whoooole other direction with that.
    • Unlike most examples on this page, Mallory often makes vocally racist remarks (though usually towards Mexicans and other immigrants), which makes this even more unexpected.
    • Malory's also alternatively hot for and cold on black people. "The Limited" has her pushing around a black porter on a train, with Lana finally losing it when she calls him George... until the porter reveals his name actually is George. Although Malory was just as surprised as Lana to learn that fact.
    • "The Figgis Agency" has Archer ask Cheryl to look into a high-priced Hollywood divorce attorney named Alan Shapiro. After a few seconds, Cheryl says, "Well, we can guess he doesn't eat shellfish!" Everyone reacts negatively, but Cheryl reveals it's because he's allergic. Subverted when Archer points out she shouldn't assume a lawyer with the name "Shapiro" is Jewish... and she says, "Gross! He's Jewish?"
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe", Moe starts dating a "Little Person". Moe at one point claims to need to prepare a "car seat". Turns out he took out the passenger-side seat to save on petrol. When Moe later brings said little person to the Simpson house, Homer says that he wants to ask her a "mechanical question". Moe gets nervous, but it turns out he actually meant a mechanical question (as in, a question about mechanics). When she answers with expert accuracy, Homer turns to Moe and says "Put a ring on that!"
    • In "Fear of Flying", Homer is banned from Moe's and is searching for another bar. He ends up at what is clearly a lesbian bar...
      Homer: [Suspicious] Wait a minute... there's something bothering me about this place... I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your death trap, ladies! [leaves]
  • The superheroes Fire and Ice in The DCU have been close friends and partners for the entirety of their tenure in comics. This has, over time, given rise to a lot of romantic/sexual subtext between them and corresponding theories in the fandom. When they were added to the expanded roster of Justice League Unlimited The Flash began to nurse a not-so-subtle crush on Fire and Hawkgirl tried to prod him into action as best she knew how.
    Shayera Hol (Hawkgirl): You'd be wasting your time, anyway, I hear she's... y'know... (Flash looks horrified)... Brazilian.
    Flash: Ha ha.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In the episode where Filbert (a turtle) and Hutch (a cat) get married, Hutch's mom repeatedly lectures her how cats and turtles are natural enemies and can never get along. In the end, it turns out she only thinks so because she's always angry with Hutch's dad (who's a turtle). But she still loves him.
  • In one episode of Robot Chicken, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim travel to Brazil to save the Bush twins. They go into a bar and order a cola with two straws. The bartender tells them he doesn't serve their kind. They think he means Americans. He actually means anybody who's been on the cover of teen magazines.
  • The Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) arc "Spider-Verse" has the Goblin traveling to alternate realities to collect the DNA of various Spider-Men, with his Spider-Man hot on his tail. Eventually, they wind up in the comic book Ultimate Spider-Man, where Miles Morales has already replaced the deceased Peter Parker. When Miles reveals his true identity to Spider-Man, Peter is surprised because he wasn't expecting that world's Spider-Man to be so... young. Of course, by that point, he had already visited one universe where he was a girl, and another where he was a talking pig, so a racial difference probably wouldn't be too surprising. Humorously, the comic book did the same gag, as described above.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Knock Out's introduction includes Starscream dismissively describing him as "one of those", and given Knock Out's flamboyancy it seems to imply homophobia. Knock Out's offended "Come again?" is met with Starscream explaining that he just can't understand why a Decepticon would choose a grounded alt-mode over a flier.

    Real Life 
  • When Eric McCormack told his mother he would be playing a gay lawyer, she winced and said "Oh God... you're playing a lawyer?"
  • One particular news story has someone's quote as the title of the article preview, which said: "I won't photograph ugly people." Only when you actually click the link to read the whole article is it clarified that the person who said the quote means that she won't take pictures of bullies for the high school yearbook since she considers bullies as ugly people.
  • In a speech to the Springfield, Missouri City Council, preacher Phil Snider initially seems to be giving a typical religious "gays are an abomination in the eyes of God" rant, only to unexpectedly shift into a very pro-gay stance halfway through.
  • Back in the 2008 election of Barack Obama, a great number of jokes focused on the fact that for the first time in US history, Americans had finally elected a president who was… from Hawai'i.
  • Dan Savage reports on his blog about gay bowler Scott Norton, who shared a hug and a kiss with his husband after winning the PBA Chameleon Championship. "What a great day for a historically oppressed minority group," Savage comments, linking to an article which says "Norton ends left-handed drought".
  • In April 2015, a man at a train station in Rio de Janeiro took a photograph of various commuters on the platform, including two women kissing, and posted it on Facebook with what initially appeared to be a homophobic rant, complete with Think of the Children! remark... only to then reveal he was actually talking about a guy in the background standing too close to the tracks.
  • When Jodie Whittaker made headlines by being announced as the Thirteenth Doctor, jokes almost immediately began circulating of the series at last casting the Doctor with someone from Yorkshire.


Video Example(s):


Dominic Noble critics Netflix

Dominic disapproves of Netflix casting two young, dark-skinned men to play characters who were clearly meant to be old.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / DiscriminateAndSwitch

Media sources: