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Fantastic Racism

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"Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because—what with trolls and dwarfs and so on—speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green."

"Fantastic" as in "fantasy" or fictional, not as in "awesome", obviously.

Now that we got that out of the way, Fantastic Racism is a subset of the old trick of dealing with thorny issues through metaphor. Instead of having The Hero encounter racism between, say, white and black people in the American Deep South, or between ethnic Czech and Roma in the Czech Republic, or between Ainu and Japanese, or any other sets of real-world groups, they encounter "racism" between two-headed aliens and three-headed aliens, or between people with earth-themed elemental powers and people with water-themed elemental powers, or between shapeshifting squid-people and shapeshifting octopus-people.

Not to be confused with Space Jews, in which an imaginary species or culture has disturbing similarities to a real-world racist stereotype. Also related to Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?, where said monsters are usually used as a metaphor for other types of discrimination, oftentimes discrimination based on characteristics perceived by the bigot to be alterable, "curable", such as an alternative sexual identity, a disability, or a different religion/religious differences (the two tropes can often overlap in the case of religion), rather than race or ethnicity. Fantastic Slurs are often involved, as are Monster Rights Movements. Real Life weaselly lines like Some of My Best Friends Are X may feature. The undesired minorities may be rounded up inside a Fantastic Ghetto, and may also be the targets of Superhuman Trafficking. Conversely, they may form an Outcast Refuge away from the oppressors to live in (relative) peace.

Futuristic science fiction examples of human-on-alien Fantastic Racism will often make the human racist a member of a group historically discriminated against on Earth (such as a black character in an American-created work) both to emphasize that human-on-human racism is a thing of the past, and for the sake of irony from the viewers' perspective.note 

If the point of the story is to show the evils of racism, this trope can lead to a Broken Aesop if there are in fact good in-universe reasons to discriminate against a certain type of creature; say, because they need to eat other sapient beings in order to survive, or they genuinely are Always Chaotic Evil apart from the odd angsty heroic one, or they're just potentially-dangerous enough that one doesn't strictly have to be an absolute incorrigible raving xenophobic lunatic to consider making certain... precautions (at least against the loose cannons) to be a good idea.

Also note that Tropes Are Tools: most people wouldn't believe in a world where elves, dwarves, aliens, etc got along with perfect harmony, because their own experiences of different groups' interactions don't bear that out. It's called Fantastic Racism for a reason.

If the racism appears to be spilling into something a little less fantastic and into something more real, it's Values Dissonance.

Compare Superior Species, in which one species actually is objectively superior in some way; Species Loyalty, which may but does not need to entail this; and Master Race, when it's just in their head (and is probably a metaphor for Those Wacky Nazis for further bad-guy points).

See also People of Hair Color (which can be another occasion for racism in fantasy), Dehumanization (where one race is dehumanized to make them easier to kill) and Demonization (where negative character traits are fabricated, exaggerated, and generalized in order to justify some form of prejudice and hatred). Death Means Humanity is one potential resolution to any conflicts born from fantastic racism in which the death of a non-human being makes a human character recognize that being's personhood and value.




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  • Between meerkats and mongooses in the Compare the Meerkat campaign. During "The Battle Of Fearlessness" Alexandr's "grandpappy" fought in a war against them.
    Q: Isn't a meerkat a type of mongoose?
    A: NO! This great insult! Mongoose not good enough to lick dropping from my shoe! I am meerkat and I live in mansion filthy mongoose could only dream about in wildest dreams.
  • The GEICO cavemen ads could be seen as an example of this... which leads to Unfortunate Implications, when you consider that the campaign is essentially mocking the victim for getting offended.
    • In fact, it mutated over time; the first few ads were about the admakers themselves being totally unaware the cavemen existed to be offended and trying to run damage control. Then they kept using the ads.
  • This Sonic commercial. You actually feel bad for the vampire.
    • Again with Sonic, where the police talks with a ghost about someone rattling chains and moaning. The ghost takes offense to this only for moments later to see a guy on the other side of the parking lot doing just that.
    • The fact that he's being profiled by a black cop causes people no end of amusement.
    • It seems that Sonic's new ad campaign is 'Sonic is Fantastically Racist', because they have a commercial where a robot isn't allowed to eat the food because it's 'People Food'.
  • The "Crazy Good" Pop-Tart ads are this in a nutshell: various humans and animals trick, trap, and cook the Pop-Tart people alive so they can enjoy delicious pop tarts. Sometimes the humans and animals will fight each other (lightly) for a pop tart as well. Occasionally even the Pop-Tarts themselves end up going after each other, and have to fight a human for the opportunity to eat one their own.
  • The Trix Rabbit is an unintentional example: the whole reason the kids give for not letting him have any Trix is simply because he's a rabbit and "Trix are for kids", which comes across as a pretty lame reason (imagine if someone in real life said "[some food here] is only for white people.") This isn't helped when the kids are willing to give a bowl to Bugs Bunny, but once the disguise the Rabbit dons fails, take the bowl away from him.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield hates dogs with a passion. For example: he once wore an "I Hate Dogs" t-shirt which got him beaten up by a bunch of dogs after he wore it outside, thinking dogs were too dumb to read; much of his stand up material that gets him forcibly pulled off from spotlight on the fence consists of anti-dog jokes; one strip had Jon tell Garfield that evolution consisted of lower organisms evolving into higher life forms, and Garfield concluding that rocks evolved from dogs; and finally a very early strip goes something like this:
    John: Garfield! A mouse, get it!
    Garfield: No! I refuse to abuse one of my furry brothers. (Drop kicks Odie) I reserve my abuse for the lower life forms.
  • In My Cage, Norm's neighbour, Bernie Turkey, is a "flight supremacist" who belongs to a group called the Coo Clucks Clan.
  • Peanuts:
    • An August 1973 storyline had Snoopy challenging Hank Aaron for Babe Ruth's career home run record...and getting hate mail telling him "go back where you came from" and "we hate your kind", similar to what Aaron was getting in real life.
      Snoopy: I just want to be a credit to my breed!
    • Snoopy also has Charlie Brown write a letter to the producers of a TV cartoon complaining that the animal characters were portrayed as "silly and stupid", and also considered boycotting their sponsor.
    • On the other hand, Snoopy does have an irrational fear of snakes.
    • There's also his hatred of cats (which could be justified because the cat living next door is genuinely mean and scary, although Snoopy goes out of his way to provoke him). He "celebrates" National Cat Week by loudly booing. And he and Woodstock once made a list of all the things they loved about dogs, using a huge sheet of paper; and then pulled out a tiny scrap of paper for listing all the things they loved about cats. ("We'll probably have lots of room left over.")
    • In another strip he says he has the world's largest collection of "anti-cat jokes".
    • Snoopy can also be a Boomerang Bigot, as in an early strip in which he declares he's tired of being a dog, he's tired of associating with dogs, and that if he were human he wouldn't even own a dog.

  • Goddess Creation System: In one world, humans and monsters are at war. Oddly enough, Xiaxi's Alternate Self in this world is not a human, but a unicorn disguised as a human, meaning that she needs to hide her true race.
  • Iron Ladies: Despite Shura being just as intelligent as humans, because of their status as a Slave Race, people treat them like livestock.
    • Every sentient non-human race seen so far has suffered from discrimination and sometimes downright extermination for fun. At best they're seen as second-class citizens.
    • The only exception seems to be the Rain Master Race, who submitted themselves to the Holy Race and went into hiding after humanity won. Now they intend to overthrow humanity and become the new rulers of the galaxy.
  • My Beloved Mother: Despite robots being accepted into society, humans still bear some sort of prejudice towards the machines, with orphans raised by robomoms deemed an "outcast". Sinbell himself is a member of his class' Anti-Robot Club, which make things difficult considering his caretaker is Milan, a robot, a truth he unsuccessfully tries to hide from his classmates to avoid becoming an outcast.
  • My Wife Is a Demon Queen: Humans and demons look down on each other, and a brutal war over resources has led to immense resentment on both sides.
  • Retired Heroes: Demons are treated as Always Chaotic Evil monsters, despite being mostly the same as everyone else. There is a story about a group of demon spies masquerading as merchants who were all slaughtered when they tried to infiltrate human lands. Turns out that they were actually merchants, trying to find new markets because it was still safer than staying in the demon lands.

  • Aflame Inferno: Tedlars don't see humans as much other than fodder for Demonic Possession. The TBI agents display this doubly so. Upon their introduction, they brutally slaughter a Tedlar priest who was nothing but completely beneficial to the community he lived in. They presumably did honor his last request to aid a terminally ill child, however.
  • Angel Diary: The noble families of both Heaven and Hell tend to hold a rather low opinion of demons.
  • Area D: It's a wonder that Altered have any rights at all, even those who don't commit any crimes.
  • Dorothy of Oz: The East is generally a better place to live than the other three regions, but nonetheless, God have mercy upon you if you happen to be a Westerner or Southerner who accidentally wandered into their territory.
  • If AI Ruled the World: The Hacker hates hyper-intelligent A.I. (or just A.I. in general) and wants to destroy Raum at any cost. This hatred against A.I. stems from the fact that Raum’s importance to South Korea made the mother of the Hacker and the A.I.’s creator, Ms. Jeongmi, to die protecting him, making the former to blame on the latter for her mother’s death.
  • The Monstrous Duke's Adopted Daughter:
    • The Speràdo family teaches its blonde, green-eyed children that they are the best at everything and deserve the best the world has to offer, just for the asking. They treat all of their other children with disdain and abuse. Children with silver hair are offered up as a Human Sacrifice to empower their blonde children with the black magic they steal from said silver-haired children.
    • Also most of the empire is stated to be extremely xenophobic towards outsiders which is one of the reasons Medea was so embittered and driven to villainy.
  • Skeleton Soldier Couldn't Protect the Dungeon: Everyone attacks the skeleton soldier on sight, which is probably understandable since normal skeletons are mindlessly aggressive. But even when they find out that he can talk and he politely asks them to leave him alone, they still attack.
  • Witch Hunter:
    • Witches versus everyone else, not helped by the witches' most known characteristic of being Ax-Crazy.
    • Ryuhwan's entire hat. That guy hates witches. Ironically, he was trained by one, just like Tasha. His hatred for nearly all witches is because his teacher was killed by another witch, and since he doesn't know which one did it, he targets them all indiscriminately on the off-chance he gets the right one. His MO becomes less understandable once we learn that his master was West, making the list of possible culprits a lot smaller than you'd think.
  • Yureka: Demons are just like humans, only with no punishment for killing them.

  • The song "Xenophobia" by Bill Sutton is about, well, hating aliens.
    Let's be xenophobic! It's really in this year
    Let's find a nasty, slimy, ugly alien to fear
  • "I'm In Love With A Big Blue Frog" by Peter, Paul and Mary, is set in a community which is prejudiced against big blue frogs:
    The neighbours are against it, and it's clear to me,
    And it's probably clear to you,
    They think value on their property will go right down,
    If the family next door is blue.
  • "The Trees," by Rush.
  • Señor Wooly: In "Billy y Las Botas", the anthropomorphic scarf Billy hates other kinds of clothing. He hates gloves, jackets, and even hats.
  • The Sesame Street song "Being Green" was originally written as a plea to understand people who are different and not judge by appearance.

  • Solvin the elf from The Fallen Gods doesn't think much of Tuatha other than that she's the "half-human" of the group (she’s also half-elven). On the other hand, Tuatha hates wizards (though she's quick to clarify that that's classism, not racism).
  • Lachlan from Jemjammer explains that unfortunately, prejudice against Half-Orcs is present in many spheres, though some are better than others and there are many that don't judge them at all. He mentions his home of Eberron as a place where they're looked down on but not necessarily persecuted. He faced playground bullying for being half and half, but had loving parents. He also wants to find an all-orc city out in space.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Dimension X's "Pebble in the Sky": Bel Arvardan's unconscious/systemic racism is completely removed in this adaptation due to the need to keep it under thirty minutes, but everyone else's mutual hatred of Earthman vs Outsiders is kept intact.
  • Star Wars Radio Dramas: From Luke Skywalker, of all people. When Luke sees the hologram game on board the Millenium Falcon, he assumes Han has to play the ship's computer. Obi-wan has to explain to him that Chewbacca is an intelligent being who can play games of strategy with Han.

  • In The Qur'an, Iblis the Djinn refused to bow before Adam, because Adam was made of clay and Djinn were made of fire, which somehow made them superior according to him. Though, if you're a Muslim, you're gonna drop the "fantastic" part.
    • And possibly God's reason for demanding Iblis bow to Adam.
    • Angels are also considered by some Muslims to be below humans because they lack free will, so their worship of Allah is not worth as much as a human's, which do have free will.
  • Also gotta drop the "fantastic" part if you're Christian, but some Christians believe God will give humans authority over angels in Heaven, and a few go as far as to say he loves humans more because we're said to be "made in His image." The Bible itself is silent on this matter, and if anything it would seem that God loves all of His creations equally, but the concept has made its way into a few works (such as Dogma, Supernatural, and Constantine) which portray angels as being bitter, angry, and jealous of humanity over this issue.
    • Some Christians believe the opposite, that we are lower than angels because they never sin.
    • Demons are portrayed as hating all of humanity and trying to drag as many into Hell with them as possible. They also are implied to hate angels too, but there is only slight reference to this; a "war" in Heaven, and Satan trying to antagonize Archangel Michael over Moses' corpse.
  • According to Buddhism the Nagas (snake-like spirits) and the Garudas (bird-like spirits) were embroiled in a Forever War until Buddha helped them to attain peace.
  • The myth of a primordial hatred between to races of deities, one of Chaos generally seen as giants and monsters and another of more civilized heavenly (and more humanoid) beings is common in most Indo-European myths which is probably some sort of allegory about civilization defeating barbarism. These myths include the war between the Olympians and the Titans in Greek Mythology, Aesir and Jotuns in Norse Mythology and the war between the Devas and Asuras in Hinduism. In some cases the war was long before won by the heavenly (like in Greek mythology) in other the war is still going on (like in Norse and Hindu).
    • For Zoroastrianism the battle is among the Ahuras considered to be good heavenly beings and the Daevas (demonic monsters), exactly the opposite than in Hinduism.
    • In Buddhism it's also mentioned that Asuras (sometimes translated as "demigods" in Western sources) and Devas (translated as "gods" but not considered in Buddhism to be really divine or eternal) are in a perpetual war. However in Buddhism the Asuras are not really demonic like in Hinduism (the equivalent of "demons" in Buddhism would be the Maras) they are just (alongside humans, animals, demons and prettas or "hungry ghosts") part of the six Buddhist realms (forms that someone can be reborn into, although some more secular approaches of Buddhism see them more as states of minds). As Buddhism is more pacifistic the Buddhist myth also establishes that Devas normally manage to repel the Asuras without hurting them.
  • In Maori mythology, the Maero are a race of Frazetta Man Precursors who were displaced by Maori settlement and forced to flee into the mountains, and thus harbor a hatred for humanity.

  • The Chaos Zone's portrayal of Rika (a human engineer) has questionable views of the kappa in Gensokyo, feeling like she's been left in the shadow of the technologically-advanced race. She is more accepting of the mountain-dwelling yamawaro (especially Takane), though their own business with the kappa means when Rika works with the yamawaro, she has to be stopped from doing things like throwing around slurs in public.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues has various visions of the future that show the negative reaction the public have to the existence of superheroes: the protagonists are forced to abide by curfew, are blamed for the country's degradation, and are eventually sent into hiding as the government starts to hunt down and exterminate them.
  • Fire Emblem on Forums:
    • Wonderful Blessing: Two major examples:
      • Revivians, humans taken from Earth to reincarnate into Generia are largely dismissed as odd, weird and slightly insane by Generian natives. It doesn't help that the stereotype of them (which a few live up to) are as overly-obsessed Otaku with a fascination with living out their Perverse Sexual Lust.
      • Demons and Demon Races have some minor prejudice, but it doesn't seem to interfere too heavily with their integration, with a goblin-Revivian marriage passing without comment and gargoyles being part of a popular adventuring team.
    • Solrise Academy: The Belgor faced heavy prejudice in the past, due to being seen as shifty and omens of bad luck. While the prejudice has largely faded in the present day, Mordecai, a Vampire (in this setting a Belgor subrace) still fears it from time to time.
    • Laguz Test FEF: As in their original games, the Laguz and humans don't always get along too well. Within the main party, Joachim (a Cat Laguz) despises Milos (a human) and even Ella (another Laguz) for being a bigot and being too eager to cosy up to humans (as Ella is carrying out a secret romance with a human prince). Milos is largely terrified of Laguz, though his fear (and thus dislike) of them fades throughout the story.
  • There is no GATE; we did not fight there:
    • Most humans of the Empire are heavily prejudiced against the many demihuman species scattered around the setting. Likewise, many demihumans bear grudges against humans (and other races) for a number of reasons.
      • Even in Rhavenfell, where racism is much less present due to the many contributions of various races on the frontier over the years, most people still have certain prejudices against demihumans. However, the Rhavenfells' efforts towards integration have been slowly chipping away at the racial tension.
  • Pretty much the basis of This Is War, where the supernaturals were forced out of their home countries by the government doing this, only to find similar from the people in Britain.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Parodied with a fictional and very unsubtle children's story in Bo Burnham's stand-up act:
    The squares lived happily in their square houses, in their square yards, in their square town.
    But then, one day, a family of circles moved in from the west.
    "Get out of here, roundies!" shouted one of the squares.
    "Why?" said one of the circles.
    "Because this is a metaphor for racism!"
  • Martin Pearson has a rant about this in The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien (aimed at the producers of The Lord of the Rings movies):
    "What is this inability to put dwarves on screen?! SPECIESIST, THAT'S WHAT IT IS!"

  • In Orpheus: A Poetic Drama, Hades is suspicious of Eurydice, a water nymph, as others like her helped alert Demeter to Persephone's location back when he abducted her.
  • Seascape: A surrealistic play about an old married couple—Charlie and Nancy—at the beach who are startled to encounter two lizard people—Leslie and Sarah—who crawl out of the ocean to have a chat. Leslie the aquatic lizard-man hates fish, calling them dirty and stupid. Charlie is amused greatly by this, calling Leslie a bigot.

Alternative Title(s): Speciesism, Fantastic Racist, Fantastic Discrimination, Fantastic Prejudice, Other Media


Threehorns and Longnecks

Littlefoot and Cera can't play together because they are different dinosaur species.

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