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Humans Are White

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"Why am I the only black Jedi on the Jedi Council? Ain't nobody else in here black, and if ya are black you got a bone in the middle of yo head."
Mace Windu, Star Wars: A Lost Hope

Space has a lot of peoples in it. Way, way more peoples than science tells us there should be. There are blue people, green people, orange people, purple people, people that eat people, Proud Warrior Race Guys, Scary Dogmatic Aliens, Big Creepy-Crawlies, Energy Beings, and even the odd Sufficiently Advanced Alien with a very familiar name. And most of them even speak English, but there is still probably just the one black guy.note  You'll have an even harder time finding East Asiansnote  or Indians, even though East-, South-, and South-East Asia together contain slightly over half of Earth's current population.


This trope can also appear in alternate dimensions or histories as well as in futuristic space stories.

Arguably a little more justified in Sword & Sorcery works, which are usually set in an iron age culture where travel is difficult, and you might have to travel a long distance to encounter significant ethnic diversity. Plus, if the story is based around a particular real world culture's legends and mythology (Greek, Norse, Japanese, whatever), it is to be expected that most of the cast will belong to that ethnicity (indeed, exceptions run the risk of being Black Vikings).

In older live-action works, this occurs because the great majority of actors were white, and The Hays Code prohibited mixed-race romantic pairings of characters and the actors who played them.

Note that Humans Are White doesn't have to be about white people exclusively. If a Bollywood movie set in a distant, alien-filled galaxy features an all-Indian cast with other races in minor roles, and there is no in-universe explanation for the imbalance, then it's an example of this trope.


Contrast with Politically Correct History. Also contrast with In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race, in which no race can be suspiciously over-represented because there is only one race to begin with. Compare with Human Aliens.

Please do not confuse this trope with its Sister Trope, Monochrome Casting (and note that one doesn't imply the other; the cast could still be mixed-race if, say, all Asian actors played Martians rather than humans). Compare with how whites are blonde.

The convention that most anime characters tend to look like white Europeans, often even when they are expressly meant to be native-born Japanese, is a different trope.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Gundam has evolved a lot since its beginnings. Though it is at times a little hard to tell the 'white' people apart from the Asians since they used to make not such a big fuss about it.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam, had at an Afro-Argentine character, Ryou. (He might also have been black to fit the trope.) Apart from that most people looked a lot the same but were probably evenly distributed between Asians and white ones.
    • Zeta Gundam had Tag Along Kid Shinta.
    • Gundam ZZ features Rakan Dahkaran, a ruthless and rather dangerous ace pilot that heavily contrasted with the recurrent goofy Bunny Ears Lawyers that preceded him. Other minor blackish characters also show during the course of the series, like Masai N'gava, a female Zeon's pilot looking to clean up the name of her dead mentor.
      • Though it could be argued that they didn't have too much of a choice, considering that they spent most of the middle part of the series in Africa.
    • Victory Gundam featured at least one female, Afro-American main cast member and a couple of other kids who were not white. Also, the origin of Shakti are up to debate, with her name suggesting Indian descent.
    • G Gundam Chandra (Indian), Conta (Kenyan), Chico (Mexican), Frank (Cuban) are the fighters other than white or East Asian shown.
    • ∀ Gundam's Loran Cehak is definitely brown-skinned, as is Earthrace noble Guin Lineford, villain Agrippa Maintainer, and side characters Keith, Miashei, and Joseph (with varying shades), along with plenty of nameless background folks. It's difficult to pin actual ethnic origins on them, however, given that some are from the moon and they are frequently Dark Skinned Blondes. (Plus it's 10,000 years in the future and humans are recovering from a self-induced bottleneck, so gene pools have been basically put in a blender.)
    • Gundam Seed Stargazer has Shams Couza, a black mecha pilot fighting alongside with Mudie (white), and Sven (ambigously mixed White-Asian).
    • Gundam 00 has at least two black secondary characters: Graham Aker's late wingman Daryl Dodge and the president of The Federation. There's also Ambiguously Brown Johan Trinity (who seems to be a different race than his siblings. They're Designer Babies). Despite his Japanese Code Name, the main character Setsuna F. Seiei is Kurdish, along with his ex-mentor/arch-enemy Ali Al Saachez. Princess Marina Ismail and her right-hand Shirin Bakhtiar are Persian (Azadistan is of Persian etymology) Fellow Gundameister Allelujah Haptism is Kazakh. And of course, there are all the other cast members with apparently multiracial origins, as shown through their names. However, any crowd scene not set explicitly in the war-torn parts Middle East will be all-white. (E.g., during the Battle of the Oribtal Elevator, we see the populations of several cities explictly in central Africa, and they aren't black.)
    • Gundam Wing had a large background cast of Arab characters, in the form of Quatre's private army. However, although also of Arabian descent, space-born Quatre was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Justified with his surname "Winner" which suggested mixed heritage.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor has its main characters supposedly as members of an international military force. However, pretty much everyone on the ship has a Japanese name, and the high command are likewise Japanese. The token minority member is Lt. Kim whose appearance in the show is probably meant as proof of a more "racially harmonious" future.
  • There are absolutely no non-white characters in The Empire in Legend of Galactic Heroes, for justified (if abominable) reasons. The Free Planets Alliance, by contrast, showed a number of Blacks and other ethnicities.
  • Zoids: Chaotic Century features the Ambiguously Brown Moonbay in the otherwise all-white main cast.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist notably averts this trope. With the Asian-looking Xingese characters, the dark skinned, white haired, red eyed Ishvalans, and the (generally) white Amestrians, FMA is one of the few anime/manga to not only include a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but actually incorporate them into the character designs. Even among Amestrians, there are "black" supporting characters like Paninya and Jerso.
  • Averted in both the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its Robotech incarnation. UNSPACY and the RDF are both apparently staffed by people of various ethnicities, although this is more blatant in Robotech than the source material.
    • Macross as a whole does its best to present an ethnically diverse future society, even if its main casts tend to lean towards East Asian and/or European.
  • Outside of Filler extras, there is exactly one black character (or possibly Indian) in Dragon Ball Z, Uub, and he's introduced in the very last episode. He does get an expanded role in GT, but like everyone else who's not named Goku, he's useless. Every other significant human character and essentially all of the people in crowd scenes appear to be white. Even Tien, whose name, attire and background would imply the equivalent of Chinese ancestry, looks very white.
    • The original Dragon Ball has more diversity, with Staff Officer Black of the Red Ribbon Army (black), Nam (Indian), Bora and Upa (Native American) and Tao Pai Pai and Master Shen (East Asian). Though as mentioned above, Shen's student Tien appears Caucasian.
  • Naruto averts this, especially in Part 2. The Cloud Village in particular seems to have a lot of black ninja, including its leader, the Raikage. The protagonists are also all Japanese unless specified otherwise.
  • Aldnoah.Zero has a large amount of both Asian characters and white characters living in Japan. This only makes Martian characters stand out. They're descended from, or are outright, humans from Earth who live on Mars. However, pretty much every Martian is white. The two main Martian characters - one who actually was born and raised on Earth though - are blonds with light eye colors in contrast to the black-haired, brown-eyed protagonist.
  • Space Battleship Yamato 2199 - Despite the Yamato being under the United Nations Cosmo Navy, the ship's human crew is entirely ethnic Japanese. There is no named human character that is not ethnic Japanese.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Silver Age, Legion of Super-Heroes featured many aliens but no black human or Human Alien members. Eventually, in the Bronze Age, Tyroc was added as the Angry Black Man that was a common sort of Token Minority back in the day (very similar to the earliest portrayals of the John Stewart Green Lantern.) Supposedly, in the 30th century, the world is above caring about things like race, but the meddling executives, very much of that point in the 20th century, weren't quite up to having a black character as just another guy instead of The Black Guy.
    "I always wanted to have a character who was African-American, and years later, when they did that, they did it in the worst way possible....instead of just incidentally having a character who happens to be black...they made a big fuss about it. He's a racial separatist....I just found it pathetic and appalling." -Jim Shooter
    • In the Legion's "threeboot" continuity, Star Boy is a black Human Alien from the planet Xanthu who's just one of the gang, though his previous incarnations in the older continuities were white. Atom Girl/Shrinking Violet, another human-looking alien from the planet Imsk, also has vaguely Asian features.
  • In the Marvel Universe, The Kree were all originally blue-skinned, but interbreeding with other alien races led to the appearance of a white subrace; the superhero Captain Mar-Vell was one of them. The Blue Kree are now a minority that rules their empire and mistreats the others.
  • Superman:
    • Starting in the 70's, Krypton is shown to have the island/continent of Vathlo, which is basically Kryptonian Africa. E. Nelson Bridwell Handwaved the lack of black characters in previous stories by pointing out that most black Americans and Europeans are descended from people brought over as slaves; since Krypton never had that type of slave trade, the ethnicities remained relatively localized. On the contrary, Vathlo already had a comparably advanced culture when Krypton's European-analogues first encountered them, and First Contact ended up being peaceful.
    • Later Post-Crisis stories like New Krypton depicted the population of Krypton as being much more diverse, seemingly retconning the previous explanations.
  • Star Wars (Marvel 1977) was better about averting this than the films or, indeed, more recent Star Wars Expanded Universe comics, as well as having more unremarked-upon female characters. Most of them were incidental, though. Red-skinned human-shaped Zeltrons also had black-looking facial features, at least until later artists changed them to look like magenta white people.
  • Averted in the classic EC Comics story "Judgement Day" (video from SF Debris here). A human representative of The Federation visited a planet of robots to decide if they could join it. He soon learned that the orange robots discriminated against the blue ones, and because of this discrimination, he told them that the planet was not yet worthy of joining the Federation. In the last panel, he took off his opaque helmet, which he had worn through the entire story, revealing that he was a black man. When the story was later reprinted The Comics Code tried to have him Race Lifted, but a Writer Revolt by the author and EC on grounds that such would defeat the entire purpose of the story successfully forced it to be published unchanged.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: As usual in Star Wars, this is mostly played straight. The only exceptions were Sixtus Quin and Reina Faleur (Faleur was never seen again; Quin reappears briefly in the X-Wing Series books). In fact, Quin's very existence is owed to the artist, who made him black—Michael Stackpole hadn't planned him to be that way.

    Fan Works 
  • Averted in Bait and Switch (STO), where the near-human aliens aren't consistently white either. The Bajor's captain and ops officer are light-skinned Bajorans and the master chief at the sensor station is a human with an English name (later stories and Word of God make him a New Zealander), but the main conn officer is Korean, the chief medical officer is an Australian Aborigine (making him black and South Asian), and the science officer is a brown-skinned Trill. The other three members of the command crew are two Andorians and a homebrew alien, none of whom are even on the same color spectrum.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet by the same author likewise averts. Of the two humans on the crew of a Starfleet listening post, one (Crewman Yasmin Sherazi) is stated to be Iranian in the narration (and once swears in Azerbaijani), while the other (Chief Operations Specialist Sally Blackhawk) is mentioned to be Shoshoni Indian in the author's notes. The C.O. of Starfleet Command is an Admiral Avaninder Singh, a Sikh from Liverpool.
  • Reimagined Enterprise: Averted. The cast is considerably diversified relative to the canon Star Trek: Enterprise to more realistically reflect United Earth and address a common fan complaint. Just on the NX-01 crew, the captain is Chinese, the chief engineer is a Latina, the communications officer is Indian, and the nurse is from Qatar.
  • The only human character in the entire cast of "Aen'rhien Vailiuri" is from Iran.
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us: The aversion is actually a minor plot point: Benjamin Smith, who's black, thinks that Ba'wov and K'Gan (Klingons pretending to be humans) are slaves escaping from the South because of their coloringnote  and secretive behavior.

  • Star Wars:
    • The original trilogy has only one human main character who is not white: Lando. There aren't even many background nonwhite humans. George Lucas has said that at one point he considered making Han Solo a black character, but decided he "didn't feel like making Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." note 
    • The prequels diversify the cast, perhaps most notably by revealing that Ensemble Dark Horse Boba Fett and all the clone troopers are Maori and adding Samuel L. Jackson to the Jedi Council as Mace Windu. Others include Captain Panaka, Amidala's chief of security from The Phantom Menace as well as the singular black X-Wing pilot from Return of the Jedi. Many alien minor characters, such as those on the Jedi Council, are played by actors of color as well; most wear heavy makeup or prosthetics however.
    • There was also at least one Asian starfighter pilot in Return of the Jedi as well.
    • Bail Organa is played by the Latino actor Jimmy Smits. On the other hand, Princess Leia Organa, a real-life (Ashkenazi) Space Jew,note  grew up thinking he was her biological father, so it's hard to say what Bail is supposed to be.
    • Ever since the franchise was bought out by Disney, there seems to have been a conscious effort to avert this trope.
      • The Sequel Trilogy averts this by casting John Boyega (Finn), who is black, and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), who is Guatemalan, in the main cast. We also see conspicuously more black and Asian extras than the other trilogies, and out of the X-Wing pilots that lead the attack on Starkiller Base, one is black and one (Jessika Pava) is Asian. The Last Jedi added Rose Tico, played by Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran, to the main cast.
      • In Star Wars Rebels, all of the human leads are Ambiguously Brown (Ezra appears Middle Eastern, Kanan and Sabine both appear East Asian; Word of God says that all would be considered mixed-race by Real Life standards).
      • In Rogue One, a number of key characters are played by actors of diverse ethnicities (often retaining their native accents), including Mexican Diego Luna, African-American Forest Whitaker, British Pakistani Riz Ahmed, and Chinese Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
      • The Mandalorian stars Chilean-American Pedro Pascal, with the supporting human cast about evenly divided between white and non-white. Other actors of color with human roles appearing across multiple seasons include Carl Weathers as Greef Karga, Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand, Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon, and Omid Abtahi as Dr. Pershing. The second season also declared Temuera Morrison the latest live-action Boba Fettnote , before giving him his own show, The Book of Boba Fett.
  • Forbidden Planet features a large number of space-traveling men... all of whom are white and kinda look alike. Morbius and Altaira are also white as well.
  • All of the citizens of the city in Logan's Run are conspicuously white. That could be the result of the city's Designer Babies. Then again, the Killer Robot they fight was originally supposed to evoke a "tribal" African and was portrayed by a black actor. You'll just have to draw your own conclusions from that. Note that a single female Green with dark skin and an Afro does walk by in the background, mere seconds before "The End" crops up on screen. Then again, given the availability of easy facial and body reconstruction, there's no way to know if she's genuinely black, yet another white girl who had her melanin cranked up for style's sake, or if "Caucasian" is just now the "in" look for everybody else in that particular season.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons movie. With a highly improbable array of bizarre species mingling together in one city, Ethnic Scrappy Snails is the only black man. Naturally, he has no choice but to fall for the elf ranger of the group... the only black woman in the entire movie. Apparently in the land of Izmer, cross-species dating is par for the course, but cross-color dating still doesn't quite come naturally.
  • Wing Commander: Unlike in the earlier games on which the film was based (see below), this trope is played straight. There are only two non-white actors in the main cast, and one of them is barely present (Mr. Obutu is part of the Claw's bridge personnel, and often somewhat in the background).
  • Invoked in Planet of the Apes. There's only one black man, Dodge, in the original film. Zira says in the third film that the apes were intrigued by Dodge and stuffed him for display because they'd never seen a human with dark skin before. That said, there was a black man among the mutant society in the second film. In the unproduced Chris Columbus script, there is only one black astronaut as well, but the apes say that he has the look of "the southern tribes" right after meeting him.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the humans and other humanoid races are all white. White extras generally played "good" races while non-white extras were put into costumes as orcs. A British Pakistani woman, who flew all the way to New Zealand to audition as a Hobbit extra in The Hobbit was bluntly told that she was too dark to be a hobbit by the casting director. Said casting-director was later fired by Peter Jackson (accompanied with a public online apology) after the wave of anger on the internet caused by this incident, and yet the casting practice stuck regardless. In fairness, Tolkien did model the Middle Earth setting specifically on medieval Europe as it was perceived at the time (ie. all-white), but it still sucks for actors of colour who don't want to be orcs.
    • In The Hobbit, by contrast, some of the citizens of Laketown are non-white.
  • Lampshaded in The Ice Pirates, where the lone black character builds a black fighting robot. When asked why he made the robot black, he replies "I wanted him to be perfect".
  • There is only a single black person in Space Mutiny (a frozen corpse). This has bigger Unfortunate Implications than most examples since the film was made in Apartheid era South Africa...
  • The sequel/parody of Turkish Star Wars makes all humans explicitly Turkish (with one black person). There's a reason it's called Turks in Space.
  • Catalina Caper has an all white cast with the exception of Little Richard, who appears in one scene for a musical number. This was pointed out frequently when the episode was riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Star Trek (2009) did roughly as well at this as the shows typically did. In addition to the main cast including a black womannote  and an Asian, the original captain of the Kelvin is Pakistani, and Admiral Barnett, the head of the Starfleet Academy Board (who is played by Tyler Perry, incidentally) is black. The extras have various other colors, including of course green. Star Trek Into Darkness adds Thomas Harewood and his family, Harewood being the black British Starfleet officer whom Khan uses to blow up Section 31's weapons lab. However, Into Darkness drew a lot of criticism for the Race Lift of the ethnic Indian Khan Noonien Singh into a white guy (though it's worth noting the original actor was Hispanic).note 
  • Averted in the film version of Ender's Game where both child and adult characters are quite racially and ethnically diverse, including Black, Arab, Indian, Hispanic, Maori, etc., due to being cadets for the International Fleet, who recruit child prodigies from every nation on Earth. This is also the case in the book.
  • In the Nova documentary Decoding Neanderthals, the Cro-Magnon characters all seem to have brown hair, gray eyes, and light skin, while the Neanderthal characters all have black hair, dark eyes and slightly darker skin. This is especially odd given that the Neanderthals' ancestors have been living in and adapting to Europe for hundreds of thousands of years, and the Cro-Magnons' ancestors left Africa not all that long ago in evolutionary terms. It's also been learned that Neanderthals were pale-skinned, and some even redheads.
  • In contrast, First Peoples, a later PBS miniseries on the same topic, correctly portrayed the theoretical skin colors of the hominids involved, with the only recognizably white actors cast as Neanderthals and nearly all the modern humans either black or Ambiguously Brown.
  • Played Straight (for Hispanic standards) in Santo contra la invasión de los marcianos, all humans are white Mexicans. This is probably due to a common practice in Mexican cinema of casting mostly European-looking actors for its movies.
  • Dune (1984) has a mostly white cast, even for the Fremen (desert-dwellers of Arabic descent) and the Atreides (of Greek descent, and explicitly described in the source novel as "dark").
  • Starship Troopers: The cast is significantly whiter than in the book it's supposedly based on. The protagonist Johnny Rico, a Filipino in the novel, is given a Race Lift in order to make the human society look more Nazi. Granted they're supposed to be future Argentinians (Argentine is the most European Latin American country, though still not that white in terms of looks).
  • The Time Machine (1960): In the future, all Eloi (one offshoot of modern humanity) are uniformly white and mostly blond. This might seem plausible as it's set in the former London (yet even then the blondness isn't) but they also are living in what looks like a pretty hot climate to judge from the lush jungle that sprung up. So you would expect the Eloi to have darker skin and hair eventually as a result (granted, it isn't clear how long the climate's been that way).
  • The Girl From Monday: The whole cast is white, even minor characters. Apparently, the future US has gotten far whiter, contrary to demographic predictions.

  • In Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, Earth has been destroyed by hostile aliens but the crew of two spaceships survive. One with an all-male crew from the USA, and there is no indication it includes any Black, Asian or Latino; one with an all-female crew from Europe.
  • The Brightest Shadow: Heavily averted. Few of the human ethnicities match up with a real world group and they seem to have a wide range of physical characteristics.
  • Averted in Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov series. Kresnov and her friend Vanessa appear to be some of the only European white women (and Sandy is only designed to look that way) in a world that is dominated by colonists of Indian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern descent. The Earth-ruled Federation is dominated by the superpower India, and the breakaway League has mostly Chinese and American influences.
  • Averted by Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic novels, with two (maybe even three) of the four main protagonists being non-white, and being set in a world that is very multi-racial.
  • Averted in the ColSec Trilogy. The protagonist, a redheaded, freckle-faced Scot, is the only central character who's explicitly white. The other two boys are explicitly not; one is black, the other is Asian. The Smart Girl is a gray-eyed blonde with an Irish surname, but apparently still looks tanned after three years indentured to an electronics firm; the other girl character, although pale from living underground for the first seventeen years of her life, is ambiguous.
  • Averted in the Destroyermen series. The crew of USS Walker is white, yes, but that's because the US military wasn't desegregated until 1947, and Walker is sent from our world to the books' Alternate Timeline in early 1942. Walker's steward Juan is Filipino, and the crew of the Japanese battlecruiser Amagi (their nemesis for books two and three) is Japanese. Later the heroes meet up with the Empire of New Britain, who would best be described as mestizo: they're part British, part Mayincatec.
  • Averted in Dune, where the Fremen are stated to be of (mostly) Arabic descent and have lived on a desert planet for ten thousand years anyways, while Duke Leto Atreides (supposedly Greek) is said to be "dark".
  • Earth's Children: The story takes place entirely in Europe, and the characters generally have modern European coloration. Two exceptions:
    • Ranec, who is half-black. His father walked from (modern-day) Ukraine to northern Africa (yes, walked) before meeting his black mother's people. However, Ranec gets around sexually (like most men in this story), and many characters have observed his genetic influence on the younger generation, so a darker skin tone is present among some of the Mamutoi children whom he fathered.
    • In The Plains of Passage, we are introduced to Jerika (East Asian), the second wife to Jondalar's (European) father Dalanar, and their daughter Joplaya, and Jerika's father Hochaman.
  • Averted in the Earthsea series. The Hardic civilization that dominates most of Earthsea is composed of people of various shades of brown. Ged himself is described as "red-brown" (probably kind of American Indian-looking), while there are various shades of copper/bronze-brown, black-brown, etc. The only white people are the barbarian Kargs who unwittingly worship the gods of Evil and are more or less Fantastic Vikings.
  • Averted in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep. All human settlements in The Beyond come from one common ancestor — Nyjora, a Lost Colony already several generations removed from Old Earth — and are described as having a common phenotype: dark skin and black hair. Pham Nuwen's red hair and asian features are so unusual as to be almost alien.
  • Averted in The First Law: The peoples of the powerful Gurkish Empire are dark-skinned individuals, one of which includes the major character Ferro Maljinn. The Gurkish practice non-ethnocentric slavery. The city-state of Dagoska (major setting for the second book, Before They Are Hanged) is made-up of black or brown-skinned individuals who live under an apartheid-like system. Dagoska was a Gurkish domicile until it was annexed by the Union following the First Gurkish War. Superior Sand dan Glokta comments that though the Union did away with slavery, the Dagoskan people are treated like less than animals.
  • Averted in Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish universe:
    • When a fair-skinned, white-looking character crops up in the short story "Dancing to Ganam", most other people find his appearance downright bizarre.
    • In The Left Hand of Darkness, the Human Aliens of the planet Gethen, who mostly look Asian or Inuit, are visited by a lone Earthman who is black.
  • Averted in Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novel Nor Crystal Tears. It's only after the insectoid protagonist Ryo has spent some time with a couple of human explorers that they mention to him that the two of them look different not only because they are different genders, but also different ethnicities, Bonnie being white and Loo being Asian.
  • Averted in The Hunger Games, it takes place in a futuristic North America, thus there are lots of black people. Rue, a girl with whom Katniss starts a friendship during the games, is black in the book. Many readers didn't realize this, and when Rue was black in the movie, too, some complained, remembering her as blonde due to her role as cute little girl. Katniss herself is said to have olive skin, and it has been a matter of some debate whether she should have been cast as white.
  • Inverted in the Imperial Radch universe. Although the interstellar empire of the Radch runs the gamut of assimilated planets and peoples, upper-class Radchaai culture views pale skin as somewhat unfashionable, so there is some social pressure to have it darkened.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle black people are extremely rare, and it goes so far as for one character to ask if one of the black character's skin is dyed. They apparently come from far away and travel is limited by technology, much like the real world. The series swings into Unfortunate Implications territory when it mentions that the "wandering tribes'" favorite thing to do is "smoke cardus weed."
  • Averted with a vengeance in the Inheritance Trilogy (not to be confused with the above-mentioned Inheritance Cycle), where almost all the major human civilizations are varying shades of dark, with only the Amn being explicitly white (and they- or at least, their tyrannical leaders- are mostly bad guys).
  • Every human character from The Iron Teeth could fall into this trope. The in story explanation for this is that in this world all humans come from a single isolated continent known as The Homelands, and are thus there is less genetic diversity than on earth.
  • Averted in the Known Space universe:
    • Earth has had thorough mixing through the convenience of the transit booth, which eliminated distance and borders.
    • The Belters are also evenly mixed, for the opposite reason—there are only a few asteroids with life support, so everyone meets and mingles with everyone.
    • The extraterrestrial colonies are less varied, either due to adapting to extreme conditions, patterns of settlement, or low starting population; the Jinxians all have very dark skin regardless of ethnicity, due to the intense sunlight of their world. The Crashlanders are 40% albinos. And it's specifically mentioned that nearly everyone uses medication to darken their skins as a protection against sunburn.
    • Cosmetic dyes to make you any color you want to be along with casual plastic surgery are also common. Louis Wu dyes his skin chromium yellow and gets epicanthic folds for his 200th birthday. He's specifically stated to look like "a comic-book Fu Manchu".
    • One character is personally an albino, and thinks to himself that his skin has been every color from its natural pinkish-ivory (if he doesn't take his melanin pills) to ebony (full melanin pills under a blue-white sun) and is having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that discrimination based on skin color was ever even a thing.
  • Averted in the Lilith's Brood/Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia Butler. Lilith Iyapo is the initial main character. She later becomes involved with an Asian man and later a Latino man. There are white characters, some of whom are important, but they are not the main characters.
  • Averted in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. There are many variations within the human race alone. The people of the Malazan mainland of Quon Tali, especially in the province of Itko Kan, are clearly expies of East/Southeast Asians. The south of Quon Tali and most of the subcontinent of Seven Cities have people of various shades of dark and Middle Eastern skin tones, with Emperor Kellanved and First Sword Dassem Ultor being black and from Dal Hon, and High Mage Quick Ben and the assassin Kalam Mekhar being from Seven Cities. The Usurper of the Malazan throne at the start of the series is a dark-blue skinned woman named Laseen.
  • Averted in many ways by The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The main character's (Manuel Garcia O'Kelly Davis, a bit of a multicultural mashup in itself) race isn't really described, but is described as multi-racial with an ancestor deported from Chad. His romantic entanglement in the novel is also described as being unusual in that her ethnic background is reasonably easy to see, something that usually doesn't persist more than a couple of generations in the decidedly heterogeneous Lunar cities. (At one point, the "range of colors" in Mannie's line marriage becomes a plot point.)
  • Somewhat subverted in John Scalzi's Old Man's War: colonists for newly discovered planets are specifically taken from the less developed and/or overpopulated countries in general (though mostly war-torn India). If an American/European (unless you're from Norway) wants to get off-planet, they have to join the Space Marines (who have green skin and die a lot).
  • Inverted by L.E. Modesitt Jr. in The Parafaith War. The hero is blond and white-skinned... and therefore regarded with a lot of suspicion by everyone as straight "anglos" are rare in the Eco-Tech Coalition. They are more often associated with their adversaries, the fanatical Revenants of the Prophets. Most Eco-Tech citizens are Asian (predominantly South East Asian with a strong component of Japanese.) Because of that he is ultimately sent into enemy territory as a spy.
  • Averted in the Patternist series by Octavia Butler. The series begins in Africa with Doro and Ayanwu. Doro's essence can leap from body to body and he sometimes wears white bodies, but unless it is important for the situation (like using the body to breed those with special powers or when travelling throughout the antebellum southern United States), he seems to favor black bodies.
  • Generally averted in Perry Rhodan. While one could easily come away with the impression that most of the recurring core cast members are white or else alien — not entirely unjustified — ethnic diversity among supporting characters is time and again shown to be alive and well in the far future, and various human colonists even add their own new variations. (Siganese, for example, haven't just shrunk over generations under the influence of their sun, their skin is also generally described as a light shade of green.)
  • Explicitly averted in Katherine Kerr's Polar City novels, which start with a note that, if a human's skin tone is not mentioned, they're Hispanic.
  • In Septimus Heap, all main characters and most of the side characters are white, though Hotep-Ra is depicted as being black.
  • Justified in Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy, in which virtually anyone with black African ancestry has been wiped out by a racist nanite plague. Two of the main characters, a father and daughter, are black with green eyes, this being a trait the virus was programmed to read as "not black". Period movies featuring black characters have to cast Australian aborigines in those roles, and there's a TV show with an all-aboriginal cast who play black space colonists who'd survived the plague by being on Mars at the time.
  • Averted in A Song of Ice and Fire, a surprise when the main setting is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of medieval Europe. Most people in Westeros are indeed white — save the vaguely-Mediterranean Dornishmen, who are explicitly olive- or dark-skinned. Across the Narrow Sea, i.e. outside of Europe, people are (naturally) more diverse. This isn't simply "they exist, but that's all" world-building window dressing; George R. R. Martin spends a lot of words on the characters and cultures found there, and by book 5, it's where about half the narrative happens.
  • Averted in the Spaceforce universe - Andri is the only white human amongst the main characters, and many supporting characters are black or Asian. It's implied that many colonies in the United Worlds of Earth are settled by ethnic groups.
  • Avoided in The Saga of the Borderlands, by argentina's Liliana Bodoc, the Ancient Lands are the equivalent of medieval Europe and their inhabitants are white -nicknamed "descoloridos"(faded)-, but most of the characters are from Fertile Lands , whose inhabitants are mostly dark-skinned and are inspired by different pre-Columbian peoples such as the Mayans or the Mapuche
  • Averted in Joel Shepherd's The Spiral Wars series. The destruction of the homeworld has led to nearly all of humanity ranging from Ambiguously Brown to dark skinned, including both protagonists.
  • Averted in Andre Norton's very first SF novel, Star Man's Son/Daybreak: 2250 AD: the protagonist is a "half-breed" suspected of being a mutant (he has silver-white hair despite being a teenager) and the second lead is quite explicitly black.
  • Averted in Starship Troopers; the protagonist is ethnic Filipino Juan "Johnny" Rico, while various other characters are noted/implied to be of non-European ancestry as well.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Subtly averted. The Shin, a race from an isolated part of the world, are constantly described as having "wide, childlike eyes." This is because everyone else on the continent has Asian epicanthic folds, so the Shin seem bizarrely wide-eyed to them.
  • Averted in the Takeshi Kovacs series. Protagonist Takeshi Kovacs is downloaded into different sleeves frequently and he comments that the body he receives at the beginning of Altered Carbon is the first one he's worn that was white. Nearly everyone on his homeworld of Harlan's World is genetically Japanese and later in the book he temporarily sleeves in a Japanese "Tech-Ninja" that he finds more familiar, while in the sequel Broken Angels he's in a Super Soldier sleeve of Maori (and wolf) descent.
  • The future history of H. Beam Piper's Terran Federation implies that the original races of humanity have been mixed in a Waring blender, resulting in such character names as "Hideyoshi O'Leary" and "Themistocles M'zangwe"; M'zangwe in particular is specifically noted to be brown-skinned in Uller Uprising.
  • Averted in The Three Worlds Cycle, the second series is set in the part of the world where the majority of the Old Humans are asiatic in appearance, including main protagonist Tiaan.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, the subject is handled rather... well, he tried, anyway. In a fumbled attempt at open-mindedness, Lazarus makes a big point out of the fact that his descendants have a black ancestor, while utterly failing to notice the Unfortunate Implications of two thousand years of almost exclusively white breeding. And You Do Not Want To Know how the future treats the poor Chinese.
  • Averted by Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe. While the main setting is based on medieval England, and features mostly white characters, there are dozens of both major and supporting characters of different ethnicities.
  • In L. Sprague de Camp's Viagens Interplanetarias stories, one alien monarch simply refused to believe that African-descended Earthmen and European-descended Earthmen could possibly be of the same species. So he tried to test this "scientifically" by imprisoning two people (black man and white woman) together to see if they could breed. Needless to say, they didn't find it very romantic.
  • The War World series has black white people—the descendants of extreme South African white supremacists who wound up on a planet with so much UV that they selected for dark brown skin. One of the latter-day inhabitants describes this as "ironic".
  • Justified in Witchell: A Symphony via unexpectedly harsh means — the European mages killed the magic users of other societies when they were encountered, leaving the European (and very white) mages as the pre-eminent magical society. However, it's also suggested that the other mage societies might have survived the massacre and simply become very adept at hiding from their enemies.
  • Played with in The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey: all of King Rellett's warriors have dark hair and skin, but it's explicitly stated that this is what the people "of the region" look like. There are lighter-skinned people elsewhere in The Queen of Twilight's universe, as the princes of the Eastern Isles include one who appears Irish and one who appears Latino.
  • Worlds of Shadow: Lampshaded in the sci-fi universe, where all the Imperials we see are Caucasians. Though they claim people of other races live there, but separately, none actually appear. It's made explicit that they are also white supremacists, disliking to see black people working at an equal level with whites on Earth, and thus other races in their empire are probably forcibly kept separate in an inferior position.
  • Averted in Nnedi Okorafor's Zahrah the Windseeker. It takes place on Ginen, which is another world where everyone looks like black Africans.
  • Inverted in Arthur C. Clarke's short story Reunion, which takes the form of a message sent by an approaching alien spacecraft. Earth is a lost colony whose inhabitants contracted a disfiguring disease. Though many of the colonists were immune, it led to thousands of years of hatred between those who were affected and those who were not. However the aliens have good news: the disease is treatable, and they assure us that If any of you are still white, we can cure you.
  • The Arts of Dark and Light Since the world of Selenoth is a Medieval European Fantasy world, there are no African or Asian human cultures in it, at least not on the main continent where the stories take place (the werecats in the South are vaguely Egyptian, but they aren't human). There is still a fair bit of diversity between cultures within the white races, though, from Latin-Mediterranean types to stocky Bavarian/Swiss analogues, gingers and Tacitus-inspired blond and blue-eyed Nordics.
  • Averted in Alien in a Small Town, despite being primarily set in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It's explained that the Dutch were forcibly displaced by a war some generations earlier, and that when they and their descendents returned, they'd become significantly more mixed with the outside world. The heroine is Indira Fenstermacher, daughter of Jawarhalal Fenstermacher, and she ends up marrying a guy from Zimbabwe. There are only a handful of unambiguously white characters in the whole book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Averted slightly in Star Trek: The Original Series which had two major Token Minority characters that played against type by having a black female and Asian male. And this was in the 1960s...
    • When the salt monster from "Man Trap" approaches Uhura, she sees a studly black crewman who talks to her in Swahili — but eventually the casting department (or the agents supplying them) got lazy.
    • Supervillain Khan Noonien Singh was suggested to be an Indian Sikh on his first appearance, which was confirmed in one of the Trek novels. Part of his Back Story involves fleeing the anti-Sikh pogroms that took place in New Delhi after Indira Gandhi's assassination. Of course, Khan is played by Ricardo Montalban and his Sikhism is never directly established onscreen. And, of course, he's played by the just-plain-white Benedict Cumberbatch in the later film Into Darkness.
      • Between the fact that Marla McGivers initially declares that his features appear Indian, and that his last name is then revealed to be Singh (the name all Sikhs bear), it's pretty clear that he is an Indian with a Sikh background. Though the fact that he's clean-shaven means he is not an observant one.
      • In a Khan-centric Expanded Universe novel, it's explained that he shaved off his Sikh beard and declared himself beyond petty human traditions when the Ubermensch-ness started getting to his head.
    • In "Return Of the Archons", the Enterprise beams down two disguised crewmen to a primitive planet. The crewmen are identified as strangers and get in trouble almost immediately. The crewmen seem surprised by this, despite the fact that the planet seems to be inhabited entirely by white folks, and one of the crewmen is Sulu.
    • Painfully applied in Star Trek: Enterprise, which has one African-American guy, one Japanese woman, and the rest of the crew is seemingly made up entirely of whites, except for a minor marine played by a pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim.
      • Throughout Enterprise, the blue-skinned Andorians repeatedly use "pinkskin" as a derogatory term for humans in general, even after meeting others. Especially weird in their first appearance, where they are using it to differentiate the humans from a group of Vulcans with the exact same skin tones. Lampshaded in one of the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch novels, where Shran starts to call Mayweather "pinkskin", and then realises, apparently for the first time, that this doesn't work.
    • Though most of the aliens in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are white, the human cast is quite colorful, including two African-Americans (one of whom is the lead), Bashir (whose actor is of half-Arab, half-white descent, though both of his parents were played by Brian George, a Jewish actor who usually plays Indian or Arab characters and by an Egyptian actress), and one white man (who clearly identifies as Irish more than white American). In addition, several black guest stars appear throughout the show (though most of them are love interests for the African-descended regulars).
      • There is a 'behind the scenes' book that claims that the only way race impacted casting for Deep Space Nine's initial regulars was Jake having to be visibly the same race as his father.
      • The casting directors decided that it would be unrealistic for alien species to have evolved the same 'races' as humans have. A majority of white Bajorans are shown to have red or sandy hair, for instance, and while Asians were cast as Bajorans, no Asians were cast as Klingons and only one black actor was cast as a Bajoran, as a walk-on.
      • Side-note: of the first five Trek series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the only one in which none of the starring characters was a white person from the United States. TOS had Kirk (Iowa) and Bones (Tennessee), TNG had Riker (Alaska, with ancestors from New York), Voyager had Janeway (Indiana) and Paris (San Francisco, son of an admiral), Enterprise had Archer (San Francisco but grew up in upstate New York) and Tucker (Florida). Sisko was from New Orleans and visits it a few times in the show's run, but is African-American. The one white human, O'Brien, is from Ireland.
      • Bonus points: Near the end of the series, Sisko even criticizes the Vic Fontaine holodeck program of a 1960s Las Vegas casino lounge club, for not being Humans Are White in-universe. It's programmed to ignore the races of characters and human players in it, rather than put a bunch of offensive racism in it - but Sisko argues that this is essentially whitewashing history, because black people did face a lot of racism in the real-life 1960s. He points out that most such clubs didn't accept black people as customers. Kasidy disagrees, however, saying it's how the '60s should have been in real life, i.e. an idealized fantasy is good sometimes.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager this trope is Thrown Out the Airlock with a black Vulcan, an Asian, a Native American, and a half-Hispanic, half-Klingon in its main cast.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation tried to avoid it a couple of times; one first-season episode had Human Aliens where all the ones actually seen onscreen were black - unfortunately, it was an episode filled to the brim with Unfortunate Implications. And a black female Rubber-Forehead Alien was the Red Herring guest star of a later episode, although her only other story purpose was as a Girl of the Week for Geordi, who's black... which is a whole other race trope. A few of the Red Shirts were black as well, but that's yet another trope. The "non-white humans in the main cast" category consists solely of Geordi.
    • TNG and later shows also tended to use black actors to play Klingons, starting with the very dark-skinned Michael Dorn as Worf. This didn't have to do with race so much as it had to do with black actors requiring less makeup to get their skin the right color, saving time and money.
    • Star Trek: Discovery had more diversity, with both the Shenzhou's captain and first officer being women of color (it's also the first Federation ship to bear a name that isn't English. Captain Georgiou was East Asian, First Officer Burnham is black. There is also greater diversity in the supporting actors.
  • Averted in Stargate SG-1, where many of the alien cultures are made of a mix of races, and those who aren't have a good reason for it. The non-mixed societies are not always white, either: for example, black, Native American, and East Asian societies are all seen.
    • One interesting case is in the episode "The Other Side", where SG-1 visits a planet which is at war between two factions. They first assume that the reason the locals distrust Teal'c is due to his status as Jaffa. Later, we learn that the nation that controls the Stargate is in fact racist and xenophobic, to the point where discriminating against someone for being black is acceptable. It's to the point where there are no people, anywhere, amongst that nation who aren't white. Guess how they must have gotten that way. As a sort of inverted Actor Allusion, the leader of the group was played by the guy who played Odo, the shapeshifter who could appear to be any ethnicity he wanted to be on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • Meanwhile, the Goa'uld System Lords' hosts are from all over the place. Chinese, Egyptian, black, white, everything.
    • Ditto for Stargate Atlantis. Not only did they have TWO Token Minorities in the main team (one of which was a twofer), they went to plenty of planets with mixed societies. Though, they tended to throw in black background characters, often forgetting that there are plenty of other minorities in the world, too.
    • Likewise, the alien species of the Wraith had a range of skin tones—though none of them human.
    • Earth-born humans, however, are white more often than not. This is likely a result of the actors available in Vancouver.
    • One episode strangely had a culture said to be descended from the Mayas that was all white.
  • Babylon 5 has a mixed record:
    • The pilot included a Japanese woman with a substantial role in the "bridge" command crew, but she was Put on a Bus for the main series and replaced with Ivanova (a Russian Jew).
    • Doctor Franklin (and his father) are (apparently) African Americans.
    • With the exception of Franklin, the core cast and most actors with speaking parts were white. The show does better on ethnic diversity when you consider minor characters (e.g., Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago; Senator Hidoshi) and the extras playing the human population of the station. Puzzlingly, however, there are hardly any Indians or Chinese (Asian characters are usually Japanese).
  • The Babylon 5 spinoff Crusade had one Asian as Number One, John Matheson, again played by a pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim! There was also Dr. Sarah Chambers. Everyone else was white, though, except for Dureena Nafeel, who was an alien.
  • In Firefly, though the cast is hardly monochrome, people of Chinese descent are rarely if ever seen, and the only ones given any lines play prostitutes! This is in a world that is supposed to be an American/Chinese fusion, with Chinese language common enough to be scattered through the English-speaking characters' conversation. The DVD commentary on the episode "Shindig" points out that there are a few characters with "Chinese" surnames like Tam and Wing, which could suggest that there's been a bit of mingling, but they're still played by white actors. Kaylee was meant to be Asian, but when Jewel Staite auditioned, she ended up being white anyway.
  • Lampshaded in the 2007 Flash Gordon; when Nick asks Baylin whether there are any "people of color" on Mongo, she replies "I know many people of color - yellow, red, even blue. I am not so fond of the blue ones, though."
  • Given that Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink that has superpowered ninjas, dimension traveling, and a storm god who routinely acts more like an affectionate great uncle than an all-powerful deity, it's reasonable that there might be an Asian temple near a city populated mostly by white people and that Raiden would take the form of a European. This is countered by the fact that the series is supposed to be set in ancient China.
  • Briefly discussed in 30 Rock:
    "How come there ain't no Puerto Ricans on Star Trek!? They got every race and life-form in the galaxy, except for Puerto Ricans! What's up with that?!
  • Averted in the remake of Battlestar Galactica. In the original show, due to the time, almost the entire cast is white and the majority are male. In the remake, there are several people of other races and/or females.
    • Though, strangely, the two prominent black characters from the original series, Tigh and Boomer, become white and Asian respectively.
  • The Tomorrow People (1973) had a black actress in their regular cast, who was once forced to sit out their visit to a Human Alien planet because there weren't any black people on that world. A native asked her if she was from the same planet as the other Tomorrow People, then commented that there must be "an interesting variety of skin color" on Earth when she said yes.
  • Rather darkly pointed out on Blake's 7. Dayna, who's black, wonders before one mission if she'd be able to pass for a native on the planet they're visiting. Avon assures her that the planet was colonized a long time ago, back when there were laws in place requiring colony projects to include a proportionate number of all ethnic groups. Basically, affirmative action in space. The implication is that once the Federation overturned those laws, colony projects suddenly got a lot whiter.
  • In Space Rangers all human characters (apart from one recurring extra) are white. Asian actors are cast as aliens.
  • TV stations in the south, especially before the civil rights movement, often did not want to air shows with non-white characters. This led to an all-white cast for shows such as Beverly Hillbillies and The Andy Griffith Show, and only very occasional non-white characters in shows such as Gunsmoke. The producers of Andy Griffith admitted they wanted black characters on the show many times but could not do so for fear of southern TV affiliates pulling the series. They were able to subvert that after the show became Mayberry R.F.D.. Even after southern TV stations began to relax their standards, racist tensions were still present - the kiss between Kirk and Uhura in Star Trek was filmed specifically to avoid showing their lips touching simply to avoid southern network affiliates pulling the show.
  • Defiance:
    • When the Castithan villain Datak Tarr is listing the things he hates about humans to his human nemesis Rafe McCawley, it includes "the smell of your pink skin makes me sick". Rafe, who is of Native American descent and played by Graham Greene, says "Does this skin look pink to you?", to which Datak replies that we all look the same to him.
    • The following season, when Datak's son Alak is upset about his wife Christie, Rafe's daughter, cosplaying as a Castithan, he asks her how she should like it if he painted his skin "human pink". Christie also points out that her skin isn't pink. Obviously, one thing Castithans don't have is superior vision.
    • Contextually this is played straight as while the Votan are an alien immigrant allegory, everything culturally human/"Old World" is monolithically white with just a few Token Minorities sprinkled about like Avatar instead of American Gods (2017) in cultural perspectives. To count:
      • Besides the above example, Rafe is a rich Native American millennial that misses the past yet is essentially like an old white Racist Grandpa toward the Native-like Irathients without he or the show showing any self-awareness about this.
      • For the same reasons, Christie is essentially the naïve white woman who married into an ethnic family and put on the alien-equivalent of Blackface that understandably disgusts her husband.
      • Monochrome Casting. The real/modern St. Louis is a majority black city yet the show, alien future or not, is overwhelmingly/inexplicably white with only a token amount of black and POC characters, made worse by the fact that all the recurring POC humans are dead before the show wrapped up. Meaning Nolan should've been the Token Minority instead of Tommy.
      • Related to the above, "pink skin" implies the majority of humans are still white despite both the expected demographic changes and the fact that humans ironically are more diverse-looking than all the Votan races combined.
      • Covered Up or not, musically, predominantly white genres and artists are played yet there is no rap, R&B, Latin, etc. meaning TheCure were played yet black music like St. Louis's own Nelly was not.
      • And lastly, Joshua Nolan is the literal face of the show whose character arc is the classic repenting White Savior story from the casual racism to the Dark and Troubled Past to the Heroic Sacrifice for the helpless aliens.
  • Earthsea played this straight despite the thorough aversion by the source material. Everyone in Earthsea is white, with the exception of Ogion, played by Danny Glover, and Tenar, played by Kristin Kreuk (who ironically actually was white in the novels). This was among the many reasons Ursula K. Le Guin disowned it.
  • In the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's Humans Are White and British.
  • The Doctor Who story "The Ark in Space" seems to have only white people representing the future of humanity. Robert Holmes had not had this as part of his original vision for the story - in fact, he had wanted Vira to be Haitian (partly to avert this, partly for Rule of Symbolism as she was a medical officer tasked with reviving people put into a living-death state). The character as seen on screen is white and British, presumably because of the lack of access to Haitian actresses in the BBC's low-budget programming in 1975.
    • The series is much better about it these days. In the old series you could go quite some time between non-white-person sightings. Martha Jones was the series' first black companion (Series 3), and of course there's Recurrer Mickey in the Ninth and Tenth Doctors eras (Series 1-4). Later in the Twelfth Doctor era, more black characters appeared in major roles: Danny Pink was the key non-villain recurring character in Series 8 (though, awkwardly, he ended up in a similar position to Mickey storywise), and Bill Potts was the principal companion in Series 10 (and the first lesbian one in the televised canon). Of the three announced associates of the Thirteenth Doctor, only one is Caucasian, and an additional nonwhite recurring character will also appear in Series 11. Moreover, people stuck in the situation-of-the-week with the Doctor and companions will almost never be all-white. When it comes to the future, "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" has India's space program as the main people not on said spaceship! The Expanded Universe, particularly Doctor Who (Titan), has additional nonwhite companion characters.
  • The Sci Fi Channel adaptation of Dune has a mostly white cast, even for the Fremen (desert-dwellers of Arabic descent) and the Atreides (of Greek descent, and explicitly described in the source novel as "dark").

    Tabletop Games 
  • Space 1889: Justified. In late 19th century, white humans probably have the largest share of the total human population they ever had. More importantly the white nations are much more powerful than the non-whites and except for the US have no big non-white minorities except in the colonies. These being fairly racist societies non-whites rarely get important positions in white majority countries. Humans on Mars are almost exclusively white, except for a few Japanese in their out-of-the-way research station. Canal Martians do not have any significant geographical differences since they have had fairly easy long-distance travel and even a global society for millennia. Canal Martians refer to humans as "red men" because white people look red to them. (Canal Martians are themselves pale yellow, with the other Martian races having darker complexions.)
  • Most of the art for the Used Future in the bleak game Warhammer 40,000 shows the humans as particularly grizzled European-types. Leading to a gamer extension of the game's tagline. "In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war" ("And white people"). This could be partially justified by the large amount of hive worlds, where the population would receive little to no sunlight, and by humanity's incredibly strict "no mutations" policy. A few exceptions include:
    • The Salamanders Space Marine chapter, who are all black-skinned due to "unique genetics". Note that this black as in the color black, jet black, (like obsidian), not what we call black skin in real life. Whether the unmodified humans of their world are black or white keeps getting retconned back and forth. The Salamanders series implies that it depends on where the native Nocturneans are from. Surface-dwellers tend towards darker shades, whereas cavern-dwelling ones are paler.note 
    • The Dark Angels first company, the Deathwing Terminators, seem to be influenced by Native American culture although their actual members still retain an appearance out of Middle Ages Europe.
    • The Imperial Fists seems to be multi ethnic, with Latino and Germanic influences being present although Rogal Dorn (their Primarch) landed on a planet based on Inuit culture. One of their successors, the Crimson Fists, are all Latino.
    • Khan and the White Scars are often depicted as Asian while Corax and the Raven Guard are (pale faced) Native Americans. Thus, the Damocles campaign which features both chapters going up against the Tau actually shows no white space marines present in the fluff.
    • The Dark Heresy RPG, where you can roll for your skin tone — aside from the void-born, whose skin-tones range from "porcelain" to "ivory", (bear in mind, most Voidborn have never seen a window, much less a sun) all origins can have a variety of skin tones and eye colors.
    • Possibly the God Emperor, who is "from the general area where modern Turkey now sits." It's unclear exactly what race he is, however, as he comes from a time before Turks lived in Anatolia. It's stated in the fluff that the power base of the Emperor of Man during the Unification Wars on Earth was the Achaemenid Empire, located in what would be the Iranian-Arab sphere of influence throughout history (and apparently up to the 30th millenium); and it's mentioned that due to the fact that the inhabitants of that region were his earliest followers, they got out of the Unification Wars largely unscathed (as opposed to the other populations who usually had to be beaten into submission by the Emperor's henchmen). So in fact, the backbone of the Imperial Army during the Crusade should rather have been predominantly Middle Eastern (of varying skin tones if Warhammer's Iran is anything like it is today).
    • Dawn of War introduces Inquisitor Mordecai Toth, who is black. Perhaps the only explicitly black character in the setting, until Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising gave us the Blood Ravens Librarian Jonah Orion, who also has a vaguely African skin tone.
    • As stated in certain interviews, the Unfortunate Implications were completely unintentional; it was the working assumption that there would be as much variance in the human appearance as there is now, and with Abhumans and the Astartes, even more. However, the early art teams were rather small, and tended to paint what they knew... A habit that's been continued on, more out of familiarity than anything else. There's numerous cases in the fluff and literature, as well as several from video games, of people with varying racial profiles, and there's nothing stopping modelists from making different skin tones. Another contributing factor is that dark skin is much harder to paint (and get to look good) on miniatures than light skin.
    • The Ciaphas Cain novels indicate that in the larger galaxy there's quite a lot of variation. Cain's Valhallan troops are mostly white, but Caves of Ice says that humans from the other planets in Valhalla's system tend to have much darker skin. This seems to be a case of humans gradually gaining or losing melanin based on solar output; Valhalla is far from its star and very cold with most people living underground. A minor character on the troopship in Death or Glory is clearly of African descent.
    • The Vitrian Dragoons who work with the Scotireland-in-space Tanith First in First and Only are all described as dark-skinned.
  • Cheerily averted in BattleTech. Black samurai and Asian Scotsmen abound.
  • The Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebooks for New Orleans, Atlanta, and Milwaukee feature next to no black characters, even though all three cities have a black majority. Atlanta in particular is known for being a thriving center for African-American culture, but this is completely glossed over.
  • This was (at least during the 1980s) the official policy of TSR when it came to Dungeons & Dragons, their reason being, "That's what we have demihumans for." Thankfully this isn't as strong as it once was, with entire sourcebooks having since been written on non-Eurocentric fantasy settings. The one downside is that these sourcebooks tend to have names like Oriental Adventures.
  • Averted in Traveller. Humans of Terran origin are as likely to have non-occidental names as occidental ones. And that's before you get into the ones of non-Terran origin (the result of Ancient Astronauts spreading them around back in prehistory).
  • Averted in the Forgotten Realms setting. Admittedly 90% of the novels and all but two games take place mostly in the Middle Ages Western Europe area, where humans are generally white (probably attributable to the fact that 90% of fantasy authors write that way). However, outside northwest Faerûn, humans go all the way from white to black and everything in between and there're illustrations, such as those of clerics in the Player's Handbook of Third Edition that shows a priest of Selûne that looks asian as well as one of another deity (can't remember which, the guy in full armor) black, and earlier in the Faiths & Avatars for AD&D where some black clerics such as the ones of Eldath and Mielikki are mixed with white ones.
  • Also averted in Pathfinder, which gives you two black ethnicities: the North African Garundi and the Sub-Saharan Mwangi. Mwangi is even stated to effectively be a blanket term for various ethnicities itself, as is Tian (Asian). As more books have been written, they've also started to avoid this for the Demi-Human races as well, so you can find varying ethnicities for Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and the like

    Video Games 
  • In Frostpunk, not only is everyone white but almost everyone is British. The only exceptions are a handful of Americans who survived the fall of Tesla City and a token Norwegian in the form of Fridtjof Nansen who is implied to have died while guiding survivors to New London.
  • In the world of Final Fantasy VII, there are lion-like people, robots, robot cats, ancient beings... and only about four black guys.
    • In Crisis Core, however, just about one in three of the NPCs (for each gender) is black, seemingly at random, in Midgar at the very least. Though, whether it's an intentional aversion of this or just coincidence is anyone's guess.
    • Even before Crisis Core, certain locales (most obviously North Corel) have a large portion (or even majority) of their NPCs rendered with much darker skin. Given the limitations of the engine, counts as an aversion.
    • In Final Fantasy XI, Hume could only be white or vaguely Asian-looking. It wasn't until Final Fantasy XIV where human protagonists in the multiplayer games could have varying skin colors.
    • Similarly, Final Fantasy XIII has only two black men, Sazh and his son.
    • Final Fantasy XV features a somewhat more diverse cast of non-playable characters, however only two characters of any significance are black, including Weskham Armaugh, a close ally of Noctis' father and restaurant owner who in the past fought alongside Regis with two firearms and a rapier. The other was Sania Yeagre, a quest-giving NPC who had a smaller role as a famous biologist and one of the few people who noticed the effects the Starscourge was having on living beings.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, while there are plenty of non-human characters (like Donald and Goofy), the only main character who isn't white is the villain. Different versions of him, to be exact.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics had as its only black character an easily-forgettable minor noble who only exists in one cutscene.
  • Played straight in Civilization 4. Every regular unit regardless of the civ is white.
    • Averted in the expansions. Various civs get more accurate unit models for their military units.
  • Played straight in the Disciples series. Arguably justified as the world of Nevendaar is based on medieval Europe. The only characters with dark skin owe it to necrosis.
  • Averted in Golden Sun's sequel, The Lost Age. The geography of Weyard is full of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, and as such, when travelling around in the game's parallels to India and Africa (and to a lesser degree China and Japan), even very minor NPCs are quite a bit darker.
    • Even the first game has Chinese-equivalent people in Xi'an and a Middle East region from Kalay (Turkey) to Lalivero (Egypt or Ethiopia), with appropriately-dressed NPCs.
    • And in Dark Dawn, most of the action takes place on the Eastern Sea and Asian-counterpart continent, so your player characters include members of the Vietnam-equivalent, Siam-equivalent, and Japan-equivalent nations, along with a whole host of non-player characters of various Asian-counterpart ethnicities. And token furry Sveta has been argued as Russian and/or Mongolian, so even she is not immune.
  • There is exactly one non-white human NPC in the entirety of Neverwinter Nights, Aarin Gend. Shadows of Undrentide averts this, though, as a portion of the campaign is spent in the desert of Anauroch, which has vaguely North African-based inhabitants.
  • Averted in Neverwinter Nights 2. The original campaign takes place in Neverwinter of course, but the first expansion Mask of the Betrayer moves to the Unapproachable East region; the Fantasy Counterpart Cultures involved are Slavic (Rashemen) and Egyptian (Thay, which used to be part of Mulhorand). The second expansion takes place partly on the Chult peninsula, which is an FCC for tropical Africa WITH DINOSAURS!
  • Averted in the Baldur's Gate games, which were mostly set in the part of Forgotten Realms modeled on Spain. Nevertheless, Valygar Corthala (depicted as ambiguously Moorish) and Yoshimo (from the Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Japan) were both major characters of colour, and the profile image for Cernd looked vaguely Native American, and then the enhanced editions added the distinctly Middle Eastern martial artist Rasaad yn Bashir. Notably, all four of these characters were human, and not elves or something.
    • Khalid is obviously Fantasy!Arabic, coming from Calimshan, and his wife, Jaheira—while an elf—, has an olive tint to her skin in her BGII portrait.
  • Better dealt with for the squad of ARMA 2 - there are two black men, two white men and a latino in the five-man squad. Even more, the main player character is one of the black men.
  • Averted in Half-Life 2, where the deuteragonist, Alyx Vance, is Afro-Asian; Alyx's father, Eli, is black. Then there are the Citizens, who can be white, Asian, and black, of which the latter two can be seen quite often, if not just as often as the white models. There is a black character named Matt, an Asian character named Mary, and even an unambiguously Japanese character (Noriko).
  • Most of the people we see in Halo are white, despite the fact that all the locations visited on Earth are in Africa. Additionally, most of the major Spartan-II characters, including the entirety of Blue Team, are also white. That said, there are still plenty of exceptions:
    • One of the main supporting characters is African-American Sergeant Johnson; other named black characters in the original trilogy include Marcus Banks in Halo 2. As far as Hispanics go, there's Manuel Mendoza in Halo: Combat Evolved. A few of the random unnamed NPCs are also nonwhite, such as a Hispanic marine voiced by Michelle Rodriguez in Halo 2 and a female black marine in Halo 3.
    • It's implied that scientist Ellen Anders from Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2 is of mixed European/East-Asian ancestry like her voice actresses Kim Mai Guest and Faye Kingslee.
    • Halo 3: ODST introduces ODST sniper Kojo "Romeo" Agu and New Mombasa natives Sadie, Dr. Endesha, Jonas, and Commissioner Kinsler, all of whom are black (with the latter four being native African). That said, New Mombasa's population is surprisingly white for an African city, even accounting for the fact that it's a major port city hosting a space elevator.
    • Halo: Reach features three Spartan-III squad members that aren't simply of European ethnicity, although Emile, who has a black voice actor and is depicted as such in concept art, never removes his helmet. There's also black NPC Sergeant Duvall.
    • As shown in these models, Halo 4 has a decent amount of diversity in its human NPCs; it's just not very noticeable in-game due to the fact that most of them wear helmets that cover most of their faces. As far as named characters go, there's black Spartan-IV Carlo Hoya; the other four members of Fireteam Majestic are all white, though.
    • Halo 5: Guardians averts it nicely with Fireteam Osiris; half of the team is non-white, including its leader (and overall Deuteragonist) Jameson Locke.
    • The Expanded Universe contains way more characters of non-European ethnicity than the games do; Fhajad-084, Li-008, Jilan al-Cygni, Zheng Cho, Akio Watanabe, Zhou Heng Lopez, Ngoc Benti, Kopano N'Singile, Raj Singh, Maria Esquival, etc. Serin Osman from the Kilo-Five trilogy, who is of Turkish ancestry, shows up in Halo 4's Spartan Ops co-op campaign, as head of ONI to boot. Additionally, the head of the SPARTAN-IV program has the Arabic name of "Musa".
  • Averted in Mount & Blade: although the setting is based on medieval Europe, it includes both a Central Asian-inspired culture and, in the Mount & Blade Warband, an Arabic/Moorish-inspired culture, each with characters of the appropriate ethnicity. Two black recruitable NPCs also appear, the backstory of each establishing them as from a different continent. The character creator allows a similar range of ethnicities and skin tones to be represented.
  • Starcraft: most of the human character are white, with a handful of exceptions, one of whom is a shapeshifting alien horror whose second identity has light skin. Things aren't much better gameplay-wise: only one unit in each game is nonwhite. In the first game, he's your basic worker. It's possible this is because every human in the Koprulu Sector is descended from a couple thousand people sent there on colony ships, but when a fleet from Earth comes calling, most of them are white too except for the aforementioned alien shapeshifter, who they recruited locally in any case.
  • Every important human characters in the Warcraft games are white. World of Warcraft makes a token effort at sprinkling dark-skinned human NPCs around (albeit as unimportant quest givers or random extras). These darker skins are also available to players in character creation, but are seldom chosen by players. There is some kind of an explanation for this in-universe humans descend from the very scandinavian Vrykul, but still.
  • The Wild-West game Wild AR Ms 3 has Gallows, a "Baskar", a race obviously inspired by Native Americans, as one of the characters in your party. He's not really Flanderized, either. He's the only playable Baskar.
  • Averted in Fable III, where there are white, black, Asian, and even vaguely Roma characters sprinkled throughout the world in equal proportion.
    • Played straight in the first two games, where the only black characters are Thunder and Whisper in the first game and Garth in the second. Of course, Garth is from another country, so it's not unreasonable that Thunder and Whisper are as well (the game strongly supports this via dress and accents).
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2. The roster is made up of mostly East Asian and white characters. 4 Eurasians (Ken, Ryo, Yuri, and Benimaru) are also on the roster, along with Balrog (black American), Blanka (originally white, but now takes the appearance of a wild man with green skin), Dhalsim (Indian), Morrigan (a succubus hailing from Scotland), and Sagat (Thai). M. Bison's ethnicity isn't clear, though.
  • Wing Commander: Averted in the first game. Although a majority of your crewmates on the Tiger's Claw are white, it's not by a large margin. Among the main characters, besides the white ones, are a black man, a Japanese woman, and a Taiwanese man. And Maniac.
    • When the games made the jump to Full Motion Video, the ratio of ethnicities tilted towards white, but there was still a fairly significant non-token minority presence, including the first carrier captain seen in the series who wasn't white, Captain Eisen.
  • Averted in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but true in-universe. While the population and cast is pretty diverse and well-represented, advertisements and media that have survived from before the nuclear war seem to be filled with white people only, suggesting that racial equality in the Fallout-verse only seemed to arrive sometime after nuclear Armageddon.
    • Led to greatness by Tandi, who is depicted in the original Fallout as being partially ethnically Asian. Given that the backstory to Fallout involves a bitter war between the USA and China, this says loads about how despite the brutality, the Fallout world is truly A World Half Full.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Subtly played with.. Of the four races of "humans" in Tamriel, three (the Roman/Italian Imperials, Anglo/French Bretons, and Norse Nords) are primarily white.note  The Redguards are the fourth human race, and they are dark-skinned with their culture being a mish-mash of Arabs, North Africans, and even a little Japanese influence. However, the Redguards have a different origin (they come from the now-lost continent of Yokuda) and have a very different pantheon/belief system that is as alien to the other human races (who all likely share a common ancestor and have similar belief systems) as it is to the various races of Elves.
    • The few descriptions of the supposedly extinct (or absorbed by the Tsaesci) Men of Akavir describe their physical appearance as similar to that of real life east Asians, another aversion if true.
  • Happens in The Witcher. It's noted in the Encyclopedia Exposita that the world at large is more diverse but only one character in the games is non-white, Arabic to be specific. Maybe justified because the game setting is based on medieval Europe, where non-whites were practically unheard of.
  • Mostly played straight in the X-Universe. Most humans are shown as white, but there's at least one Ambiguously Brown Argon NPC face. The Terrans are likewise mostly white with a couple Ambiguously Brown faces, although the name of the ATF general in X3: Terran Conflict, Rai Ishiyama, suggests there's more to it.
  • Played semi-straight in Xenogears. The population of the planet the game takes place on is primarily white, with some Asian people, some vaguely Arabic-looking people, and... that's it.
    • Xenosaga takes it even further. 4,000 years in the future, there are white people and Asian people and exactly one black person. Made especially jarring by the fact that the first game's prologue takes place in near-future Kenya, and features more black people than the rest of the game combined.
    • Completely averted in Xenoblade Chronicles where Homs are a rather diverse race. Five of the seven playable characters are Homs and two of these (Sharla and Reyn) are Ambiguously Brown. Among secondary characters and especially Non Player Characters it's diversified even further with a rather wide range of skin tones throughout the race.
  • Averted in Rift; Ethian humans are Ambiguously Brown.
  • Justified trope for the Horatio faction in Endless Space. They are all clones of one mad narcissist. Even the women. The other two human factions in the game avert this trope.
  • Averted in Guild Wars. The player characters can be black in Prophecies, however the majority of Tyria looks to be African looking. Cantha, the setting for Factions, makes the characters look Asian, with the only white people being Kurzicks. (And even though most of them look Asian, it's easy to assume some of them wear make-up to make themselves look pale.) Meanwhile Elona in Nightfall is predominantly African and Middle eastern, with even the white NPC and PC skin tones being Mediterranean.
  • Played straight in the Guild Wars 2. Despite taking place in Kryta, whose populace was primarily brown-skinned in the past, the majority of humans are now white. This is especially odd as Kryta is supposed to be a melting pot of refugees from all the previously mentioned nations yet the only sign of their presence is the architecture.
    • Averted with Path of Fire returning players to Elona, which is still populated by people with African and Middle Eastern appearances.
  • Averted in Dwarf Fortress: the appearance of humans is randomly procedurally generated.
  • Zigzagged throughout the Tales Series.
  • Exit Fate averts this one with the black Nomad and Marian, several darker-skinned NPC's and the Ambiguously Middle Eastern mountain people.
  • Destroy All Humans! runs with this: everyone is white, but since you're playing as an alien grey and are encouraged to slaughter people—and entire cities, which are modeled specifically on campy '50s nostalgia—mercilessly, it's less a straight example and more a Take That! at the trope.
  • League of Legends: Plenty of players had asked for a dark skinned human champion, seeing as every other human champion was either white, or Asian (with the whole ninjas samurais). Too bad every topic asking the producers why a black champion wasn't created yet was quickly inundated with ignorant white players creating champs based on fried chicken and watermelon stereotypes. Riot's official stance was that they didn't want a Token Black, and a black skinned champion would be something that everyone wanted to play.
    • This issue has become a little mollified now with the presence of three dark skinned characters: Nidalee, a vaguely dark-skinned Raised by Wolves female that can turn into a lion; Lucian, a black champion wielding two guns with a ton of speed boosts; and Ekko, a black teenage boy that uses time travel and a Laser Blade.
  • Zigzagged in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. As a Non-Entity General the Player Character doesn't even enter into it. Your command staff and the NPCs have three or four Asians and the rest are whites. However, in keeping with XCOM being a Multinational Team, your troopers can be of any ethnicity (you can even change their looks and names if you don't like the random ones) and be from anywhere on Earth.
  • Largely averted in the Saints Row series. Ignoring the customisable main character, the series is littered with non-white characters in major roles including Julius (the Saint's original leader) and Johnny Gat (the most dangerous man in history) and moving through the series with people like Pierce, Ben King, Asha, and Keith David.
  • In the Dragon Age series:
    • Dragon Age: Origins was a massive perpetrator of this. Of the main cast, only Duncan appeared to be of non-white descent. This was especially egregious with the playable character. The Noble Human origin has an entirely white family and castle. You have the option of customizing the character to be any race or ethnicity, but no matter how your character look, his/her family will still be white (of course, this is an Acceptable Break from Reality as with the many origins, the developers would need to have fluid racial traits for dozens of characters). Justified by the setting; Ferelden is modeled on Saxon England.
    • Dragon Age II fixes the last issue, by changing Hawke's family to match what the player chooses. Additionally, its setting, the Free City of Kirkwall, is a much more cosmopolitan place than Ferelden, and so the colour palette is much larger for skin tones.
    • Averted in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where quite a few minor NPCs and major characters are black, including one party member (Enchanter Vivienne). It's mostly set in Orlais, which is again a much more cosmopolitan place. Ferelden is still almost entirely white.
  • Averted in Mass Effect, where humans are pretty diverse and even aliens show some diversity.
  • Star Trek Online has no excuse, with three Asian characters on the entire Federation side (one of them being Lt. Kirayoshi O'Brien, who is still half-Irish) and the rest almost all either either white or white near-human aliens.note  The game's effective mascot, "Handsome Phaser Guy", is likewise white male, which drew some flak from the players when he was made part of the forum art. However, Character Customization and the Foundry Level Editor allow players and mission writers to avert this at will.
    • The devs are trying to correct it. Worf's stepdaughter, Captain Koren of the I.K.S. Bortasqu', is very black and even has an African-American voice actor. There's also Commander Mesi Achebe (Ambiguously Brown) as well as several racially diverse Foundry contact NPCs hanging out on Social Zones like Commander Futagami or Captain Ford. Also the art team found time to introduce new racial face options for Season 9 (including a new Asian face, an Eastern European and an African-based one). Based on the game's legendary Troubled Production, its really a Downplayed Trope.
  • It happens to the player's own species in Spore. Your species never seems to have any other sub-races or ethnicies other than the one you control.
    • Subverted when you encounter a wild version of your creature. But even that's not common.
  • Star Siege is largely averted—most of the human pilots are some kind of Ambiguously Brown, and in fact "Martian Native" seems to be a race unto itself. The default player character portrait options run the gamut from square-jawed sunglasses-wearing white guys to people of obvious Asian, African, or Middle Eastern descent. AI partners are also fairly evenly distributed, including the Hispanic Verity Vargas, African Hunter Otobe, the Irish-Japanese Riana Yashida-Jones, and the questionably Serbian Joakim Saxon. The 'generic' pilots are even more inclusive and can count Cherokee, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Danish, and Indian natives. Harabec Weathers is apparently as is his antagonistic brother Caanon, but players tend to spend more time with their squadmates than either of them in spite of their importance to the plot.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light averts this—humans can be white, brown, or black, as well as male or female. This is purely cosmetic, and can be selected in the case of starting crew. It will be randomly selected for any humans you might come across in the game.
  • The Borderlands series, of Borderlands 1, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, Tales from the Borderlands and Borderlands 3 tends to avert this. Of the various notable characters, Roland is black, and Mordecai is said to be Truxican, which is treated as the setting's equivalent of Mexican. Marcus and Nurse Nina's accents imply them to be Slavic of some extraction. Sir Hammerlock, his sister Aurelia, and Sheriff Nisha are Ambiguously Brown, as are Captain Scarlett, Piston, and Motor Mamma in their various DLC. Salvador is a Pandora native, portrayed as Hispanic. Professor Nakayama has a Japanese surname, though there's not much indication otherwise that he actually is Japanese. No one knows what Zero is (or if he's even human), while Claptrap is generally agreed upon to be a pain in the ass. The various NPC characters that run around the central towns are randomly generated, with a reasonable distribution of skin tones and the occasional overt accent.
  • Stellaris averts this — aside from humans being the most physically diverse of all the playable races, the 'generic' human portrait that represents the species as a whole is distinctly Asian or Pacific Islander, and a woman at that. Naturally, this led to complaints of Political Correctness Gone Mad and the release of at least one Game Mod meant to "fix" the portraitnote ..
  • Wildstar averted this trope with customization for human of both factions, and notable Non Player Characters with varieties of skin color. Toric and Calidor Antevian's dark skin as prime example.
  • The Legend of Zelda has typically portrayed the dominant Hylian race, along with the closely related Sheikah race, as white (or at least in a lightskinned Mukokuseki style). Meanwhile, in Ocarina of Time, the only dark-skinned folk were the Gerudo, a One-Gender Race of women who rarely ventured out of their desert homeland. Because of this, fans have frequently assumed that any rare dark-skinned Hylians in later games had some Gerudo ancestry. This is averted in Breath of the Wild, where there are quite a few dark-skinned Hylians and light-skinned Gerudo, with subtler variance in skin tone for both groups. Even the King of Hyrule in this game is Ambiguously Brown. However, the Sheikah still appear to be light-skinned only, likely due to being heavily based on ancient Japanese people in this game.
  • Averted in Overwatch, which has a mix of ethnicities and genders in its main cast. They can claim a hero from every continent, including Antarctica (Mei, a Chinese scientist, was stationed there for some time, and Antarctica plays as much a part in her backstory, if not more, than China) and the Moon.
  • Played straight by technicality in EverQuest. There are three "Human" races, but two of them go by other names. The gods originally created the Barbarians, who the game developers modeled after Celtic influences. Living in Everfrost Peaks required the race to be rugged, burly, and strong. Over time, Barbarians moved down into the lowland plains of Karana, where they adapted to the more temperate environments, and gained more intelligence as they no longer had to devote so much time to survival. The Human race that resulted are all white and represent European cultures and societies. As more Humans began to spread out, a group of them who dedicated their lives to learning knowledge and practicing magic split off and moved to the tropical continent of Odus, eventually adapting and evolving further. The Erudites are all dark skinned, but have the highest intelligence stat, and are among the best magic users among every playable race.
  • Averted in the live action cutscenes for Emperor: Battle for Dune, where the Atreides Duke is black and the Ordos mentat is Asian. The Fremen (desert dwellers of Arabic descent) are still played by white actors though.
  • Averted in Terraria. Of the twenty-three human-looking town NPCsnote , the Arms Dealer, Golfer, and Zoologist are black. The Dye Trader is implied to be Middle Eastern and the Pirate is Ambiguously Brown. This is not counting how the player character can be literally any color.

  • Averted with The Order of the Stick, based off D&D ver. 3.5, which has a Black protagonist and a large number of Black, Asian and Middle-Eastern NPCs and minor characters, and also a variety of colors for non-human races (like the dark-tanned dwarf Durkon) as well. In fact, since a large part of the story takes place in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of medieval Japan, Asians may actually constitute the majority of human NPCs.
  • The titular characters of FreakAngels are all pale, even though KK is a pacific islander and Caz is black. They also have purple eyes and were born at the exact same time in the same small English village.
  • In Tower of God the eponymous Tower is full of weird creatures, but if they are humanoid, they are most likely white, except for Quant and Kurdan.
  • Averted in Leif & Thorn, where most of the main characters are some shade of brown. The only ones with white skin tones are the people from Sønheim, who are also the only ones with nonhuman physical traits.
  • Averted in Anna Galactic. Of the main human characters, only Foxglove is white, while Anna and Teapot aren't.
  • Weapon Brown invokes and frequently lampshades this in a satirical jab at how Newspaper Comics in general seem to lean towards Monochrome Casting, with only the occasional Token Minority appearing every once in a blue moon. In "A Peanut Scorned", Chuck expresses puzzlement upon encountering Patty's bodyguard, Franklin, asking her if his darker skin is some strange kind of mutation. In "Blockhead's War", Chuck remarks to Hughie X, after meeting his family, how weird it is to see more than one black person at the time, comparing seeing three of them together to encountering a convention. It then also becomes a justified trope when Hughie reveals that during the Great Offscreen War, the Elbonians developed a Synthetic Plague meant to either kill every person of African descent, or turn their skin white, and that they for the most part succeeded. Hughie and his family only avoided that fate due to having some Japanese ancestry.

    Web Original 
  • The Dr. Horrible musical commentary, "Commentary! The Musical", includes the song, Nobody's Asian in the Movies.
  • The blog ''Astrogator's Logs'' addresses this trope here (note that the author is Greek).
  • #1 on Cracked's list of 6 Insane Stereotypes that Movies Can't Seem to Get Over: In Fantasy Movies, Everyone Has to Be White.
  • Used as a gag in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device. The Custodian that is usually giving exposition about the Warhammer 40,000 setting mentions off-hand that many people find the black skin of Salamander space marines unsettling. The Emperor is furious about the implied racism, but it eventually turns out that 1) the Salamanders are actually JET black, and 2) the Custodian is what we now think of as black under his armor, but the normal range of skin pigment is such a non-issue he didn't even know there was a word for it.
  • Averted in Orion's Arm, where the most common skin colors for (near)baselines are in fact shades of brown.
  • Averted Trope in Skies Unbroken - it's a Constructed World with its own ethnicities, cultures and accents. Chantil and Wilcox are explicitly described as dark-skinned, while Nem is very pale with Mystical White Hair.
  • Trey The Explainer complains about this in his scientific analysis on 10,000 BC. He commends the film for featuring a racially diverse cast by saying that, though it's still not period accurate, it's still better than other films that portray "cavemen" as all white (centuries before such a skin-tone became a thing).
  • Averted in season two of Stellaris Invicta, even moreso than in the game itself (listed under Video Games). The people aboard the Earhart colonization fleet that founded the Antares Confederacy came mostly from the "Third World", specifically Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and South America, as the first wave of colonists to the original Antares system came mostly from Earth's wealthier nations. It's mentioned that Islam is the largest religion in the Confederacy, followed by Christianity, Hinduism, and atheism, and while the Confederacy's most common languages include French and Spanish, they also include Swahili, Arabic, and Vietnamese. What's more, Earth itself is under a collaborator regime after being invaded by aliens, so the heroes coming to liberate their fellow humans and their homeworld are overwhelmingly Asian, Black, and Latino.
  • In Autodale, all of the citizens are white. Justified, in that Autodale's society is based on the idea that humans are only cogs in a machine, and to reinforce that, everyone is made to look practically identical, with identical clothing, hairstyles, and even masks to cover up their faces. Anyone who deviates from the norm is deemed Ugly and executed. And indeed, the sketchbooks of the creator lists "Black" as a trait that gets you branded as Ugly.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon had one black character - Diana the Acrobat.
  • Transformers: Generation 1 was pretty bad about this as well; the only non-white non-alien recurring character was Raoul, a Hispanic-ish street punk... whose skin tone switched to a lighter color in his second (and final) appearance.
    • They probably figured that Jazz was enough.
    • Later series were better about it, with major recurring humans such as Koji Onishi and black Colonel Franklin.
    • Transformers Animated itself did a pretty good job averting this. The main recurring human is not white or a human, Detective Fanzone in second place is white, but Issac Sumdac is indian, the mayor of Detroit and his aide are black, as is Corrupt Corporate Executive Porter C. Powell, and backround humans come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Almost all the recurring human bad guys are white, but that's probably to avoid other implications if a Media Watchdog only sees one episode. On another note, during an short story arc in Animated, the five main Autobots turn human. Four out of the 5 are white, to match their voice actors.
      • Don't forget the third-season episode of the original cartoon, Only Human. The four lead Autobots have their minds transferred into Synthoid bodies, which become conveniently white (the episode is also noted for being a crossover with the G.I. Joe cartoon).
    • The live action movies have visibility of non-white races, but with some Unfortunate Implications that are not just limited to the twin Ethnic Scrappy bots.
  • SilverHawks (which was basically Thunder Cats in Space!) started with a bunch of white people and their pet. They later added one black guy and one vaguely Hispanic guy (from the future!) to the team.
  • Averted in Gargoyles: The main human character, is a half-black and half-Native American New York cop. For an added bonus, the main character, Goliath, was black (or at least Ambiguously Brown) when he was temporarily turned into a human. Note than none of the other Gargoyles seen turned into humans were black, but that's justified given they're from a Scottish Gargoyle clan. Goliath was presumably made an exception (to match his voice actor, Keith David).
  • Lampshaded in Family Guy's parody of The Empire Strikes Back.
    Leia: The Lando System?
    Han: Lando's not a system, he's a black guy. Perhaps the only black guy in the universe.
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Techno Wizard hero Doc Hartford is black. So are two one-shot villains. They seem to be the only non-white humans in the galaxy.
  • Averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, where Humans Are Asian (or, in the case of the Water Tribe, Inuit) and run the gamut of skin colours from pale (some Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom people and most Air Benders) to all shades of brown (the rest of the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation and all Water Tribe members).
    • However, due to the art style of the series many fans often believe that pale-skinned characters (Toph and Aang, for example) are white.
  • Futurama averts this with Hermes and his family (black Jamaican) and Amy and her family (ethnically Chinese, born on Mars), as well as several incidental characters (most notably Hermes' rival Barbados Slim).
  • There was a black character in The Flintstones. There was none in the corresponding futuristic program, The Jetsons. This led to the occasional dark joke that the animators believed that there was "no black to the future."
  • Pretty well averted on Bravestarr. Bravestarr and Shaman are Native American; J.B., her dad, and the mayor are white; and Doc Clayton and Miss Jenny the schoolteacher are black. However, most of the random settlers and prospectors (the human ones, that is) are white.
  • Challenge of the GoBots averted this. Of the six human regulars, two were black and one was Asian (although Anya, the Asian character, got Demoted to Extra after the Five-Episode Pilot).
  • Subverted in Adventure Time. Finn is white and seems to be the last human on Earth; Susan Strong, who may be human, is white too. However, the Ice King was Ambiguously Brown back when he was human; BMO's creator Moe, who seems to be a human-turned-cyborg, is dark-skinned too. Also Marceline, a half-demon who's now a vampire, had a black mom, despite her own skin matching her father's pale blue. And when their far-away island civilization is discovered, humans are shown to run the gamut of human ethnicities and skin tones.
  • Averted in Defenders of the Earth. Lothar and LJ are Afro-Caribbean, while Kshin is East Asian. However, five out of the eight Defenders are white. (Justified - sort of - in that they're the protagonists of various classic King Features Syndicate comic strips, who were as white as the newspaper they were printed on.)
  • Averted in The Dragon Prince: humans run the gamut, with the two main characters being mixed race (Ezran is black/Asian, Callum is Asian/probably white). Despite the Standard Fantasy Setting, it's Justified by some Fridge Brilliance: since elves and dragons ethnically cleansed humans from their half of the continent, it makes since that people from different backgrounds would wind up in close quarters.

Alternative Title(s): Least Common Skin Tone, Humanoids Are White


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