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Monochrome Casting

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Can you remember what color the chick and the duck were?

"You know, people were whiter back then."

You're watching your favorite sitcom — it's fluff, but it's harmless fluff, right? And you're laughing at the latest antics of the cast, when all of a sudden it hits you — "Are there any Black people in New York City?"

You've just run across a program guilty of Monochrome Casting. The melanin content of the actors simply doesn't vary much at all. Almost all of these programs consist of either an all-Black or all-white cast. Given that the reasons for this trope's existence are primarily based on demographics, it would not be shocking to see more Hispanic versions in the near future.

It is close to becoming a Discredited Trope — a product of the Leave It to Beaver era — but it still holds more sway than people at large realize. Most often, this trope is seen in sitcoms, where it is used to help target a single demographic.


Sometimes you'll get a Token Minority or Token White appearing in a walk-on role in the show; if he's a Black man on a white show, then he's probably there for a Very Special Episode about racism.

Now, some shows are set in environments where it might even seem forced to have any sort of ethnic diversity; this trope doesn't apply to these programs so much. For instance, the rarified world of the superwealthy that often dominates in Soap Operas really doesn't have many Black people or Latin Americans (except as servants, and that might be a little too real); likewise, the Chicago public-housing projects displayed in Good Times were pretty much all-Black by the time the show aired in the 70s. Similarly, Europe was almost all-white until the past two or so centuries (and many parts still are, especially in the East), and there are small towns in rural America that just don't have much in terms of diversity. In some countries, such as Japan or South Korea, ethnic homogeneity is practically state policy. It's when a show exists in an environment like New York or London note , where diversity would be almost mandatory, that they can be guilty of monochrome casting.


Historically, Monochrome Casting was (at least in part) often the fault of Executive Meddling, either overt or covert. Before about 1965, it was standard for television stations and movie chains operating in the southern US to edit movies and TV shows to remove non-stereotypical African-American characters. Maids and criminals were fine, scientists and soldiers were not. If an African-American character was so intrinsic to the show that he or she couldn't be edited out, the show or movie simply wouldn't be shown in the South. note  This naturally would cut into profits, so producers tended to make the entire cast white. One of the first shows to challenge this was Hogan's Heroes, whose producers cast a Black actor as Hogan's second-in-command/camp genius specifically to make it impossible for Southern stations to edit the character out.

However, sometimes Monochrome Casting is more understandable in older works, due simply to demographic changes. In 1940, for example, only 1 in 10 Americans were nonwhite; now it's between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3, depending on who counts as "nonwhite." So, statistically speaking, one could show nine white characters in a 1940 film or 2 or 3 white characters now and maintain plausible deniability.

Many older films and shows and whatnot actually didn't have this trope in their day, if only because there were many more social factors dividing people than just race. A story from the past showing, say, rich people and poor people socializing freely, or Catholics and Protestants getting along, or Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans actually not wanting to kill each other (as they did in countless Mob movies), is in a way not this trope, at least if the diversity was the work's main theme and there was no reason for it to be more diverse still. Where Monochrome Casting is most noticeable is in works where the characters are homogeneous in every way: race, national origin, income level, political and cultural values. Either that, or they just seem so similar that any differences among them effectively don't matter.

Contrast People of Hair Color. Compare Humans Are White, a similar phenomenon in unrealistic works. Contrast the Five-Token Band, where it seems the writers were trying too hard in the opposite direction. Compare to White Male Lead in which, while the cast is ethnically diverse, the main character and Audience Surrogate is still white. May overlap with Pop-Culture Isolation. Compare Plenty of Blondes. Compare Chromosome Casting, the equivalent of this trope in sex (when characters of only one sex appear in a work).


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     Anime And Manga  
  • Urd and her mother Hild from Ah! My Goddess are examples of brown-skinned major characters, although neither is human. In a mild aversion, some characters describe Urd as Indian early on in the manga. Given that the manga largely averts the strange gamut of hair colours in anime, it's likely that in universe Belldandy probably looks Caucasian with a Japanese boyfriend in Keiichi.
  • The later seasons of Naruto added in several Black ninja like Killer Bee and Omoi.
  • Blood+ has a Japanese protagonist but takes place across several different countries. Two members of the heroine's supporting cast are white, while another is Black. Additionally, the lead antagonist's Dragon is a Black man.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist turns this trope completely upside down. The core cast is mostly European, but there are a number of exceptions. The show's universe draws heavily from World War II Europe, heavily mixed with a conflict-ridden counterpart to the Middle East. Because of this, true-to-life racial and cultural tensions are depicted on a very frequent basis. As for specific cast, Paninya and Jerso are both Black, and a number of characters of varying degrees of importance come from the fictional nations of Ishbal and Xing, which are stand-ins for the Middle East and China respectively. In the first anime, the Xing region did not send many representatives. Furthermore, all Asians in this Japanese show can be assumed to be "Chinese," meaning that the first anime is the polar opposite of this trope.
  • Afro Samurai is another aversion. It doesn't hurt that it was made to cater to an American audience first.
  • Eyeshield 21 had a recurring team of American rivals, which were fairly diverse. The character Patrick "Panther" Spencer was a Black teen with a fairly large role.
  • Of note is Seinen manga Me and the Devil Blues, a story chronicling the life of blues musician Robert Johnson had he actually won his talent from the devil, as some of the more popular rumors surrounding his mysterious rise to prominence dictated. The protagonist and many of the supporting characters are strikingly African American, with a range of body and facial types rarely seen any where, let alone manga or anime, while the lancer and most of the rest of the cast are Caucasian.
  • In MEGANEBU!, most of the members of the student council are only half-Japanese (Brazilian, French, British, and German).
  • Code Geass averts this, being set in a worldwide conflict between The Black Knights trying liberate Area 11 (once known as Japan) from Britannia, the main villain of the series. Plus there's China later on. This means there are plenty of characters ranging from Japanese, Chinese, and Britannian. Though, Britannians tend to all be white except for Ambiguously Brown Villetta Nu.
  • Kuromukuro is very diverse, especially for a mecha anime that takes place in Japan and draws upon traditional Japanese culture. Featured among the Japanese character are a French, a Brit, an American, a Chinese, an Italian, a German, a Polish, two Bridge Bunnies consisting of a Latina and a European, and one character who is half-Japanese/half-Spanish.

     Comic Books  
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: A product of the 50s when including ethnic characters probably never crossed the creators' minds, though there were several non-white characters: Brainiac 5 was green, Shadow Lass was blue, and the alien-looking Chameleon Boy was orange. Compounded when they tried to fix it in the 70s by adding a Black hero, Tyroc, who came from an island with only Black people. That appeared on Earth only intermittently. And all the Black people in the world had gone to this island, and they were all racist, openly crying their hatred of whites.
    • Ferro Lad was supposed to be Black under his armor, but you couldn't tell. When writer Jim Shooter wasn't allowed to reveal this, he gave the character a Heroic Sacrifice. Shadow Lass is also rumored to have been intended as Black; she ended up being blue instead.
  • Birds of Prey fell into this, as while the team has had several minority "guest operatives" who have shown up from time to time, the core cast has historically been entirely white. Even the writer, Gail Simone, said she thought it was a problem. She mentioned that at various points, she unsuccessfully tried to get Vixen, Rocket (both Black), Cassandra Cain (half-Asian) and Renee Montoya (Hispanic) added to the team. In the case of Cassandra, Simone even claims she had written up Cass' debut issue before editorial informed her that she would not be able to use her. The 2011 relaunch was the first time in the title's history that a minority woman (Japanese heroine Katana) was featured as part of the core cast. The character Strix (an African American member of the Court of Owls) was later added to the team.
  • The original five X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Jean Grey and Iceman) consisted of all white superheroes. Furthermore, all additional members of Stan Lee's run (Mimic, Morph, Havok and Polaris) were white. This looks like Early Installment Weirdness nowadays, given that one of the X-Men's (and the numerous other X-teams) defining traits since the '70s is just how diverse it is. With the Loads and Loads of Characters, there's a hero for everyone. When the O5 X-Men reunited under the X-Factor banner in 1986, the utter lack of diversity made it stick out like a sore thumb.
  • In Spider-Man, the non-white population of New York City seems to consist of... Robbie. (Okay, sometimes we see his wife and son, too.) They've had other minority characters, but none of them stood the test of time. To avoid this in adaptations, Spectacular and Homecoming race-lifted half the cast, and Ultimate uses mostly minority heroes like Luke Cage and White Tiger as part of the team.
  • At New York Comic-Con 2012, Rick Remender self-deprecatingly stated that the line-up of his Uncanny Avengers book was "Crackerfest 2012" in regards to the lack of minorities on the team. Japanese hero Sunfire was added to the cast in the second story arc in order to offset this a little.
  • Bryan Lee O'Malley actually criticized himself over the lack of diversity in his Scott Pilgrim comics, even stating that he was appalled by just how white the movie adaptation was. He's said that his follow-up work, Seconds, was intentionally written with a more diverse cast.
  • Marvel Comics has actually mocked themselves over this trope in the past. The 1991 Marvel Year In Review special contained a "Men of The Avengers" gallery (Captain America, Hawkeye, Hank Pym, Captain Mar-Vell, Quasar, etc.) that used the same generic drawing of a nondescript blue-eyed blonde for every character.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Notting Hill has a curious lack of Black people in crowd shots despite being set in Notting Hill neighborhood, which has enough of a Black population that the Notting Hill Carnival is a major annual event which is known for being a celebration of Black culture in the United Kingdom. At least one comedian of color joked that the film would win the Academy Award for Best Special Effects for removing all the Black people from Notting Hill. Screenwriter Richard Curtis responded by casting the guy as a DJ in Love Actually.
  • Star Wars: in the first film of the franchise, A New Hope, all the visible actors on screen were white—only James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader wasn't. Lucas repeatedly defended himself, claiming he had auditioned nonwhites for some of the major roles (including a Black actor for Han Solo and a Japanese actor for Obi-Wan) but just happened to end up with only whites. In any case, the later films all featured nonwhites in major roles, most notably Lando.
  • Young Guns was based on the real life of gunfighter Billy the Kid, showing his exploits in New Mexico, culminating in a huge gunfight with the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. But you wouldn't know from the film that New Mexico has a significant Hispanic and Spanish-speaking population, or that the Ninth Cavalry were a Black regiment.note  Arguable because, well there's Chavez, the numerous Hispanic and Mexican-Native American villages they go through, the fact that Billy shows a fluency in Spanish, and pretty much every civilian the gang speaks to in the sequel has a Mexican accent. I mean, one can't fault them for the main cast being mostly white, as they were based on real people. It'd be a bit insensitive to change their races.
  • Amélie is set in Montmartre, an area of Paris with a large immigrant population, but the cast, with the exception of Jamel Debouze, is almost exclusively white. The director responded to such criticism by pointing out the role of Debouze and the diversity diplayed amongst a selection of photographs which play an important role in the plot.
  • The film Based on an Advice Book He's Just Not That into You, which takes place in Baltimore, has already been lambasted by viewers due to the entire cast being strictly white, sans one Sassy Black Woman making an offhand remark on a park bench.
  • One of the things dating John Hughes films is that none of the leads are minorities (a few of the actors are, but the untrained eye would never notice), and that the closest thing to a non-Caucasian character with lines was Long Duk Dong. Hughes, however, based the fictious suburb of Shermer, where most of his movies set on his hometown, Northbrook, which is 90% white.
  • Everyone in the domed city of Logan's Run is white. Memorably lampshaded by Richard Pryor:
    "They had a movie of the future called Logan's Run. There ain't no niggers in it. I said, 'Well, white folks ain't planning for us to be here.'"
  • The 1993 film The Meteor Man has an entirely Black cast save for one white mobster.
  • Pretty much everyone in The Romantics is white.
  • Woody Allen films used to be notorious for presenting a very non-diverse version of New York.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a contest for kids all over the world and yet all five of the winners are white and either American or European. Granted, the 1964 source novel and 1971 film version went the same way, but this 2005 version puts more emphasis on the fact that the tickets are available worldwide, so it's more noticeable. Tim Burton admitted that they had considered doing a Race Lift for some of the characters, but since four of the finders are major brats, that might have opened another can of Unfortunate Implications. (He turned out to be right when the 2013 stage musical made Violet and her parents Black and created some controversy.)
  • The Tree of Life. Granted, it is set in a small, middle-class suburban town in the 1950s, providing some justification.
  • The Artist, set in a time period in Hollywood where most Black characters were in Blackface.
  • In spite of Gene Roddenberry's good intentions, many Star Trek films were fairly monochromatic. The most notable example occurs in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where the ethnically diverse superhumans from "Space Seed" became generically European.
  • The 1972 "horror" film Night of the Lepus has only one Black character (Dr. Leopold), and amazingly, he doesn't die.
  • Everyone's white in Ferris Bueller's Day Off except for a few incidental characters. The high school you could maybe chalk up to districting, but its strains Willing Suspension of Disbelief a little when downtown Chicago apparently just has a token black guy.
  • Nearly every character is Hispanic/Latino in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.
  • Nearly everyone in The Hustler is Caucasian — the only exception is a mute Black man at Ames' pool hall who sweeps the floor.
  • Dick Tracy (1990): For a film featuring Loads and Loads of Characters and set in 1930s Chicago (by then already a multiracial city), there is exactly one visible minority in Dick Tracy: a Chinese shop owner whom Tracy saves from a holdup. There's also the radio report about the (presumably Black) shoeshiner who is murdered at the very beginning of the film, but we never actually see him, so we can only speculate.
  • The Wiz, being set first in Harlem and then in a Harlem-ized version of Oz, contains absolutely no non-Black characters. They exist in this movie's universe (note the Jewish Mother comment); they just never make it onto the screen.
  • Everyone from the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan in the thriller Air Force One is white. This isn't the first time for that particular nation either. Apparently the makers of the film thought Kazakhs look like Russians (when they're more akin to East Asian). Russians are a minority.
  • Coming to America, where virtually the entire cast is Black with the exception of Louis Anderson, Eddie Murphy playing a Jewish guy in white face, a handful of very minor characters, and a memorable cameo of Randolph and Mortimer Duke from Trading Places.
  • The town Footloose is set in is exclusively inhabited by white characters, though this isn't unusual, as Utah is not the most diverse of states (according to the United States Census in 2010, nearly 90% of its inhabitants are white, and that kind of disparity is not likely to have changed in a mere 30 years), and rural Utah (as opposed to Salt Lake City) is closer to 100% white. Averted in the remake where the town is shown to have a fairly large Black population and the characters of Rusty and Woody are now played by a Puerto Rican girl and an African-American man respectively.
  • The Golden Age of Hollywood was fairly monochrome for its time, but one weird inversion is the all-Black film. As a result of segregation, African-Americans could not be truly protagonists in a film with other white characters, so this niche genre was rarely invested in partly to broadcast talented African-American singers and musicians.
    • Hallelujah! by King Vidor, a 1929 musical about a family of poor cotton farmers, was the first film in this genre. This film shows African-Americans as sharecroppers with urban African-American in big city ghettoes, so while white characters aren't acknowledged in the film, one can assume that they exist since the portrayal of African-Americans is largely realistic.
    • Cabin in the Sky by Vincente Minnelli, made in 1943 is a lot more fantastic and it portrays a separate Heaven and Hell and it's depicted more or less as an Alternate Universe. It features Duke Ellington and his Band, Louis Armstrong in The Cameo alongside Lean Horne and Ethel Waters.
    • In the same vein as Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather features an all Black cast and cameos of the era's best performers; Cab Calloway, Ada Brown, and Fats Waller.
  • Whiplash, has no (named) Black characters despite being a movie about jazz. This is probably an artistic choice, as the characters having no cultural connection to the music further drives home the pointlessness of the suffering they put themselves and others through to get good at it.
  • Scream has no non-white characters in the entire film, but this was sort of addressed in the sequel, with Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps' characters as the opening victims, and Pinkett's character discussing how horror films typically ignore African American points of view. The film also features Hallie, Sydney's Token Black Friend, who also bites it, and Joel, Gale's new camera assistant, who lives. Scream 3's only Black character was Tyson, while Scream 4 goes back to an exclusively white cast.
  • Robocop 1987: The film is set in a futuristic version of Detroit that seems to have precisely one black person in the entire city, the chief of police. The sequels are just as bad.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • A frequent complaint, even from many fans of the MCU, is the abundance of White Male Leads. Marvel released 17 films before they had one with a non-white or female lead.
    • The first The Avengers (2012) team, despite being gathered by Nick Fury to save the entire world, is all white. The closest thing to a non-white superhero was Hulk turning green. With Warmachine and The Falcon joining at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, along with other members leaving, the team is noticeably more diverse in the group shot at the end of the film.
    • Justified in Black Panther, which is set in Africa and accordingly has an overwhelmingly Black cast with only a handful of white actors (notably Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis). It's explained that Wakanda is a very isolationist country that doesn't normally allow foreigners inside so it makes sense that most of the characters are Black.
    • Likewise, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the MCU's first movie to revolve around an Asian lead (Shang-Chi) and has been confirmed to feature a 98 percent Asian cast. One benefit to this trope is that it helps to mitigate the Yellow Peril implications of the Big Bad, the Mandarin (who has traditionally been depicted as the ArchEnemy of Iron Man, whose own adventures largely feature a white supporting cast, except for War Machine). Creed II's Florian Munteanu (Razor Fist) is the only Caucasian actor of note in the cast.
  • Red Sparrow: Nate's boss Trish Forsyth is the only noticeably brown named character in the movie (played by Indian-American Sakina Jaffrey). Justified since the film takes place mostly in Russia and Hungary, both of which are mostly monoracial countries, and if the CIA had sent a person of color they would have stuck out like a sore thumb.
  • The live-action Fullmetal Alchemist is a strange example, with an entirely Japanese cast to play European characters; presumably because it would be hard to find an entire-cast of European actors who are fluent in Japanese. The whole Ishbal story arc, which is the main source of racial tension in the story, is also absent from the film, as well as the characters from the China stand-in Xing and any dark-skinned characters.
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles: Understandable for a film set among middle class England in the 1930s. However, towards the end of the film, Fotheringay uses his powers to summon all of the world's leaders—temporal and spiritual—to his palace. Logically this should have included a diverse range of races, but only white faces are visible, even in the group shots.
  • The Craft is set in Los Angeles, a notably diverse area, and yet Rochelle is the only non-white character in the cast (and the character was written to be white, only getting a Race Lift when Rachel True lobbied for the part). A Deleted Scene clarifies that it happens to be an all-white neighborhood, and Rochelle is literally the only Black girl there - and being ostracised because of her race is why she's friends with Nancy in the first place.
  • Jack And Diane: All of the characters are White. This is rather unrealistic, as it's set in a big American city.

  • According to this post on Blogger Beware, in all of the original series of Goosebumps novels, there were only 20 explicitly non-white characters, of whom 45% were Egyptians (in novels about Mummies, no less).
    • Although, it’s implied that some of them might be non-Caucasian, if he or she has black hair, dark brown eyes, and foreign-sounding names.
  • Virtually everything by Bret Easton Ellis. This is kind of the point, however.
  • How NOT to Write a Novel called this "The Country Club", noting that unless one's novel happens to be set in rural Sweden, the reader may start to get the undesired impression that some form of ethnic cleansing has taken place.

     Live Action TV  
  • For the first few years of MTV's existence, they infamously only played music videos of white people, claiming that they only played rock and pop (which excluded the then rising hip-hop scene, as well as ghettoizing R&B and the like). Which didn't really explain why they resisted playing acts like Michael Jackson. It wasn't until Thrillers overwhelming popularity that they caved.
  • Thandie Newton criticised British television as a whole for this - citing their obsession with period pieces and "stuff about the royal family" as resulting in lack of opportunities for non-white actors in the UK. David Harewood has said likewise - working nearly exclusively in America since his breakout role in Homeland.
    "I love the UK but I just can't work there."
  • Seinfeld is frequently mentioned for the rarity of minority characters who appear. However, the random "person on the street" bit parts are often some sort of minority. Showrunner Larry David would winkingly own up to it in his later series Curb Your Enthusiasm in the episode "Affirmative Action", in which a Black woman brings up that there were no Black people on Seinfeld. However, George had an Asian-American love interest in an episode, while Jerry had an American Indian one in another, and Kramer had a Black girlfriend for an episode. There were also reoccurring minority characters such as Pakistani immigrant Babu Bhatt, the Black manager at Monk's, George's Black boss Mr. Morgan, and Kramer's Black lawyer Jackie Chiles. Not to mention other characters who had an important role in an episode, such as "The Millennium" or "The Hot Tub."
  • Friends rarely has any significant minority characters. Especially odd as it's set in Manhattan, one of the most diverse places in the world (in 2000: 45% white, 27% Hispanic, 17% Black, 9% Asian, and many mixed-race people) — yet not only are all the main cast white, but so are almost all the recurring characters (Gunther, Mr Heckles, ugly naked guy, the super, and virtually all love interests, bosses, coworkers, and acquaintances). Even the chick and the duck are white! Like Seinfeld, the show is usually cited as one of the most prominent and memorable examples of this trope (Aisha Tyler got a nine-episode arc in the last season as Ross's girlfriend Charlie, mainly due to media criticism over this trope). Despite the perceived whiteness of the cast however, only Chandler and Phoebe are actually WASPs, while Ross and Monica are actually Jewish, and Joey is famously Italian (and 1/16 Portuguese), while Rachel's actress Jennifer Aniston is actually part-Greek. The lack of any dark-skinned main or secondary characters in NYC is still notable however.
  • Good Times was one of the first Black sitcoms of its time, having premiered a decade after segregation was abolished in the real world. The show wanted to take full advantage of being able to feature Black characters by going all out, having the series take place in a predominantly Black neighborhood in the city of Chicago, which is known to have a very high Black population, even back then. Despite the show taking place after the abolition of segregation, it was still prevalent that the world wasn't quite integrated yet, as big changes like that truly take time before we can see them take effect. That being said, little to none of the characters in the show were white aside from an extremely scarce number of minor and one-off characters who would drop by for an episode or two. The only white characters who were really noteworthy in the grand scheme of things were only white because the plot specifically called for them to be white, as they appeared in very special episodes that dealt with race. These characters being two blonde-haired white girls named Cindy. note 
  • A Different World is a spin-off of The Cosby Show about Denise going to an all-Black college with her one white friend, Maggie Lauten, who was intended to be the Deuteragonist of the series. However, she was written off the show after one season, due to her actress, Marisa Tomei, quitting television to pursue a career in film instead. Her role was never replaced by another white actor and the show continued on for 5 more seasons without her or any other white or non-Black main or even supporting characters.
  • AMC's The Walking Dead focuses on a group of zombie apocalypse survivors around Atlanta, Georgia... a city with the largest Black population in the United States. The diversity on the show as of Season Two? One Asian and one Black man. Made worse by the fact the graphic novel series the show is based on was more diverse.
    • Michonne was added to the cast in season 3 after the criticism, though of course she didn't join the cast until relatively late in the comic as well. It didn't help that, four episodes after Michonne joined the show, T-Dog died.
    • The only time the show did accurately portray Atlanta's demographics was when the survivors went to the prison. 3 of the 5 surviving prisoners were Black, 1 was Hispanic, and 1 was white. Since then, all of the prisoners have died, and the white one was last to go.
  • How I Met Your Mother has an all-white primary cast, but a few recurring minority characters (cab driver Ranjit and Barney's gay Black brother). In the seventh season both Barney and Robin's love interests were minorities, but they are now gone for good. Ted's lack of variety in the girls he dates may be a necessity of the series' central gimmick: given we've seen the kids and they both look white, a woman of color is probably not going to be the mother.
  • The Class (2006), with Friends creator David Crane as an executive producer, was highly criticized for having an all-white cast, especially considering Philadelphia has a very large Black population.
  • Sanford and Son is a show with an almost entirely Black cast, with the only non-Black characters being a funny foreigner stereotypical Asian character named Ah Chew, who is constantly being mocked, belittled, and insulted by Fred, specifically because of his race and a Puerto Rican next-door neighbor, who is also strongly disliked by Fred solely for being Hispanic.
    • The only other non-Black character is Officer Hopkins, who, you guessed it, is constantly being insulted by Fred because of his race.
  • For a good while, the WB's nightly lineup consisted almost entirely of shows with this kind of casting, particularly of Black families, like The Parent 'Hood and Sister, Sister. Averted however as many of these shows had white recurring characters or guest stars even if they were not regulars.
  • Many classic sitcoms of The '50s such as Leave It to Beaver and The Honeymooners were notably white-washed portrayals of American life. In the former case, Kim Hamilton was the only African-American cast member to appear in any of its 234 episodes. She played a maid in "The Parking Attendants". However, with Leave It to Beaver, it may be a Justified Trope. The setting of Leave It to Beaver is the small midwestern city Mayfield in the 1950s, it would have had very few visible minorities.
  • I Love Lucy is an interesting case since, during this time, Desi Arnaz and the actors playing his friends and relatives from Cuba were not seen as non-whites, like they would be today, but more along the lines of a Funny Foreigner troupe (most Cubans are of Spanish descent, with minorities like Afro-Cubans rare on US shows).
  • What's Happening!! featured an almost entirely Black cast with the most prominent white characters being Earl Barnett, Jr. and his dad, who only appeared in 10 episodes of the show's 65 episode run.
  • The only white characrers from Lincoln Heights were tokens, who, while sort of signifiant to the story, were only sidekicks or love interests to one of the Black characters.
  • The only two white characters to appear in multiple episodes of the otherwise all-Black show, Smart Guy were a satellite character to Yvette, and a Butt-Monkey who was always being made fun of for his whiteness.
  • UPN was infamous for having entire blocks of programming with overwhelmingly Black casts. But most of those shows were made to be an alternative to the all-white shows.
  • During the brief period where university life at "UC Sunnydale" was shown on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there were almost no Asians, even though the actual University of California has over 40%. You can count the Black characters on Buffy with both hands, and only one for the characters that survive. Lampshaded in real life at Dragoncon 2012, where James Marsters bluntly stated that he'd never in his life encountered a real town that was as white as Sunnydale.
  • Buffy's sister show, Angel, also had a curious lack of minorities, especially since it took place in Los Angeles. Gunn and Gavin Park were the only real major non-white characters, and there didn't seem to be very many Hispanics, despite Los Angeles having a large Hispanic population. The showrunners finally produced a single episode in the final season, "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco", which heavily involved the city's Hispanic community, but it ended up just drawing attention to the lacuna in the series as a whole.
  • The third major Joss Whedon show, Firefly, came in for a very specific kind of criticism due to the conflict between the casting and the world-building. Although there were Black and Hispanic actors in the regular cast and among the guest characters, there was only one East Asian actor in a speaking role in the entire show (one of the brothel prostitutes in "Heart of Gold", although so minor a character that many viewers didn't notice her). The problem with this was that the show was set in a future where supposedly the USA and China had merged to create a hybrid dominant culture for humanity, but while there were lots of Chinese inscriptions and badly-pronounced expletives, there were puzzlingly few Chinese-looking people.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Parodied in a skit where a Black waiter refused to serve Ashton Kutcher after the actor grudgingly admitted that there were no major minority characters in That '70s Show. Which actually isn't true - one of the main characters, Fez, was from a minority, though it was never determined which one (his actor is Latino). And, in any case, small-town Wisconsin in the 70s was pretty white anyway. Hyde was revealed as (supposedly) being half Black, and his Black biological father also counted (along with his half-sister Angie, who really was played by a mixed-race actress, in contrast to Hyde).
    • SNL itself is an example of this trope depending on the season. The show has received some criticism for not having a diverse cast. The majority of its cast members have been white and the show has rarely had more than one non-white cast member at a time, and never had any fully Asian cast members (Rob Schneider and Fred Armisen were both a quarter Asian) until Bowen Yang was promoted from the writing staff in 2019, the show's 45th season. The show especially came under fire for not having any Black female cast members between Maya Rudolph's departure in 2007 and 2013, a fact that was highlighted when Kerry Washington guest starred (the cold open featured her playing Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyoncé). SNL attempted to remedy this by holding a casting call in 2013 specifically for Black women, and in 2014 hired Black woman Sasheer Zamata.
    • Steve Martin opened up the 40th anniversary show by saying that it was like being at "a high school reunion — a high school that is almost all white."
    • Rival MADTV made fun of this fact by having guest star and former SNL regular Martin Short think he was on his was on his old show as a joke and mistake all the Black cast members, including the woman, for Tim Meadows.
  • Out of 101 episodes of The Wayans Bros., only one white character appeared in more than one episode, and that was White Mike, who appeared in 6 episodes across the first two seasons before disappearing from the show completely for the rest of it's 5-season-long run.
  • In iCarly, T-Bo and Principal Franklin are the only recurring non-white characters, and the only Asian recurring characters appeared twice at most, but they were portrayed as irritating and unlikable. It was once lampshaded in a fanfic with the line: "Seattle has the diversity of a corn field!" (In case you were wondering, the real-world Seattle has a 30.5% minority population as of the 2010 Census)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series tried very hard to avoid monochrome casting, in line with Gene Roddenberry's views on race becoming a non-issue in Earth's future. This required deliberate effort on the part of the production staff, as, even in the mid-1960s, the network production system tended to fill all spots for extras with generic, physically fit white males (age 25 to 45) unless otherwise specified. As production values slipped in the second and third seasons of the series, crewmen and civilians fell back on the generic white male Hollywood stockpile. Of course, the most notable aversion of that era was Lieutenant Uhura, whose noteworthiness as a ranking Black officer was so notable that Dr Martin Luther King Jr. himself convinced Nichelle Nichols to stay on the show in later seasons specifically to avert this trope.
  • Monochromatic casting applied to all segments of American television before the 1970s. When Bill Cosby first appeared on The Tonight Show in the 1960s, doing his stand-up comedy act, the only makeup on hand at NBC was a base used previously for Lena Horne, who is so much paler than usual for American Blacks that she used to be attacked as a "mulatto" by hostile white (and, occasionally, Black) hecklers (Horne had Black, indigenous and white ancestry). Cosby was so pale on screen that night ("Live in Black & white!") his family thought something had been done to him or that he was ill.
  • Earthsea, the Sci-Fi Channel adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels. Le Guin intentionally created a fantasy world where a variety of dark-skinned people make up the majority of the populace (she even makes a point of distinguishing between the different shades of brown), with the only white people being barbarians... and the movie starred a bunch of white people and a Magical Negro. Le Guin has some choice things to say about the production.
  • The US version of Queer as Folk is somewhat disappointing since the show is about gay life in Pittsburgh, which has a healthy Black population, yet one has to keep one's eye's peeled to even see non-white extras. Justin does have a Token Black Friend, but she's so light skinned that you wouldn't notice until she mentions it herself.
  • Veep had one Black actress, Sufe Bradshaw, who played a secretary, despite being filmed in one of the Blackest cities in America, Baltimore, and set in the Blackest city in America, Washington, DC. Although the show never outright says what political party the characters belong to, they’re clearly Democrats, a party that’s about 60% white. A Democratic administration would, in all likelihood, have a more diverse staff. This was slightly rectified in season 4, when Sam Richardson, playing a campaign aide, was added to the cast.
  • MADtv:
    • Parodied with the sketch "Pretty White Kids With Problems." It aired when Dawson's Creek was at its prime. A different sketch called "Devon's Creek" was Dawson with all-Black cast members. Problem is, because the entire writing staff, production crew, and executive board were white, the lines sounded like every Black comedian stereotype of white people.
    • Another sketch spoofed Friends, featuring a Black girl as Ross' blind date, which shocks the entire gang. The narration states that this was done due to "a direct order from the United States Supreme Court".
  • At the very beginning of The West Wing, all the main characters were cast as white. When the NAACP criticized the show, the show's creators agreed with them — so they revived the character of Charlie Young (who was cut from the pilot somewhere between script and screen) and introduced him in the third episode. The characters on the show actually lampshade the situation by being seriously concerned with how it will look for the one visible Black staff member to be the President's errand boy. This episode also introduces John Amos as the Black Admiral Percy Fitzwallace Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In fact, it is to Fitzwallace to whom Leo McGarry rather apologetically lampshades the issue:
    Leo: You have any problem with a young Black man waiting on the President?
    Fitzwallace: I'm an old Black man and I wait on the president....Are you going to pay him a fair wage and treat him with respect in the workplace?
    Leo: Yeah
    Fitzwallace: Then what the hell do I care?
    • The show gets better later on with several Black Congresspeople and a Black National Security Advisor.
  • Home Improvement, ostensibly takes place in Detroit. There were very few Black characters than should be realistically expected, though this is presumable a wealthy, white-bread suburb. Detroit was a mixed-race city until about the 1970s, at which point "white flight" kicked in with a vengeance (mostly in response to race riots). Today, it's one of the Blackest cities in U.S., with 82% of the population being Black at the 2010 census.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210, so much so Aaron Spelling said he regretted it.
    • Similarly seen in the spin-off Melrose Place, which had one Black character during its first season who quickly vanished due to lack of storyline.
    • Even though Aaron had passed by the time it came out, the sequel series fixed this featuring a Black and Arab (even though he's played by a Hispanic) in the main cast and an Indian recurring character.
  • Dawson's Creek. The High School principal and his daughter are the only Black people, even in the Boston episodes. There's also Bodie, the Black boyfriend of Bessie, who she has a child with, so the writers did include an interracial relationship and biracial kid - but ironically he's a mostly off-screen character that almost never actually appears on the series, making this trope played straight after all.
  • Despite Moesha taking place in Los Angeles, the only non-Black characters who weren't just background characters were Marco, a Mexican who appeared in 4 episodes, Haley, a Caucasian who appeared in 5 episodes, and Brenda, a Caucasian who was thrown into 4 episodes of the final season.
  • The only White characters from My Wife and Kids were Dr. Klieger and Rachel McNamara, who only appeared in a collective 11 episodes before falling off the face of the earth after Season 2.
  • EastEnders - Sweet Baby Jesus. The show takes place in one of the most ethnically diverse parts of one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world and somehow manages to be 90 percent white. Worse yet, this is a fairly recent development. When the show started in 1985, the area's demographics were roughly the same and you could count the non-white actors on one hand. It's like the producers hadn't visited the area since the Fifties. (Heck, Call the Midwife, which actually is set in the Fifties in the same part of London, might have had more minority guest appearances on average.)
  • The Bachelor/The Bachelorette is like this, with only white people (with the occasional light-skinned Hispanic or Asian) on the show. And there's absolutely no excuse for this, given that there are twenty-plus contestants every season. The problem, is that the bachelor, and bachelorette in question is almost always white. And unfortunately Interracial Dating is still kinda taboo in Real Life (unlike in tv/film). The bachelor, and bachelorette may also have specified the ethnicity of the contestants. A lawsuit was filed by two African-American men who claim that they auditioned for the show and were not given equal audition time solely because of their race. The Bachelorette finally remedied this in 2017 with a Black Bachelorette (who ended up with a white man), and they milked the publicity from that for all it was worth.
  • Laverne & Shirley takes place in 1950s Milwaukee which was in the middle of a massive influx of migrant Black workers from the south, most of whom came to work at Breweries like the one where the titular characters were employed.
  • In Noah's Arc, almost everyone any of the characters interacts with is either Black or latino. You can count the number of white people seen throughout the series on one hand.
  • While the show did have a few Black characters in the past, As the World Turns' large cast was all white by the time it went off the air.
    • This has been a major problem with most soap operas. Ironically, this might be a Justified Trope, as most are set in wealthy white-bread suburbs. However, The Bold and the Beautiful is set in the melting pot of Los Angeles but until recently had a cast almost completely devoid of minorities, and the few who were present often fell into patronizing Model Minority roles (local cop, guard &c.) who were often relegated to the background—yet another problem often seen on soaps.
    • The first major Black character on the show was not even an American, but an adopted African orphan and is of cousin-oliverish significance.
    • The first regular Black member joined the family in 2008, when a young man reunites with his white, blonde mother, who abandoned him as a teenager. It is also a clear case of fake mixed race casting.
  • Neighbours is frequently guilty of this, and its attempts at rectifying the situation have rarely made things better.
    • This is the standard for Australian soaps - Home and Away and Packed To The Rafters are two more prominent examples, although unlike Neighbours, they aren't set in Australia's second most diverse city (Melbourne).
    • They eventually added the Kapoors, but only as a result of active campaigning from British fans who desired more diversity. Unfortunately the entire Kapoor family were Put on a Bus after only a year on Ramsay Street. Sachin Joab (Ajay) has called the producers out on the lack of multiculturalism in the show.
    • A kids'-soap example of this is Blue Water High, which is set in Australia's most diverse city. In its first season every significant character was white, with a blonde German exchange student as a minority. The later two seasons each had a Token Minority in the main cast ('Red Ranger' played one of the protagonists in S3). Although about a fifth of Sydney's population is Asian, no Asian Australians appeared in the main cast.
  • You could reasonably argue that Midsomer Murders is a justified example, being set in a well-off part of rural England, which is inhabited by mainly white English people. However, when the producer of the show stated with astonishing bluntness in an interview with the Radio Times that the lack of diversity of the show was due to it his view of it being a "bastion of Englishness", and that his view stemmed from being "politically incorrect", he was temporarily forced to step down from his position by the producing company. He eventually chose to voluntarily resign, and the very next series put a British Asian actor in a main role.
  • There were very few Black characters in Frasier, but unlike the New York City examples of Friends and Seinfeld, the Black population of Seattle is very small and highly concentrated in an area far from the characters' affluent hangouts. However, the Black people that did appear had quite a broad scope. One Black recurring character was "Dr." Mary, a stereotypical Sassy Black Woman who Frasier was terrified of criticizing for fear of being seen as racist — an unusually no-nonsense approach to racial issues for a 90s sitcom. There was also a very tall basketball player in "Head Game". On the other hand, Frasier's Sitcom Archnemesis Cam Winston was a wealthy, fussy snob very much like Frasier himself, and the fact that he was Black was a complete non-issue. Cam's mother was also briefly used as a love interest for Frasier's father, Martin - again nobody seemed to notice or care. However, Frasier drops the ball when it comes to Asians, who do make up a large percentage of Seattle's population (about 1/8th), but are almost invisible. (The publisher Sam Tanaka in "Author, Author" is a rare example, and a focus group member played by Tony Shalhoub) in "Focus Group"; there's also a recurring waitress character played by an actress of Indian descent). And for what it's worth, there were often Black extras used in the various coffee house and party scenes. (These included a Black couple coincidentally named Niles and Daphne.) They may not have gotten speaking parts, but it is refreshing to see Black characters as part of elite, wealthy social scenes. Also a Twofer Token Minority: James Earl Jones guest starring as a blind Black man in "Roz's Krantz And Goldenstein Are Dead". Similarly, the later episode "Daphne Does Dinner" features a Black man and an Asian-American who are clearly a gay couple, though this isn't made explicit. A brilliantly deadpan Black waiter appears in "Farewell Nervosa".
  • Sex and the City was also set in an unrealistically white version of New York City. Out of the parade of boyfriends and lovers the girls had over the course of six seasons, the non-white ones can be counted on maybe one hand. Reportedly, Cynthia Nixon complained to the producers about this for years, until they finally threw her a bone by casting Blair Underwood as Miranda's onscreen lover. The close-but-not-a-direct-prequel series The Carrie Diaries, actually averts this a lot better than the original show did. It has led to a lot of people joking that Carrie Bradshaw became increasingly racist as she got older.
  • The HBO series Girls has gotten backlash over this, especially since it was touted and marketed as a supposedly progressive comedy and takes place in New York, one of the most ethnically diverse cities on the planet. The show's creator Lena Dunham has since apologized and promised to add some women of color to the cast for the series' second season. In the second season premiere, the main character Hannah dates a Black man named Sandy (Donald Glover).
  • Played mostly straight in Charmed, with a few aversions. The Black Daryl Morris was a side character in season 1 but promoted to regular in season 2. The show did feature a lot of white characters but there were a few recurring minorities such as Paige's boss in season 4 and the Big Bad of season 7 who was Middle Eastern. Played straight in another variation though - set in San Francisco and yet no recurring gay characters, though a few do appear as one-episode characters.
  • A minor media controversy erupted after Shonda Rhimes from Grey's Anatomy criticized Bunheads over this. The dismissive response from the show's creator certainly hasn't helped matters either...
  • The popular British Panel Game QI has a ten-year run and had about a hundred comedians appear on the show. A grand whopping four of them were comedians of colour (Meera Syal in "Aquatic Animals", Reginald D. Hunter in "Fashion" and "Jungles", Shappi Khorsandi in "Journalism", and Trevor Noah in "Killers").
  • America's Test Kitchen: With a name like that for a public TV show, you would think that non-white chefs would have been cast. Not so.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Aside from Theresa and her family, everyone is at least half-white. Considering they live in New York, this is a little strange.
  • Power Rangers is usually racially diverse with its casting, but in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, all the rangers except for one (the Asian Blue Ranger) were white. So far, it's the only season to do this.
    • Power Rangers RPM just barely avoided this; Scott (Red Ranger) was the only non-white on the main team (he's Black), but both of the Sixth Ranger characters were Asian. That being said, it's still one of the least racially diverse seasons.
    • Power Rangers Samurai is weird. While it has 2 hispanic rangers, one Asian, one Black, and 3 white, 2 of the white rangers, Jayden and his sister Lauren, have the last name Shiba (this is because Samurai was a very close adaptation of its Sentai source material, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, where the original characters had that surname), signaling that they're descended from a Japanese family. In fact, the opening narration states that the villains and the Rangers' powers come from ancient Japan (again, a leftover from the Sentai). This could mean that 4 of the other 5 Rangers (Antonio got his powers himself) are of Japanese descent as well, but it's never stated. The fact that Jayden and Lauren aren't at least part-Japanese stuck out to some people. In fact, the show, even over 26 years later, has yet to have an Asian red ranger for some reason. It is possible that they're descended from someone who was adopted into their family, since their father is shown in a flashback and is white as well, but that's never stated either.
    • Something weird happened with Power Rangers Ninja Steel. The characters are of different races, and not all of the actors are New Zealanders, but they all have roughly the same complexion. A last-minute actor replacement is partially responsible - Calvin was originally to be played by Chantz Simpson.
  • One Tree Hill is somewhat seen as this. Although from the beginning, they have had Black male characters and even had one in the opening credits by season four, there were no female Black characters unless they were only in the background with little to no lines. There was an episode where Lucas ran into an old friend of his who was a Black female, BUT viewers never heard of her prior to the episode and they only reunited outside of Tree Hill.
  • Happens In-Universe in Psych: In "Psych the Musical", Gus complains about the cast members of a musical production being all white. They point out that being an adaption of the Jack the Ripper story, it takes place in 19th century London, to which he responds "So what are you saying, Black people hadn't been invented yet?" He also points out that it wouldn't be unreasonable to at least have some of the minor characters be played by actors of other races.
  • An occasional criticism of True Blood, since the number of minority characters shown does not correspond with the real-life American South, which has the largest concentration of African-Americans in the country and a growing Hispanic population. Worse, almost all the non-white characters on the show are directly connected to each other: series regulars Tara and Lafayette are cousins, and a good chunk of the minority recurring characters are their family members and love interests.
  • In an episode of Criminal Minds, the gang travels to Cleveland to take on a serial killer in the city's east side, and it soon becomes clear that the producers have never actually been there. Every Clevelander shown onscreen is white and middle-classed even though the East Side in real life is at least 90% Black and 99% Wrong Side of the Tracks. There are predominantly-white areas in the suburbs as you move away from the urban core, but the action explicitly takes place in the city proper. The murderer drew inspiration from the infamous Torso Killer from the 1930's and that seems to be the basis of Cleveland's portrayal on the show, but the city's demographics have changed a lot since then.
  • Even though The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air takes place in upper-class Los Angeles, there are no non-Black recurring characters and none of the kids date interracially. Not that Uncle Phil would have allowed that, anyway. The only white characters to appear in more than one episode were Kellogg, Margaret, and Frank, who, if they were lucky, got to appear in 4-6 episodes at most.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard takes place in a part of the U.S. where you would expect to see a lot of African-American people, yet there is only one Black character of any note (though that character is the highly respected sheriff of a neighbouring county).
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition features very white construction crews. If you are used to seeing non-white construction workers, this looks very odd.
  • Once Upon a Time downplayed this in season 1, with Regina Mills and Sidney as the only recurring character of minority ethnicities. But Season 2 onwards began averting it, featuring Mulan and Tamara as recurring minorities as well as giving many fairytale characters a Race Lift; Rapunzel, Maid Marian, Ursula, Guinevere and Lancelot were all played by non-white actors.
  • Very much averted in the spin off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - which featured Peter Gadiot (Dutch-Mexican), Naveen Andrews (Anglo-Indian), Zuleikha Robinson (Burmese-Indian) and Brian George (Anglo-Israeli) in the main cast.
  • The Andy Griffith Show doesn't have any Black characters except as extras. Despite being set in a rural town in the South in the 1960s, there's never so much as a mention of the Civil Rights Movement or Segregation or many similar issues that would certainly have been concerns for real law enforcement officers at the time. In fact this was an Enforced Trope; Griffith wanted to include African Americans in main roles but was overruled by Executive Meddling fearing that it would be too controversial for Southern audiences.
  • Hill Street Blues had a memorable in-universe example of this when Ray Caitano was named "Hispanic Officer of the Year", and gave a speech bitterly calling them out on the fact that most of the officers of captain and above in the city were in the room and the only Hispanic people were the waiters. (A couple of characteristically insensitive remarks from Lieutenant Hunter and the fact they'd put out a bunch of Puerto Rican flags when Ray was Colombian-American really didn't help.) The series in general did a pretty good job of averting the trope, however, with numerous nonwhite main characters.
  • CSI used to have a diverse main cast...sort of: one Black (Warrick) in the main CSI team, one Latino detective (Vega) and one Asian Lab Rat (Archie). Until Warrick got killed off and Vega turned out to be a Corrupt Cop and got killed while Archie just disappeared with the rest of the lab rats leaving only Hodges and Henry. There's also Dr. Ray Langston played by Laurence Fishburne who took Grissom's place as the lead character until he left and got replaced by D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) which made the main CSI team all-white with one Black detective.
  • Byker Grove has an in-universe example. In one episode, South Asian character Sita goes to audition for the chorus line of a musical which is being staged locally. She's the only non-white girl at the audition and the casting director rejects her without explaining why she is unsuitable or even giving her chance to do her audition piece, simply telling her: "Sorry, no. We can't use you." Sita is convinced she was turned down because of her ethnicity (we never find out if this is true or if there was another reason behind the decision) and, her confidence shattered, vows never to go to an audition again. However, her friends manage to cheer her up by persuading her to join a singing group they have formed.
  • Sherlock faces such criticism. Despite the Setting Update, London is almost as white as if it was in the Victorian era. While the second episode has a Chinese criminal organization as antagonists, all other main characters are white. Detective Sally Donovan and Watson's therapist are the only recurring characters of colors and they're very minors.
  • Averted on Empire. While other shows starring Black upper-class families play this trope very straight (The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air come to mind), Empire regularly features supporting characters and love interests of different races.
  • The Brothers Garcia is the rare Hispanic variation. Granted it's set in San Antonio, whose population is over 60% Hispanic, but the only non-Hispanic recurring character is a Token Black Friend who's only in a handful of episodes and Carlos's rival Eddie Bauer (who's white). This was intentional on the part of the creator; wanting to create an English-speaking show with a majority Latino cast.
  • In a country with a worldwide colonial heritage and lots of Arab, African or Asian immigrants, it is interesting that French sitcom Les Filles d'à côté has 100% monochrome casting. Even the highly toned background extras in the gym are all white.
  • This trope was one of the many criticisms that this [1] levied at the Hallmark Channel's annual Christmas movie marathon.
  • Defiance: The show was an absolutely egregious example of this trope for numerous reasons and only got worse with it as time went on. First, it's not only set forty years from now where one would expect a more diverse human population, it's set in St. Louis, a majority-Black city (yet filmed in Canada) yet one could count the number of Black humans appearing on one hand during its entire run and that's including extras. Second, it's immigration allegory with Rubber-Forehead Aliens whose Fantastic Slur for humans is "pink skins", suggesting humanity's gotten whiter over the years despite every species of alien put together there still having less variety among themselves as the Native American being called that snarks back by showing his wrist and saying, "this look pink to you?" Third, main character Joshua Nolan being a textbook White Male Lead and White Savior from his Fantastic Racism down to a Heroic Sacrifice for an alien race, and he's marketed so prominently you'd be remiss to think there were any cast members of color. Fourth, everything culturally human/"Old World" being depicted as monolithically white compared to the aliens being a mish-mash of fantasy counterpart cultures, so even the Native American family are more like old money W.A.S.Ps having a Culture Clash with ethnic foreigners, such as daughter Christie (who's in an Interspecies Romance with one) being stupid enough to put on the alien equivalent of Blackface without any self-awareness. By the third season, all of the original humans of color are dead, with the most prominent Black character, Tommy (and only Black character to appear for more than two episodes), being either ignored/sidelined by the show itself or shit on by Nolan for two seasons until he was killed off near the end of season two, meaning that besides the minority actors playing aliens, the show ended whiter than it started. It's possible that when St. Louis got buried, the majority of the people living there died as well, since escaping St. Louis in a hurry could be a problem—to go east, into Illinois, would require crossing the Mississippi River, and people escaping that way would bottleneck at the bridges. And they could only go so far into St. Louis County (which surrounds the city on the Missouri side) before running into a similar problem, since it's almost impossible to get out of St. Louis County without having to cross a river as well. Not to mention the people in the counties surrounding St. Louis would already be trying to get as far away from the city as possible, so anybody in the city itself would be caught behind the people in the counties. And the first-tier counties around St. Louis are still predominantly white, with the second-tier counties having an even higher white population. Once St. Louis (the city) was covered over, the people in the counties may have drifted to the new Defiance.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In an inversion of the usual application of this trope in 1960, all of the actors with speaking roles in "The Big Tall Wish", with the exception of Walter Burke, are African-Americans. It is especially notable as the episode did not concern racial issues.
  • Love/Hate having a majority white cast would make more sense if it weren't set in 2010s Dublin. This is of course a result of Two Decades Behind - Ireland was a homogeneous country until the 90s, when the economic boom saw significant immigration of other nationalities. Despite large amounts of African, Venezuelan and Chinese communities - the only major non-white character was Gav. Rosie (played by the Irish-Ethiopian Ruth Negga) was a protagonist in the first two seasons but her departure drew attention to just how white the main cast was.
  • Normal People, another Irish-set series, justifies this in the early episodes. The story begins in rural Sligo, with only the occasional person of colour in the background. Once things move to Dublin in the fourth episode, more minorities show up. It's further used to highlight the differences between the two locations
  • Parodied on an episode of In Living Color! where Jim Carrey played a channel-hopping Ross Perot who overtook several television networks, including a comedy station where he tells a joke to an unreceptive audience of "You ever notice how there's no Blacks, no Jews, no Puerto Ricans on The Jetsons? Future seems pretty bright, don't you think?"
  • Vida: Nearly all of the characters are Latino, except for a couple minor White ones. As it's set in a heavily Latino section of LA and focuses on their lives though, it makes sense.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This was a problem in pro wrestling right up until the 1990s. In the USA for example, there was segregation and though Black wrestlers were often popular attractions despite it, there were fears of giving them too much prominence for fear of race riots. Jack Veneno, Bobo Brazil and Carlos Colon did become NWA World Champion but their names were struck from the record books. Tony Atlas reportedly almost starved to death from lack of work while Bruiser Brody refused to book him at all (though Brody was later said to have gotten that order from above.) Even some cases like Junkyard Dog, who was the top star of Mid-South Wrestling for close to 5 years in the early '80s with a number of singles and tag title reigns but got nothing in the WWF, who incidentally along with Jim Crockett put companies like Mid-south out of business, making it look even worse down the line that it was rare for Black wrestlers to be booked to win titles until Ron Simmons defeated Big Van Vader for the top WCW Title in 1992. As far as anyone can determine, there were few Black main-eventers on WWE television until Bad News Brown challenged Randy Savage for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship - and it wouldn't happen again until Mabel challenged Diesel for the WWE Championship in 1995, and lost. Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki did hold the WWE Championship briefly in 1979, but his run was later stricken from the record book, and an Asian or Pacific Islander would not win the title again until Yokozuna in 1993. Pedro Morales was WWE Champion for a while in the '70s, but the first WWE Champion to have no European ancestry at all was The Rock (half-Black, half-Samoan).
    • That said, there were rare occasions where titleholders were non-European descent, at least in the WWF, with these exceptions almost always being Tag Team Champions. By far the most successful of the non-Anglo Saxons was Tito Santana, a Mission, Texas native who was of Hispanic heritage; he held both the Intercontinental and Tag Team championships on multiple occasions, and at one point was seriously considered for a World Heavyweight Championship run. note  The Wild Samoans (Polynesian descent) were the most prominent Tag Team example, holding the titles on three occasions from 1980 to 1983. General Adnan, who is of Iraqi descent, was billed as Native American when he and Chief Jay Strongbow co-held the Tag Team Championship in 1977, while Mr. Fuji (who was billed as Japanese but was actually Hawaiian) teamed with an actual Japanese native, Masa Saito, to win the WWF Tag Team Championship, holding them from 1981 to 1983. The Soul Connection — Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson — became the first African American titleholders of any of the three major titles when they defeated the Wild Samoans in 1983. Additionally, both Atlas and Johnson, and Jimmy Snuka (Polynesian descent) got main-event matches against Intercontinental Champion the Magnificent Muraco, while the Junkyard Dog faced Greg Valentine for the Intercontinental Championship. The first World Heavyweight Champion to be of non-European descent (other than Morales, of Hispanic heritage) was The Iron Sheik, who was of Iranian heritage. The most prominent African American challenger for the title, at least during the Kayfabe-era, was Bad News Brown's challenging both Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship; Hogan would be tormented in 1989 by Zeus (actor Tom Lister Jr. in his No Holds Barred movie role).
  • The WWF women wrestlers, or "Divas" as they would come to be known as, were a bit like this when they first started out - management favouring Caucasian blondes. The Jumping Bomb Angels had the women's tag titles in the late 1980s but it wouldn't be till the mid 1990s that other Japanese wrestlers came in. To be fair, there were quite a fewnote  but besides Bull Nakano they were gone almost as soon as they got there and then the entire women's division was scrapped. Upon it's "revival", Jacqueline was the only minority Diva for years (and the first African-American to become Women's Champion). The Diva Searches were a similar case, featuring mostly white girls (although the winners of the last two Diva Searches were minorities - Layla El (Spanish-Moroccan) and Eve Torres.) From there WWE went through periods where the majority of the wrestlers were of noticeable African ancestry and where the majority were latina. In the latter case, many were still white Latinas and WWE employed four Asian women since 2003 - Gail Kim (Korean), Hiroko (Japanese), Lena Yada (Japanese) and Savannah (Chinese), none whom were ever on the main roster together, compared to the brief surge of the 90s.
  • Ashley America argued for this in Valkyrie Women's Pro Wrestling, insisting that pro wrestling fans expected a certain kind of wrestler, namely one such as herself, and that no one wanted to see diversity. In case the point was missed, she said this after insisting they get rid of the "Native American" Nyla Rose.
  • Wrestlicious featured a rather huge proportion of white women wrestlers compared to women of colour, despite picking a mixture of women on the indies and actresses and models trained for the show. The only prominent woman of colour was Lil' Slamm - although the 2010 reshoots added in Coco Montegro (played by Josette Bynum). There were two Latinas in Bandita and Maria Toro but that was about it. Mia Yim did work live events but never appeared on TV, and a one-shot Belly Dancer character called Aziza had a cameo in one episode.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The main cast of planeswalkers all have very Eurocentric appearances: they're all as pale as humanly possible and they all look like Europeans, Jace and Liliana comes from European-looking places and dressed in European-looking clothes when they were young, Gideon is even more obviously "Greek" (precisely, he's from the Greece-themed plane Theros) as his origin shows. It's really hard to buy into the fact that a pale redhead such as Chandra, who was named after a Hindu god, is supposed to be of "Indian" descent (precisely, she's from the India-themed plane Kaladesh), with brown parents and all. Apart from that, Wizards of the Coast have put quite some effort into borrowing elements from various cultures to have more diverse planes and characters (Japan for Kamigawa, Ancient Greece for Theros, Mongolia and Tibet for Tarkir, India for Kaladesh, Ancient Egypt for Amonkhet, the Americas for Ixalan, China, etc.).
  • The Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebooks for New Orleans, Atlanta, and Milwaukee are conspicuously lacking in minority NPC characters, even though all three cities have either a Black majority or plurality.
  • Looking at the future of humanity depicted in Warhammer 40,000, one has to wonder what happened to the 75% of humanity which isn't white. They exist, but are creepily rare.
    • Though with miniatures sculpts its hard to differentiate ethnicity without it coming off as a stereotype. Painting a model can only realistically show they are of African descent or they look to have a medium to light skin-tone with hair of whatever color. This does not excuse the art.
    • Averted in some specific instances: the Salamanders are all Blacknote , while Ciaphas Cain and Damnation Crusade feature minor Black characters.
    • Averted with certain space marine chapters which while still invoking this trope, do so for non white ethnic groups. The Raven Guard are all Native Americans, the Crimson Fists are Latino, the White Scars are Mongolian, and the Thousand Sons are Persian/Egyptian etc.
      • Ditto with some Imperial Guard regiments. The Tallarn desert raiders are Middle Eastern and the Attilan Rough Riders are Asian influenced.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had issues with this trope since the game began. Most D&D settings are heavily derived on old depictions of Medieval Europe (which tended to be a lot more monochrome than Europe was in actuality). While 3rd Edition made a conscious effort to improve the racial diversity of the default characters in the Player's Handbook, settings books for Forgotten Realms still tended to show pictures of towns and cities that were filled with white people.

  • Parodied in the Reduced Shakespeare Company's All The Great Books (Abridged), where one of the characters, a community college drama teacher, claims to have directed the very first all-white production of Ain't Misbehavin'.
    • The Other RSC also lampshade their monochrome cast (of three, so maybe Justified) in the Cmplt Wrks f Shkspr when they come to Othello; they note that none of them really feel qualified to play Othello, but Adam is going to have a go. No Blackface involved - he comes on with a string of toy boats around his neck, having misunderstood the term 'Moor'.
    • A production had the role played by a Black guy, with the other actors shamefully admitting afterward that they had just left him to do Othello on his own because he was Black. (Incidentally, the others were Hispanic and Jewish, leading to the ad-lib "We can't do Othello, but we can make a lot of jokes like this, so that's good.")
  • Shuffle Along, Cabin in the Sky, Porgy and Bess, The Wiz, and The Color Purple are some of the Broadway musicals with an all-Black cast.note  Considering the heavy cultural scripts and backgrounds of said works, these plays could not experience Race Lifting.
  • Purposely averted with Hamilton, which has many [POCs] portraying historically white characters, with the exception of King George, who is always played by a Token White.
  • Flower Drum Song, despite being a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, is notable for having an Asian-American version of this trope. In the movie of the musical, there is a single white person in the entire film, a man with one line who robs one of the main characters and is never seen again. Every other main character, side character (with a single Fake Nationality exception), and extra is an American of east-Asian descent.
  • Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures is written to be performed by a cast of all Asian men.

  • LEGO has this trope Zig-Zagged. All of their minifigures in non-licensed sets have yellow skin. This was decided to make them racially neutral, so that the balance seems appropriate for all cultures. However, early licensed sets still used yellow skin, and Black characters/actors got brown skin for accuracy, unfortunately making every yellow minifigure that had been released look white. Soon, licensed figures all got appropriate flesh tones to solve the problem.

    Video Games 
  • Enix was a pretty big offender. Actraiser kicks in with some Fridge Horror when the player is god and creates his followers in a short cut scene on each level. Apparently the player never chooses people with any melanin in their skin, even in the middle of the jungle or desert stage. SoulBlazer carried on the tradition when the player was an angel sent to free the imprisoned souls of white people, talking furniture, gnomes, mice, and even flowers, but of no people of color at all. Illusion of Gaia also featured no non-whites of any note.
  • Black Isle Studios and BioWare were guilty of this as well. Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age: Origins, and Knights of the Old Republic I and II were guilty of having almost every NPC be white, even in heavily-traveled regions of the setting. Almost all of the plot-relevant ones are, anyway. The Player Character, at least, was allowed to be the race of the player's choice (except in Torment, where the protagonist's ethnicity is impossible to determine because his skin is completely covered in scar tissue). Torment and Knights of the Old Republic had no excuse, as the former has a City of Adventure that touches all existence and the latter was set in the Star Wars verse. A weakly Justified Trope in the other games, due to the difficulty of travel. Dragon Age, where magical travel does not exist, perhaps gets the most slack. Another offender is Jade Empire, except almost everyone is faux-Chinese. Justified, as it was set in a mythical realm based on China. John Cleese plays a scene-stealing complete boob of a racist "European." Averted in Mass Effect, where the characters are much more varied and continued to become more mixed as the series progressed.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2, made by Obsidian Entertainment after BioWare chose to focus on original IP between games, averts this in the second Expansion Pack Storm of Zehir. While the Medieval European Fantasy Sword Coast region is still prominent as in the original campaign, about half the game takes place in Samarach, which is a stand-in for tropical Africa, and so much of the cast is darker-skinned, including two of the humans and the halfling.
  • Following the Warhammer 40,000 example above, the Dawn of War series, Fire Warrior, and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Despite the various Imperial factions supposedly representing humanity, they are all white. This is actually meant to make the player uncomfortable, a point that is lost on much of the fanbase. The Sisters of Battle, for example, are fanatics who insist on strict thought control and execute unbelievers and heretics and traitors with rapturous glee, and they dress in Black with red, white, and gold highlights. The Imperium's battle standard is an eagle with two heads. Their super soldiers are augmented superhumans with genetic modifications who are worried about the purity of those genes. This should start to sound familiar.
  • Brütal Legend's human cast is all white. The game world does run on heavy metal and much of the cast are an Expy of some famous figure in Heavy Metal, so there still were many non-whites to draw from.
  • Alan Wake has about twenty characters, all of them Caucasian. It is set in a small town in the Pacific Northwest roughly around 2005-2010, and in some such towns the minority population is quite small.
  • StarCraft does have some minority characters. 3 to be precise, and all of them are killed on-screen by Sarah Kerrigan. The terran Worker Unit is the only Black unit in the whole game (there's also the Moroccan-appearing Samir Duran, but he's not human).

    Web Comics 
  • In a literal example, every human in Homestuck is drawn with literally white skin. Not quite an example - Word of God dictates that by intent, Mukokuseki is in full effect and no-one save his Author Avatar (Caucasian, coloured orange) has any defined race, or for that matter other physical characteristics beyond the basics, and that one reference to Bro being white was an error that he put in before he'd clearly established the character.
  • Every character in Teahouse is white. After this was pointed out to the writers, they did include a person of colour in as a non-speaking servant. Naturally people complained and they wrote out out a "we're not racist" blog. A non-white character has yet to have any dialog.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!! has an all-white cast, the main characters all have different hair colors.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent is subject to this despite being set in post Depopulation Bomb Nordic countries, due to some of them having a more racially diverse population in the present day than those living outside them tend to assume them to have. The author's justification is that there were survivors of non-Scandinavian heritage to the Depopulation Bomb, but their numbers were so small that they ended up reproducing with the white-skinned population during the ninety years separating the apocalypse from the time in which the main story is set.

    Web Original 
  • Invoked in Lindsay Ellis's review of You've Got Mail. Having lived in New York City, she points out that the city in real life is not nearly as white as the film makes it out to be. She suggests that the film was made that way to appeal to middle-class, Midwestern white women and what they imagine NYC to be like.
  • Several British casting directors took to Twitter in 2020 amid the George Floyd protests to recount plenty of times they've had to push for diversity in the shows they're given to cast - and for the period dramas that are so popular amongst the public, they're often given the "historical accuracy" response if they attempt to include non-white actors in the cast.

    Western Animation 
  • Not even cartoons are exempt! The biggest offender was probably The Jetsons. It takes place in the far off future (2062)note , but there's not a single minority to be seen in the original 60s run.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series:
    • Lampshaded and parodied when Dante and Randal respond to viewer mail complaining about the show's Monochrome Casting. They respond by adding a new Black character named Lando who does little more than wave to the guys as he passes them on the street.
    • Further parodied when the guys later need a helicopter pilot to get them in the air, and "Lando" is the man to do it. Cut to Lando eagerly offering to help, only to learn that Dante and Randal were talking about a different Lando; another white guy.
  • South Park was originally meant to be this way, being set in rural Colorado where Chef as the Token Minority. Eventually they had a Token Minority student named Token as well. Nowadays the town seems to be more diverse, with the City Wok guy, a Japanese restaurateur, the Asian-looking "6th Grader Leader" and several others. Minor character Kevin was identified as Asian American in one of the earlier seasons, though this is rarely brought up. This is actually somewhat Truth in Television - Colorado's population has changed over the time the show has been running. Mr. Garrison after he became elected as President had his homeroom teacher position replaced by an Asian woman.
  • Brickleberry is meant to be sort of like this, with Hazelhurst being an extremely white town in the bible belt of America, where major and minor characters range from rich white men to trailer trash hillbillies and most of the population being bigoted, uneducated, slightly or majorly racist scumbags. This is mainly done for the sake of making Denzel pretty much the only Black guy within miles of Brickleberry National Park.
  • The Boondocks takes place in the suburbs of Woodcrest, Marilyn, and the main and recurring cast consists almost entirely Black people. Aside from Sarah, Gin, Cindy, and The Wuncler Family, the only white people to make prominent recurring appearances are either white-passing, mixed-race mullatoes such as Jazmine.
  • Visionaries features a cast exclusively made up of white people, from minor to major characters. The only Black people seen are in background group shots. Even the canceled second toy line would not have fixed this.
  • The main cast of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is entirely Black as are most of the supporting cast. The only characters of other races are one-time characters of the day. Pretty ironic for a show that's made a point of accepting people of all skin colors and has even has a number of very special episodes about racism between the Black and white communities.
  • The Transformers was by and large about the robots, but the main four or five humans in the cast (Sparkplug, Spike, Daniel, Carly, and Chip Chase) are all white and the number of meaningful non-Caucasian humans in the supporting cast, even if they only featured in one episode, could probably be counted on one hand, to say nothing of the fact that many of those characters were cringingly bad stereotypes besides (so bad, in fact, that Casey Kasem left the show because of the incredibly racist Arab stereotypes in Season 3).
  • Averted in Balto - roughly half of the extras in the group shots are Native Alaskan, with a notable shot at the end showing a Native Family receiving treatment. This is actually Truth in Television - Nome had a notable Inuit population at the time.
  • Every human main character in The Powerpuff Girls is white. This is also the case in the next two cartoons from Craig McCracken , though Kid Cosmic would avert this with a more diverse cast.


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