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Token Minority

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The Token Minority is a character designed to get more minority groups into the plot. This serves several purposes:

  • Allows the producers of the show to broaden the appeal of the show by giving more viewers protagonists they can identify with.
  • Is useful for bringing in discussions of race, gender and sexual orientation into the plot.
  • Helps the producers feel a little better about using a Scary Minority Suspect in every other case.
  • Allows the producers to make race jokes related to a minority without any shame.
  • Allows the producers to avoid criticism from minority groups.
  • Fulfills the executives' desire for the show to be more ethnically respectful.
  • Depending on the setting, it can merely be an accurate representation of demographics in that region or industry.

In some casts of animal, alien, or monster characters, World of Funny Animals or not, there is a majority species and one or more minority species. Often the majority of the animal cast is made up of mammals and there is a token non-mammal. Usually, the token non-mammal is a bird, but reptiles, amphibians, and even invertebrates are certainly not unheard of. Sometimes, there are token animals, aliens, or monsters representing ethnic minorities in a group made of supposedly "white" ones.


You might see this term used derisively in most contexts. This isn't out of contempt for minorities; this trope simply causes problems with representation, where, for example, the single black guy is forced to be exemplary of his entire race. This is very likely to lead to Positive Discrimination and make him The Scrappy. If there are instead four minorities (assuming a sizable cast), they can all have different strengths and flaws which round them out and make them generally equal to the rest of the cast. Taking this approach, Unfortunate Implications are unlikely to happen unless you somehow subject them all to the same stereotypes. You can even have one be explicitly antagonistic.

However, this can be Truth in Television in cases where the prevalence of the minority, combined with the size of the cast and the demographics of the setting, make it genuinely unlikely that there will be more than one member of the minority present (not that this would justify stereotypes, but it would justify having only one minority). A show set in California featuring equal parts whites, Asians and Mexicans would be credible, but not so a show in rural Maine with the same cast (simply because rural Maine is overwhelmingly white), and a show set in the American Bible Belt would have a hard time convincingly justifying multiple self-professed atheists in a cast of ten (unless a major theme of the show is nonconformity or religious/atheist tensions).


Compare Captain Ethnic, Token Nonhuman, Token Human, Token Enemy Minority, Token Minority Couple, Token White, Twofer Token Minority, Five-Token Band, Informed Judaism, Black Vikings, Token Black Friend, and The Smurfette Principle.


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  • A controversy erupted after it was revealed that a photograph used to adorn the front of a University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate application booklet for the 2001-02 school year was altered to add the image of a black student among a sea of white faces.
  • A Veet ad has this. When they state that eight out of ten women were happy with the product, they showed a lineup of eight women with one of them being black. Curiously, they are all dubbed over with the same voice.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Poor Hans, in The Daughter of Twenty Faces, is seemingly the only non-Japanese member of a group of burglars led by Gentleman Thief "Twenty-Faces" that is ostensibly a globe-trotting organization. He often uses Gratuitous German, to boot.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech had Claudia Grant/Claudia LaSalle, apparently the only black woman on the entire ship.
  • Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross had Bowie Emerson, seemingly the only black man on the entire planet Glorie. In Robotech, he was re-written to be Claudia's nephew (and given a new surname of "Grant").
  • Rakshata and Viletta of Code Geass, as they're the only Non-white/Chinese/Japanese characters of any plot importance, and of the two, Rakshata is the one who gets played in a more positive light. Of the others, we have a supposedly elite pilot who dies mere seconds after she first appears on screen, and King. And Nunnally fits in to the paraplegic category.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
    • In the first season of Gundam 00, Daryl Dodge has the honor of being the only black person at all. He's also killed off in episode 23.
    • Season 2 does introduce another black man as president of the Earth Sphere Federation, although that might be more to reflect the real world than tokenism. However, he has little impact on the plot.
    • A minor example with Setsuna F Seiei-whilst he does appear to fit this trope both within Celestial Being and in the wider Gundam metaverse in regards to protagonists, his middle eastern homeland forms a two episode story arc in the first season and plays a large role in his interactions with the princess of a neighbouring country. However, the middle eastern aspects of the story only serve to represent the region and 21st century problems to Japanese audiences, and beyond that, has no real importance to the story as the series progresses.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket has Professor Lunland as the sole black character, and Gabriel as the sole Latino.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ has the black Shinta and Ambiguously Brown Qum, but that's about it. Later in the show, Judau ended up befriending a young pilot from Africa, but his time on the show was very brief.
  • Simon is the only black character in Durarara!!, though a black gangster is also seen in the episode "Heaven's Vengeance". It's also implied that minor character Tom Tanaka might be part black, though it's never clarified either way.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Elza Gray was the only black character in Sailor Moon.
    • There was also the Ambiguously Brown Sailor Pluto, depicted as noticeably dark-skinned in comparison to other Senshi, and moreso in the manga.
  • Indian student Akira is the only non-Japanese member of the main cast of Tsuritama. Kate, the grandmother of one of the other protagonists, is French, while several black and Arabic members appear in the show's villainous Cosmopolitan Council.
  • Bob from Tenjho Tenge would count as this. He's the sole black member of the otherwise Japanese cast.
  • Similarly, Central High's Vice President is the only black character in Daily Lives of High School Boys. Understandable since the series is set in a small Japanese town, and usually it tends to be large cities that take part in student exchange programs with other countries.
  • Yasutora "Chad" Sado in Bleach is half-Japanese, half-Latino in an otherwise manga-typical all-Japanese cast.
  • Jun Hono, the half-black, half-Japanese pilot from Great Mazinger and Mazinkaiser.
  • Jose Rodriguez, the nerdy Afro-Latino doctor from Kyo Kara Maoh!
  • Onyankopon is the only notable black character in Attack on Titan. Black people have been observed here and there in the manga. Some seem to belong to the upperclass, others are from nations subjugated by Marley. Onyankopon belongs to the latter group. He joined Armin's side under Yelena's leadership, in the hope of liberating his people.
  • Choe Gu-Sung from Psycho-Pass is the only Korean character in a series that takes place in Japan.
  • In Saki, an inversion happens for Rinkai, whose mahjong team is otherwise composed of transfer students. Satoha, the vanguard player, is the only Japanese member of the team, partly because of the rules requiring a Japanese player as vanguard, and partly because she is the ace. Played straight with Aislinn of Miyamori's team, who is from New Zealand and is on an otherwise entirely Japanese team.

    Audio Plays 
  • Lampshaded in The Firesign Theatre's "High School Madness" sketch, from the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers, where Mexican-American students come out of nowhere just to ask the white protagonist for advice (then promptly disappear).

    Comic Books 
  • Adam Brashear, the Blue Marvel who featured in the eponymous mini series of 2009, represents a rather awkward representation of this trope. He is for all intents and purposes (in the context of the story) a Black Superman from a time when the adjective was quite emphatically capitalized. And applied as a noun. It doesn't help that even without his powers, Brashear is a super-man - an athlete, military hero and scientific genius who gained ultra-super-powers when the experimental anti-matter reactor he was creating exploded. For about a year, he was the primary hero of the Marvel Universe (perhaps coincidentally around the same time the Sentry was supposedly very successful), but then it was discovered he was black, which immediately led to outrage and uproar among both black and white communities, until the President (JFK) gave the Blue Marvel the Congressional Medal of Honor and told him to quit being a superhero. Which he did until the present day. He is now a member of the Mighty Avengers.
  • Under the "women as minorities" category (which, in superhero comics, they definitely were until much later and in many books still are) every superhero team used to have exactly one female member. The Avengers had The Wasp (later replaced by the Scarlet Witch), the Fantastic Four had the Invisible Girl (later Invisible Woman), the Justice League had Wonder Woman (or the Black Canary, depending on when you asked), the Teen Titans had Wonder Girl, the original X-Men had Marvel Girl, and the second team of X-Men had Storm (who was also, for quite a while, the only black X-Man. She joined the team along with Sunfire, a Japanese man who left almost immediately, and Thunderbird, a Native American man who died almost immediately, making her also the only active non-white X-Man for a good while). All those teams except the FF tend to have more female members these days (though the JLA goes through periods of focusing on D.C.'s "Big 7" wherein Wonder Woman is the only female member) and some have gone through stretches where the women outnumbered the men.
  • Blindside in the comic series Relative Heroes. Notable in that the series was about a family of superheroes, and Blindside was explained as having been adopted in order to justify having a black kid as part of the main cast.
  • The Justice League goes back in forth on this, with some eras (such as the Meltzer and McDuffie years) having very diverse casts, while others, like the James Robinson run, were criticized for having no minority members whatsoever. During the New 52 relaunch, Cyborg was retconned into being the sole non-white founding member of the original team, presumably to make up for the extended periods of whiteness. He has been present in the League ever since, as he is arguably DC's most famous black superhero that isn't an Affirmative Action Legacy character. Current comics and adaptations have also split the difference regarding his past with the Teen Titans, by presenting him as The Baby of the Bunch: a former Titan who has since graduated into the Justice League.
  • Lampshaded in Grant Morrison's JLA run. Plastic Man jokingly states that Steel can't quit the Justice League because then the team would lose its only minority member.
  • Archie Comics:
    • In order to keep up with changing American trends, the comic added some ethnic characters in the 70's: African-Americans Coach Clayton, his son Chuck (who, like many Africans of the day, sported a righteous 'fro) and Chuck's girlfriend Nancy, as well as the Hispanic Frankie Valdez & his girlfriend Maria. As of 2010, the former three continue to appear quite regularly (and Chuck has naturally lost the 'fro). The latter two, not so much.
    • The company later introduced Kevin Keller, the first gay character in the series. Kevin was met with backlash by some conservative Christian groups but his debut issues sold very well and he was even given his own mini-series.
    • Later Archie comics have also introduced some other minority characters, including Ginger Lopez (who works for a teen fashion magazine) and Raj Patel (an Indian student interested in film). Ginger shows up fairly regularly (moreso than Maria).
    • In Archie Comics (2015) Jughead is asexual. He's the only known ace character.
  • Debuting in 52, Batwoman managed to provoke a Broken Base even before this due to press releases touting her as DC's first lesbian hero, who would be receiving DC's full support. Then DC promptly didn't do anything with her outside the series for over a year (and even in the series, she received little attention, as she was more supporting cast for her girlfriend, Renee Montoya). In all that time, she had very little storyline, so her characterization was mostly as a closeted lesbian and a Jew. When she came back in her own series, she was retconned into having a much more butch look and having come out several years before her first appearance.
  • The Falcon was this in-universe. He was added to The Avengers because Gyrich insisted that the team should have more black members; he didn't actually want to join.
    • According to Christopher Priest, Falcon's nickname in the Marvel offices throughout the 70s and early 80s was "Fal-coon". No, Priest wasn't alright with it, though being a lowly intern at the time, he didn't raise a big stink. In his blog, he refuses to name the co-workers who used it for fear of burning his bridges.
    • Years later, Triathlon served the exact same role (again, in-universe) during Kurt Busiek's run. Later iterations of the team were thankfully more diverse.
    • Rage also had bits of this in his debut story. He was given a spot on the Avengers line-up after picking a fight with Captain America over the lack of minority heroes on the team.
  • Empress was the sole minority member of the original Young Justice team, and was added relatively late into the run after some complaints about the Monochromatic makeup of the cast.
  • Lampshaded in Peter Milligan's X-Force run with Anarchist, a black superhero who opposes the decision to add another black member to the team. His reasoning? Since most superhero teams rarely have more than one minority member, another black guy on the team means that one of them will inevitably die.
    • Averted in the X-Statix series that followed, which has an additional black member (Venus), plus a Latino member (El Guapo), and two gay members (Vivisector and Phat).
  • In the 2005 Marvel comic Wha...Huh?, one of the stories reimagines Black Panther as a white man from South America, who is upset when he learns that The Avengers just want a token black superhero in their team and thought he was misrepresenting his race (also, Black Widow is just there to fill the "woman quota".)
  • Though Runaways had a more diverse cast than most other mainstream comics, the team has only ever had two black members, neither of whom stayed until the end of the series, and one of whom was actually a Skrull.
  • Superman comics Ron Troupe started as the only black recurring staff member working at The Daily Planet. In all fairness, he was never as popular as other supporting characters working as journalists, such as Steve Lombard or Cat Grant (not least because these two had defects that added some depth) but since Troupe was the token minority he has lasted quite a bit.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • Jetta, the token British character. She was the only non-American until The Stingers showed up. Jetta's also the only non-white member of her band, but this is downplayed as the series has a diverse cast.
    • Blaze is the only confirmed transgender character thus far.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Nubia, who was even explicitly called the "Black Wonder Woman" in The '70s. In this version of the story, Hippolyta had originally been directed to make two figures, one dark, one light. The black baby was stolen by Ares and thereby hangs the tale. Later years have shown the Amazons to be more racially diverse, so Phillippus, while the most prominent black Amazon, doesn't stick out quite so much.
    • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: While it's not entirely clear if any of the Star Riders are human only Starlily has dark skin and she and Wondy both have black hair while everyone else has hair colors that don't occur naturally in humans.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Reina Faleur and Sixtus Quin appear to be the only Humans of color. The cast will also always be majority Human, with a few people of other species as well.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts:
    • It wasn't immune. Franklin joined the cast in a nod to the court-ordered busing that was going on at the time. As Chris Rock points out, he was the only one in the cast without any distinct personality. In one interview, Schulz admitted that he really didn't know what to do with Franklin, since he had no experience with black children. Ironically, the producers of one of the Peanuts animated specials found a role for Franklin here. Amusingly, cartoonists of Schulz's generation were not taught how to draw black characters without making them look like grotesque stereotypes, so for Franklin, Schulz just drew a "white" kid and then gave him curly black hair and lines across his face to symbolize dark skin.
    • Snoopy's Beagle Scouts are a group of birds consisting of Woodstock and birds who are identical to Woodstock... except for the one called Raymond, who is noticeably darker than his peers.
  • Monica's Gang had a few. The main gang had a black kid and a mute kid (who had been described as deaf as well), then added one that due to his inspiration (the creator's son) is ambiguously Asian, and both a blind girl and a wheelchair-using boy as well. The gang in a country setting has among its hillbillies an Asian man (a nod to the the huge Japanese-descended community).

    Fan Works 
  • The "black guy in the corner" from Sherlock Season 4. The author even explicitly states that he added him so his story wouldn't be racist.
  • In the early days of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom, Twilight was often portrayed the only POC in Ponyville when the cast was "humanized" in fan works, usually as black or Indian. Nowadays, more diverse interpretations are becoming more popular in the fandom, such as Middle Eastern Fluttershy and Rarity, Black or biracial Pinke Pie, Applejack and/or Rarity being trans mares, varying sexualities amongst the Mane Six, and Rainbow Dash being a black or latino lesbian showing up sometimes.
  • In Life Ore Death the main character Ferris is the only human female on the Team (Miss Martian being a Martian), and she remains the only black woman on the Team after Artemis and Zee join.
  • A variation of this features in the Infinity Crisis spin-off New Charges, when Miles Morales/Spider-Man becomes the only hero in Freeland whose powers don't focus on using and manipulating electrical energy in some manner.
  • Harry Potter And The Ice Princess makes Elsa the equivalent of this on two fronts, as she is the only one of Harry's close friends who both isn't from England and isn't in Gryffindor, having been born and raised in Arendelle and sorted into Ravenclaw after she started at Hogwarts.
  • The Pokémon fic Trials of the Heart- which depicts a timeline where Ash and Misty have been dating since Ash started at Sinnoh- gives Misty an interesting example of this; while her speciality is Water-type Pokémon, she has acquired a Pikachu in her travels that she nicknamed 'Elektra', although Misty only captured Elektra so that Elektra could be with Ash's Pikachu rather than just catching a Pikachu because she felt like it.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Coneheads: Sinbad and Tim Meadows are the film's only actors of color with speaking parts. Meadows also plays the only non-white Conehead who is shown.
  • Deadly Detention: Of the five students in Saturday detention, Kevin is the only non-white.
  • While the 2006 historical film Flyboys was already heavily criticized for its historical inaccuracies relating to its World War I setting, one of the more amusing ones came from the film's fictional Token Minority, Eugene Skinner, a black boxer who joined the squadron to "pay back" his adopted homeland. Mainly because the end of the movie showed a picture of the real-life squadron which was composed of exactly zero minorities. A rare moment where a film actually seems proud to reveal when it didn't do its research. The Other Wiki's entry on the film points out that the film confuses the Lafayette Escadrille with the Lafayette Flying Corps with whom Eugene Bullard (the real person Skinner was based on) actually flew.
  • Parodied by Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle with posters advertising the first movie as starring "That Asian guy from American Pie" and "That Indian guy from Van Wilder".
  • Both versions of Stephen King's It, the Made-for-TV Movie It (1990) and the theatrical It (2017) have the character of Mike, the only African-American kid of the Losers' Club, who is also in the novel.
  • The Ur-Example of this is the The Little Rascals series from the 30s, where the gang always had at least 1 black member, the most famous being Stymie and Buckwheat. This is an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, seeing as how at the time, there was basically no representation for minorities in film that wasn’t a servant character.
  • Mystery Men: Invisible Boy and The Sphinx are the only people of color on the team. The Bowler is the only woman among them.
  • In terms of film, equally well parodied/referenced by the "Token Black Guy" in Not Another Teen Movie. Named Malik Token, the Genre Savvy token helpfully explains the joke to the audience by introducing himself as the person that stays out of conversations and says "Damn!", "Shit!", and "That is whack!" At a party later in the film, he sees another black guy, played by Sean Patrick Thomas, Token Minority from Cruel Intentions, and tells him that he was at the party first and the other man apologizes and leaves the party. Malik's got to say, "Damn, that shit is whack!" There's also the musical number:
    "I'm only in this song because I'm a black guy"
  • In the 1955 Film Noir The Phenix City Story, the Ward family are the only non-white characters, which is highly conspicuous considering that the proportion of Phenix City's population categorized as "Negro" in the 1950 and 1960 censuses was 34.7% and 36.8%, respectively.
  • The Postman: Woody, Ford and Clark were the only people of color with speaking parts in the film (only a few others are even shown).
  • Harvey Weinstein loved using this trope for his productions back in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Starting with Scream 2, nearly all of his teen-aimed productions had at least one token black character (often played by a rapper) solely to bump up the box office. He seemed to stop this after Shall We Dance?, which had an Advertised Extra in the form of Ja Rule (who appeared in one concert scene and had no purpose to the plot).
  • Star Wars
    • After Episode IV became a blockbuster, numerous people noticed that the entire galaxy of Humans were all white (which was not entirely true; it was just that the main characters in the film were all white). Episode V introduced Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, the only person of color with a significant role in the original trilogy (one Rebel pilot in Episode VI is Asian, and utters a single line of dialogue-you can barely tell by his helmet and the very brief appearance he has).
    • Samuel L. Jackson in the prequels may also be a example of this, as his character serves as little more than a background character until Revenge of the Sith (excluding his excellent use in the Clone Wars shorts).
    • Casting Temuera Morrison, who is a Māori, as Jango Fett and by retroactive consequence, his clone Boba Fett and every single clonetrooper reduces all other Human characters in the series (black, white or green) to token minorities by sheer weight of numbers.
    • Bail Organa of Alderaan, Leia's adopted father, was played by the Latino actor Jimmy Smits.
    • The initial casting announcement for the first episode of the third trilogy included another black actor, not Billy Dee Williams, but John Boyega as Finn. Meaning, as of this writing there are now three black guys in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Lupita Nyong'o was also added to the cast of Episode VII (but she voices an orange-skinned alien, so the actress's race is not visible). Oscar Isaac, who's Latino, also played Poe Dameron.
    • Star Wars: The Last Jedi adds Rose, who's Southeast Asian. She is the first Southeast Asian actor to play a part with lines in the franchise. There was also her sister, but she dies early on and has no lines.
    • After the release of Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker, John Boyega has vocally accused Disney of pulling this trope, claiming that both Finn and Rose amounted to little more than tokens while all the depth went to the white leads Rey and Kylo Ren.
    • Rogue One also has Cassian, who's played by the Latino Diego Luna. Riz Ahmed as Bodhi is the first South Asian who has appeared. Donnie Yen (Chirrut) and Jiang Wen (Baze) were the first East Asians (except for a single guy from Return of the Jedi who's barely in the film).
  • Parodically inverted in Undercover Brother, where Lance - played by Neil Patrick Harris - is the only white person present in The BROTHERHOOD, which Da Chief chalks up to Affirmative Action granting him an internship.
  • At the end of The '60s and the start of The '70s, there apparently must've been a law that in any film depicting a groovy (mostly white) fictional rock band, the band's drummer had to be black. Wild in the Streets (where the drummer was played by Richard Pryor), Psych-Out (where the band was led by Jack Nicholson), and the Monkees wannabe bands who gave their names to Toomorrow (with lead singer Olivia Newton-John) and The Phynx are all examples. It's not like any actual cutting edge bands of the era had black lead singers or anything.
  • Mercutio is a black Drag Queen in the Baz Luhrmann film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
  • A Matter of Faith: Portland is the only person of color in the movie with a significant role.
  • Happiest Season: Sloane's husband Eric is black, the main character of color in the film.

  • The Animorphs series was actually pretty groundbreaking in its handling of minorities. In the '90's, it was extremely unusual for a middle-grade novel to have a minority protagonist at all, let alone four of them. (Rachel and Jake were Jewish, Cassie was black, and Marco was hispanic). It also got away with discussing prejudice a few times, a biracial relationship (and it was even acknowledged a couple times), and a little racism portrayed when the ultimate message wasn't about the evils or racism (specifically, the society at the beginning of the third Megamorphs, and the racist guy Cassie meets when she travels through time). They even acknowledged the existence of gay people, which was almost never done. Oh, and there were two female protagonists, and they weren't treated any differently than the males in terms of their ability to kick ass, making the series one of the first middle-grade series to have a cross-gender appeal. All in all, it was one of the most inclusive series of its day. And in later books, K. A. Applegate proved even more that she was dedicated to diversity without stereotypes.
    • One of those later books was the Remnants series, which had several black, Hispanic, and Asian characters, a character who had a messed up face because it was burned in a fire (2Face), and Noyze, who grew up deaf. They even tried to put a lesbian in this kids series from 2001, but sadly, it didn't quite work as planned.
  • Invoked in a short story "Papanin's Mauser" by Michael Veller. It depicts a drift-ice research unit of four people. Three of them are Russians and Communists and the last one is a nonpartisan German. According to the Soviet laws three Communists is enough to constitute a Party cell, so every day they have to conduct a Party meeting, for members only. During these meetings the German has to leave the "meeting room", that is the tent where they all live and spend time tramping around it in the bone-chilling cold. Eventually he applies for membership in the Party to end this nightmare but is rejected on the following ground: as he is he symbolizes the international nature of the Soviet people and the unbreakable ties between partisans and nonpartisans.
  • Jessi (black), Claudia (Asian), and Abby (Jewish) in The Baby-Sitters Club.
  • Lheorvine is the only black man in Black Legion, and one of precious few in Warhammer 40,000. Before Matt Ward retconned their dark skin into a "mutation" the Salamanders space marines, and the people of their homeworld, Nocturne, were an entire planet of token blacks. Post-Ward, it's assumed that the denizens of Nocturne are white, but "turn black" when they become Salamanders.
  • In How to Build a Skydeck, fish-out-of-water protagonist Stan realizes that all his co-workers avoid him for being a Token Minority. Specifically, being the only white guy on the construction crew.
  • Lord Wulfston in The Savage Empire books by Jean Lorrah is the only black person we see in the first five books or so. On the other hand, nobody makes a big deal about it; he just has a hard time being anonymous.
  • Harry Potter's school Hogwarts has a few, including the very Irish Seamus Finnegan (although there may be others who are less obvious), the Indian Patil twins, the Jewish Anthony Goldstein, the Chinese Cho Chang, and the black Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson, and Blaise Zabini. To Mrs. Rowling's credit, no ado is made of any of these characters' ethnicities, nor are they ever described as such. In fact, Word of God has been needed to identify some of the black characters in the series.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Yoko Akia is the Token Asian, and Alexis Thorne is the Token Black of the Sisterhood or the Vigilantes. The other women are white. The two characters' nationalities definitely play a role in the series. Oddly, Alexis reveals in her thoughts that she knows that she was framed for crimes she did not commit because she was a poor black woman, but in the book starring her called Lethal Justice, that was not brought up at all!
  • Gone has a very large and very diverse cast, with multiple black, Asian, Latin, and gay characters, and even one character with severe autism.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Simon is Jewish, Maia is biracial, and Magnus is part Asian.
  • The House of Night:
    • Kramisha is the only black Red Fledgling. She is portrayed as a Soul Sister who speaks mostly in jive.
    • Shaunee, the only black member of the "nerd heard" (and the only black lead for the first several books) and who we're constantly reminded is black.
  • In the book "Come a Stranger" by Cynthia Voigt, the main character gets to be the only black girl at an exclusive summer camp. After the camp gives her a lame reason for kicking her out, she gets asked "How does it feel to be an ex-token minority?"
  • Both Jem Carstairs and Magnus Bane from The Infernal Devices are part Asian.
  • Radar from Paper Towns; he even lampshades this by referring to himself as the "token black friend" of the group.
  • Mike in Stephen King It (see the film version).
  • Espelho from Vampiros do Rio Douro is the only black member of the Seven, a vampire group of all white Portuguese men (Espelho is an former African slave). Lobo in the other hand, is the only Spaniard.
  • The Japanese novel Run with the Wind (also adapted into a manga, film and anime) stars a male university track team. In the otherwise all-Japanese team is the Tanzanian exchange student Musa, a second year Science and Engineering student. Prejudice or stereotypes are occasionally addressed (for example the team thinking Musa should be fast because he's black and some people's disgust that the team isn't fully Japanese), but Musa otherwise fits in with the team and is portrayed decently. Downplayed a little as outside the main cast there's also several other African exchange students that take part in the track meets and are considered serious competition. Unlike Musa, these African students came to Japan specifically to join the track teams and in particular run at the prestigious Hakone Ekiden.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Lando, Salla and one Alderaanian cop are the only black Humans in the books. Xaverri might be darker than white as well, though it's unclear.
  • Looking Backward: Julian's black butler (who puts him in the hypnotic state) is the only person of color (at least who's ever identified as such). Not surprising for a book of that period perhaps.
  • Talion: Revenant: Countess Jamila, who's half Stelosian (a black African counterpart) and Marana (who was born to a people which seem like Berbers or Arabs). All of the rest come from European counterparts. A few more Stelosians also appear, the ambassador to Hamis and bodyguards of his (Jamila's father had been the previous Stelosian ambassador). Jamila also has a young son with her Hamisian husband.
  • Earth's Children:
    • Ranec, along with the children he's sired (only one is ever shown) were the only dark-skinned humans in the books. This is justified as it's set in Ice Age Europe, where populations were separated by vast distances, as traveling on foot was long and difficult. In spite of this, he owes his existence to a European man doing just that (from what's modern Ukraine all the way to North Africa). There his father Wymez (not that they know yet about paternity) had married a black African woman and fathered Ranec, then returned with him many years later. She and her tribe were only mentioned.
    • Ayla also counts as one in regards to the Clan (Neanderthals), along with the mixed Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal children (including Ayla's own son Durc). This was again pretty justified as the Clan and Others dislike each other to varying degrees, so such couplings are rare (unfortunately, they're often rape).
    • A couple of East Asian people also appeared in the last books, who'd also made a very long journey, along with the woman's daughter by a European man.
  • In Keeper of the Lost Cities elves are explicitly stated to have no concept of racism and being very — racially — inclusive. However within the heroine's group of friends - and thus within a big part of the main cast - there is only two non-white, who are described as Asian but it is unclear if they are Japanese, Vietnamese or Korean. They are related and what's more, they end up being relegated to the rank of secondary characters and Put on a Bus as soon as their powers are not relevant anymore. Similarly, one of the few black characters introduced in the first book and utterly forgotten for every following book, is conveniently reintroduced to the somewhat main cast once she manifests a power that is needed for their mission.
  • The Black Company has two black wizards, One-Eye and Tam-tam. This is justified because the Black Company is called this precisely because originally all its members were black, from the equivalent of Africa in this fantasy world, although over the centuries their demography changed and these two magicians - who are also very old - are the only black men left in the company.
  • The Caliel Cycle: Rahze is a dark-skinned elf. Wyre is a dark-skinned human (possibly she's meant to be black). Aside from them, the characters are described as fair skinned. Minor characters Karah (from a country that was somewhat like China) and Mohender Gosh (whose homeland was described as similar to India) appear later on.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Teen Wolf seems to maintain a slot for a recurring gay extra (Danny in seasons 1-3, Mason in season 4). These characters are usually only in about half the episodes in any given season, onscreen for less than two minutes if they do appear and may not have any actual dialogue. They occupy the roles of best friends of secondary characters. If they have dialogue, it almost invariably contains some reminder that they are gay. The racism appeared to be broken in Season 3 with the introduction of gay werewolf Ethan. But he also occupied a minor role, did not always have lines and was only present for the one season.
  • 30 Rock
    • Lampshaded when, to call attention during a GE exclusive lunch, Jack calls out, "Gentlemen... token ladies."
    • The character Toofer is named for the Twofer Token Minority trope.
  • In a transparent attempt to say "we had a gay regular on the show," Law & Order had Serena Southerlyn come out as lesbian to the audience in the last minute of her final episode.
    • Worth noting that actress attended the same school of Mona Lisa Smile as listed above.
    • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit lampshades it when Detective Fin replaces Detective Jeffries (both are black). The show also averted it in later seasons with the addition of M.E. Warner and Dr. Huang to the regular cast. As of Season 15 this trope is entirely averted, as of the five members of the main cast two are Latino and one is black.
  • Rajesh "Raj" Koothrappali of The Big Bang Theory was born and raised in New Delhi, a reference to his British-Indian actor, Kunal Nayyar, having spent most of his life growing up in the city.
  • Korean Drama When the Camellia Blooms inverts this. One of the minor characters, a part-time worker at Deok-soon's crab shack, is played by a blonde-haired white woman, American actress Carson Allen.
  • Subverted on The Red Green Show, with the character of Edgar K.B. Montrose, played by First Nations Canadian actor Graham Greene. Greene himself approached producer Steve Smith, asking to be on the show after enjoying it on TV. The role they gave him was essentially color-blind - that of an explosives "enthusiast" who can't really call himself an expert, since experts have the proper license and permits, and more training in handling dynamite than just watching a lot of Road Runner cartoons. Edgar was Too Dumb to Live, but that also described everybody else on the show. The only reference to Greene's ancestry in his time on the show was a humorous Shout-Out in his first appearance, when Edgar commented about the film Dances with Wolves, and stated that the "Native guy" (Greene himself), should have gotten the Oscar.
  • Similarly, the only non-white main character on Corner Gas is Davis Quinton, the Sergeant of Dog River's two-member police force. He (and the actor who plays him, Lorne Cardinal) is a member of the Cree Nations, hardly a rarity in Rural Saskatchewan. However, this is incidental to his character; it's only brought up once, at the end of the first season, when Karen suggests going to a ticket scalper and he acts offended. Also, both bartenders (Phil and Paul) appear Cree. One of them speaks some Cree, enough to know the original name of Dog River.
  • Referenced in Star Trek: Voyager (itself a very racially diverse show) where Janeway and Chakotay discuss the issues involved in a ship crewed by both Federation members and Maquis separatists. Janeway notes that by making the Maquis Chakotay her second in command she hopes she has already shown that she can be tolerant of them, but Chakotay responds, "I have no intention of being your token Maquis" when discussing whether B'Elanna Torres should be chief engineer.
    • Back in the original series, the creators had to fight Executive Meddling to get two Token Minorities, Sulu and Uhura, on the bridge, and some non-whites among the extras. The original pilot pushed further with a female second in command, and Spock was considered to be radical at the time as an Alien, especially with the original plans being for Spock to have either green or red skin. Also notable that both lead characters of Spock and Kirk were played by Jewish actors. Then there's the gutsy move of creating a Russian main character at the height of the Cold War.
    • Deep Space Nine, with a somewhat varied cast itself, has an odd class example. Miles O'Brien is heavily played up as a Closer to Earth blue-collar NCO in a staff of implicitly elite Officer and a Gentleman types, complete with a labor movement martyr in his ancestry (granted, one can call Captain Sisko upwardly-mobile, as the son of a restaurateur, but this was revealed much later and never emphasized). Though the Federation is supposed to be truly egalitarian, classless meritocracy, so the whole issue is a little murky.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation of course had Worf as an in-universe example, the only Klingon in all of Starfleet, having been adopted by humans in his youth. Quite a bit of Character Development resulted from his dealings with born-and-raised Klingons who variously failed to live up to his idealized image of Klingon honor or disapproved of his choice to stay with the humans instead of returning to his people (where his family was disgraced anyways).
    • Another in-universe example would be Data as the only Android of the Starfleet (and one of the very few Androids of the whole universe).
  • In The Class (2006) Kyle's boyfriend Aaron is introduced as a secondary character to counteract the Monochrome Casting.
  • Averted in the original Battlestar Galactica, especially in the episode "Fire In Space" which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Boomer and Tigh's extensive roles.
  • Pete Ross from Smallville is an especially funny example, as in the comic book version he's white.
  • Both radio experts on Hogan's Heroes were token black characters. Given that they were all prisoners and obviously not all from the same unit, WWII segregation wasn't really an issue.
    • Sgt. Kinchloe (played by Ivan Dixon) was more than the radio expert - he was second-in-command. He also had at least three episodes showcasing him. And his role was prominent enough that the practice of cutting out the black characters for the "Southern Version" (practiced up to the late 1960's) wasn't usually possible. Sgt. Baker (played by Kenneth Washington) was a better fit when he took Kinchloe's place, having previously been the one black guy in the mob of line-less background prisoners.
    • It is still notable that most of Kinchloe's spotlight episodes were the only ones to feature a black Girl of the Week (an African princess and an old high school girlfriend respectively).
  • Saturday Night Live has been guilty of this at multiple points in its run.
    • Garrett Morris in the '70s.
    • Eddie Murphy in the early '80s. While certainly nobody would question Murphy's right to be there, the fact remained that the show felt no obligation to have another black person in the cast as long as Murphy was there (in fact, Robert Townsend, who was originally hired to be the token black guy, was let go once Murphy showed up).
    • In the early '90s, the show for a change had multiple black people in the cast. However, when SNL turned over most of its cast in 1995, they kept Tim Meadows on primarily to avoid giving the impression that the show was trying to rid itself of all its black performers.
    • For a couple of years it was just Kenan Thompson.
    • Season 35 introduced Jay Pharoah alongside Kenan. While it seemed he might take the favorite spot over Kenan, especially to play the slimmer, more handsome African-American celebrities such as Denzel Washington, he was let go and Kenan has remained. Pharoh was let go despite the fact that his impressions are spot-on for nearly anyone. However there's also the non-black but non-white characters, like Nasim Pedrad, who is Iranian (notwithstanding the controversy over whether Iranians should be lumped in with Arabs and other Semitic peoples, or whether they are "dark whites"), or Fred Armisen (half German-Venezuelan, half Korean). He is both the second Asian and second Hispanic cast member of SNL.
    • The first Hispanic cast member was Horatio Sanz, a white Hispanic from the looks of him. He was often cast as Italian characters.
    • In late 2013, SNL received a lot of criticism for their relative lack of black female cast members throughout their almost 40-year history. They held a casting call and ended up casting Sasheer Zamata, who was only the fifth black female cast member in the history of the show and the only one on the show since Maya Rudolph's departure in 2007. They elevated writer Leslie Jones from the writers room to the main performing cast in 2014, raising the number of black women to two. Therefore, to maintain the token minority numbers and their tacit promise to uphold the Token Code, Zamata was let go from SNL in 2017.
  • Elena Tyler from Felicity was the token black female main character and best friend of main character Felicity. While a relatively positive representation, she was isolated as a woman of color in a way contraindicated by the incredibly diverse composition of both New York City and NYU's populations.
  • Benson from Soap (made in the '70s mind) was the only black character in the show for the first three seasons and he was the butler. He was never used to put across any racial message and if anything he was the Only Sane Man in the entire show.
    • When Benson got replaced in season three, there was Saunders the Expy, also black.
    • In season three only there was Polly Dawson, a black woman who dates Danny who was there to try and push a racial message around. They do get some racial attacks and eventually Danny gets paranoid about everybody staring at the two of them in public.
  • MADtv was guilty of this with Bobby Lee, the only Asian on the show. He even played a stereotypically Asian recurring character.
  • Ricky and later Junito (Latino) of Noah's Arc, which has a predominantly African-American cast. In fact, they are the only non-African-Americans of the cast.
  • A sketch on Dead Ringers lampshaded this with the Schwarzenegger film Shooting Lots and Lots of Bad Guys with my Very Big Gun- Arnie shouts "Noooooo! Token Black Buddy!" after his sidekick is killed by Token British Bad Guy.
  • Dreama and Quizmaster Albert (they're both black) in Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Both subverted and played straight. Instead of bringing a token gay character onto the show, the writers had one of the three central characters turn out to be a lesbian. On the other hand, it wasn't until the seventh season that there was an important character who was black, and when he did show up he was the token black guy.
    • Season 3 had the Genre Savvy (and sadly under-used) villain Mr. Trick, a modern black vampire who commented on the fact that there were very few people of color in Sunnydale.
      • There were also a few other black characters, like Absalom and Olivia, as well as Rona in season seven.
    • Before coming out as a lesbian, Willow was already the Token Jewish Girl. Of course after her outing she became Twofer Token Minority.
  • The American music program Soul Train had some token white dancers in the black audience.
  • The character of Charlie Young was added to The West Wing just because the NAACP was criticizing the show for not having a Token Minority. Charlie's "token minority" status is particularly interesting in this case, as the only two of the shows main characters are white and Protestant (and that is if one guesses on Sam, whose religion is not mentioned but can be presumed not to be Catholic or Jewish). Two of the main characters are Jewish, four are Catholic, making the show's main cast far more diverse than the actual US population, even without Charlie in the mix.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise, unlike the previous shows (which were such aversions of Humans Are White they were often accused of being five token bands by some), has a black guy, an Asian woman, and everyone else is white (aside from a couple minor, seldom-seen characters). And also note that, in order to make it obvious to the audience he was only on the show so they could say they had a Token Minority, the black guy was a glorified extra...
  • Subverted on Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye where the main character is a deaf female FBI agent.
  • Scrubs had the great feature of JD and Turk's College Brochure. Turk is photoshopped in twice to make it appear more diverse. Lampshaded in the episode My Long Goodbye when Turk struggles to think of other black members of staff. He gets himself and Nurse Roberts (whom he is speaking to), Snoop Dog Attending, and Leonard the Security Guard...
    Turk:This is a white-ass hospital.
    He then adds that if this were a horror movie, he'd be getting nervous.
  • Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, although the show made a strong effort to depict him as a well-rounded individual.
  • L.A. Law
    • Victor Sifuentes was the token Latino lawyer at McKenzie Brakman. He commented on it a couple of times. When he left he was replaced by Daniel Morales.
    • Jonathan Rollins was the token African-American lawyer.
    • Arguably Benny Stulwitz was the token disabled character.
    • Even less arguably C.J. Lamb was the token queer character. She described herself as "flexible".
  • Parodied in an episode of The Real Husbands of Hollywood where George Lopez guest-stars as himself, with his introduction caption stating "Helping attract Latino audience."
  • On House, Omar Epps was the only series regular of color for three seasons, until House hired three new underlings, at which point Kal Penn became the token South Asian guy. Having said that, Wilson, Cuddy and Taub are all Jewish to varying degrees of obviousness. Thirteen is bisexual, and House is an atheist. And his atheism is portrayed... well, not entirely negatively, at any rate. They did okay.
  • Robin Hood has David Harewood as a black Friar Tuck in 12th century England. Djaq is a dark-skinned Muslim woman (called "Saracen", although that was a very general term for Muslims at the time-she's played by an Indian actress).
  • Van-Pires had Snap, who is really blatantly this (just look at that nickname!)
  • Bonnie Bennett in The Vampire Diaries TV show. She has her own storyline for a bit, but it turns out to exist only to facilitate the (white, male) lead vampire's storyline. She was white in the books - but they completely erased the existence another extremely prominent female character who was Latina and definitely minimized Bonnie's personality and agency.
  • Joss Whedon's Firefly
  • Showtime's Dexter manages to avert this. In adapting from the book, the producers were given the liberty to change the ethnicity of any character based on the actors they wanted to hire. Instead, they hired a genuinely racially diverse cast and nobody got a Race Lift. However, the issue of tokenism is addressed; LaGuerta got her position based on her ability to spin things to her advantage and her Twofer Token Minority status (black Hispanic woman), and when she pisses off her boss, he very carefully replaces her with a second twofer-token (a black, Haitian woman) who got her rank as an officer the hard way.
    Captain Matthews: (referring to LaGuerta's replacement) Turns out she's an actual hero.
  • Khaleel "Kenny" Al-Bahir is the Token Middle Eastern person in The War at Home. Also token gay.
  • In Flashpoint, we have Lewis Young, Winnie the dispatcher and after Lewis's death Leah Kerns as the Token Minorities.
  • Spin City had Carter Heywood, a Twofer Token Minority who averted both Positive Discrimination and plain old discrimination by being a well-rounded character. Michael Boatman was the only regular black cast member.
  • Lost, despite having a huge cast from a diverse range of backgrounds, only ever had one gay character, Tom Friendly. And his sexuality wasn't even confirmed until after he'd been killed off.
  • Some Disney Channel shows include a rich, intelligent, yet conniving and selfish Latino as a token minority character. Some examples: That's So Raven, The Proud Family and Hannah Montana.
  • Earth 2 had a token black character who was a violent criminal whose "reform" consisted of a chip in his brain— when the chip malfunctioned, he tries to kill everybody.
  • Carrusel has a few. Cirilo is Black. David is Ashkenazi Jewish. Kokimoto is Japanese. Bibi is North American of English ancestry.
  • Jim Carrey launched his career being the only white guy (most of the time) on the predominantly black In Living Color!.
  • Modern Family has Gloria and her son Manny, who fit Hispanic stereotypes perfectly. They are also used as an excuse to use Hispanic jokes shamelessly. There are also two gay men who are raising an adopted Vietnamese child.
  • Boy Meets World had two separate token blacks a different points: Eli Williams in season 3 and Angela in seasons 5-7. Angela lampshades this a few times: "Gosh I got to get some black friends."
  • Transparently present every single time a British channel is presenting Association Football. The usual line up is "old white managernote ", "middle-aged white recently retired ex midfielder/defender/goalie", "just-retired black forward/midfielder". Sometimes they even try to claim "Scottish" as equivalent to "black." Infrequently but annoyingly, the channel ends up with someone from Francophone Africa whose grasp of the English language simply isn't up to the job, making the tokenism at play especially obvious (and presumably depriving Francophone viewers of the much better standard of commentary he could offer in his native tongue).
  • The modern Charlie's Angels revamp adds a black Angel in order to appeal to modern audiences.
  • Stockinger, the spinoff of the Austrian show Inspector Rex, has Antonella Simoni, a cheerful Italian-Austrian cop and the first female cop to appear in the Inspector Rex franchise.
  • A few Australian cop shows have had a single token Polynesian cop - Water Rats, Rush, and East West 101 are good examples, although East West 101 had a Muslim Arab-Australian cop as the main character, so in that case 'token' would be stretching it. Regardless, whether this represents a trend in the Real Life Aussie police forces, or just actor availability, is unknown.
  • All 3 CSI series had one black character each. CSI had Warrick first and then Ray Langston, though with his departure, there aren't any. CSI: NY had Sheldon Hawkes. CSI: Miami had Alexx (season 1-6), Tara (season 7), and Walter (season 8-10).
  • Supernatural:
    • There are quite a few black characters on the show, but somehow none of them come even as close to being core cast as the women. In fact, the only one who managed to be seriously recurring was the psychotic Vampire Hunter who eventually became a vampire. His Scary Black Man traits were played with initially in that Dean thought he and his badass attitude toward decapitation was awesome, and then the guy turned out to be a hateful extremist who'd offed his own little sister after she was vamped, which pushed Dean's Berserk Button, and who didn't make any distinction between Friendly Neighborhood Vampires and the dangerous kind.
    • The archangel Raphael, the one who never really does anything or gets much characterization, is the one linked to a bloodline of black people. He never even wears the same black person for more than a couple of appearances, because after he burns them out and dumps them they're in no condition to consent again. That poor family. Also, those poor actors. The guy who he wore in 'Free to be You and Me' was pretty impressively creepy.
    • There was a married black couple of hunters, one of whom was British, who were rude and overconfident. The husband died in their first appearance, and the wife was not very useful and never came back. First-season psychic character Missouri Moseley could have been useful on a number of occasions since when they've been desperate for allies, including on a couple of occasions specifically a psychic, but has never even been referenced, even when they went back to her town, although it was too late for help by that point.
    • In seasons two and three there were a few appearances by hard-assed Cowboy Cop Victor Hendriksen, the black FBI agent assigned to the Dean Winchester case. He had an Enemy Mine when the station in which he was holding the boys fell under demonic siege, and after they left he was killed. He reappeared as an angry ghost at the beginning of season four.
    • There's also Bobby's old partner Rufus Turner, gruff old bastard with a taste for fine scotch.
    • Minorities other than black generally don't even get token appearances, though there were some hot Asian fanservice girls, at least one with a small speaking part.
    • The longest running non-white character is probably Kevin Tran, who showed up at the very end of season 7 and made sporadic appearances throughout seasons 8 and 9. His mother, Linda, also premiered around the same time, but has been in even fewer episodes than him. And as of the mid-season 9 finale, Kevin has been killed off. He showed up as a ghost a few episodes after that, and left with Linda. Neither have been back since.
    • The only recurring queer character is Charlie Bradbury, a lesbian who showed up intermittently throughout seasons 7-10. Like Kevin, she got killed off.
    • This is a show about two white guys, with the addition of up to two other white guys, where a supermajority of women with speaking roles are blondes. Everything but white males appear only as token, although a couple of white women have gotten to the level of supporting cast before dying. Or, in one case, being given Laser-Guided Amnesia so they wouldn't be traumatized by their kidnapping, or miss Dean after he left them for their own good.
  • Initially played straight and later subverted in The Walking Dead with T-Dog, who is the only major character in the series not to have any sub-plots and little dialog. Extremely apparent in Season 2 episode "Judge, Jury, Executioner" in which the group deliberates whether or not to kill Randall, the episode focuses on the opinions of every member of the group except T-Dog, whose one line of dialog is cut off by Dale. Also played straight in Season 3. T-Dog is killed off, then shortly after they gain a new black cast member. The new black guy is then killed off later, just as Tyreese, another black guy, shows up. Later, Tyreese and his sister Sasha join the main cast, though Tyreese died in the episode after Beth. Add in Michonne at the start of Season 3, and she is easily one of the most prominent female characters on the show, being an undeniable badass with a sword. Additionally, both Michonne and Sasha are still alive and important to the show, as of the mid-season finale for Season 7.
  • Angel had Charles Gunn as the only black guy, though Doyle and Lorne might count as token demons.
  • In Chuck, it's lampshaded that Morgan only manages to keep his job at the Buy-More because of his Hispanic descent, fulfilling the ethnic diversity quota set forth by company policy. Big Mike makes it clear the moment he finds another Hispanic nerd to do his job, Morgan is gone.
  • Mixed-race actress Angel Coulby was the result of Ability over Appearance when it came to casting her as Guinevere on Merlin, and to their credit, the producers have never once defended or explained this decision beyond saying that she was the best for the role. However, one can't help but feel that the later inclusion of Gwen's brother Elyan was the result of this trope: he's the only black knight of the Round Table and doesn't really get to do much. His death, which seemed to only serve as an excuse for people to brush off Gwen's post-brainwashing strangeness, was far from encouraging. After Gwen returned to normal, he was forgotten. Their dad also served as this before he too was killed off.
  • JAG had a few minorities represented in lead and recurring characters: Major/Lieutenant Colonel Sarah 'Mac' MacKenzie is multiracial (White–Iranian–Cherokee), Commander Sturgis Turner and Congresswoman Bobbi Latham are African Americans, Gunnery Sergeant Victor Galindez is Latino and Harmon Rabb has a Russian half-brother. Mac's background is close to that of her actress, Catherine Bell. She was born in London to a Scottish father and Iranian mother.
  • Leon from NCIS was one of the first recurring black characters - introduced in season five - though his race is rarely ever mentioned, and Agent Dorneget (a minor character introduced in season nine) is the only recurring gay character.
  • Australian soaps tend to be about middle-class white people, and usually don't even bother to include a significant Token Minority character - Home And Away did have the Samoan Australian actor Jai Laga'aia's character, although the moment another non-white actor got a part Lagai'a was fired. Neighbours is a little less closed-off, having allowed an Indian Australian family, the Kapoors, to join the main cast.
  • Invoked in-universe on Suits where Jessica Pearson's backstory reveals that she was originally hired by the law firm because she was a black woman and the firm decided it needed "diversity". She was initially told that she was hired strictly on merit but later saw a working memo which specifically had "diversity" written next to her name. What really pissed her off was the fact that the memo did not mention her being a top-of-her-class Harvard graduate or her work at the Harvard Law Review, which should have made her one of the top candidates for the job no matter what her race or gender is. She got even by rising through the firms ranks and then ousting the managing partner who wrote the memo.
  • Habib (Asian and Muslim) and Gladstone (black Caribbean) on The Thin Blue Line. Of course, this is modern day London, so an ethnically diverse workplace makes sense.
  • Fresh Off the Boat: Invoked; at one point Eddie Huang (the new kid) gets into a scuffle with an African-American kid who says that Eddie's the new token minority.
  • On The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, every season will typically have one or two minority contestants who never win and rarely even get close to winning. These contestants also frequently fall into But Not Too Black.
  • Lampshaded on Community (which actually did have a very diverse cast). Elroy Patashnik was introduced in Season 6 after Troy and Shirley, the series' other two major black characters, had both departed the show. One episode had a scene where he addressed his status as the sole black member of the group and stated that he would not allow himself to be treated like a token, saying "I'm nobody's fourth Ghostbuster."
  • Parodied and enforced in the Key & Peele sketch "A Cappella," where the token black member of the otherwise all-white a cappella group treats a second black member joining as if his country was being invaded.
  • The Good Wife had Kalinda Sharma (her ethnicity is never specified but it's presumably Indian, going by her name and the actress's background) from season 1-6, later African-American Lucca Quinn became the Token Minority and also a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • Almost every team of Power Rangers consists of three white people (one of whom is also possibly Latino) and one black person and one person of Asian descent to form the token minorities. Human Aliens occasionally appear on teams as well. This multiracial team lineup also seems to apply to the non-human Alien Rangers of Aquitar, which includes the black Aquitian Blue Alien Ranger Cestro.
  • Teal'c in Stargate SG-1, who, as well as being the token black guy, is also the token alien of the titular flagship off-world reconnaissance team SG-1. In the fifth episode of the first season, one of the first signs that the team have brought a highly contagious infection back from another world is an unprovoked assault on Teal'c, which, perhaps for the sake of not appearing racially aggravated, is instigated by another black man.
  • Lampshaded in Jason King. King is adapting one of his adventures for a TV series. The television executive insists that the hero should have a sidekick, who is first portrayed as a white guy, only to change to a black guy to go with the latest trend, then ending up with an Asian guy to get a wider potential audience.
  • Saved by the Bell has Lisa (played by Lark Voorhies), the Black Princess of the group and Slater (played by Mario Lopez) the Hispanic. How stereotypical they are depends on the episode, but according to the producers their characters were of no specific race and they were cast just because they were the best. They ethnicity does comes into play in some Very Special Episodes.
  • American Horror Story: Coven has Queenie as the only African American witch in the Institute, which became an important plot point when she began contacts with other Black witches. Also Nan is a witch with Down Syndrome.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Chase is portrayed by a Samoan actor, with his family and many minor characters being Maori. On a lesser note, we see a single black Mord'Sith, and one played by mixed race actress Katrina Law, the rest being white (in the books, they all were).
  • Lucas Sinclair in Stranger Things is the only Black character of the entire main cast. The show is Genre Savvy enough to lampshade this hilariously sometimes, like in season 2, when Lucas, Mike, Will and Dustin dress as the Ghostbusters for Halloween, and Lucas goes as Venkman, arguing that he doesn't want to be Winston.
  • Although only a recurrent character, Griff in Married... with Children played the part of Token Black Friend to Al. He even lampshades this in some episodes, as when he objects to go first into dangerous situations because Black Dude Dies First. Another recurrent Black character is Corrupt Cop Officer Dan, who was member of the mostly white NO'MAAM club.
  • In an overwhelming Caucasian cast on Beverly Hills, 90210, Silver is Ambiguously Jewish.
  • Sons of Anarchy deals with fictionalized versions of outlaw Motorcycle Clubs. Most of the clubs are racially-exclusive in Real Life and the most they tend to mix is that those that are not White-supremacists or Black, admit White and Hispanics (the case of the Hell's Angels, which is the club the Sons are based on). On that note, Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz is the only Latino character among the main cast and in the chapter of the city of Charming (that also happens to be the international headquarters). As sexual minorities go, Alex "Tig" Trager is bisexual (he starts a relationship with a transgender person). Near the end of the series they open the club to Black members.
  • Veronica Mars has two examples: Veronica's best friend Wallace, who is African-American, and biker-allied Eli "Weevil" Navarro, who is Latino.
  • Lost in Space (2018) changed the all-white cast of the original by having Judy be mixed race (black father, white mother) as she's the daughter of Maureen's previous marriage, and also by making Don West a Latino character.
  • In-universe example from Shameless (US). Liam, the black child of the Gallagher clan, manages to get into a private school where he's pretty much the only black kid in the class. It soon turns out much of Liam's day is being pulled out of the classroom to be in the playground when prospective parents pass by so he can be an example of the school's "openness and diversity."
  • Openly lampshaded on S.W.A.T. (2017).
    • Hondo is the only black member of the main SWAT team. When the white leader shoots a black youth during a raid, commander Hicks makes Hondo the team leader at a press conference despite the fact Deacon is next in line. Hondo himself complains over this being an obvious policial move to soothe tensions.
    • Indeed, when things calm down, Hicks presses for Deacon to become leader, but Deacon makes it clear he doesn't want to be part of some political game undermining Hondo.
    • Several episodes have Hondo relating how he had to fight to prove he wasn't just a "token" member of the team.
    • Christina openly discusses how she faces the issue of being added to the team just for the visibility of a female squad member and having to prove herself.
  • Matt Fielding was the token gay on Melrose Place. He rarely had a story line that wasn't directly related to his gayness. He got gay-bashed (twice!), fired for being gay (twice!) and challenged as guardian for his niece because of being gay. He was the only resident of the apartment complex not to have an on-screen sex life and the one time he was shown in an amorous situation the camera cut away as he was leaning in to kiss another man to a shocked reaction shot of a neighbor.
  • The Worst Witch: Ruby, a Token Black, and Jadu, a Token Asian in the '98 TV series. Azmat Madari in Weirdsister College would also count. The 2017 series averts the tokenism with more people of color (some not actually main characters either, but just in the background).
  • NOS4A2: The series diversifies the characters by making Maggie, Tabitha and Lou all into black people, but they're still only three out of the whole cast.
  • One season of Exatlon Estados Unidos features a non-Latino American on the team. He knows minimal Spanish, but each episode he says a new Spanish sentence.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure:
    • Mimmi is white though she gets treated like this in season 2, due to her hailing from the Northern Pod (Canada), which is known to have an infamous reputation, unlike the other members of the cast who all hail from the Mako/South Pacific Pod (Australia). We later find out that Mimmi is Zac’s long lost biological sister. Although his race in the context of the show is never confirmed, Chai Hansen is half-Thai, so we can assume Zac and by extension, Mimmi, is too in the context of the show. This makes Mimmi a true Token Minority, though Allie Bertram herself is not half-Thai.
    • In season 3, Weilan joins the show and is clearly a token Asian.
  • Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: Aneka, Bruce and Zelezry. They're the only people of color on the show, however at least they're in the main cast.
  • Defiance: Despite the show being set in the (former) St. Louis (majority Black city), only a few characters are actually Black or otherwise people of color, though the Native American McCauley family were prominent (they also avert common stereotypes by being the rich owners of a mine). On the Votan side, the Sensoth race only have one character in the show, with a minor role.
  • Disney Channel:
  • The Outpost: Janzo and Naya are played by South Asian actors, Tobin's actor is black. Zed's is mixed race. A couple minor characters are also people of color: Essa, Milus, Sill and Jabaan, along with a few extras. Later the Blackblood leader Yavalla, along with her daughter Wren, are played by black or mixed race actresses. The rest of the series' cast is white, though it's more than usual for a fantasy.
  • War of the Worlds (2019): Mustafa Mokrani, a Frenchman of Arab descent, and Kariem, a Sudanese immigrant to the UK, are the only characters of color on the show.
  • Cursed: Arthur and Morgana become black in the series, along with some minor/background characters.
  • The Boys (2019): In "We Gotta Go Now" Maeve is being set up for LGBTQ representation by Vought right after Homelander forcibly outed her on television, and much of the marketing by Ashley and the rest of Vought's teams are following this at his behest. They also want to get Elena further involved, wanting her in manly clothes because a same-sex couple without clear-cut roles isn't as marketable.
  • Vida: While still Latina, Nico's the only Honduran/Argentine-American living in a Mexican-American neighborhood.
  • Higher Ground: Latino boy Auggie and black girl Kat were the only regular characters of color.
  • The Society: Will's the only boy of color we see in the town.
  • Shadowhunters:
    • Simon's Jewish, while the rest of the cast are gentiles. This is especially hard for him once he becomes a vampire, since Judaism prohibits consuming blood (which Simon now needs to survive).
    • Luke is Black. He's one among just two men of color in the main cast.
  • The 4400: Richard, who's Black, is the only man of color in the main cast.
  • Camelot: Ulfius on Arthur's side and Vivian on Margan's. Both are the sole Black people among the cast, who are otherwise White.

  • Poor Niall Horan of One Direction. Simply known as "The Irish One" by non-directorners. He's also the only blond. Zayn Malik, meanwhile, is the only non-white member of the group.
  • 5 Seconds of Summer has the Maori-Australian member Calum Hood alongside three white guys.
  • Mel B (Scary Spice) from Spice Girls is the only black Spice Girl (although technically she is mixed-race).
  • As mentioned above, black drummers in otherwise white bands were a popular way for filmmakers to appear hip in youth-oriented films of The '60s, but there were some Truth in Television examples from that era, like The Allman Brothers Band (Jaimoe) and Three Dog Night (Floyd Sneed).

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Books of Samuel, Uriah is a Hittite residing in Israel, which was considered as an ethnic minority in Israel back then. However, he's not among the Gentiles as he followed Israelite beliefs, which was a requirement for him to marry Bathsheba, an Israelite herself, in the first place. He also genuinely cares about his subordinates and refused to have sex with his wife while a war was going on, despite royal orders, because he didn't want to accept privileges that his men weren't being allowed. And after his death, the prophet Nathan promptly calls David out for inventing the Uriah Gambit.
  • Balthasar, one of the threenote  Wise Men, has been depicted as black since Medieval times. Melchior is sometimes depicted as Asian as well, so the Wise Men represent the three continents of the Medieval world: Europe, Asia, and Africa. One researcher has found references in an ancient manuscript saying that the Magi came from a country called Shir, which was in the far east, bordered an ocean, and produced silk. The Magi might have actually been Chinese, or perhaps Persian. Since "magi" were the name of the Zoroastrian clergy from Persia, the latter was probably intended.

    Print Media 
  • MAD magazine referenced the trope back in 1966 (issue 101). In a parody of the movie The Sandpiper, a character refers to himself as the film's "token Negro". It was a long time ago indeed.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Of the foreigners who came into FMW for Texas Street Fight, Sweet Georgia Brown became this among the FMW women's division. She spent an even longer time as the black one of the WWF's women's division until Jazz debuted.
  • Black Warrior, the lone Mexican of the Japanese anti Mexican La Ola Amarilla Power Stable that periodically invaded CMLL between 2005 and 2013. He served as the group's Translator Buddy.
  • Kenny King in the Full Impact Pro Power Stable Young Rich And Ready For Action. Kenny could be considered one of the "main" members, mostly by virtue of representing the group in Ring of Honor but nonetheless the rest (Jason Blade, Portia Perez, Claudio Castagnoli, The Lovely Lacey, Sal Rinauro, Radiant Rain, Daffney, Steve Madison, Becky Bayless, Chasyn Rance, SoCal Val, etc) were all white.
  • Around 2010, the WWE Divas were sadly falling into this. Each brand had one (and in many cases, ONLY one) member of each minority group amidst the sea of blond hair on the rest of the roster.
  • However, after the "Brand Extension" was first ditched in 2011, the "one diva per group" rule was been gradually averted. As of January 2018, following a second brand split, the ethnicities of the WWE women's roster are now pretty much downplayed. Just for completeness' sake, here's the rundown:
  • Concerning SHINE Power Stable Las Sicarias, it is easy to forget Amanda Rodriguez is "The Peruvian Princess" when every other member (Ivelisse Vélez, La Rosa Negra, Thea Trinidad, Mercedes Martinez) is Puerto Rican and 3/4ths of them are loud about it.
  • Jonathan Gresham in Search And Destroy, although this wasn't by design so much as circumstance. One other did briefly make it to TV, but Lio Rush was Put on a Bus due to an attack from Shane Taylor of The Rebellion.
  • After Michael Tarver and Darren Young we’re kicked out of The Nexus, David Otunga became the only black member of the group. Ezekiel Jackson, meanwhile, served as this for The Corre. (Justin Gabriel’s race has always been ambiguous).

    Puppet Shows 

  • Manchester United have a large Asian fanbase and seem to ensure that they always have at least one Asian player in the squad, presumably to appeal to Asian fans:
    • Park Ji-Sung (Korean, 2005-12)
    • Shinji Kagawa (Japanese, 2012 - 2014)

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Privateer Press' tabletop war game WARMACHINE, Major Markus 'Siege' Brisbane is the game's only black warcaster. Before the release of the expansion book Pirates of the Broken Coast, he was the only black model in the game. Siege came out in Apotheosis, the third expansion of the game.
  • Magic: The Gathering has Kaya going from planeswalking ghost assassin to head of the Orzhov Syndicate. However, when you take some time to think about the Orzhov Syndicate practices...

  • Hamilton: Inverted with the original Broadway cast. Jonathan Groff (King George III) and Christopher Jackson (George Washington) are the only white actors among the cast members playing historical characters, and Jackson is the only white actor among the core cast members playing the American Revolutionaries and Founding Fathers.

  • My Little Pony:
    • Kimono from My Little Pony (G3) is Japanese, as shown by her name and her occasional kimono wearing in the books.
    • There's also Fiesta Flair, whose toy was actually cancelled for what fans speculate was due to being too stereotypically Mexican.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • There's the boss of the main character in Pokémon Ranger 2, and a Boisterous Bruiser as well as Da Chief.
    • There was a young dark-skinned girl standing in the player's hometown in FireRed/LeafGreen. But the sprite for this girl doesn't appear anywhere else in the entire game.
    • Pheobe, who showed up in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, is implied to be the Poke-verse's equivalent of Pacific Islander. Pokémon Sun and Moon later introduced a Hawaii-based region called "Alola".
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, they did add another token minority, a Frontier Brain named Dahlia who is ambiguously latina.
    • Mostly averted in Pokémon Black and White, since minor NPCs of varying skin tone are common, and two note  gym leaders are black.
    • Averted in Pokémon X and Y - Not only do you have the option to customize the character's skin tone, but the player encounters a fair number of Ambiguously Brown and even black trainers (more than previous games). Nobody treats them any differently. That said, of the main characters Shauna is the only non-white one (unless your protagonist is brown).
  • Grand Theft Auto IV had an ad for Weazel News, an Expy of the Fox News Channel, that parodied the use of token minorities on TV news programs. The voiceover for the ad explicitly mentioned the "diverse" news team as proof that they weren't racist, and when the Asian reporter was listed, an oriental gong sound was clearly audible.
  • Louis in Left 4 Dead is considered the game's token black guy. Veteran Bill is the token old guy, and Zoey is the token girl. Young white male biker Francis is the least mentally stable of the four, and some Fanon says he's gay.
  • In Team Fortress 2, several of the classes are represented as clearly being of a certain nationality. The Demoman represents Scotland, however he is also the only black man in the game. He is also a drunk and a "cyclops", making him a "Threefer."
    • The Team Fortress 2 team stated in their blog (providing some early concept art) that the Demoman was going to be a redheaded white guy, making him look more like the stereotypical Scot. Instead, they decided that he looked too much like Groundskeeper Willie, so they made him black. So this probably isn't a case of tokenism, but an attempt to break a stereotype. A better example might be the continuous hints of Pyro being the lone female class.
    • The 'aggressive black Scotsman' with an absurdly broad accent is a stereotype of its own in the UK.
      • Lampshaded in his intro video on the official site:
    Demoman: I'm a black Scottish cyclops! They've got more f-[extended censorship bleep] than thy do the likes of me!
    Ironically, it appears that in the world of Team Fortress 2, there is in fact a clan of black Scottish demolitions experts... but the Demoman is unusual in that he still has one of his eyes.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], Dr. Ragland is the only black character of plot significance. Particularly egregious considering the game takes place in New York City.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has Devdan, the only black guy in the game. Sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn adds Ambiguously Brown Fiona.
  • The Final Fantasy series has two examples. General Leo Christophe from Final Fantasy VI and Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII. The latter was played perfectly straight amongst the heroes. Paradoxically, it wasn't done for the feelings of the fans, or for racial diversit. General Leo, however, is a slight inversion because the sprite has the same skin tone as the rest of the characters, while his art has a notably darker skin tone.
  • In Romancing SaGa 3, Harid "El Nool" Tornado is the lone black character you can choose. He's a mercenary
  • Averted in the PC FPS Ethnic Cleansing, where almost all characters are of non-white races, save for the protagonist and few NPCs.
    • The reason for this, as the name implies, is quite nefarious.
  • Of the four player characters in the Konami arcade shoot-'em-up Sunset Riders, Cormano is the only Mexican. The other three are blond white cowboys.
  • Sig in Jak and Daxter is apparently the only black guy on the entire freakin' planet, including the NPCs that just wander around.
  • Chains from PAYDAY: The Heist is the team black guy.
  • Bully each clique will have a girl, a black boy and a bisexual boy. The nerds clique have a Twofer Token Minority Black Bisexual Nerdy boy.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect has an interesting take on this. While the crew of the Normandy consists mainly of humans with only one member of various other species present (one asari, one turian, etc.), those species are so common throughout the galaxy that most of your NPC interactions involve them. Tali'Zorah Nar Rayya, on the other hand, is the only quarian in the entire game, making her your token minority team member. She's also a Space Gypsy, making her and anyone of her race a barely tolerated outcast everywhere outside their fleet.
    • Mass Effect 2 gives a double subversion, since Shepard's field mission squad consist of only three humans and seven aliens of different races, but when it comes to the human crew on Normandy SR-2, Jacob Taylor is the only black man on the whole ship, until you download the DLC and thus you have Token Minorities within token minorities. In the humans, you have an Australian (Miranda), a Canadian (Shepard, both sexes), an American (Jacob), a Brit (Zaeed), and a Japanese Genki Girl (Kasumi).
  • Anthony Higgs of Metroid: Other M; he's the first major black character; there were a few black people on the Valhalla (key word being "few"). He's also the only supporting character who survives to the end of the game.
  • In Night Trap, SCAT has both a token black guy and a token woman (if you don't count Kelly).
  • In Silent Hill 4: The Room, Cynthia Velasquez, a Latina, is the only minority character, and also the first to die.
  • Snake's Revenge has Nick Meyer, the only African-American in Snake's crew.
  • The Persona series tends to have this, given its explicitly Japanese setting:
    • Persona 2 has party member Lisa Silverman, the daughter of two white Americans. That said, she's been raised in Japan her entire life, cannot speak English, and her parents are extreme Japanophiles who desire her to behave like a traditional Japanese girl, much to her chagrin. There's also a minor character named Tony who goes around and takes lewd photos of women.
    • Persona 3 has "Bebe", a French foreign exchange student and Japanophile, as your Temperance Arcana Social Link.
    • Persona 5 has party member Ann Takamaki, a quarter-white girl who lived overseas for sometime before coming back to Japan. Her foreign background makes her the subject of numerous malicious rumors at her school, which is not helped by the volleyball coach treating her as an exotic Lust Object.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion there are exactly three non-Imperials among the nobles of Cyrodiil: Count Andel Indarys of Cheydinhal, a dark elf who is accused of having gotten his position via nepotism (he's supposedly friends with King Helseth of Morrowind); Andel's son Farwil, who is an idiot; and Imperial Battlemage Ocato, a high elf who only even appears twice. Note that it is made quite clear in books and dialogue (before, during and after Oblivion) and in a later game with an appearance that there are more non-Imperial nobles in Cyrodiil. It's just that the Elder Council is conspicuously missing from their meeting hall every time we go there in Oblivion.
    • The "Hearthfire" DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim adds a Redguard housecarl, Rayya. The rest of the housecarls are Nords.
  • The story of Temple Run seems to be taking place in Asia (judging from the architecture and rainforest), but all characters but one is western. The one non-western character is Asian. Her name? "Karma Lee".
    • The western characters are either white or afro-american. The white characters are explorers and escape artists and similar stuff that fit the setting, while the black characters have concepts such as football star - making one wonder how he ended up in an ancient Asian temple in the first place.
  • The Rehda in Ys: The Ark of Napishtim are culturally reminiscent of Native Americans, although their chief, Ord, talks like an Afro-American in the English dub.
  • Played straight and averted with Neverwinter Nights 1. Played straight with the Original Campaign and the NPC, Aarin Gend, but can be averted by module builders and players since both NPCs and player characters can have skin color matching anything in the game palette (including but not limited to green, blue, purple, yellow, gold, orange, red, mirror(!) and either solid flat white or solid flat black).
  • In Killer Bear, the titular killer refers to Tracy as "the token black girl."
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. was criticized for introducing several token minority characters. The one that got most attention was Mizhena, a female in which, upon first meeting her in the game, when you choose certain dialogue options about how she got her name, reveals that she's a transgender. She does this before providing little else in the context of the game.
  • In StarCraft, the only black fellow in the entire Colonial/UED Marine Corps drives the SCV. I get that Terrans are space hillbillies, but wow... Averted in the sequel, though.
  • Ace Combat series' Constructed World of Strangereal seems to have no equivalent of Africa or East Asia, yet some token characters obviously representing those regions' ethnic groups come included:
  • Story of Seasons occasionally has a few. For example, Harvest Moon 64 has a black fisherman and Ambiguously Brown Kai in a town full of mainly white (and a few Asian) people, while Story of Seasons (2014) introduced the first explicitly gay character in the series.
  • Body Blows: The British boxer Junior is the only black guy among the human characters. Though Junior does make up for this somewhat as being a prominent character in that he is one of the only two characters to be in all of the games of the series.
  • In Scooby-Doo, Who's Watching Who?, Monty Caswell is the only black member of the Ghost Scene Investigation team.
  • Inverted in Yakuza 0. In a game set in Japan with an all-Japanese cast, Bacchus stands out as the only white American (not counting the occasional extra during his substories and in the Coliseum.) There's also Lao Gui, the sole Chinese character in the game.
  • The four kids you can play as in A Walk in the Woods has a black boy, and an Asian girl amongst the cast.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Alice in the Loserz strip. As she says in one strip, one of the few black kids in school.
  • The character of Kay Wheeler in Misfile exists solely to try and crack open Emily's Transparent Closet. Missi Fuller's ethnicity, while lampshaded in her intro comic, serves no plot purpose other than to bring a bit of variety to the cast and the sole black character who's particularly recurring, Eponine, only in later times started getting attention.
  • Grace and Nanase in El Goonish Shive. Sort of. Sensei Greg too, but he's become a Brother Chuck. And Nanase doesn't even look very Japanese.
  • Clark is probably this in Shape Quest.
  • Subnormality: Lets not forget to always give them One Award.
  • Homestuck:
    • The Webcomic within the MS Paint Adventure Homestuck, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff has the most pointless of Token Minority characters with Geromy. Introduced as "The new friend", he has never moved, spoken, or been aknowledged by another character. He's even called the token black friend in the theme song! Amusingly enough, he is actually the third black character introduced after Barack Obana and The Big Man, with both actually having at least a minimum of a role in the comics.
    • Interestingly, in Homestuck itself, Word of God has given a similar, though less cynical, rationale for having Jade, Nepeta, and Equius be furries.
  • Hilariously subverted in Errant Story by Bani, who's well aware of her status and doesn't want to become the black dude who dies first.
  • Axe Cop does it with as crazy a twist as everything else: When asked whether there will be "members of other races" in Axe Cop's team, they introduce a merman team member.
  • Parodied in a Shortpacked! strip dealing with the controversy around Michael B. Jordan being approached to play the Human Torch. An irate comic fan complains to Jacob about this development and states that this would likely make the Invisible Woman (Torch's sister) black as well, and when Jacob doesn't see a problem with this, the fanboy responds by claiming that having two black people in the cast would be "unrealistic". The fanboy then runs off screaming when Lucy, the strip's other major black character, shows up.

    Web Original 
  • Satirized by The Onion, after the embarrassing event of University of Wisconsin-Madison (see Advertising folder).

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko has Yumi Ishiyama as the only hot and mysterious senior Japanese girl, likely in order to make the show more culturally Japanese, considering all characters wear out-of-place kimono when they enter Lyoko at first (they later switch to more tech-like virtual reality-appropriate outfits). She and Ulrich (who's younger) have a thing for each other, though William, her classmate, also has another thing for her.
  • South Park:
    • Parodied in Token Black (formerly named Token Williams), the only black kid. Part of the joke is that all the other characters think he's the token rich character — the only one to regularly call attention to Token's blackness is Cartman, who has been shown in other contexts to be quite racist. And his parents own the Hooters expy restaurant Raisins. Which is done as a deliberate subversion of this trope.
    • For some reason, the Vampire kids have one Angry Black Man among their group, which leaves the goth kids slightly confused.
  • Superfriends was notorious for that kind of character, with a bunch of obviously non-white superheroes; Apache Chief (Native American), Black Vulcan (African-American), Samurai (Asian) and El Dorado (Latino). The final season tried to address the black issue by replacing Black Vulcan with Cyborg of the Teen Titans, a character that Marv Wolfman and George Perez worked hard to create as a legitimate original character.
  • Justice League:
    • John Stewart, the black Green Lantern. Less "token" because not only does he have the same nom de guerre as a major member of the original team, but he has worked with the League in a number of stories in the comics when he was Hal Jordan's backup, thus giving the character's inclusion some credibility. Furthermore, in the Unlimited phase of the series, the producers strove to dilute the issue by bringing in many of DC's other minority superheroes like Mr. Terrific, Vixen, Steel and Doctor Light. Note that, save for Batman and Superman, both of whom had a previous series unto themselves in the DCAU, John Stewart is the most featured character in the DCAU, having the most Limelight episodes on Justice League and getting a good amount of plot in Justice League Unlimited. He got so much screen time that many younger fans expressed confusion over why the 2011 movie version of Green Lantern wasn't black.
    • In addition, the second season of Unlimited featured the Ultimen, straight (and far better done) versions of many of the Superfriends token minority characters.
    • Shayera Hol (Hawkgirl), from the planet Thanagar, was deliberately given a Latino voice actor as well.
    • Out of the Original Seven, Batman is the only one without superpowers. But who needs that when he's Batman?
    • Superman is Kryptonian, Martian Manhunter is Martian, Hawkgirl is Thanagarian, Wonder Woman is Themysciran. The only people who aren't minorities on the team are Batman and Flash.
  • Superman: The Animated Series had Angela Chen, who was essentially a race-swapped version of Cat Grant from the comics, right down to being a catty gossip columnist and Lois Lane's rival at the Daily Planet.
  • Beware the Batman looked to be doing this by using Katana as Batman's sidekick instead of Robin or Batgirl. Noticeable in that she was explicitly touted as "the new Robin" in press releases. Seeing how the show was canned after a mere 26 episodes, forbidden from being aired after September 28, 2014, and written off by the company we will never know.
  • In order to have some racial diversity in the cast of Bionic Six (despite the main characters all being related), the Bennetts were given two adoptive sons who were African-American and Japanese respectively.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series also added a token minority, Lando (named for the only person of color in the original Star Wars trilogy), who rarely did anything other than show up to showcase his non-whiteness. This was expressly parodying this trope, however.
  • African-American character Jonathan Reed in the Christian claymation Davey and Goliath was added by the Lutheran Church to make the series more diverse in the post-1970s Civil Rights America, followed by the Hispanic character Cisco, Mr. Lee, an Asian barber, and George Soaring Eagle, a boy of Native American heritage, to name a few.
  • The Extreme Ghostbusters team was compiled of all minorities. Roland is a black man, Eduardo is a Hispanic male, Garrett a white guy in a wheelchair and Kylie is a goth chick. Egon was the only non-minority but he didn't always go out with the team, but held a figure head position. Their receptionist, Janine Melnitz is Ambiguously Jewish (considering her last name). The original animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, had the movie version of the team so there is only a token black guy instead of a whole token team.
  • Also parodied in Family Guy, in which the TV newscast's (a Show Within a Show) on-site reporter is consistently referred to by the anchors as "Asian Reporter Trisha Takanawa."
    • One episode also introduced us to "Hispanic Reporter Renee Jimenez." Interestingly, though, she's depicted as an otherwise baseline white woman who speaks with a slight Spanish accent. Talk about having your cake and eating it too....
    • And then there's Cleveland Brown, the token black guy who in the later seasons becomes a portmanteau for black stereotypes that had nothing to do with his established personality. And you can't bring up minorities on the newscast team without talking about "Blackuweather forecaster Ollie Williams."
    • Another episode, perhaps unintentionally, provided an explanation: most black residents of Quahog are disguised as whites to avoid police harassment. One example when Cleveland is in the golf course the second time with a Richard Nixon mask.
  • Another parody in Futurama, where the characters sometimes watch the soap "All My Circuits", which features a cast of robots and a single token human.
    Fry: What's he do?
    Bender: Eh, the usual human stuff. He laughs, he learns, he loves.
    Fry: Boring!
  • In Daria, Jodie Landon and Mack McKenzie seem to be the only black students at Lawndale High, and they are apparently the only people (other than possibly Andrea) who Daria and Jane respect in that school. Jodie and Mack are painfully aware of their status and are uncomfortable being effectively examples of their race; for instance, Jodie complains how she has to be "Queen of the Negroes" at school. This includes when they were dubbed school parade King and Queen consecutively over multiple years, which they suspect is possibly in part because it disguise how little real diversity there is at the school. However, Jodie notices a little black girl looking awestruck at her being so honored, and decides she can put up with it for the greater good of inspiring other minority kids to dream. On the other hand, Jodie's parents are a pair of jerks, Tiffany of the Fashion Club is an Asian Airhead, and the school's principal, Angela Li (also Asian ethnicity) is a strutting self-important dictator.
  • Spyke in X-Men: Evolution is not only the token black member of the team, he's related to the only other black person in the cast. Spyke was so unpopular that he was written out of the series and made to live in the sewer (no, really). His eventual guest-star role as a vigilante was more well-received by the show's fans than his entire run as a cast member. By that time they had balanced things out a bit by adding a few other minority kids to the cast, notably Sunspot (Afro-Brazilian), Magma (Race Lifted into a dark-skinned Brazilian) and Jubilee (Chinese-American). Though of course Jubilee herself was also Put on a Bus until the finale.
  • Transformers Armada had token Hispanic Carlos. The fact that his catchphrase was "holy frijoles" should tell you how badly that turned out.
  • Animaniacs has The Goodfeathers (Pesto, Bobby, and Squit) who are Italian and Flavio and Marita who are Spanish.
  • Averted amongst the humans in Transformers Animated, where there are a number of prominent non-white characters. However, it's notable that when the Autobots turn human in "Human Error", there's one black kid - and it's Bumblebee. This is because of the voice actors - Bumblebee is the only main Autobot with a black voice actor (Bumper Robinson).
  • The children's television series Dragon Tales has a dragon in a wheelchair, he can't fly either. Most of the plot of the episode where Lorca is introduced, "A New Friend", depends on this.
  • John Thunder, the Native American member of the Centurions. Maybe one of the best out there.
  • Orange Blossom and Ginger Snap of Strawberry Shortcake, though later seasons introduce more characters.
  • Doozy Bots, the attempt to adapt anime from Gundam to American audiences in the early '90s (That thankfully never got past a short 5-minute preview video) featured the black kid of the gang who also happened to be in a wheelchair. To make matters worse (or funnier, depending on how you see it) when the main characters all transform into the eponymous super-deformed chibi Gundams/Mobile Suits, he gets stuck being the Guntank - which is the top half of a Mobile Suit attached to a set of tank treads.
  • Teen Titans:
    • There is Cyborg as the only black member in the team and Robin who is Romani even though he looks white. Raven is an apparently white Half-Human Hybrid and the other two have orange and green skin (though Beast Boy was white at birth before turning green).
    • Herald and Bumblebee are black while Mas y Menos are Guatemalan.
  • The Simpsons episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" mentions "Token black panelist, Drederick Tatum!"
  • Subverted in ¡Mucha Lucha!, where the whole main trio is non-white. Rikochet is somewhat dark-skinned, and Buena Girl and Flea's lighter skin looks sort of Afro-Caribbean. However, many secondary characters are white. The show is set in Mexico (or at least a Mexican-American community), where everyone is perceived to be "foreign" and "exotic" in some way.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Baljeet is Indian, Holly (Fireside Girls) and Coltrane are African-American, Stacy and her sister Ginger (Fireside Girls) are Asian. The show in general obviously tries to be very cosmopolitic.
    • Isabella Garcia-Shapiro is Mexican (ethnicity) and Jewish (religion) so she's both this trope and Twofer Token Minority. Though one episode has the cast visiting the "Mexican Jewish Cultural Festival" so Danville might just have a particularly large population of Mexican Jews...
  • The Famous Five were reimagined for a Disney cartoon series, starring the children of the original Five. George's daughter Jo (Jyoti) is Anglo-Indian. Compare the extremely white originals with the next generation.
  • Frosty the Snowman: Sara Simple from The Legend of Frosty the Snowman is Ambiguously Brown.
  • Mostly averted in Challenge Of The Go Bots, where A.J. and General Newcastle are both black, and Anya Turgonova is half-Russian, half-Chinese. Anya didn't show up as often after the Five-Episode Pilot, but A.J. was a main character and Newcastle was the most important human supporting character.
  • Spoofed in the Robot Chicken sketch 12 Angry Little People, when the only black juror points out that not every black person needs to be a positive role model.
  • The main characters in The Weekenders. Though Tino's race isn't mentioned, Word of God states hes Italian American who is probably Pagan. Lor is Scottish American, Carver is African American and Tish is an Eastern European Jewish.
  • Averted in Young Justice. As of the end of season one, four of the core characters are people of color (Aqualad and Rocket are both black, Robin is Romani, while Artemis is half-white and half-Vietnamese). In season two, Blue Beetle (Latino), Bumblebee and Mal Duncan (both African-American) join the team as well. While they don't join the team, that season also adds recurring characters Virgil Hawkins (African-American), Ed Dorado (Latino), Asami Koizumi (Japanese), and Tye Longshadow (Native American).
  • Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats was the only black member of the band. Of course, she was this in the comic book beforehand.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has Black Panther, an African king who's proven himself a very competent fighter and quite knowledgeable about science and magic. However, he sometimes goes whole episodes without saying anything. Some unused production art shows that at some point before the series finally aired, Black Goliath was apparently supposed to take Giant-Man's spot on the team.
  • The short-lived The Avengers: United They Stand had Falcon as the only minority member of the team. Somewhat funny since in the comics, Falcon was added to the team to fill a diversity quota and quit when he decided he didn't want to be included simply for being black.
  • Perhaps in response some of the complaints about the racial and gender disparity in the live-action movie, Avengers, Assemble! has The Falcon added to the film's Avengers roster, making him the only person of color. However, he has a very large role in the show, and is the Audience Surrogate of the team.
  • Jonny from Ed, Edd n Eddy is stated to be black. Rolf may count, as he's Ambiguously Brown.
  • Mee Mee and Lee Lee (Dee Dee's friends) in Dexter's Laboratory are black and Asian respectively. They might even be a light parody of this trope.
  • Freight Train from Where's Huddles?.
  • The only non-white Color Kid from Rainbow Brite is Indigo. She is Indian.
  • Everyone in Bertha is white, except for the Indian Panjid.
  • Plastic Man's sidekick Hula Hula in The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show is Polynesian, whilst Plastic Man and his girlfriend Penny are white.
  • Elena of Avalor: Elena's best friend Naomi Turner, a pale-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl with an English name in the Spanish-style Kingdom of Avalor; almost everyone else is dark-haired and tan-skinned.
  • The Loud House has Lincoln and his family being white except for Lucy who has pale skin resembling a lighter shade of gray, Clyde being black with gay parents, and of course, the Casagrandes as a Hispanic family with CJ having Down syndrome.
  • Totally Spies! has Alex as a mixed-race main character (dark in complexion, racially half-white, though later changed to be non-white), and Britney as an Asian-looking recurring character. The only black villain is an Afro-bearing, '80s-obsessed dude named Boogie Gus. There are also a couple more notable minority characters here and there at times. It's not uncommon for white girls to be paired with guys of all kinds of skin colors in the show, though.
  • Ready Jet Go! has Sydney and her mom, who are African-American, Mindy, who is Latina, and Lillian, who appears to be Asian. Everyone else is white, but the Propulsion family are exceptions because even though they appear to be Caucasian, they are actually aliens.
  • Station X: Of the cast, Davis is the one black person.

Token Non-Mammal Examples:

    Films — Animation 



    Video Games 
  • Inverted with Judd the cat in Splatoon. He's the only land mammal amongst anthropmorphic and humanoid sea creatures.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes: An inversion — in the 1936 Merrie Melodies short I Love to Singa, Jack Bunny is the only mammal, the rest of the characters are birds.
  • Inverted in SpongeBob SquarePants. Sandy Cheeks (a squirrel) and Pearl Krabs (a sperm whale) are the token mammals among the main, major, and supporting characters.
  • Donald Duck and Daisy Duck started out like this, though many family members were introduced later on.
  • Inverted with Sleepy Bat in Birdz, the only reoccurring non-avian.
  • Care Bears: Cozy Heart Penguin is the only avian member of the Care Bear Cousins.
  • Arthur: This unnamed crocodile/alligator. There were also anthropomorphic ducks in "Arthur's Almost Boring Day".
  • Several episodes of The Get Along Gang included a turtle named Braker as an ancillary member of the Gang, with the Cartoon Over-Analyzations blog describing him as "the Furry equivalent of a Token Minority," as he was the one reptile in a group of mammals.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Owl is the only bird in the main cast, just like in the original book. Other non-mammals sometimes appear but usually just in minor roles, though The Book of Pooh did promote Kessie, a bluebird, to main character.
  • PB&J Otter has Flick Duck, the only bird among his group of friends.

Token Minority Species Examples:

    Films — Animation 
  • Ratigan, Fidget the bat, Felicia the cat, Toby the dog, and a lizard from The Great Mouse Detective among a cast made mostly of mouse characters.
  • Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are this in A Goofy Movie, being a mouse and a bird amongst dogs and cats.
  • Zootopia has this as a significant part of the plot, with Judy Hopps being the first rabbit police officer of Zootopia and has to struggle against the label of being the Token Minority.

    Comic Books 
  • In Paperinik New Adventures, Angus is clearly meant to be a Funny Animal kiwi bird, the only one in Duckburg. He is not only explicitly said to be from New Zealand but also a Maori.

    Web Videos 
  • In the cat video series The Six Cats Parade, Rico is the only black cat (and the only without white color) of the group in contrast with his three black and white and one siamese siblings and his mother, which is a gray and white cat.

    Western Animation 
  • Pete and P.J. are this in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie are token cats, despite being treated like Dogfaces in those worlds. Also, Waffles and Chainsaw from Goof Troop are a token cat and dog in a world of Dogfaces.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the majority of the population as well as the main six characters seem to be evenly distributed among unicorns, pegasi and earth ponies. However, there are several other intelligent species in the world. Cattle, sheep, donkeys, mules, buffalo, zebra and possibly goats are all people just as much as ponies, and the same goes for some mythological beings like minotaurs and griffons. However, these beings only have short gag cameos or one-shot appearances. The only exception is Zecora the Zebra.
  • Felix the frog in Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends
  • Violet from DuckTales (2017) is the only one of the kids who is a hummingbird instead of a duck.note 

Alternative Title(s): Token Black, Token Minorities


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