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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 its appeal by giving more viewers protagonists they can identify with.
  • Is useful for bringing 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 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.
  • Makes a character stand out visually from the rest.
  • Depending on the setting, it can merely be an accurate representation of demographics in that region or industry. E.g. LATAM due to the heavily mixing of ethnicities.
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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.

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This trope isn't necessarly limited to characters on the side of The Protagonist, a cast of villain can contain Token Minorities as well. See Equal-Opportunity Evil.

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.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Advertising 
  • 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. It was promptly satirized by The Onion.
  • A Veet ad had this. When they stated 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 were all dubbed over with the same voice.

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 upper class, 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.
  • Yasutora "Chad" Sado in Bleach is half-Japanese, half-Latino in an otherwise manga-typical all-Japanese cast.
  • Code Geass:
    • Rakshata and Viletta are 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.
    • There's also a supposedly elite pilot who dies mere seconds after she first appears on screen.
    • Nunnally fits into the paraplegic category.
  • 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.
  • Poor Hans from 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.
  • 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.
  • Jun Hono, the half-black, half-Japanese pilot from Great Mazinger and Mazinkaiser.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ has the black Shinta and Ambiguously Brown Qum, but that's about it. Later in the show, Judau ends up befriending a young pilot from Africa, but his time on the show is very brief.
    • 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 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 "Stop the World".
      • 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, have no real importance to the story as the series progresses.
  • Jose Rodriguez, the nerdy Afro-Latino doctor from Kyo Kara Maoh!.
  • Fairly common in Love Live!. All main groups have at least one non-Japanese character, although in all cases except Nijigasaki But Not Too Foreign is enforced and Liella! (Superstar!!) has two.
    • Eli Ayase from μ's is part Russian from her grandmother. Her catchphrase is "Harasho!", meaning "good" in Russian, and her character symbol is the Cyrillic character "ya".
    • Mari Ohara from Aqours is Japanese-American-Italian, the Italian-American half coming from her father and her Japanese side coming from her mother. She adores using Gratuitous English (Italian in the English dub).
    • Emma Verde from Nijigasaki is a Italian speaking Swiss foreign exchange student.
    • Kanon Shibuya from Liella! is part Spanish from her grandmother. Keke Tang from the same group is a Chinese-Japanese from Shanghai.
  • Choe Gu-Sung from Psycho-Pass is the only Korean character in a series that takes place in Japan.
  • Robotech:
    • "The Macross Saga", adapted from Super Dimension Fortress Macross, has Claudia Grant/Claudia LaSalle, apparently the only black woman on the entire ship.
    • "The Robotech Masters", adapted from Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, has Bowie Grant, seemingly the only black man on the entire planet Glorie. He was originally an unrelated character named Bowie Emerson who was re-written to be Claudia's nephew in Robotech.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Elza Gray is the only black character in Sailor Moon.
    • There's also the Ambiguously Brown Sailor Pluto, depicted as noticeably dark-skinned in comparison to the other Senshi, and more so in the manga.
  • 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.
  • Bob from Tenjho Tenge would count as this. He's the sole black member of the otherwise Japanese cast.
  • 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.

    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 
  • 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.
  • Adam Brashear, the Blue Marvel who featured in Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel, 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.
  • 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 and 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. 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).
    • 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.
    • In Archie Comics (2015) Jughead is asexual. He's the only known ace character.
  • The Avengers:
    • 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 has bits of this in his debut story. He's given a spot on the Avengers line-up after picking a fight with Captain America over the lack of minority heroes on the team.
    • 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").
  • Jem and the Holograms (IDW):
    • 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.
  • Justice League of America:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (Charles Moulton): There were at least thirty named Holliday Girls in the Golden Age, and only one, Selina Ritio, was unquestionably a woman of color.
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • The second X-Men team had Storm, who was, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 Chuck Billy 'n' Folks (Chico Bento) stories has, among its hillbillies, a japanese boy (a nod to the huge Japanese-descended community in Brazil).
  • Peanuts:
    • 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. 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In The Night Unfurls, Hugh, a mute, is the only handicapped Hunter of Monsters.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Abandoned Mine: Of the group, the sole non-white character is "Ethan", who claims he's from India but later admits that he's from Sri Lanka.
  • 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 his remake of Shall We Dance?, which has an Advertised Extra in the form of Ja Rule (who appears in one concert scene and has no impact on the plot).
  • 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 shows a picture of the real-life squadron, which is 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.
  • The Hairy Bird is a teen comedy set in the early 1960s at an all-girls boarding school. The trope is lampshaded during a coed function with an all-boys school, where the girls are paired up individually with the boys. The only black student at the boys’ school is paired with a Japanese girl, the only student of color at the girls’ school.
  • Happiest Season: Sloane's husband Eric is black, the main character of color in the film.
  • 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".
  • The Ur-Example of this is the The Little Rascals series from the 30s, where the gang always had at least one black member, the most famous being Stymie and Buckwheat. This is an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, seeing as at the time, there was basically no representation for minorities in film except for servant characters.
  • Lycan: Irving, an outspoken black guy who is the only man of color in the group.
  • A Matter of Faith: Portland is the only person of color in the movie with a significant role.
  • Mystery Men: Invisible Boy and The Sphinx are the only people of color on the team.
  • Nobody:
    • The couple who robbed Hutch's house turn out to be Latinos.
    • One of the guys whom Hutch beats up on the train is black, with the rest white.
    • One of Yulian's mooks is black, which gets commented as the other Russians don't realize that he's Russian. The guy explains that his parents were an Ethiopian athlete and a Russian woman who met during the 1980 Moscow Olympics, though his father was not involved past his conception. Hutch later says he's never met a black Russian before and the guy replies he gets that reaction pretty often.
    • Harry, Hutch's adopted brother, also turns out to be black.
  • 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. 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.
  • In The Phynx, the US government drafts four young men to start a rock band to act as a front for undercover operations. The band's drummer doubles as its only black member.
  • The Postman: Woody, Ford, and Clark are the only people of color with speaking parts in the film, and only a few others are even shown.
  • In Psych-Out, the band's drummer is also its only black member.
  • Star Wars:
    • After A New Hope became a blockbuster, numerous people noticed that the entire galaxy of Humans were all white (which isn't entirely true; it's just that the main characters in the film are all white). The Empire Strikes Back introduced Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, the only person of color with a significant role in the original trilogy (one Rebel pilot in Return of the Jedi 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 Māori, as Jango Fett and, by retroactive consequence, his clone Boba Fett and every single Clone Trooper 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 Force Awakens has the black John Boyega as Finn, raising the grand total of black guys in the Galaxy Far, Far Away to three. Lupita Nyong'o is also in the movie's cast, but she voices an orange-skinned alien, so the actress's race is not visible. Oscar Isaac, who's Latino, also plays Poe Dameron.
    • 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's also her sister, but she dies early on and has no lines.
    • After the release of The Rise of Skywalker, John Boyega 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 has Cassian, who's played by the Mexican Diego Luna. Riz Ahmed as Bodhi is the first South Asian who has appeared. Donnie Yen (Chirrut) and Jiang Wen (Baze) are the first East Asians (except the single pilot from Return of the Jedi mentioned above).
  • Shadow in the Cloud: Williams, the Maori pilot who stands out in the otherwise all-White crew.
  • Starship Troopers: Most troopers seen are White, though a couple at boot camp are Black (the woman is kicked out after accidentally killing a fellow trainee). There's another that might be a mestiza as well (since they're all supposed to be Argentinians, and thus Latin American), since she has olive skin.
  • Sweetwater: Sarah's husband Miguel, a mestizo Mexican man, was the only person of color in the film. He dies pretty early on.
  • Toomorrow, a science fiction comedy about a band led by Olivia Newton-John, has the drummer as the band's only black member.
  • Wild in the Streets has the drummer played by Richard Pryor as the only black person in the band.
  • Mercutio is a black Drag Queen in the Baz Luhrmann film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.

    Literature 
  • Jessi (black), Claudia (Asian), and Abby (Jewish) in The Baby-Sitters Club.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Manuel is the only dragonboy in the 109th Dragon Squadron who isn't an orphan. Because of that, he has a hard time getting accepted by others at first.
    • Purple-Green is the only wild dragon in existence who serves in Argonath's legions.
  • 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, but over the centuries their demography changed and these two magicians — who are also very old — are the only black men left in the company.
  • 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.
  • 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's somewhat like China) and Mohender Gosh (whose homeland is described as similar to India) appear later on.
  • 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?"
  • Earth's Children:
    • Ranec, along with the children he's sired (only one is ever shown) are 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) married a black African woman and fathered Ranec, then returned with him many years later. She and her tribe are 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 is 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 appear in the last books, who have also made a very long journey, along with the woman's daughter by a European man.
  • 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.
  • 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 J. K. 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.
  • 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.
  • Both Jem Carstairs and Magnus Bane from The Infernal Devices are part Asian.
  • Stephen King's It has the character of Mike, the only African-American kid of the Losers' Club, who is also in both film adaptations of the novel.
  • In Keeper of the Lost Cities, elves are explicitly stated to have no concept of racism and be very — racially — inclusive. However, within the heroine's group of friends — and thus within a big part of the main cast — there are only two non-white people. They're 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.
  • 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 from the 19th century, perhaps.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Simon is Jewish, Maia is biracial, and Magnus is part Asian.
  • Invoked in the 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", namely 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.
  • Radar from Paper Towns; he even lampshades this by referring to himself as the "token black friend" of the group.
  • The Power: Tunde is a Nigerian reporter who's the only man of color in the main cast.
  • 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 are 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is not brought up at all.
  • Talion: Revenant: Countess Jamila, who's half Stelosian (a black African counterpart) and Marana (who was born to a people which seem to be equivalent to Berbers or Arabs). All of the rest come from the 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 noble husband, who's the only character of mixed heritage.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The 4400: Richard, who's Black, is the only man of color in the main cast.
  • American Horror Story: Coven:
    • Queenie is the only African American witch in the Institute, which becomes an important plot point when she begins contacts with other Black witches.
    • Nan is a witch with Down Syndrome.
  • Angel has Charles Gunn as the only black guy, though Doyle and Lorne might count as token demons.
  • Chyna Parks from A.N.T. Farm becomes the token black girl after her brother Cameron left the show following Season 2.
  • Trish De La Rosa from Austin & Ally is the token Latina.
  • 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.
  • Averted in the original Battlestar Galactica, especially in the episode "Fire In Space", which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for the black Boomer and Tigh's extensive roles.
  • The Bellisarioverse:
    • JAG has 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 is 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 9) is the only recurring gay character.
  • Naldo Montoya from Best Friends Whenever is the token Latino.
  • In an overwhelming Caucasian cast on Beverly Hills, 90210, Silver is Ambiguously Jewish.
  • 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.
  • Boy Meets World has two separate token blacks at 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 has the Genre Savvy (and sadly under-used) villain Mr. Trick, a modern black vampire who comments on the fact that there are very few people of color in Sunnydale. There are also a few other black characters, like Absalom and Olivia, as well as Rona in Season 7.
    • Before coming out as a lesbian, Willow was already the Token Jewish Girl. Of course, after her outing, she became a Twofer Token Minority.
  • Camelot: Ulfius on Arthur's side and Vivian on Margan's. Both are the sole Black people among the cast, who are otherwise White.
  • Charmed (1998): Darryl Morris throughout the first seven seasons (he's Put on a Bus in the eighth due to budget cuts) is the only non-white regular cast member. He does have some significance as the Friend on the Force, and in Season 2 becomes a Secret-Keeper for the Halliwells. But he's also the one most likely to miss episodes and rarely have an arc of his own, except in Season 6.
  • Carrusel has a few: Cirilo is Black, David is Ashkenazi Jewish, Kokimoto is Japanese, and Bibi is North American of English ancestry.
  • The modern Charlie's Angels revamp adds a black Angel in order to appeal to modern audiences.
  • 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 that the moment he finds another Hispanic nerd to do his job, Morgan is gone.
  • In The Class (2006), Kyle's boyfriend Aaron is introduced as a secondary character to counteract the Monochrome Casting.
  • Lampshaded on Community (which actually does have a very diverse cast). Elroy Patashnik is introduced in Season 6 after Troy and Shirley, the series' other two major black characters, both depart from the show. One episode has a scene where he addresses his status as the sole black member of the group and states that he won't allow himself to be treated like a token, saying "I'm nobody's fourth Ghostbuster."
  • 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.
  • Three CSI Verse series have one black character each:
    • CSI has Warrick first and then Ray Langston, though with his departure, there aren't any.
    • CSI: Miami has Alexx (season 1-6), Tara (season 7), and Walter (season 8-10).
    • CSI: NY has Sheldon Hawkes.
  • Cursed: Arthur and Morgana become black in the series, along with some minor/background characters.
  • 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.
  • 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 are 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.
  • 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.
  • Dexter: New Blood: Logan appears to be one of the only Black people in Iron Ridge. Not surprising in a small town. In any case he's the only one in the main cast.
  • Earth 2 has a token black character who is a violent criminal whose "reform" consists of a chip in his brain — when the chip malfunctions, he tries to kill everybody.
  • East West 101 has a Token Polynesian cop. It also has a Muslim Arab-Australian cop, but in that case said cop is the main character, so "token" would be stretching it.
  • 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.
  • Feel Good: Nick, a black guy who owns the club where Mae performs and once let her stay on his couch, is the only man of color in the main cast.
  • Elena Tyler from Felicity is the token black female main character and best friend of main character Felicity. While a relatively positive representation, she's isolated as a woman of color in a way contraindicated by the incredibly diverse composition of both New York City and NYU's populations.
  • In Flashpoint, we have the black Lewis Young, Winnie the dispatcher, and after Lewis's death Leah Kerns as the Token Minorities.
  • 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.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo was the only prominent cast member of the Dothraki race in the first season, and is killed off in the finale. Irri was likewise recurring but had to be killed off sooner because of her actress's visa problems.
    • Season 2 introduced a Canon Foreigner Talisa Maegyr. She fills the role of Robb's eventual wife Jeyne Westerling from the books, but is a completely different character. According to Oona Chaplin, the role was auditioned race-neutral and she in fact assumed she wouldn't be considered. She was originally just going to be Jeyne as she was in the books, but the hectic production and many changes led to George RR Martin suggesting they just rename her. So she became an exiled noblewoman from Volantis. Unlike Jeyne, she is killed off at the Red Wedding.
    • Season 4 sees Pedro Pascal joining for one season as Oberyn Martell. As he's implied to be bisexual, it makes him a Twofer Token Minority. His paramour Ellaria Sand sticks around for a couple more seasons, but isn't a regular. Oberyn's bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, appear in Seasons 5-7, but not as regulars. In fact, Dorne being introduced in Season 5 was an attempt to capitalise on the popularity of Oberyn and Ellaria the previous season.
    • Missandei and Grey Worm are notable for being the longest running non-white characters in the cast. Missandei has plenty of prominence as Daenerys's most trusted handmaiden and translator, but rarely affects the plot on her own. Grey Worm likewise is the leader of the Unsullied, but is otherwise a Satellite Character to Daenerys.
  • The Good Wife has 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 becomes the Token Minority and also a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • Rico Suave from Hannah Montana is the only Latino in an otherwise monochrome cast, but he subverts the TV stereotype of Latinos by being intelligent, wealthy, and motivated.
  • Charlotte from Henry Danger is the token Black girl.
  • Higher Ground: Latino boy Auggie is the only male student of color.
  • Both radio experts on Hogan's Heroes are token black characters. Given that they're all prisoners and obviously not all from the same unit, WWII segregation isn't really an issue.
    • It's downplayed with Sgt. Kinchloe (played by Ivan Dixon), as he's more than the radio expert — he's second-in-command. He also has 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. However, it is still notable that most of Kinchloe's spotlight episodes are the only ones to feature a black Girl of the Week (an African princess and an old high school girlfriend respectively).
  • Home and Away had the Samoan Australian actor Jai Laga'aia's character, although the moment another non-white actor got a part Lagai'a was fired.
  • On House, Omar Epps is the only series regular of color for three seasons, until House hires three new underlings, at which point Kal Penn becomes 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.
  • Jasmine Kang from I Didn't Do It is the only Asian in the group.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jerry Martinez from Kickin' It becomes the token Latino following Eddie's departure from the show after Season 2.
  • Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: Aneka, Bruce, and Zelezry. They're the only people of color on the show, though at least they're in the main cast.
  • Leo Dooley from Lab Rats is the token black guy. In the sequel show Lab Rats: Elite Force this role went to Skylar Storm of Mighty Med as the token Asian alien (who didn't qualify in her former series because of the Latino Alan — and Horace if you count him as a lead)
  • L.A. Law:
    • Victor Sifuentes was the token Latino lawyer at McKenzie Brakman. He comments on it a couple of times. When he left he was replaced by Daniel Morales.
    • Jonathan Rollins is the token African-American lawyer.
    • Arguably Benny Stulwitz is the token disabled character.
    • Even less arguably C.J. Lamb is the token queer character. She describes herself as "flexible".
  • The Law & Order franchise:
    • 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.
    • 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. By the time of Season 15, this trope was entirely averted, as of the five members of the main cast, two were Latino and one is black.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Chase is portrayed by a Samoan actor, with his family and many minor characters being Maori.
  • Miranda Sanchez from Lizzie McGuire is the show's token Mexican.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The L Word: For most of the series, Alice is the sole bisexual, which gets her some flack from lesbians.
  • MADtv was guilty of this with Bobby Lee, the only Asian on the show. He even played a stereotypically Asian recurring character.
  • 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 has 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 that 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.
  • Although only a recurrent character, Griff in Married... with Children plays the part of Token Black Friend to Al. He even lampshades this in some episodes, like when he objects to go first into dangerous situations because Black Dude Dies First. Another recurrent Black character is Corrupt Cop Officer Dan, who's a member of the mostly white NO'MAAM club.
  • Matt Fielding is the token gay on Melrose Place. He rarely has a story line that isn't directly related to his gayness. He gets gay-bashed (twice!), fired for being gay (twice!), and challenged as guardian for his niece because of being gay. He's the only resident of the apartment complex not to have an on-screen sex life, and the one time he's shown in an amorous situation, the camera cuts away as he's leaning in to kiss another man to a shocked reaction shot of a neighbor.
  • 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 is 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 seems to only serve as an excuse for people to brush off Gwen's post-brainwashing strangeness, is far from encouraging. After Gwen returns to normal, he's forgotten. Their dad also serves as this before he too is killed off.
  • Misfits: Curtis is Black, the only man of color in the original group.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Young has Dang, the Vietnamese janitor, in a cast of otherwise all white characters.
  • The Murders: One of the supporting characters, Detective Bill Chen, is of East Asian ancestry. He's the only person on the police force shown with his background.
  • Sarah Fox from My Babysitter's a Vampire. She's Ambiguously Brown, though her actress is biracial.
  • Cookie from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is the token Black of the group.
  • Queer people are severely under-represented in New Girl. A recurring gay character from 2014-2015 was Mike who worked at the same bar as Schmidt. He has no major involvement in the plots, but in scenes co-starring him he will often chime in to remind characters (and the audience) that he is gay.
  • Neighbours has an Indian Australian family, the Kapoors, in the main cast.
  • Paxton's sister in Never Have I Ever has Down Syndrome, but she has little involvement in the main plots.
  • The Nevers: Dr. Cousens the only Black male main 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.
  • The Outpost: Janzo and Naya are played by South-Asian actors, Tobin's actor is black. Zed's is mixed race. A couple of 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.
  • 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.
  • The Practice: Eugene is black, the only man of color in the main cast.
  • Primeval received criticism in its first two seasons for its lack of diversity, with the only recurring non-white character being the antagonistic Caroline in Season 2 (although she gets a Heel–Face Turn in the finale). Season 3 introduced Sarah Page, who was happily well-received as a regular. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled and not picked back up for a while, in which production moved to Ireland. The actress was unwilling to move, having just given birth, and Sarah was killed off in between seasons. Season 4 then introduced Alexander Siddig as Philip Burton.
  • Ramy: Parodied in the second episode. Right after firing Ramy (the protagonist), his white techbro boss thanks him for providing the office with "Mediterranean flair".
  • 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."
  • 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 is Too Dumb to Live, but that also describes everybody else on the show. The only reference to Greene's ancestry in his time on the show is a humorous Shout-Out in his first appearance, when Edgar comments about the film Dances with Wolves, and states that the "Native guy" (Greene himself) should have gotten the Oscar.
  • The Republic of Sarah:
    • Grover is a Black man.
    • Tyler is Native American.
  • In The Riddlers, Eesup is the only African-American Riddler.
  • 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).
  • Rush has a single Polynesian cop.
  • 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 streak 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.
  • Dreama and Quizmaster Albert (they're both black) in Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • 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 remains 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 are 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 that 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."
  • Pete Ross from Smallville is an especially funny example, as in the comic book version he's white.
  • Soap:
    • Benson 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 3, there was Saunders the Expy, also black.
    • In Season 3 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.
  • The Society: Will's the only explicit boy of color we see in the town.
  • Some Assembly Required's protagonist Jarvis is black, but everyone else in the cast is white.
  • Nico Harris from Sonny with a Chance is the token black guy.
  • 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.
  • Spin City has Carter Heywood, a Twofer Token Minority who averts both Positive Discrimination and plain old discrimination by being a well-rounded character. Michael Boatman is the only regular black cast member.
  • 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 First Commandment", 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.
  • Star Trek:
    • 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.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Worf is an in-universe example as the only Klingon in all of Starfleet, having been adopted by humans in his youth. Quite a bit of Character Development results from his dealings with born-and-raised Klingons who variously fail to live up to his idealized image of Klingon honor or disapprove 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).
    • 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 is 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.
    • Referenced in Star Trek: Voyager (itself a very racially diverse show) when 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 that 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.
    • 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 of minor, seldom-seen characters). And also note that, in order to make it obvious to the audience that he was only on the show so they could say they had a Token Minority, the black guy was a glorified extra...
  • 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.
  • Lucas Sinclair in Stranger Things is the only Black character in 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.
  • Invoked in-universe in Suits when 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.
  • Supernatural: 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. Everyone but white males appears 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.
    • 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:
      • The only one who manages to be seriously recurring is the psychotic Vampire Hunter who eventually becomes a vampire. His Scary Black Man traits are played with initially in that Dean thinks he and his badass attitude toward decapitation is awesome, and then the guy turns out to be a hateful extremist who offed his own little sister after she was vamped, which pushes Dean's Berserk Button, and who doesn'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 he wears in "Free to Be You and Me" is pretty impressively creepy.
      • There's a married black couple of hunters, one of whom is British, who are rude and overconfident. The husband dies in their first appearance, and the wife is not very useful and never comes back.
      • First-season psychic character Missouri Moseley could have been useful on a number of occasions when the Winchester brothers are desperate for allies, including on a couple of occasions specifically a psychic, but is never even referenced, even when they go back to her town, although it's too late for help by that point.
      • In Seasons 2 and 3 there are a few appearances by hard-assed Cowboy Cop Victor Hendriksen, the black FBI agent assigned to the Dean Winchester case. He has an Enemy Mine when the station in which he's holding the boys fall under demonic siege, and after they leave he's killed. He reappears as an angry ghost at the beginning of Season 4.
      • 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 shows up at the very end of Season 7 and makes sporadic appearances throughout Seasons 8 and 9. His mother, Linda, also premieres around the same time, but is in even fewer episodes than him. And in the mid-Season 9 finale, Kevin is killed off. He shows up as a ghost a few episodes after that, and leaves with Linda to never be seen again.
    • The only recurring queer character is Charlie Bradbury, a lesbian who shows up intermittently throughout Seasons 7-10. Like Kevin, she gets killed off.
  • 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 that 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.
    • Tan is the only Asian member.
    • Sanchez is a second man of color commanding 20-Squad after Hondo's demotion, as a Latino (no coincidence surely), as otherwise it would look bad to get rid of Hondo.
  • 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.
  • 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's white in the books — but they completely erased the existence another extremely prominent female character who is Latina and definitely minimized Bonnie's personality and agency.
  • Van-Pires has the black Snap, who is really blatantly this. Just look at that nickname!
  • Veronica Mars has two examples: Veronica's best friend Wallace, who is African-American, and biker-allied Eli "Weevil" Navarro, who is Latino.
  • Vida: While still Latina, Nico's the only Honduran/Argentine-American living in a Mexican-American neighborhood.
  • Initially played straight 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 the 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. 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 dies in the episode after Beth. After that it starts getting subverted with the addition of Michonne at the start of Season 3, who is easily one of the most prominent female characters on the show, being an undeniable badass with a sword. Both Michonne and Sasha remain alive and important to the show.
  • Khaleel "Kenny" Al-Bahir is the Token Middle Eastern person in The War at Home. Also token gay.
  • 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.
  • Water Rats has a single token Polynesian cop.
  • 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 only two of the show's 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 and four are Catholic, making the show's main cast far more diverse than the actual US population, even without Charlie in the mix.
  • Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, although the show made a strong effort to depict him as a well-rounded individual.
  • 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).

    Music 
  • 5 Seconds of Summer has the Māori-Australian member Calum Hood alongside three white guys.
  • Jaimoe the black drummer is the only black member of The Allman Brothers Band.
  • 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.
  • Mel B (Scary Spice) from Spice Girls is the only black Spice Girl (although technically she is mixed-race).
  • Floyd Sneed of Three Dog Night is the band's only black member.
  • As is Darius Rucker in Hootie & the Blowfish.
  • Both Howie Dorough and AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys are Hispanics on their mothers' side and Irish on their fathers' side.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • 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 follows 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 refuses to have sex with his wife while a war is going on, despite royal orders, because he doesn't want to accept privileges that his men aren'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.

    Pinball 
  • Heist!: Franklin Cooper is the only black character in the game.

    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 
  • 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.
  • After Michael Tarver and Darren Young were kicked out of The Nexus, David Otunga became the only black member of the group.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Puppet Shows 

    Sports 
  • Manchester United have a large Asian fanbase, and for a time seemed to ensure that they always had at least one Asian player in the squad, presumably to appeal to said fans:
    • Park Ji-Sung (Korean, 2005–2012)
    • Shinji Kagawa (Japanese, 2012–2014)
    • Since averted, however. United hasn't had an Asian player on the main roster since Kagawa left.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Privateer Press's 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.

    Theatre 
  • Altar Boyz does this in multiple ways. Mark is the token gay, while Juan being the token Hispanic. The most notable and parodied example is Abraham, who is the token Jew in a Catholic boy band.

    Toys 
  • 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 
  • The 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:
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear was criticized for introducing several token minority characters. The one that got most attention was Mizhena, a woman who, upon first meeting her in the game, when you choose certain dialogue options about how she got her name, reveals that she's transgender. She does this before providing little else in the context of the game.
  • Body Blows: The British boxer Junior is the only black guy among the human characters. Though Junior does make up for this somewhat by 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 Bully, each clique will have a black boy and a bisexual boy. The nerds clique have a Twofer Token Minority Black Bisexual boy.
  • 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.
  • Averted in the PC FPS Ethnic Cleansing, where almost all characters are of non-white races, save for the protagonist and few NPCs. However, the reason for this, as the name implies, is quite nefarious.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • General Leo Christophe from Final Fantasy VI. He's actually a slight inversion, as his sprite has the same skin tone as the rest of the characters, while his art has a notably darker skin tone.
    • Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII, who is played perfectly straight amongst the heroes. Paradoxically, it wasn't done for the feelings of the fans, or for racial diversity.
    • Sazh Katzroy from Final Fantasy XIII is the token black guy.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has Devdan, the only black guy in the game. Sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn adds Ambiguously Brown Fiona.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has an ad for Weazel News, an Expy of the Fox News Channel, that parodies the use of token minorities on TV news programs. The voiceover for the ad explicitly mentions the "diverse" news team as proof that they aren't racist, and when the Asian reporter is listed, an oriental gong sound is clearly audible.
  • Sig in Jak and Daxter is apparently the only black guy on the entire freakin' planet, including the NPCs that just wander around.
  • In Killer Bear, the titular killer refers to Tracy as "the token black girl."
  • Jerome and his father the principal, both black, are the only characters of colour in Kindergarten. Kindergarten 2 excludes the principal due to him dying at the end of the first game, but instead adds Carla, a Latina student. It also "adds" a disabled student with Monty, who's beaten half to death by the Ax-Crazy janitor in the first game and ends up in a wheelchair in the second due to his injuries.
  • 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.
  • Majesty has the Solarii (singular Solarus), mace-wielding warrior women dedicated the sun goddess Helia. They are the only dark-skinned humans in the game, and their mode of dress vaguely implies that they are from the desert-filled lands on the southern edge of the world map.
  • 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 consists 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).
  • Metro Exodus: Damir is Central Asian, and his motivation for joining the "Aurora" is to find out if he has any relatives who survived the apocalypse back in Kazakhstan.
  • Anthony Higgs of Metroid: Other M, who is the first major black character; there are 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.
  • Neverwinter Nights has the NPC Aarin Gend as the token black guy.
  • In Night Trap, SCAT has a token black guy.
  • Chains from PAYDAY: The Heist is the team black guy.
  • Pokémon:
    • There's the boss of the main character in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, a Boisterous Bruiser as well as Da Chief.
    • There's 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 shows 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).
  • Mizuki Akiyama from Project SEKAI is effectively non-binary. Ambiguous Gender (and Ambiguous Gender Identity) is explicitly enforced in the game's story, and among English-speaking fans the commonly accepted pronoun of choice is "they/them". This unfortunately means that Mizuki has to deal with a harsh amount of discrimination from their peers.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], Dr. Ragland is the only black character of plot significance. Particularly egregious considering the game takes place in New York City.
  • In Romancing SaGa 3, Harid "El Nool" Tornado is the lone black character you can choose. He's a mercenary.
  • In Scooby-Doo, Who's Watching Who?, Monty Caswell is the only black member of the Ghost Scene Investigation team.
  • 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.
  • In StarCraft I, the only black fellow in the entire Colonial/UED Marine Corps drives the SCV. I get that Terrans are space hillbillies, but wow...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Amusingly, the "aggressive black Scotsman" with an absurdly broad accent is a stereotype of its own in the UK. It's lampshaded in the Demoman's intro video on the official site:
    Demoman: I'm a black Scottish cyclops! They've got more f-[extended censorship bleep] than they 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.
  • 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 four kids you can play as in A Walk in the Woods has a black boy and an Asian girl amongst the cast.
  • The Rehda in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim are culturally reminiscent of Native Americans, although their chief, Ord, talks like an Afro-American in the English dub.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert contains only one Asian character: Lily.
  • Xianne is the only East Asian character (and unambiguous racial minority) shown and named in Melody.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Grace is Ambiguously Brown and described as "very, very mixed."
    • Nanase is Japanese, though she doesn't really look the part.
    • Sensei Greg was the token black guy, but he eventually became a Brother Chuck.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alice in the Loserz strip. As she says in one strip, one of the few black kids in school.
  • Misfile:
    • The character of Kay Wheeler 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.
    • The sole black character who's particularly recurring, Eponine, only in later times started getting attention.
  • 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.
  • In Subnormality, one of the awards given at the Awards is the Token Ethnic Award.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs has The Goodfeathers (Pesto, Bobby, and Squit), who are Italian, and Flavio and Marita, who are Spanish.
  • The Avengers:
  • Everyone in Bertha is white, except for the Indian Panjid.
  • Beware the Batman looked to be doing this by using the Asian 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.
  • John Thunder, the Native American member of the Centurions. Maybe one of the best out there.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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) whom 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 disguises 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.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Superman: The Animated Series has the Asian Angela Chen, who's 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.
    • 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 (2011) wasn't black.
      • In addition, the second season of Unlimited features 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The children's television series Dragon Tales has Lorca, a dragon in a wheelchair who can't fly either. Most of the plot of the episode where Lorca is introduced, "A New Friend", depends on this.
  • Jonny from Ed, Edd n Eddy is stated to be black. Rolf may count, as he's Ambiguously Brown.
  • Family Guy:
    • Parodied with the TV newscast's (a Show Within a Show) on-site reporter, who is consistently referred to by the anchors as "Asian Reporter Trisha Takanawa".
    • One episode also introduces 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, provides an explanation: most black residents of Quahog are disguised as whites to avoid police harassment. One example is when Cleveland is in the golf course the second time with a Richard Nixon mask.
  • Enid Blyton's 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.
  • Ghostbusters:
    • The Real Ghostbusters has the movie version of the team, including the token black guy Winston Zeddmore.
    • The Extreme Ghostbusters team is 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 is the only non-minority, but he doesn't always go out with the team, instead holding a figurehead position. Their receptionist, Janine Melnitz, is Ambiguously Jewish (considering her last name).
  • Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats is the only black member of the band. Of course, she was also this in the comic book beforehand.
  • Sara Simple from The Legend of Frosty the Snowman is Ambiguously Brown.
  • Sunil Nevla from Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is a rare animal example that isn't of the Token Non-Mammal kind. He's an Indian mongoose while all the other pets in the main cast are American.
  • The Loud House has Lincoln and his family being white except for Lucy, who has pale skin resembling a lighter shade of gray; Clyde is black with gay parents; and of course, the Casagrandes as a Hispanic family with CJ having Down syndrome.
  • 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), making her a 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...
  • Plastic Man's sidekick Hula Hula in The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show is Polynesian, whilst Plastic Man and his girlfriend Penny are white.
  • The only non-white Color Kid from Rainbow Brite is Indigo. She is Indian.
  • 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.
  • 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 Simpsons episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" mentions "Token black panelist, Drederick Tatum!"
  • South Park:
    • Parodied with Tolkien 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.
    • Ruthlessly parodied in "The Big Fix", where Randy, in attempt to appeal to black customers, attempts to recuit Token's father - Steve - into his weed farming business. After succeeding, Randy proceeds to ignore all of Steve's actual input and makes it incredibly obvious that he's only using him for his race, going to far as to plaster billboards across town with Steve's face on it. Steve proceeds to angrily quit and opens up a rival company right across the street. Meanwhile, Randy's attempt to get Stan and Token to connect leads to the revelation that Token is actually called Tolkien, and that apparently everybody in South Park except for Stan and Randy knew that. Complete with the episode Breaking the Fourth Wall to accuse the audience of being racist for thinking otherwise.
    • For some reason, the Vampire kids have an Angry Black Man Twilight fan among their group in "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers", which leaves the goth kids slightly confused.
  • Station X: Of the cast, Davis is the one black person.
  • Steven Universe has the Indian Maheswarans and African-American Pizza Twins. There's also Lars (who is at least half-Filipino) and the Ambiguously Brown Human Alien Garnet.
  • The black Orange Blossom and the Ambiguously Brown Ginger Snap of Strawberry Shortcake, though later seasons introduce more characters.
  • 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 Pérez worked hard to create as a legitimate original character.
  • Teen Titans:
    • There is Cyborg, 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).
    • Outside of the main team, Herald and Bumblebee are black while Mas y Menos are Guatemalan.
  • 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.
  • Transformers:
  • The main characters in The Weekenders. Though Tino's race isn't mentioned, Word of God states that he's an Italian American who is probably Pagan. Lor is Scottish American, Carver is African American, and Tish is an Eastern-European Jew.
  • Freight Train from Where's Huddles? is token black guy on the American football team the show centers around.
  • 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.
  • Parodied in a Robot Chicken skit, which featured featured Riverdale's first Pride Parade which was just one guy on a float. Archie then notes that this went a lot better than their Black History Month parade since the only black guy was out of town that day.


Token Non-Mammal Examples:

    Films — Animation 

    Literature 

    Toys 
  • The Fabuland toy line by LEGO only had one crocodile and three birds among an otherwise all-mammal cast.
  • My Little Pony:
    • G1 had every princess with their own pet baby dragon: Spike, Prickles, Smokey, Fiery, Flash, Spiny, and Sparks. Majesty's dragon, Spike, is the most famous due to his use in adaptations such as the My Little Pony TV Specials, My Little Pony 'n Friends, and the British My Little Pony comics. Most of the dragons were scrapped in future generations, though Spike returned in G3 and G4, where he is a main character in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • Of the "Pony Friends", Cutesaurus the Dinosaur is the only non-mammal.
    • Princess Silverswirl from G2 has an unnamed pet dragon.

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

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: This unnamed crocodile/alligator. There are also anthropomorphic ducks in "Arthur's Almost Boring Day".
  • 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.
  • Donald Duck and Daisy Duck started out like this in the Classic Disney Shorts, though many family members were introduced later on in the comics.
  • Several episodes of The Get Along Gang include 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's the one reptile in a group of mammals.
  • 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.
  • While non-mammals do show up regularily in Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Vinnie Terrio is the only one in the main cast, being a lizard while all the other main pets are mammals.
  • PB&J Otter has Flick Duck, the only bird among his group of friends.
  • 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.
  • 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. However, The Book of Pooh did promote Kessie, a bluebird, to main character.


Token Minority Species Examples:

    Films — Animation 
  • Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are this in A Goofy Movie, being a mouse and a bird amongst dogs and cats.
  • 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.
  • Zootopia has this as a significant part of the plot, with Judy Hopps being the first rabbit police officer of Zootopia and having 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 to his three black-and-white and one Siamese siblings and his mother, who is a gray and white cat.

    Western Animation 
  • Violet from DuckTales (2017) is the only one of the kids who is a hummingbird instead of a duck.note 
  • Pete and P.J. are this in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie as token cats, despite being treated like Dogfaces in those worlds. Also, Waffles and Chainsaw from Goof Troop are a token non-anthropomorphic cat and dog in a world of Dogfaces.
  • Felix the frog in Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends.
  • 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.


Alternative Title(s): Token Black, Token Minorities

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