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You Are a Credit to Your Race

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"Uh... Thaaanks. Wish I could say the same."

John Stewart: It's an honor to fight beside you.
The Streak: The feeling's mutual. You're a credit to your people, son.
John Stewart: Uh... thanks.

A character makes a maybe-bigoted, maybe-innocuous remark to the Token Minority, often in the form of a backhanded compliment. The audience blinks, even if no-one on the show does. It's often a good and memorable way for an audience to discover a character's belief in races, but more importantly, it showcases the speaker as being blunt, perhaps to the point of tactless, but well-meaning. They might well be an Innocent Bigot who sincerely has no idea that their beliefs are objectively invalid. In some cases, the comment comes from an already-established bigot, generally an unabashed one... in which case, it's probably meant as a rare moment of generosity, and best to take it that way.

Like every other cultural concept, this may be internalized, with an insecure character constantly worrying about being a credit to their own race (which is where Stop Being Stereotypical tends to come in).

The reaction to this comment, both in universe and by the audience, can vary. It can certainly come with very charged implications, that the person has to earn respect for their people rather than be given basic respect as a matter of course. Due to Values Dissonance, it can also be an indication that they are actually quite enlightened compared to where they come from. And it can be a demonstration of Character Development where an out-an-out racist either changes their beliefs or becomes a little less racist.

Compare Flawless Token and Not Like Other Girls. May lead to Some of My Best Friends Are X, wince-inducing as the combination of the two usually is. Or even Boomerang Bigot, when the minority in question invokes this. Often plays a part in Condescending Compassion. Often the attitude of a Bigot with a Crush. May be stated by someone Innocently Insensitive.

Not surprisingly, given the bigoted context, this is often met with Your Approval Fills Me with Shame for a response.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon has the old SS officer Albert complement Dutch with this after Dutch and Revy kill an entire shipload of neo-nazis who had failed him. He explains that although (the African-American) Dutch is an "inferior race" and that he sincerely hopes "his kind" will one day be exterminated, he's still quite impressed that they managed to defeat the entire crew and that he'd award Dutch an Iron Cross if he was white. Dutch retorts that he wouldn't have wanted it anyway and that he sincerely hopes the old cracker "rots in hell".
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge the titular villain Cooler disregards his brother Frieza committing genocide on the Saiyan race and in general shows similar distain and racism towards them. However, unlike Frieza, who couldn’t fathom that a "filthy monkey" like Goku could be more powerful than him, when Cooler meets Goku he immediately acknowledges that he is somehow "different" from most Saiyans and even understands how Frieza was defeated by him. Cooler genuinely compliments Goku’s skill and power even after getting overwhelmed by his Super Saiyan transformation.
  • In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Etoile believes all Parsians are heathens that need to be killed off. Arslan's kindness and genuine desire to improve the Pars kingdom makes Etoile acknowledge that Pars has at least one decent person.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, Rudol Von Stroheim (a Nazi Officer) goes to a group of Mexican prisoners and makes them choose which one of them will be sacrificed to the "Pillar Man". One boy stands up to offer himself to save the rest, and Stroheim is so impressed by his bravery that he chooses to spare him and kill the rest (giving the boy exactly what he did not want, though for the record, he really felt he didn't deserve to die).
  • Tohru starts off feeling this way about Kobayashi in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, but it stops applying later on since Tohru's racism towards humans slowly fades.
  • One Piece:
    • Arlong is a fish-man with heavy prejudice towards humans, but eases his Fantastic Racism towards those who manages to help him further his goals.
      • When Arlong goes into one of his racist tirades against humans and Nami tells him she's already heard it. Arlong apologizes to her, saying he would make an exception for her since she can't help what species she is. He continuously praises her skills as a navigator and says she's the one human he values the most. Later, Arlong says to Luffy that while the rest of humanity are rats, Nami is a cat. Any rebellious behavior from her would be seen as cute.
      • Arlong also respects Captain Nezumi for their mutual Money Fetish.
    • Crocodile says this to Jimbei when he saves the Impel Down escapees by summoning whale sharks, noting that most Fishmen are just brutes (like Arlong above), a point that Jimbei doesn't deny.

  • Chris Rock once illustrated the absurdity of such statements in a routine where he tracked the progress of African-Americans based on various individuals who were frequently cited as a credit or debit to his race (Martin Luther King Jr., Beyonce, etc.), as if it were a board game. When he got to Tiger Woods, the game piece advanced several squares, only for Rock to remark, "But we can only claim about a quarter of him!" and then moved several squares backwards.
  • Lenny Bruce, in character, uses the trope name almost word for word during his satirical skit "How to Relax your Colored Friends at Parties".

    Comic Books 
  • A Black Panther story had a Caucasian police sergeant get roped into helping fight off an invasion of the African country of Wakanda, leading one character to comment that he is not completely useless — for a scrawny white man.
  • In ElfQuest, Picknose the troll at one point refers to Cutter's late father Bearclaw as "the only elf who was almost as smart as a troll". He actually means it as a backhanded compliment, but Cutter doesn't take it well.
  • In Lockjaw #1, D-Man's landlady attempts to compliment him by telling him that he's a nice gay man and not like those "scary gays" she sees on cable news.
  • Magneto usually despises mankind for the atrocities they’ve committed against other races and especially Mutants like himself, seeing them all as lesser than “Homo-superior”. One of the few exceptions to this however is Captain America, whom Magneto acknowledges is a supreme credit to humanity saying he is perhaps the most honourable man. After some Villainous BSoD over discovering that Cap didn’t harbour any Anti-Mutant sentiments at all, Mags surrendered to The Avengers being forced to accept not all humans despise Mutants like he believed. It also helps that in at least one comic Cap is the one who liberated Magneto from Auschwitz when he was a boy.
  • This point is brought up in Ms. Marvel (2014) #15:
    Nakia: It's like... being an immigrant kid... you have to be the best, 'cause if you're not, it's proof that your parents and their culture messed you up.
  • In Rom vs. Transformers: Shining Armor several Space Knights tell Stardrive how lucky she is to not be a destructive monster like other Transformers. They're being sincere and are just Innocently Insensitive; their only knowledge of Transformers comes from biased secondhand accounts, so as far as they know the species is just a bunch of mindless Killer Robots and Stardrive is only nice because the Knights took her in when she was young. This means they also don't realize how much they're hurting Stardrive's feelings.
  • From Top 10: (the black) Det. Corbeau is stuck in a gladiator tournament on a parallel world where the Roman empire never ended and most "Nubians" are slaves. The announcer introduces him and his opponent, a robotic dinosaur, as: "John 'King Peacock' Corbeau of Precinct Ten, a credit to his race, and Delta 'Technozoic' 2401 of Precinct Seven, a credit to his manufacturers."
  • In Uncanny Avengers, Nazi bastard Red Skull "compliments" Scarlet Witch by telling her she's quite beautiful... for someone of Jewish and Romani descent, that is.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Inverted in this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction by Ichi/Eldest Brother and Ni/Elder Brother (Ghidorah's middle and right heads respectively). They deride the Thunderers as "misbegotten" creatures, but they expressed extra contemmpt for Thor because he fled into hibernation, without fighting Ghidorah to the death like his brethren did.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Dr. Tsubasa is impressed that the immune system of a Quirkless kid like Izuku could weather out the spider's venom with no ill effects. Izuku is naturally hurt by the repeated mention of his Quirklessness, but Tsubasa, who told Izuku to give up on his dream of becoming a Hero ten years ago, doesn't notice or seem to care.
  • A Changed World deals with Bajoran-on-Bajoran discrimination due to their now-abolished Fantastic Caste System. Fish out of Temporal Water Colonel Shad Yima, Va'telo (pilots, spacers, and sailors), spends most of the story criticizing Starfleet Captain Kanril Eleya, Ke'lora (laborers, tradesmen, and lawmen, and lower in the hierarchy than Va'telo), for being the CO of a starship. Late in the story there's this exchange:
    Shad: I guess all Ke'lora aren't the same either. You handle your ship like a born Va'telo.
    Eleya: (narrating) From her, I guess that passes for a compliment.
  • Child of the Storm: Despite retaining his canon Fantastic Racism against Muggles, Lucius Malfoy feels this way about Nick Fury, who was his equal and opposite during the war against Voldemort. Of course, he still absolutely loathes Fury, which has a lot to do with the fact that after the war, Fury came looking for revenge. The resulting Offscreen Moment of Awesome is the reason Fury's missing an eye, and that Lucius walks with a limp, is on his second wand, and had to rebuild Malfoy Manor (Fury used napalm to make his point).
  • A Devil Amongst Worms: In her thoughts, Director Piggot has this opinion on Dragon when it comes to Parahumans as she displays consistent professionalism.
  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison plays with this through Sasuke, who sees civilians as 'innately useless' and that any shinobi from civilian families are nothing more than glorified Cannon Fodder. This includes Sakura, whom he repeatedly insults and dismisses... until he learns that she's killed other ninja in self-defense. This earns her his respect; however, he treats her as an exception, and is confused when he hears her identifying herself as civilian-born because she's "better than that."
  • Escape from the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, Spliced Genome says this to her doctor, but realizes afterward that her words might be taken as offensive. Her attempts to apologize lead to a case of Digging Yourself Deeper.
  • After finding out Keith is half Galra in The Princess and the Paladin, Allura tries to assure him that he is nothing like the rest of them. This leads to a fight between the two and their differing views: Keith believes there can be good and heroic Galra, while Allura sees all Galra (besides Keith) as Always Chaotic Evil. Allura later realizes she was in the wrong after seeing how prejudiced she was and decides to make amends.
  • In Preconceptions, a crippled vampire asks an amnesiac Xander to stake him. Xander promises to knock him out first so he won't feel it, causing said vampire tell him "for a blood bag you're all right."
  • In Resonance Days, Reibey the Incubator complains to one of his allies that humans are petty and immature and love being proven right (traits that describe himself). He then realizes that said ally is a human herself, and clumsily backtracks by calling her an "exceptional specimen". The ally in question is unimpressed, but isn't the type to hold grudges either.
  • Taylor Hebert, Medhall Intern: While he doesn't say it to Brian's face, Hookwolf considers him "one of the good ones" for being hardworking, dependable, and not trying to play the race card.
  • Just like in the canon game, in Walking in Circles, Solas praises Evelyn by saying that he can’t understand how someone as wise and compassionate as her could exist while her "kind" are nothing like that. This, of course, pisses her off and she instantly calls him out on that.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Felidae, Bluebeard believes that Humans Are Bastards, but he thinks Francis's owner is a very good cook.
  • Disney's Pocahontas has this play out when John Smith meets the titular Pocahontas, and assures her that she is not a savage, which she throws back at him with an accusatory "No, just my people."
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem: Splinter has a major hatred of humans thanks to a previous experience resulting in a mob chasing after him and his sons. While he's still initially fearful of April O'Neil finding her way down to his sewer home, once she warns him about the Turtles' imprisonment, he listens, and once they're safe and he's reprimanding his sons, calls her "the one good human" who could be killed in Superfly's plan.
  • Like many prey animals in Zootopia, rabbit Judy Hopps initially buys into the theory that predators are predominantly dangerous and might have savage, aggressive urges they are simply unable to control. When Nick gets upset at her because she was provoked into delivering a press conference that was discriminatory towards predator species, she tries to tell him that he's not like other predators. The fallout is quick and painful for her, leading to a Heel Realization on her part.
    Judy: Nick. Stop it. You're not like them.
    Nick: Oh, there's a them now...
    Judy: You know what I mean. You're not that kind of predator.
    • In an example from their first meeting that doubles as Foreshadowing towards the above, Judy calls Nick "an articulate fella" (which is much like a similar real-life backhanded compliment often delivered to minorities with the implication that they aren't normally sophisticated), to which he responds that it's rare he meets someone so non-patronizing. She misses his sarcasm.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aliens, Bishop uses a fantastical non-malicious version after Ripley disposes of the Alien Queen. For the sake of context, Ripley has made it very clear she hates and despises synthetics, especially after another unit from the same line as Bishop went bad on her previous mission.
    Bishop: Not bad for a human.
  • In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Raoul Duke describes Doctor Gonzo, his lawyer/partner in crime, as being very important to him "in spite of his racial handicap" while the man is sitting right next to him. Gonzo is tripping too many balls to care. Interestingly, right before he starts making these racist comments, he asks if the guy he's speaking to is prejudiced, implying he doesn't judge people based on race. And then immediately disproves it.
  • Spoofed in the Woody Allen flick Scoop; Allen's character says those exact words to so many people he meets it's practically his Catchphrase, never mind that all of those people are white, British aristocrats.
  • The main character of the World War II film A Soldier's Story is a black Army Captain (not to be confused with a Captain in armed anarchist groups during the Russian Revolution), which at the time was utterly unheard of, as the Army was still segregated at this point. He was sent to an base in Louisiana to investigate the murder of a black sergeant. The Colonel of the base clearly doesn't want him there, but has orders to comply and gives the captain this speech before he begins his investigation:
    Colonel: Remember, you're the first colored officer most of these men ever seen. The Army expects you to set an example for the colored troops... and be a credit to your race.
  • District 9 has an alien vs. human variation early on, when Wikus van de Merwe and the MNU camera crew are trying to evict the aliens from the titular slum. When they hand alien Christopher Johnson a clipboard with the paperwork, he asks why he's being evicted, (rightly) points out that what they're doing is illegal, they're required by law to give him 24 hours advance warning before an eviction. Wikus then turns to his colleagues to discuss their strategy.
    Wikus: [speaking about Christopher] This one's a little sharper than the others, yeah?
  • The Star Trek (2009) movie has Spock welcomed into the Vulcan Science Academy in such a manner. "It is truly remarkable, Spock, that you have achieved so much, despite your disadvantage [...] Your human mother". Spock declines the offer (reminding them that by their own metric, their perfect record of accepting the offer to join among Vulcans still stands, as he is a "half-human" instead) and then turns it back on them with a viciously subtexted "Live long and prosper" that sounds like a Precision F-Strike. Brilliantly paraphrased by someone as "Live long and prosper... and the horse you rode in on" or "Live long and suck it!" Many fans also translate it as "Live long and fuck you."
  • In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Watto describes Anakin as a credit to his species. Of course, most humans can't do what Anakin can.
    • Possibly played with. When Watto tells Qui-Gon that Anakin is "a credit to your race", Anakin is about to enter a podrace, more or less on Qui-Gon's behalf. So Watto may have meant "Anakin is a credit to the human race" or "Anakin is a credit to your efforts in today's podrace".
  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: 7 minutes in. "You are a credit to your race," said by Viktor to Lucian. Probably done deliberately to highlight his twisted father/son relationship with Lucian.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the titular character practically says this verbatim to Azeem after the battle of Sherwood Forest, adding that he fought better than twenty English knights. The context implies that it is said with no malice and pure admiration.
  • Sylvie's Love: Lacy's co-worker's wife lauds the Parkers for barely seeming (what she considers) black, as they're affluent folks with good jobs, a nice house, and "good diction".

  • Happens to black Yo-less in Johnny and the Bomb. It's to be expected in World War II-era England, though.
  • This is one of the primary ideas discussed in the superhero satire, Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark; The satire discusses this both in its subtext, and directly. Donald sees himself as "one of the smart ones" in reference to his race. He is constantly referenced as "speaking well" and lacks, for the most part, the ability to use AAVE (African-American Vernacular English). However, these things act just as detrimental to his psyche as they are in making him, to certain people, 'exceptional'.
  • In A Conspiracy of Paper, the protagonist is Jewish and one scene has him conversing with several intellectual friends, all of whom are presented as enlightened people. They are all of the opinion that Jews are basically Always Chaotic Evil and view the protagonist as one of the few exceptions.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Professor Horace Slughorn zig-zags this. He seems to honestly realize that prejudice based on blood purity is wrong, but is also surprised when Muggleborns like Lily and Hermione are so talented. He also naturally assumes that Tom Riddle is from some old, noble family, which is only half true. There is some justification for his surprise in that Muggleborns would have a harder adapting to the Wizard society and lack a great deal of common knowledge their peers have, having not know anything about magic until they're 12 or so.
    • Speaking of Tom Riddle, it is highly suggested (both in the books proper and in Rowling's comments) that he views himself as a credit to his race. To wit, Tom Riddle's genocidal hatred of Muggles stems from his own half-Muggle heritage. To compensate for this, Riddle (as Voldemort) has developed a huge sense of self. Furthermore, both the books themselves and Rowling's personal comments have also suggested that Voldemort is willing to accept half-bloods and even Muggle-borns into the Death Eaters based on certain conditions. For the former group, it could be that he looks at Death Eaters whose wizarding ancestors are particularly prominent, like himself and Severus Snape. However, it's not so much "You Are a Credit to Your Race" as it is "You are such a good follower for me that I don't care if you're not pure-blood."
    • In an inversion, the Malfoy and Black families see the Weasleys as a disgrace to wizardkind despite them being a pureblood family, calling them "blood traitors;" one member of the Black family was even disowned for marrying a Weasley.
      Draco Malfoy: Arthur Weasley loves Muggles so much he should snap his wand in half and go and join them. You'd never know the Weasleys were purebloods, the way they behave.
    • Speaking of Snape, it's possible that he viewed his friend/crush Lily Evans (Muggle-born) as this during their Hogwarts years. During this time period, Snape also hung around many Slytherins, most of whom became Death Eaters and therefore did not share his (barely) enlightened views. Of course, given how Snape is more or less intolerant of anyone who isn't Lily or Dumbledore, it's not really this trope, but rather "You are the only one I actually like." It gets deconstructed after he publicly called her a Fantastic Slur ("Mudblood") then tried to apologize using this trope. She pointedly asked what makes her different from any other Muggle-born and ended her friendship with him.
  • In the Discworld book Jingo, this comes up a few times. For example, Sgt. Colon says that a fellow who runs a Klatchian takeaway is "not bad for a raghead". This may be Pretend Prejudice, though, because Sgt. Colon eats there regularly, and while he believes absurd things about Klatchians, he doesn't actually mistreat any of them - he even seems genuinely perturbed when immediately after the above, Vimes takes him aside for a very quiet talk about racial epithets that leaves Colon shaking and puzzled, since he doesn't mind what people call him (this being a Discworld book, he immediately corrects one of his colleagues who uses his name rather than his rank). There's some Truth in Television behind this: many people in real life will hold very negative views of a particular race, yet still like and respect individual members of said race. note 
  • In Malevil, Emmanuel makes a comment concerning his foreign lover Birgitta. He "complements" her work ethic as "not being backwards" before stating Germans have no real sense of direction or motivation.
  • Done frequently in Hilari Bell's Trickster's Girl. The shapeshifter Raven has a very poor opinion of humans, but thinks well of Kelsa. Whenever he lets her know this, she's too offended by his opinion of humanity to care that she's being complimented.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The book is filled with Fantastic Racism. For example, Frodo shares his view of the Big People (Men) and Aragorn (Strider) with Gandalf:
    Frodo: For I have become very fond of Strider. Well, fond is not the right word. I mean he is dear to me; though he is strange, and grim at times. In fact, he reminds me often of you. I didn't know that any of the Big People were like that. I thought, well, that they were just big, and rather stupid: kind and stupid like Butterbur; or stupid and wicked like Bill Ferny. But then we don't know much about Men in the Shire, except perhaps the Breelanders.
    Gandalf: You don't know much even about them, if you think old Barliman is stupid...
  • In Animorphs, Andalites are very prejudiced against the disabled, or vecols, and expect them to live lives of quiet isolation so as not to bring shame to their families. In one book, the main characters discover a famous Andalite Ace Pilot who was permanently crippled in his last mission and is hiding out on Earth. Ax makes bigoted remarks about him throughout the whole book and even gripes about having to rescue him. But in the end, when they finally meet face to face, Ax promises to "remember him as he was", or to pretend the pilot died in battle instead of becoming a vecol. This is intended as and is taken as a great compliment.
  • Averted in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables. In Hawthorne's time (1851), the expression did not refer to ethnicity, but rather to family.
    "Judge Pyncheon was unquestionably an honor to his race. He had built himself a country seat within a few miles of his native town, and there spent such portions of his time as could be spared from public service in the display of every grace and virtue—as a newspaper phrased it on the eve of an election—befitting the Christian, the good citizen, the horticulturist, and the gentleman."
    "As for Matthew Maule's posterity, it was supposed now to be extinct. For a very long period after the witchcraft delusion, however, the Maules had continued to inhabit the town where their progenitor had suffered so unjust a death. To all appearances, they were a quiet, honest, well-meaning race of people, cherishing no malice against individuals or the public, for the wrong which had been done them; or if, at their own fireside, they transmitted, from father to child, any hostile recollections of the wizard's fate, and their lost patrimony, it was never acted upon, nor openly expressed."
    "Phoebe, it must be understood, was that one little off-shoot of the Pyncheon race to whom we have already referred, as a native of a rural part of New England, where the old fashions and feelings of relationship are still partially kept up."
  • The Hearts We Sold: The Daemon, along with most of his kind, doesn't think very highly of humans. (Not that he hates them or anything — he just thinks of them as interesting but inconsequential at best, and annoying wrenches in his plans at worst.) The exception to this is the heartless troop, a group of human teenagers on his payroll. After they've proven themselves multiple times over. Dee, in particular, seems to be a human that has his respect.
  • Played for Laughs in by inverting the typical usage The Hate U Give. Starr's friends from Garden Heights all claim that Chris is alright... for a white guy. Even Starr, who's dating him and loves him dearly, can't resist slipping in a few jokes. Chris, to his credit, is flustered at first, but still finds their teasing to be Actually Pretty Funny, and laughs, too.
  • In Magik Online, Concordia, an empire built around dragon superiority and conquest of lesser species, openly practices exceptionalism; three of its Ministers (the highest ranks below the Grandmaster) are non-dragons (A Bullman, a Hob, with Brina's species a mystery). Though emphasis should be placed on exceptional, you have to be particularly skilled, intelligent, and powerful if you want to break the glass ceiling.
  • Olga Dies Dreaming: Olga and Prieto's grandmother buys her home from a Mr. Olsen. Tia Lola, Olga's aunt, tells her that he loved her mother and was nice to her family, but was not fond of Puerto Ricans in general, and said things like “If only all Puerto Ricans were like your family!" whenever the kids bring in the mail.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • Mister D, aka Dionysus, does not like demigods, and is anything but friendly to those at Camp Halfblood. That sounds strange, because he was once a demigod and later made to a pure god, and he has also children with human women. However, he does seem to like his own children, and later he tells Percy that he's fine for a demigod. Of course this probably has more to do with the fact that he's being forced to watch over the Demigods at the Camp as a punishment from Zeus. He doesn't have anything against them personally, he'd just much rather be doing something else.
    • Annabeth and Percy's half-brother Tyson start like this. Tyson is a cyclops, and Annabeth and her friends have been attacked by vicious cyclops in the past. When he shows on his first mission how heroic he is, Annabeth plays this trope as she says he is not like other cyclops. In the course of the plot, they become real friends, to the point that Annabeth breaks some rules of the camp for his sake.
    • Zoe Nightshade is a special case. Like almost all Hunter of Artemis, she despises and hates men (and even boys). But after experiencing an adventure with Percy and seeing him and his actions, she makes an exception for him among the men. But this is more a variant of You are a credit to your gender.
  • The Mortal Instruments
    • Simon gets this from two different angles. Alec Lightwood dislikes vampires. Most shadowhunters do not like downworlders, but he especially hates vampires. He insults vampires several times when Simon is nearby, but always that Simon is not like the others. Then, in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Simon is no longer a vampire, but has become mundane again. And the other shadowhunters he trains with are always referring to mundanes, but then they point out that Simon is not like the other mundanes, eventually leading to Simon blowing up at them.
  • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, Speke describes her toy soldier as battling "hostile tribes", then remembers one of the girls she's talking to is Indian, and says she's sure hostile tribes are very brave, by their own lights.
  • In Mario Puzo's The Last Don, Jim Losey is an extremely racist, corrupt cop, but he makes an exception for Marlowe, a drug dealer who is also a police informant. Losey feels sympathy for him and calls him “a really charming black guy". That doesn't stop me from killing him and then blaming him for a crime.
  • Isaac Asimov's Pebble in the Sky: In chapter 20, "The Deadline That Was Reached", the colonel of the Galactic Empire is unashamedly racist against Earthmen, but as Balkis (an Earthman) manipulates him by claiming that long imprisonment is acceptable as long as the truth of treason against the Galactic Empire is uncovered, the colonel sees him as doing his duty for the Galactic Superpower and gives Balkis the greatest compliment that he can.
    The colonel said stiffly, "I admire your feelings, sir, and freely admit that were I in your place my attitude would be quite different. You are a credit to your race, sir. I will attempt contact with the Procurator."
  • When Keladry first wins the sexist Lord Wyldon's outright respect as a page in Protector of the Small, he tells her that he wishes she had been born a boy. He says it again (or starts to) after she puts up a respectable show in a joust against him (largely by successfully remaining on her horse, as he is The Ace in that particular art), but she dazedly replies that she prefers being a girl because it's "fun-er."
  • In The Stormlight Archive, lighteyed nobles rule over darkeyed commoners, and people often compliment the darkeyed Kaladin by comparing him to a lighteyes. Given his experiences with truly despicable lighteyes and the fact that most lighteyes are sanctimonious assholes about their "superior virtue", he tends to snap at whoever says it.
  • Viceroy's Pride: The biggest compliment that Dan ever gets from an elf is "we'll turn you into a breeding stud so your strong genes can create an army of humans that will actually be useful to the war effort." Said elf is confused and insulted that Dan would want anything more than that.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family: Used occasionally, and with all sincerity, by TV's best-known bigot, Archie Bunker.
    Archie: I was just saying to my family, before you come in, I said, "Sammy Davis, Jr., is maybe the greatest credit to his race."
    Sammy Davis Jr.: Well thank you very much. I'm sure you've done good for yours, too.
    Archie: I try.
  • In the Angel episode "Spin the Bottle", the principal characters botch a spell which causes their memories to revert to the age of about 15. As Angel himself was sired as a vampire in 18th century Ireland at age 26, his 15-year-old personality comes across with a rather biased worldview, typified by this exchange spoken while Wesley and Gunn are grappling each other.
    Cordelia: Aren't you going to stop them?
    Angel/Liam: It's about time the English got what was coming to them. I'm rooting for the slave.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Minbari Proud Warrior Race Guy Neroon complements the human Sinclair (who belongs to a species he had once tried to genocide, and dismisses as inferior) in this way when Sinclair makes a profound speech about his dead war leader.
      Neroon: You talk like a Minbari, Commander. Perhaps there was some small wisdom in letting your species survive.
      Sinclair: We'd like to think so.
    • In a later episode, he gives a similar speech regarding Ranger Marcus Cole, saying that, at that point, the human had been "more Minbari than I".
    • What makes the first instance Hilarious in Hindsight is that Sinclair is also Valen, the holy figure who shaped Minbari society for the thousand years since the Last Shadow War. Meaning Sinclair doesn't "talk like a Minbari"; the Minbari talk like Sinclair.
  • In Being Human (US), Suren, a vampire, attempts to compliment Josh, a werewolf, on his housekeeping, and tells him that he's "a credit to his kind." Josh's girlfriend takes this as a Jewish slur. Aidan covers by saying she meant keeps clean house for a guy.
  • Blake's 7 uses the trope as an overt insult (albeit not a racial one).
    Kasabi: But don't try and browbeat me Servalan. Or have you forgotten that I knew you as a cadet? You were a credit to your background: spoilt, idle, vicious!
  • The Boys (2019): The murderously racist Stormfront flippantly comments that Edgar is very smart, "especially for his kind" (a black Muggle).
  • Doctor Who:
    • Subverted in "The Green Death". When the Doctor meets Dr. Clifford Jones, he mentions that he read one of Dr. Jones' papers, saying that it was "brilliant for his age". However, the Doctor doesn't mean Dr. Jones' physical age, but the age in which he lives (the early 1970s).
    • The Doctor seems to go back and forth on whether he likes the human race in general, or just his companions. (At one point, he literally says "Some of my best friends are human.") In "The Lie of the Land", the Doctor laments humanity's disinclination to learn from their own mistakes:
      Bill: Why do you put up with us, then?
      Doctor: In amongst seven billion, there's someone like you. That's why I put up with the rest of them.
  • In Farscape, Jool and D'Argo have been stuck on a planet for a while after becoming separated from Moya. One of Jool's fellow Interions makes a derogatory remark about D'Argo being Luxan, and Jool tries to reassure him that Interions are just taught that Luxans are inferior. In response, D'Argo gives her an Armor-Piercing Question about what she thinks.
    Jool: (with an Oh, Crap! look on her face) I think you're an unusual Luxan.
  • In Godfather of Harlem, mob boss Joe Bonnano is virulently racist against blacks but makes an exception for gangster "Bumpty" Johnson. Part of it is pragmatism, since the two men have common enemies, but Bonnano is a traditional Sicilian mobster and respects that Johnson follows a similar criminal code. In turn, Johnson despises Bonnano but needs his help against the other New York mob families.
    Joe Bonnano: You are not lazy.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self", the bigoted Mr. Carlo, Alderman Fenwick's assistant, assumes that all Black people are unintelligent, so when Louis de Pointe du Lac exhibits a high degree of business acumen, Carlo compliments Louis' cleverness in a manner which is extremely condescending. After being constantly patronized by rich Caucasian businessmen whom he had to display deference to throughout his human lifespan, Louis — who is now a vampire — is so pissed off that he consumes Carlo's blood and kills him.
    Carlo: Oh, you really do have a mind inside that head of yours, don't you? [...] You're bright and industrious, huh? (taps Louis on the head) Now, I must say, I had my doubts, but you really have earned your 15%. You truly are an exceptional Negro.
    Louis: (in 2022 narrating to Daniel Molloy) "Exceptional Negro." "Thank you, sir." It was the call and response of my entire life. I had let them talk to me like that for so long, I stopped hearing it. "Yes, sir." "Of course, sir." Subject, verb, agreement, "sir." Smile, nod, "yes, sir." They all came from the same organ inside me, an organ unknown to science at the time. Because what scientist would look for an organ found only in Black men who use their weakness to rise? But I wasn't a man anymore. I was something else. I had powers now and decades of rage to process, and it was both random and unfortunate the man picked that night to dabble in fuckery. If not him, would have been the next man.
  • iZombie: In "Grumpy Old Liv," Liv is under the influence of the brains of a racist old man. At one point, she's being harassed by a guy at the police station, and Clive shuts the guy up. Liv says, "Thanks, Clive. You're one of the good ones."
  • Deconstructed in That Mitchell and Webb Look. Jesus delivers the parable of the Good Samaritan, which his disciples find offensive as it implies that goodness in a Samaritan is uncommon enough to be worthy of notice. From a historical perspective, this actually isn't far off — there was a major religious schism between the Samaritans and the Jews, and the point of the story is that a Samaritan, who would be expected to rejoice in bad fortune for a Jew, helped the injured man while his own religious leaders ignored him.
  • The Muppet Show has this commentary by the usual duo:
    Waldorf: He's a credit to his race.
    Statler: What race is that?
    Waldorf: Hundred yard dash! (both laugh)
  • The Rookie (2018): Doug's happy when a young Latino man accepts being stopped and his ID run for no reason aside from walking in a white neighborhood with submissive politeness, telling Jackson if "they" all acted like him, they'd have no problem. Jackson, of course, shows dismay at this. It's possibly implied Doug also thinks of his former (Black) trainee this way as well, who alerts Doug to the investigation into his conduct.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?", Apollo has this to say of the archaeology and ancient culture expert of the Enterprise crew:
      Apollo: You seem wise, for a woman.
    • Q, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien from Star Trek: The Next Generation, more or less feels this way about Picard. At every possible chance he gets Q makes fun of the inadequacies of the human race, but shows special interest in Picard whom he frequently tests to prove the worth of the human species. As Picard passes these tests Q praises Picard for his abilities and tells him that he above all other humans he has met proves the potential for greatness that humanity possesses. Beyond even that Q actually went so far as to say Picard is the closet thing he has to a friend in all the universe, above even his own race!
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • In "The House of Quark", Klingon Chancellor Gowron admiringly calls Quark "a brave Ferengi" after Quark faces down a challenger in Klingon fashion to resolve the plot.
      • In "Favor the Bold", when Damar asks Quark to taste his kanar, to show that it isn't poisoned. Of course, in true Ferengi fashion, Quark is just liquoring Damar up (again) to pump him for information (again) to serve his own agenda, and playing the part so Damar won't suspect anything.
        Quark: Poisoning customers is bad for business.
        Damar: True. But some people may place a brother's revenge above business.
        Quark: Not this Ferengi.
        [Quark makes to taste the kanar; Damar takes the glass from him]
        Damar: You're a credit to your race, Quark. Unlike your brother, you've chosen to back the winning side.
  • Jerri Blank says exactly this to her friend Orlando in an episode of Strangers with Candy, where he is frequently one of the countless racial/ethnic/sexual/religious minorities she will offend in the course of the day (or would offend, if any character in the show were capable of being offended by anything):
    Jerri: You're a credit to your race, simian.
    Orlando: You're a good friend, Jerri. *pat*
    Jerri: Don't touch me.
  • Titus:
    • Papa Titus was created as being so far beyond being un-P.C. that his comments turn right around and could almost be considered compliments.
      Ken Titus: What's the hurry? Your fifteen kids will still be waiting for you when you get home!
      Castro: Sí, señor. But I have to go feed the donkey, put on a big sombrero and go sleep underneath a tree, you racist Irish drunk.
      Ken Titus: That's my kind of Mexican!
    • Also when Titus introduced Ken to his new black friend Roger who just moved to the neighborhood, Ken politely greets him, then adds, "This is the first time I ever saw a black man move a TV into a house."
  • On WKRP in Cincinnati, Mr. Carlson almost called Venus a credit to his race, but caught himself and awkwardly changed it.

    Professional Sports 
  • This was very pointedly subverted by journalist and author Jimmy Cannon, who wrote of Joe Louis (the second black heavyweight champion in boxing, who reigned from the late 1930s to almost the end of the 1940s), that "Joe Louis is a credit to his race... the human race".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Buddy Lee Promotions used "a credit to her race" as one of their selling points when advertising Sweet Georgia Brown during the 1960s.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Parodied in an episode of The Muppet Show. Statler and Waldorf are commenting on one of the guests, and one of them comments on the performer being a credit to their race. The other asks "What race is that?" and the reply is "The hundred-yard dash." Dohohos follow.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS Alternate Earths, one of the alternate timelines is dominated by Muslims. In this world, "Muslim" is seen as a synonym for "civilized", and if a Muslim calls a Chinese or European "almost Muslim", we have this trope.
  • In Pathfinder elves are described as often assuming superior attitudes towards other races in general while being able to see the good qualities in individual members. It even mentions that they may not understand why their friend doesn't appreciate compliments about being so much better than the rest of their race.
  • The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 generally perceive all other races to be weak and puny, but while they're not capable of affection or tolerance, they do respect an enemy that can provide them with a good fight. The prime example would be Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, the single most powerful Ork warlord in the galaxy, and his appreciation of Commissar Sebastian Yarrick. Ever since the human stymied his siege of Hades Hive (and by doing so, grinding the attack of Armageddon to a halt), Ghazghkull came to regard Yarrick as "the bestest humie ever", even letting him go after capturing him, because he wanted to ensure there was a proper fight waiting for him when he returned to Armageddon.
    "All humies is weak scum dat deserved t'get stomped. 'cept for One-Eye Yarrick. He know how ter fight."
    • Note that this is entirely one-sided: Yarrick bears nothing but seething hatred towards his number one fan, wishing only to see Ghazghkull killed as quickly as possible for the billions of lives he has on his hands.

    Video Games 
  • An/Other - A Game For Social Change: Discussed. Jeff, your co-worker, goes, "You're a credit to your ... y'know...", implying the phrase.
  • Minsc in Baldur's Gate II will openly praise Mazzy Fentan for being such a good warrior despite being so short. Subverted in that Mazzy realizes that Minsc isn't racist, but just very earnest and used to saying things outright without social context. Minsc also apologizes once Boo points this trope out to him.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Brent Radford is quite possibly the most vocal anti-aug in the game, and will keep hurling insults at Jensen even if he tries to save his life. The closest thing to a compliment you can get out of him (and only if you go through the right dialog path) is when he claims Jensen has "a lot of heart...for a robot".
  • In Disco Elysium, Measurehead is a pseudo-intellectual but physically impressive bigot who has very clear ideas on who the master race is (his people, the Semenese) and who the lesser races are (all the others, arranged from "useful servants" to "filthy degenerates"). However, he's willing to acknowledge individuals who rise above their place with a begrudging respect. If the Player Character manages to defeat him in a fight and overcome their alcoholism, Measurehead will grant this brand of compliment, and his insulting "Ham Sandwich" will become an Insult of Endearment. Since Measurehead is a literal fascist, that's the best that can be hoped for.
    • Similarly, Gary the Cryptofascist will be torn between his fascistic leanings and xenophobia and his innate respect towards authority when interacting with seolite-descendant Kim Kitsuragi. Successfully intimidating him into spilling some info about the crime scene and commenting on his treatment of Kim gives him a variant of this trope by making him realize the seolites supported the king during the revolution, therefore making Kim's specific racial group a 'good one' amongst all the other bad races. Like with Measurehead, Gary being a cryptofascist means this is about as good as it gets with him.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    • Solas is an elven mage who does not particularly identify with Dalish or city elves, and has issues with the Qunari and dwarves to boot. If your Inquisitor earns his respect, he's so confused that they could exceed his expectations that he asks if their Mark has altered their morals in some way.
    "Qunari are savage creatures, their ferocity held in check only by the rigid demands of the Qun. Yet you have shown a subtlety in your actions, a wisdom that goes against everything I know of your people."
    • This can also be inverted if Solas's approval drops too low, at which point he will berate the Inquisitor for validating every negative stereotype about their kind.
    • Sera dislikes society's elite, believing that they always oppress the little guys. This includes mages, since she thinks their power puts them above others. She also dislikes fellow Elves, especially the Dalish. If an Inquisitor who is one or more of these (such as a Dalish Mage) manages to earn high approval from her, some of her comments have this tone.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • This is the Arishok's opinion of Hawke, if you earn his respect (in this case, Hawke doesn't represent humans so much as "everyone not of the Qun"). The Qunari even have a term for examples of this trope, "basalit-an", which means "outsider worthy of respect". Including both the games and tie-in comics, only four characters are shown to earn this rank: the three player characters (potentially) and Alistair.
    • While Fenris despises almost all mages, he has this opinion of Bethany or a Mage Hawke. He gains a great deal of respect for them for their ability to control their power and temptation, and believes that they have proven themselves strong enough that they do not need the supervision of the Circle.
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2: Overlaps with Underestimating Badassery but if you take Hit as your trainer while playing as an Earthling, he outlines that he sees Earthlings as utterly unremarkable and pathetic in power compared to other races. After you kick his alien ass, Hit is forced to begrudgingly reassess his opinion and compliments you as an example of supreme Earthling ingenuity and perseverance.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Athis, a Dunmer member of the Companions (a band of warriors who live by traditionally Nordic values) notes how Skjor, a senior member of the group told him that "even an elf can be born with a heart of a Nord". Athis remarks that Skjor probably meant it as a compliment, and one of the books available in the game reveals that he actually did; he was quoting a previous Companion, who was talking about the first Elven Harbinger. Back then, this was the sign of a major improvement, as Nords are well-known to be rather xenophobic, especially against elves. Skjor was comparing Athis to a previous Harbinger, so he really meant it as a major compliment, but this ended up sounding a bit racist in the recent context. For his part, Athis is more amused than anything and simply rolled with it.
  • Pretty much the elf Kerillian's schtick in The End Times: Vermintide and Vermintide II. She wastes absolutely no opportunity to mock and belittle her human and dwarven companions and brag loudly about her elven superiority, but she will often reluctantly compliment them and even has an In Vino Veritas moment where she admits she'll miss them when she inevitably outlives them. She invokes the trope directly in some of her idle banter with Kruber, who she seems to consider as close to an elf as a human can realistically get, and refers to him as 'the least annoying human I have ever met.'
  • In Fallout 2, the highest compliment that the super mutant Marcus has for his old friend Jacob is that he would have been a great mutant, had the Master succeeded in turning everyone into mutants. As Jacob was a Brotherhood Paladin who dedicated much of his life to fighting the Master, he didn't see this as a compliment. (Downplayed, though, in that Marcus doesn't hate humans in the least; he just thinks they'd have been better off as mutants.)
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • If you get the Boomers' respect, they start being impressed at how competent you are "for a savage" (i.e. a non-Boomer). Some of them even try to correct themselves from calling you "savage" and call you "outsider" instead.
    • Similarly, the Brotherhood of Steel can be quite (unintentionally) patronizing towards you as well, even if you have a high standing with them.
    • A female Courier gets the same treatment from Caesar's Legion if she decides to side with them, as they are staggeringly sexist yet have to pin all their hopes on a woman.
  • The Vasudan officer debriefing you in a mission from Freespace 2, when you're in an officer exchange program, compliments you this way. To be fair, the two races had fought a 14-year war since their first contact, which was ended (and turned into an alliance) to face the Shivans, and they've come a long way since then in a mere 32 years. Despite the lingering stereotyping, racism, etc, this case is more along the lines of a very high military award. Heck, many such awards in today's militaries are worded along the lines of "your actions reflect great honor upon your unit and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy." However, there are a few other times in the game where this happens, but they're always genuinely well-meaning compliments. This is not quite the case in the first game.
    • If you fly with Vasudan wingmen, one of their battle comments is "Impressive, for a Terran."
  • Granblue Fantasy: After Al-Khalid is defeated in "A Thousand Reasons", he explains that all he wanted was to bring glory to the Harvin race by making a fame of himself, and that he admires Harvins who hold high rankings in society (Harvins are physically small and stout like dwarves, compared to the normal Humans and Erunes and the towering and large male Draphs). Because of their physical appearance, Al-Khalid believes that the Harvin race struggles against combat more than the other races. He then mentions the "Captain of the Lumiel Knights" as one of those he admires, indirectly referring to Charlotta.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Big Bad Demise has nothing but praise for Link when he raises his sword to him, recalling that the humans when he was sealed did little more than run and cower behind their Goddess. This extends to after you beat him, when his last words are shocked compliments towards Link for fighting with such power for a mortal. His habit of complimenting you makes him come across as less evil than his minion Ghirahim, even though he himself is the God of Evil.
  • Lonely Wolf Treat: Mochi does this constantly in the first game, although she realizes how insensitive she's being after Treat sets her straight.
    Mochi: I'm glad we could become friends! Even though you're a wolf, you've been so nice to me all day!
    Treat: Could you... stop saying that?
    Mochi: Huh? Saying what?
    Treat: ...When you say "even though you're a wolf", and try to compliment me... doesn't that assume wolves are supposed to be bad?
  • Mass Effect:
    • Garrus can tell Wrex that he's been raised to see the krogan as savage thugs, but Wrex has surprised him. "You are different." Wrex is about as impressed as Spock, and suggests Garrus go back to the ship, lest staying in the real world force him to actually learn something.
    • A similar conversation plays out between Kaidan and Wrex, where he comments that Wrex isn't anything like what he expected from a krogan. Wrex sarcastically replies "Sure, because humans have a wide variety of cultures and traditions, but all krogan think and act exactly alike." Kaidan apologizes, and Wrex accepts (in his own way).
    • Wrex is overall an odd case. By his own admission nearly all krogan are blood knights and have been reduced to little more than petty thugs and mercenaries. While he himself can come off this way, it's just a jaded façade put up because that's what's expected of krogan, and he shows deep regret at his inability to help his people because of the fundamental aspects of their species. He does enjoy fighting an awful lot, though, and tends to troll people a lot (especially Kaidan) through his deadpan sarcasm.
  • Pillars of Eternity: During one bit of Party Banter, Eder’s xenophobic small-town heritage shines through when he slips up and calls Hiravias "one of the good orlans". Hiravias lets it slide because he knows Eder didn’t mean anything by it, though not before some snarky comments.
  • Marcus Fox from Pirate101 is a "credit to his class" who managed to work his way up to the position of Head Programmer in the Engineering Corps, despite being a lowly fox. Subverted when it turns out he's a Radical who only joined the Engineering Corps to sabotage the war effort.
  • RWBY: Amity Arena stays true to its source material in this regard with the Amity Arena card descriptions, which are written from an in-universe perspective. Marrow Amin's card states that, despite being a Faunus, he is better than the "riff raff" by virtue of being loyal to Atlas.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Imperial Agent can be played to be quite a bigot towards aliens and can quote the trope name verbatim when prompted. Kaliyo (and most of your crew for that matter) disapprove of this bigotry. On the flipside, if the Agent is an alien, they'll be on the receiving end of this, in particular from their handler, Watcher Two, who at one point praises them for their "alien mind".
    • An alien Bounty Hunter will also get a lot of this from Imperials, with even less respect. After all, they are merely a mercenary on Imperial payroll. The Sith classes downplay it (in the case of the Inquisitor, who starts as a slave) or avert it (with the Warrior, who comes from a respected Sith family), as the Sith are not just the ruling class and untouchable by law, but it's less about ethnicity and more "can you stab the other guy faster than he stabs you?"
  • In the unofficial expansion mod, Stardew Valley Expanded, when Lance meets Krobus (a friendly shadow person), he says to him that he's a special shadow person, smarter and friendlier than the ones he's met. Considering that the other shadow people in the game are hostile monster enemies (at least until Krobus' 10 heart event).
  • Stellaris:
    • Xenophobic empires will greet you this way if you manage to get on their good side.
    • Amicable machine empires with the default personality will compliment you by noting you have "very little in common" with their former masters.
  • System Shock 2 Has an extremely malicious example: for most of the game the player has to work for SHODAN. Not only does she insult him constantly, whenever he actually succeeds at something, she "compliments" him by saying "You are an impressive example, of a pathetic species."
  • In the famous Warcraft III custom map Defense of the Ancients, Kardel Sharpeye the Dwarven Sniper is said to be "a testament to his name and race".
    • Possibly inverted in a quote from Muradin Bronzebeard from the same game, who could be referring either to his Alliance commander or the player himself: "You're kinda slow for a human, aren't ya?"
  • Inverted by the Ma-non in Xenoblade Chronicles X. Even after a xenophobe attempted to round up and exterminate a large crowd of them under the guise of an inter-species relations seminar, the would-be victims quite amicably tell Rook that they know every race has its bad examples and they aren't going to tar all humanity with the same brush due to one extremist.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney: After spending three straight cases disparaging Japan and Ryunosuke's capabilities as a lawyer, Barok Van Zieks admits at the end of the fifth case that Ryunosuke has pretty good skill and instincts, "despite being a Nipponese".
    Van Zieks: You have a curious talent for judging character, especially considering our very different cultures.
    Ryunosuke: ... I don't think there's anything curious about it. Whether we're from the Empire of Great Britain...or the Empire of Japan...we're all human beings. We're not so very different on the inside.

    Web Animation 

  • Housepets!:
    • This strip has this. Satau, a primitive dog, is questioned on how he can be so distrusting and prejudiced towards cats while still trying to rescue Grape, a cat, from danger. Satau responds that she "clearly has the spirit of a dog" and thus doesn't count. Tarot isn't impressed by his logic.
    • In another strip Jata, the leopard prince of an animal-ruled micronation directly refers to a human as "a credit to your species".
  • This Manly Guys Doing Manly Things strip, which illustrates gaining Solas' respect as a Qunari. The Inquisitor's response is (sadly) not available to the Player Character.

    Western Animation 
  • Downplayed but in Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Cavin (and to some extent, Calla) is given the trust of many Gummis but outside of the Glen Gummis, none of them really seem to change their opinion of humans in general even as they come to trust Cavin with their lives.
  • In the second episode of Beast Wars, after Dinobot saves Optimus' life during a duel so he can brutally defeat him fair and square rather than a dishonorable easy "victory", the two of them have clearly come to like each other and compliment each other in this way.
    Optimus: For a Predacon, Dinobot, you've got qualities I could like!
    Dinobot: And you have proved to be a worthy adversary. I will have you recycled with full honors!
  • In The Boondocks, racist country singer Jimmy Rebel starts to develop this attitude towards Uncle Ruckus, but since Ruckus himself hates black people, he becomes upset that Jimmy is not being racist enough towards him.
  • Castlevania (2017):
    • Dracula comments when he first meets Lisa that she's unlike any human he's ever met before. After falling in love with her and after her subsequent murder drives him over the edge, Dracula at one point rants that Lisa was the only thing that made humans' continued existence upon the world justifiable.
    • Godbrand like many other vampires such as Carmilla sees humans as just mere cattle to torment and drink at his his pleasure. However in a flashback when a knight attempts a Last Stand against him Godbrand bellows “BRAVE LIVESTOCK!” before cutting him down.
  • In The Dragon Prince, nobody trusts elves and openly attacks them, given the chance, because of the ongoing war and past grievances between the elven and human kingdoms. This trope frequently occurs when characters try to defuse a violent encounter.
    Soren: She's an elf!
    Callum: But a good elf!
    Rayla: What do you mean, [in a mockingly deeper voice] "buh, uh good elf"?!
  • In an episode of Extreme Ghostbusters, Garrett reunites with an old childhood friend who turns out to be the member of a racist gang that attacked a Jewish temple. Roland senses this from the beginning, but no one believes him, thinking he's being too sensitive. At the end of the episode, after the Ghostbusters captured the Monster of the Week, one of the gang members tells Roland: "I guess there's some use for 'you' people after all." Roland responds by almost punching him, but decides the racist isn't worth it.
  • In Fritz the Cat, a group of students shower a crow with these kinds of compliments to show how "progressive" they are. The crow is less than impressed.
    Crow: Who do I look like? Geraldine?
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "Mars University", Guenter the chimpanzee sarcastically replies to Fry's question of "My roommate's a monkey?" with "Brilliant deduction. You are a credit to your species."
    • A humorous inversion from Futurama, when Fry believes he's a robot and saves everyone.
    Bender: You're a credit to my race!
  • On Gargoyles Elisa gets some version of this from Brooklyn, the Guatemala gargoyles, and Taurus.
  • Hey Arnold!, "Phoebe Cheats": It is suggested to Principal Wartz that he honor Phoebe, one of the few Asian characters in the show, since she just won a poetry contest.
    Principal Wartz: We're proud of our multicultural students here at P.S. 118. Where do you come from, Phoebe?
    Phoebe: Kentucky, sir.
    [in a bizarre response, he fails to realize Kentucky is a state, and pronounces it in an exaggerated "Asian" manner]
    Principal Wartz: Well, Phoebe, let's make Ken-Tu-Kay proud on Thursday with a prize-winning poem.
  • Justice League has The Streak, a World War II superhero who is an Expy of the Golden Age Flash... and his attitude would probably be progressive for the era, as he's being completely sincere; John (who is black) is polite enough to take the condescending "compliment" in the spirit it was intended, although he does sound a mite frustrated at the same time.
  • The Legend of Korra has the aye-aye spirit, which people do not like, and regularly pulls over them. When he meets Wan, they make friends. Later, the aye-aye spirit makes an exception for Wan, but still does not like the other humans.
  • In the Love, Death & Robots short "Good Hunting", Liang demonstrates his knowledge of a steam engine, which prompts the comment "You're very clever for a Chinaman" from the Englishman watching him work.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragon Quest" treats Spike in this regard.
    Rarity: He doesn't have to look like other dragons!
    Twilight: Or act like them.
    Spike: I don't... act like other dragons?
    Pinkie: Oh, not even close!
    Applejack: But, why would you want to, Spike?
  • An early episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show has Ren tell Stimpy that he's "one of the good ones" after Stimpy lets him keep the more desirable piece of garbage that they're rummaging through for food. Since the duo are respectively a dog and a cat, it comes off as less of a Backhanded Compliment than usual.
  • In Steven Universe, after tying in the "Robolympics" and beating Pearl in a giant robot fight in "Back to the Barn", Peridot compliments Pearl on being such a knowledgeable technician... in terms of how remarkable such a thing is for a Pearl anyway.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Shown when Noble Bigot guest hero Val-Yor turns out to be offensively racist towards Starfire's Tamaranian species. As expected, Starfire eventually saves his life, and Val-Yor learns his aesop... that Starfire is obviously one of the "good ones". Deconstructed as neither Starfire nor her friends are impressed, and Val-Yor takes this as a reason to disregard everything he had learned during the episode.
  • In The Venture Brothers, original Team Venture member Col. Horace Gentleman, a decidedly "old-school" Adventurer Archaeologist, introduces the Venture brothers to teammate Kano, an Asian, and tells them "Despite his racial handicap, Kano here is a crackerjack pilot." Which itself is a reference to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Alternative Title(s): Model Minority