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Playing With / Discriminate and Switch

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Basic Trope: A character is thought to be discriminating against someone for something — but it turns out they were discriminating for another reason.

  • Straight: Alice brings home her black friend Bob, who's employed as a lawyer. Her father, Frank, is rude to him, but his rudeness turns out to be because he hates lawyers.
  • Exaggerated: Alice brings home her black, gay, fat, bald friend Bob — who's employed as a lawyer. Her dad's dislike of him stems from being a lawyer.
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  • Downplayed: Alice brings over Bob, a black guy who wears baggy clothes. Frank dislikes Bob because he wears baggy clothes, but not out of racism.
  • Justified: Alice's dad isn't racist (indeed, he may be the first person to call out racist acts and words), but he does hate lawyers.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice brings a black lawyer home. Her dad is extremely nice to him — it's at first thought to be sucking up to him because he's a lawyer, but he's actually being kind due to a sort of political correctness.
    • Alice brings Bob, a black lawyer, home. Her dad is rude to him and she ascribes it at first to his established mistrust of lawyers, but then she realizes it's worse than normal and he is being racist.
  • Subverted:
    Frank: Alice, I don't want you to be friends with that ni—
    Alice: Dad!
  • Double Subverted:
    Frank: What? I was going to say "niggling lawyer!"
    Alice: Oh.
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  • Zig-Zagged:
    Frank: But I still don't approve of you hanging around a Black kid.
    Alice: Oh, come on, Dad...
  • Parodied:
    • Alice comes home with Bob, who is an Ten-fer Token Minority in her town: a black, gay, Bahá'í, colour-blind, bald, autistic, left-handed, wheelchair-bound lawyer with a Speech Impediment. Frank couldn't care less about any other way in which Bob is different from him, but harasses him because he is a lawyer.
    • Bob is a Starfish Alien and a lawyer. Frank is unfazed by the former fact but driven into a rage by the latter one.
  • Averted:
    • Bob isn't treated any differently.
    • Alice's father openly hates Bob for being Black.
  • Enforced: A shock factor to get people's attention on Alice's father's 'bigotry.'
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  • Lampshaded: "Thanks for not ruining my internal image of you, Dad. You should probably lighten up about lawyers, though."
  • Invoked: Frank has developed no hatred of black people as such because he grew up around decent working- and middle-class black people, but he has met overwhelmingly Amoral Attorneys in his interactions with the legal community.
  • Exploited: Other characters who do hate black people as such, but are discreet enough not to make it obvious, learn of Frank's attitude and bother Bob, hiding behind the fig leaf of 'their' mistrust of lawyers.
  • Defied: Frank makes himself show no signs of disliking Bob for any reason not connected to his own personal character.
  • Discussed:
    Bob: Alice, I'm worried your dad will disapprove of me. I'm less sure if it will be because I'm a lawyer or I'm black.
    Alice: Believe it or not, Bob, it's probably going to be because of your job.
  • Conversed: "You know, in real life, bigotry usually is based on ethnicity or race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, not profession."
  • Implied: Alice takes Bob to meet Frank. Frank is unfazed that Bob is black, but rolls his eyes when Alice explains that he's a lawyer.
  • Deconstructed: Frank is so easily Mistaken for Racist that he's made a pariah.
  • Reconstructed: He gets to explain himself in a fair setting and, as an ancillary benefit, Bob and his peers drop the acts that made people like Frank hate them.
  • Played for Laughs: Frank insults Bob in ways that are seen in-story as narmy or as Insult Backfires.
  • Played for Drama: Alice and Bob are in love, but Frank's disapproval of lawyers puts as much strain on their relationship as his hypothetical racism would have done.
  • Played for Horror: Frank is ready to murder Bob solely because he's a lawyer — by which point the motive is a secondary concern at most to the potential crime.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: It's meant to make viewers who think they oppose discrimination reconsider how committed they are to that thought and feeling.

Go back to Discriminate and Switch — your kind isn't welcome in my house! That's right, you heard me! No Tropers allowed!
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