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Playing With / Scary Black Man

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Basic Trope: A tall, usually heavy-set or very muscular dark-skinned male character is perceived as particularly threatening or badass.

  • Straight: Tyson is a unusually tall, quiet black guy with a forbidding attitude who scares anyone who doesn't know him.
  • Exaggerated: Whenever Tyson shows up, everyone screams and yells in utter terror and dive for cover.
  • Downplayed: Tyson is just an average black guy, but when he gets angry, people start quaking in fear.
  • Justified:
    • Tyson is a bodyguard. His job requires him to behave in a dissuasive manner.
    • Alternately, everyone is scary and Tyson just happens to be black.
    • Tyson is an actor who enjoys playing villains in horror movies, so he goes out of his way to be this when he's performing. In real life, he's actually very pleasant.
  • Gender Inverted: Tasha is a Scary Black Woman.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Tyson looks scary, but this impression goes away when he smiles and it turns out that he's a Gentle Giant.
    • Alternately, Tyson is a bullying Miles Gloriosus who takes advantage of this trope to push people around. When Tyson pushes the skinny white nerd Melvin too far, Melvin fights back and Tyson proves to be a Dirty Coward against anyone who actually stands up to him.
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    • Tyson is a good father, a drill sergeant, a Stern Teacher, or otherwise responsible for a group of younger people. He deliberately invokes this whenever he needs to keep his charges on the straight and narrow. Otherwise, he's quite affable and only becomes really scary when somebody else threatens them and Tyson goes into Papa Wolf mode.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied: Tyson is a Crazy Awesome Boisterous Bruiser who casually dual-wields rocket launchers, kicks down walls, and literally eats his cigars.
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  • Zig Zagged: Tyson can appear threatening when he wants to be, using this image to scare people into getting what he wants for his group's goal.
  • Averted:
    • Black men in the show may appear imposing, but nobody notices or cares.
    • Tyson is a muscular man but is never presented as threatening - he is what he is, but scary he is not.
  • Enforced: "We need a character that screams badass just by his appearance. No one does the trick better than a tall, muscular black guy."
  • Lampshaded: "Tyson, don't look at me like that, you're freaking me out!"
  • Invoked: Tyson deliberately puts on a Scary Black Man image to achieve what he wants.
  • Exploited:
    Tyson: "Now, you have two options: give us the information now... *Death Glare* ...or regret it about ten seconds later."
    Stupid Crooks: "Okay, okay, just don't hurt us!"
  • Defied:
    Tyson:"Stop looking at me as if I were about to kill someone! I'm just here to buy some snacks, okay?"
  • Discussed: "Tyson really is good at scaring people into doing what he wants, huh?" "Yeah, but don't be too afraid of him, rookie - once you get to know him, he's a pretty cool guy."
  • Conversed: "Look, another member of the magnificent TV-show-dwelling species, Scarius Blackmanicus. Are they really that popular?" "If you just look at Samuel L. Jackson's success, yes they are."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Tyson relies so much on his appearance to get what he wants that he actually becomes a selfish jerk, ending up lonely and embittered as a result.
    • Tyson knows what people think of him due to his appearance and becomes so annoyed by it that he goes off the deep end whenever someone makes a remark about his appearance.
    • Reactions to Tyson are due to a subtle and well masked racism that few are ever willing to admit they have - which holds Tyson back due to something they could work against if they admitted it.
    • People start to think Tyson is mean and aggressive based on his appearance, when he's really jut a normal guy.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Tyson eventually realizes that acting like a brute when you already look like one isn't exactly the best course of action to get people to respect you. He then resorts to developing a more reasonable side.
    • Tyson is a Nice Guy in day to day life but he's perfectly happy to use his scariness against bad guys.
  • Played For Laughs: Tyson is quite friendly, gentle and is regularly licked by the evil detecting dog, whom he calls Fido. Everybody is still scared of him, even when the worst he'll do will be to look down on you and offer a frown, and children feel safe talking to him, even regarding him as a father figure.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Everyone is afraid of Tyson and distrust him just because he looks threatening, even though he's really a sweet Gentle Giant.
    • Tyson gets shunned and scapegoated not because he's a big guy, but because he's black and surrounded by racist bigots who believe that he fits the stereotype of black guys being bad people.

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