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Race Lift / Changing the Majority

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  • Health Hotline: There's another version of the commercial where Ellie and her grandma are African-Americans. They have the same voices, so they aren't really different characters.
  • In or around 2020, State Farm began airing a new version of its famous "Jake from State Farm" campaign in which a guy calls his insurance agent at 3 A.M. in the morning, only to be confronted by his angry wife who refuses to believe that he would really be discussing insurance on the phone at 3 A.M. and must be talking with a woman. The twist in the new version is that "Jake" is now African-American. Following this, the new Jake continued to appear in other ads.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Marvel Anime: X-Men reimagines Dr. Moira Mactaggert as Dr. Yui Sasaki, with her country of origin changed from Scotland to Japan. Her physical appearance, backstory, characterization and relationship with Professor Xavier all remain intact however. Her formerly-white son Kevin is also changed to a Japanese boy named Takeo. Part of it is that fans would not want Moira to turn out to have done what we find out Sasaki did.
  • Ganota no Onna is a bizarre comedy that takes the cast of Mobile Suit Gundam and re-imagines them as part of a Japanese corporate struggle in the present day. The heroine, Utsuki Ganota, is a race-swapped and Gender Flipped version of Char Aznable, the White antagonist of the original series. Other characters who are both race-swapped and gender-flipped are Sayla Mass ("Seiya Ganota") and Bright Noa ("Noa Furuido").
  • Bubblegum Crisis: Hard Metal Guardians, the 2012 High School A.U. Light Novel adaptation of the anime originally released in 1987, gives all of the main characters Japanese surnames and black hair: Sylia Stingray becomes Sylia Sakakibara (probably a Shout-Out to her original voice actress), Nene Romanova becomes Nene Rokuhara, and Leon McNichol is now Nene's big brother Leon Rokuhara.
  • In an inversion of what is usually the case with anime-based movies, the primarily Germanic cast of Attack on Titan are played by Japanese actors in the Japanese live-action movie, creating a plot hole since the character Mikasa is explicitly stated to be the last known person of Asian descent alive. Fortunately, though, the movie successfully fixes this hole by moving the setting to Japan. This still leaves a major plot hole in which five characters (Eren, Armin, Jean, Sasha, and Hange/Hans) still have German names.
  • The Shoujo manga Bronze Angel, which is based loosely on Pushkin's life. There the famous poet, who was at most a little more tan than other Russians, is depicted as deeply brown-skinned. Could be some kind of Japanese color symbolism, though.
  • Spider-Man: The Manga changed Peter Parker into a Japanese boy named Yu Komori.
  • Kenichi Sonoda's manga/OVA Riding Bean gave the titular character a sidekick named Irene "Rally" Vincent (a Caucasian woman). The title was intended to be a pilot for a longer-running series, but when that fell through, Sonoda retooled the concepts and characters into Gunsmith Cats, where Rally becomes the main character and is re-imagined as half Indian.
  • The Powerpuff Girls takes place in America while its Magical Girl anime version Powerpuff Girls Z takes place in Japan. The characters are all Japanese in the latter when in the original they were mostly white.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Rose has dark skin and brown hair, whereas in the manga and Truer to the Text anime Brotherhood she had light skin and black hair. This was due to her hometown of Liore changing from a mountain town to a desert town. Thus, many residents in the 2003 anime received darker skin tones.

    Comic Books 
  • There is a trio of obscure female Batman villains from back in the 1960's named Tiger Moth, Silken Spider, and Dragon Fly. In their first (and for several decades, ONLY) appearance, all three women were white. When they finally reappeared 40 years later during the 2008 Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul storyline, Silken Spider was now shown to be black, while Dragon Fly was Asian American.
  • The all-ages Thor: The Mighty Avenger series portrayed the Norse God Heimdall as a black man in order to correspond with the popular live-action film Thor film, which had Afro-British actor Idris Elba cast as the character in question.
  • A retcon change more than anything, but Lian Harper originally had curly, red hair and looked more like her dad. She was later changed to having straight black hair and looking more Asian, which seems more accurate considering her mom is the half-Asian villainess Cheshire. Young Justice mixed the two designs, as Lian in the cartoon has red hair but otherwise looks like her revised design.
  • Done In-Universe in Angel (IDW). There was a Hollywood movie (Very Loosely Based on a True Story) about The Fall, which had the timid Caucasian Fred portrayed by a hardened African American.
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic strips featuring the Eighth Doctor included a black incarnation of the TV show's most famous recurring villain, the Master, who at the time had been white in his previous TV incarnations.
  • The Doctor Who (Titan) Eleventh Doctor Year Two comics featured a previously-unseen East-Asian looking and physically pre-pubescent incarnation of the Master.
  • Green Lantern Kyle Rayner was established for a long time in his origin as being the son of a single mother and of Irish descent. Eventually, one story had him finally track down his dad and discover he was half-Hispanic. The retcon was never referenced all that much by later writers and the way of drawing Kyle was never changed too much. It was eventually forgotten about in the New 52 continuity, and Kyle's dad was made into a white guy.
  • Supergirl enemy Belinda Zee was a white girl when she made her first appearance in Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. She was introduced to mainstream continuity in Supergirl (Rebirth), changed into a black girl.
  • The Multiversity
    • The Earth-7 version of the Thunderer is Aboriginal. Which actually makes sense, since Wandjina (DC's original Captain Ersatz of The Mighty Thor, which the character is based on) was named after an Aboriginal spirit. Or it would if he was still called Wandjina, anyway. (Earth-8's Wundajin, meanwhile, is still white.)
    • The Justice League of Earth-23 consists of black versions of the mainstream DCU heroes.
    • In Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1, Doc Fate, the Doctor Fate of Earth-20, is a black gunslinger.
  • In-Verse example: In Camelot 3000, Sir Gawain's reincarnation is African, and Sir Galahad's is Japanese. Both were Britons in their previous lives.
  • Raven is Caucasian in the main continuity, but is portrayed as a Native American in Teen Titans: Earth One.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • Jetta from Jem is a black British woman in the IDW comics. The creator of Jem wanted a black member of The Misfits however Executive Meddling occured due to fears of having a black character being a villain, so Jetta was a white British woman in the cartoon (and there later was a black oneshot villain). The comics combined the two ideas. Word of God has also specified that Jetta is half-Japanese and half-black.
    • Word of God is that several white characters from the cartoons have been given race lifts. Minx is South Asian, Riot is half-Asian, Stormer and Craig are half-Israeli, etc.
  • In DC's 2016 reboot of the Bloodlines characters, Gunfire and Sparx (white in the previous continuity) are now black. Most of the characters were tweaked in some way — Loose Cannon and Anima were significantly de-aged, for instance.
  • It was assumed the first Robin, Dick Grayson, was white until a story in the 2000s revealed that he was of Romani heritage.
  • After Infinite Crisis Batwoman was retconned as a Jewish woman.
  • Garth Ennis's none-too-serious and questionably-canonical DC miniseries All Star Section Eight featured a rapping Soul Brotha African-American version of The Phantom Stranger.
  • In the Harley Quinn OGN Breaking Glass - which is basically a Harley-centred High School A.U., with the mainline DC characters who appear getting appropriate Age Lifts to fit the setting - Poison Ivy's counterpart, Ivy, is black.
  • Wonder Woman:
  • In The Wild Storm, several previously white characters were redesigned
    • The Authority:
      • Blonde, blue-eyed Jenny Sparks became Asian
      • Midnighter became black
      • Apollo went from a pale blonde guy to an Ambiguously Brown, black-haired man, who is likely of Greek descent.
    • Wild CATS, borderline example as they are both aliens:
  • The Ranzz twins Garth and Ayla (aka Lightning Lad and Light Lass of the Legion of Super-Heroes) who in prior continuities are usually depicted as white are now black in Legion of Super-Heroes (2020).
  • Green Lantern Alan Scott's friend Jimmy Henton was a light-skinned man with black hair in his frist appearance (Earth-Two), a white guy with brown hair when revisited in 1987, and African American in the Post-Crisis continuity as depicted in JSA Classified. His DC Rebirth iteration is back to being a brown haired white dude.

    Fan Works 
  • Bruce Wayne in the fanfic Batman Revisited, going from white in the source material to 1/4 Lenape, 1/4 Black American, and 1/2 English here.
  • This is the entire point of the Racebending Revenge Ficathon.
  • Edward and Alphonse Elric are Amestrian in canon, but are half-Ishvalan in Son of the Desert
  • Hardboiled Detective Slam Bradley is changed from white to African-American in Batman: Melody for a Mockingbird. His first name was also changed from "Samuel" to "Samson" because the authors thought the latter would suit a black man better.
  • Our Own League novels:
    • Raven's mother, Angela, White in most DC works, is a former citizen of the Philippines, and implied to be East Asian by her surname, "Ryu," so this Raven might have Mixed Ancestry.
    • Miss Martian's "Megan Morse" disguise is changed from a red-haired white girl to a black girl. This is probably to better pass as the niece of Martian Manhunter's "John Jones" identity, who is a black man.
  • Gold Eyes To Red is an Alternate Universe Fic of Fullmetal Alchemist where Al is half-Amestrian and half-Ishvalan instead of half-Amestrian and half-Xerxesian.
  • In The Super Starr Chronicles, Lila Cheney (who is white in the comics) is British-Indian. Appropriately enough, her full name here is Delilah Chopra-Cheney.

    Film - Animated 
  • The Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame changed Esmeralda from a white woman raised by Romani to a full-blooded Romani woman with green eyes.
  • The animated film The Prince of Egypt depicted the Israelites of the Exodus as being much darker-skinned than typical Real Life Jews. Here, for example, is Yocheved as depicted in the film, and here is Ofra Haza, the Yemenite-Israeli Jewish actress who did her voicenote . Granted, there are Jews of just about every race, including plenty who are darker-skinned than the Israelites in The Prince of Egypt, and the ancient Israelites probably would have had skin on the darker side of the spectrum, but the average modern Jew is nowhere near as dark-skinned as the Jews depicted in the film.
    • The ancient Egyptian's by comparison are much lighter skinned than their real world counterparts would be. As they had extensive dealings with the neighboring Nubian nation. As such they should be much more dark-skinned than even the Hebrews.
  • Wonder Woman: Bloodlines: The originally redhead white gal Etta Candy is African American here, though this change had already been made in the comics.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The white Frenchmen Jean Passepartout from the novel Around the World in 80 Days is replaced with a Chinese Man Lau Xing (portrayed by Jackie Chan) in the 2004 film adaption who merely takes on the name Passepartout to disguise himself.
  • 1947 film The Bishop's Wife, starring white actors Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young, was given a race lift 49 years later as The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington, Courtney B. Vance, and Whitney Houston filling those roles.
  • The 2014 remake of About Last Night... changes the four leads to African-Americans, including Kevin Hart.
  • The 2002 film adaption of Carrie has Sue Snell portrayed by an African American actress.
  • The 1998 film adaptation of Dr. Dolittle cast Eddie Murphy in the originally white title role. The movie didn't have anything to do with the books anyway, save for featuring a doctor named Dolittle who talks to animals.
  • Will Smith's appealing personality (and ability to record hit songs) has led to a career of being inserted into Race Lifts, such as Men in Black (Agent J was white in the comics upon which the movie is based, and either David Schwimmer or Chris O'Donnell was the original choice to play Will's character); Wild Wild West, in which he plays Jim West, an army captain (though no version of The Wild Wild West cared about that kind of thing); I Am Legend, in which Robert Neville was white in Richard Matheson's original story; and Suicide Squad (2016), in which Deadshot in the comics and other adaptations was white.
  • Guess Who is a remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner that swaps the races of the two protagonists around. In the original it was a black man and white woman. Now it's a white man and black woman.
  • The Honeymooners is a film adaptation of a sitcom with mostly white characters. The entire cast become African-Americans.
  • Ford Prefect in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie was played by Mos Def. Most of the other major characters were played by Americans, which was rather jarring to many who'd expected British actors as in the radio and TV versions, but most of the other characters were aliens anyway, and Word of God stated that Arthur Dent is the only necessarily British character in the story. (Also, Trillian - the only other major Earth character - was played by a British actress on radio but by an American in the TV version.)
  • In the original Death Race 2000, Machine Gun Joe is an Italian-American mobster played by a pre-stardom Sylvester Stallone. In the remake, he's a Black Gang Banger played by Tyrese Gibson.
  • Eddie Murphy also starred in the remake of The Nutty Professor (1996), which also changed the premise from being Applied Phlebotinum making a nerd cool into making an extremely fat nerd thin (and cool).
  • Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films:
  • The novel The Pelican Brief had the character of Gray Grantham as (a) white, and (b) eventually getting involved with Darby Shaw. In the movie, Gray was played by Denzel Washington, and he doesn't get involved with Julia Roberts. Julia, in an interview, said she was on board with making out with Denzel at any time, and it was a case of Executive Meddling.
  • The long rumored, much troubled Dallas movie reboot was going to see Jennifer Lopez play Sue Ellen Ewing, but she ended up quitting the production (currently Julie Benz is the leading candidate for the part).
  • The part of Lincoln Rhyme was played by Denzel Washington in the film version of The Bone Collector, despite the fact that in the books Rhyme being white is mentioned several times.
  • In the Stephen King short novel 1408, Gerald Olin is a white middle aged British man. In the film adaptation, he is played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is not.
  • Kane And Lynch movie starred Jamie Foxx as the latter, who was a white guy in the games.
  • Jamie Foxx played the formerly white villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
  • Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, the film adaptation of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, cast an Indian girl as Ellen (described as blonde in the books). This is probably because the character was originally a Composite Character that did not appear in the books, but re-dubbed as Ellen after protests from fans.
  • The James Bond films employed this trope a few times:
    • In Live and Let Die, the filmmakers wanted to cast a black actress as Miss Solitaire despite her being white in the books, since all the villains were black and it made little sense that the main romantic lead just so happened to be the only white person in the Big Bad's employ. Unfortunately, racial tensions at the time made this impossible, and we wouldn't get a black lead Bond Girl until 2002's Die Another Day.
    • Bond's CIA contact Felix Leiter is white in the novels and original film series. However, he's portrayed as African-American in the Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again, and is also black as of the reboot, where he's played by Jeffrey Wright in Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace.
    • Moneypenny is black in the new series as well, where she's played by Naomi Harris. This is presented as a plot twist; she's introduced in Skyfall as an MI6 agent known only as Eve and doesn't appear in the trailers for the film despite her prominent role. It's only at the end of the movie, where she retires from active duty to become the new M's secretary, that she reveals her last name is Moneypenny.
  • In the comic book movie version of Daredevil, the normally white mobster, Kingpin/Wilson Fisk is played by African-American actor Michael Clarke Duncan, since the studio couldn't find anyone who was white, of sufficient size, and could actually act. This change was generally well received. He was still big, scary and intimidating like in the comics, and Duncan even gained weight in order to better look the part.
  • Velma Dinkley is portrayed by a Japanese actress in the live-action television films Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.
  • Thor:
    • Idris Elba plays the Asgardian Heimdall, who is white in the comics. Because the Asgardians are based on the Norse gods, and because some people believe they should, for whatever reason, all look like Norse people, this casting caused a bit of a kerfuffle. That the mythology explicitly refers to Heimdall as "the whitest of the gods" didn't help. Ultimately, the movie is based on the comics, which started as an In Name Only interpretation of myth, so racial casting is just the tip of the iceberg.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell was played by a Mexican-American actor.
    • Thor: Ragnarok casts Tessa Thompson to play Valkyrie, who is blonde and white in the comics.
  • This happened to Grover Underwood in the film adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The books actually described him as pale, but in the movie he was black. Also Hephaestus becomes black, and Persephone Ambiguously Brown.
  • The Muppets' version of The Wizard of Oz not only changed Dorothy from being an 11-year old white girl to a young black woman, they also made her dream of becoming a singer. This is, ironically, one of the most faithful adaptations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to date.
  • In the movie adaptation of Girl, Interrupted Valerie is played by Whoopi Goldberg. In the book (and therefore in Real Life, as the book is a memoir), she is white.
  • In the movie adaptation of Matilda, Lavender is black; in the book she is white.
  • In William Shakespeares Romeoand Juliet, Mercutio and the Prince, who are relatives, are both played by black actors. Since the setting is moved from the Italian city of Verona to "Verona Beach," California (where the "Prince" is the chief of police), this doesn't cause any strangeness. Peculiarly, though, Paris, who is also supposed to be related to Mercutio and the Prince in the original script, is still white. (This also happens to Mercutio and, to a lesser extent, the Prince in other productions; in Mercutio's case, it helps that he's more effective as a black man, something that certainly hasn't been lost on modern theatrical companies.)
  • In The Searchers novel Martin was originally fully white but was made into 1/8 Cherokee in the film to give Ethan a bit of Character Development.
  • In A Christmas Carol: The Musical, the Ghost of Christmas Present is played by the aforementioned African-American Jesse L. Martin.
  • Les Misérables (1998) has a black Enjolras, plus a lot of black background characters.
  • The British film Death at a Funeral was remade as an American movie with mostly black actors.
  • In the original episodes of Police Squad! Nordberg was played by Peter Lupus, while in the The Naked Gun films he was played by O.J. Simpson.
  • An in-universe example in R.I.P.D.. To everyone except other R.I.P.D. officers, Nick appears to be an elderly Chinese man.
  • The character of Conn MacCleary in the The Destroyer novels by Sapir and Murphy is a red haired Irishman, but in the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, he is played by J.A. Preston, a black man.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), April's boss Burne Thompson is now an African American. Also an example of Gender Flip, since Thompson is now a woman and her first name is Bernadette.
  • Gwen's best friend Lesley in The Ruby Red Trilogy is white in the book, but black in the movie.
  • One of the most controversial Race Lifts in recent history is in Fantastic Four (2015) and the decision to make Johnny Storm black. Within the context of the movie, however, his being black is more believable than Sue being white, as she was adopted into a black family. This itself led to a minor Broken Base about whether keeping Sue white is progressive for showing a mixed family, or if Fox didn't want a black female lead. Johnny's actor Michael B. Jordan said in interviews that people won't be so concerned about race once they see the movie. In a way he was right; skin color is the least of this movie's problems.
    • Michael B. Jordan continued this with the 2018 HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, where his character Guy Montag was originally white and portrayed by Oskar Werner in the 1966 version
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), Ben's blind girlfriend Alicia Masters is changed to black. However, this change was better received and, in the film's deleted scenes, her race adds some subtext to their romance. Alicia's blackness was retained in the Fantastic Four cartoon released around that time, and her stepfather the Puppet Master was made black as well.
  • Whilst his race is never explicitly mentioned in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but based on both the photograph the character was based on that was included in the book and he fact that Wights are stated to be so indistinctive that they can look like anyone else with simple prosthetics; it can be assumed that the Wight who stalked the Portmans is Caucasian. In the film adaptation, his counterpart Mr. Barron is played by African-American actor Samuel L. Jackson.
  • In Power Rangers (2017), a reboot of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Billy has been changed from white to black and Kimberley is played by a mixed race (half white, half Indian) actress.
  • In The Dark Tower (2017) film Roland the gunslinger is played by Idris Elba, who is black. In the books Roland is technically an alien, but looks like a white dude, and his white privilege and racial ignorance becomes a key plot point in one of the books.
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is based off the director's own life and the character Laurie is based on a girl who was white in real life. The actress initially cast - Eleonore Hendricks - was white too. But then Rosario Dawson expressed interest in playing Laurie's adult self. So Laurie became Puerto Rican, with Melonie Diaz cast as her teenage self.
  • A proposed remake of the Liverpudlian set Educating Rita would have been set in America and employed a Cultural Translation to make it about a black woman from the ghetto trying to get an education. Denzel Washington was slated to play Frank and Halle Berry as Rita.
  • Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of A Little Princess relocates the story from Victorian London to 1918 New York. Becky was a standard white Victorian era cockney girl in the book, but is now a black servant as a Cultural Translation. Due to Adaptation Displacement some fans are surprised to discover that Becky is white in the original book.
  • In American McGee's Alice, Alice Liddel is white, though Word of God is that Alice's design was Asian influenced. For the Live-Action Adaptation they are looking into Chinese actresses to play Alice.
  • Parker: In the novel Flashfire, Leslie Rodgers is a blonde Caucasian. In the movie she is a Latina played by Jennifer Lopez, with Rodgers being explained as her married name.
  • In The Darkest Minds novels protagonist Ruby Daly is white, in the film adaptation of the first book she is black.
  • The Girl With All the Gifts: Melanie in the film is turned into a black girl, while the book opens with her remark about her name meaning this, but she actually has very fair skin, making it quite ironic.
  • Alice Monaghan was a white, Irish woman in the Hellboy comics; in Hellboy (2019) she's a British woman portrayed by African-American actress Sasha Lane. There are still hints of Alice's Irish background, though, such as her last name and the fact that her white father speaks with an Irish accent in the flashback (while her mother is Black British).
  • The Postman: Ford says his name used to be John Stevens (he's also called "Johnny"). The "Johnny" Stevens in the book is white (he's also a teenager).
  • Doctor Sleep: Abra Stone is a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes in the novel, but she's black in the movie. The same goes for her father David, who's white in the book but likewise black in the movie.
  • With a Kiss I Die: Juliet is Black instead of White in this story based on Romeo and Juliet.
  • Finnish military leader Gustav Mannerheim was portrayed by Kenyan actor Telley Savalas Otieno in 2012's The Marshal of Finland. And it was shot in Kenya and not in Finland.
  • In in the book as well has previous adaptations depicted the cast of Literature/101Dalmatians as Caucasian British people, but Cruella depicts Anita Darling as African American and Roger Radcliffe as Middle Eastern.

  • In-Universe in the Doctor Who novel Engines of War; Karlax becomes "dark skinned", different from his first seen incarnation.
  • The original 1963 edition of A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow has Thomas as a white boy. The 2003 edition changes Thomas to a Black boy, to make the idea of being shy about your own identity more relatable by using a marginalized minority group. The 2018 edition changes Thomas into a Hispanic boy and his name to Tomás, because of how the addition of Spanish dialogue enhances the feeling of being part of a minority group as opposed to the majority group.
  • The Zorro novel by Isabel Allende makes him half-Native American with a wise woman grandmother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • Slade Wilson, a definite white man in the comics, is portrayed by Manu Bennett, who is part-Maori.
      • Rene Ramirez, the show's take on the comics' Jack Wheeler, is a Latino instead of a blonde-haired blue-eyed white man.
      • Dinah Drake is now a mixed-race woman (Juliana Harkavy is half-white half-Latino). In the comics, Black Canary has always been white.
    • The Flash: Iris West and her younger brother Wally are black. In the source comics they are aunt and nephew, and Iris is white; Wally was originally white as well before being changed to half-black half-white in the New 52 reboot.
    • Supergirl:
      • Jimmy Olsen is portrayed as a bald black man instead of the gangly white redhead he normally is. He also received an Age Lift, with an extra dose of Adaptational Attractiveness.
      • Hank Henshaw, better known as the Cyborg Superman, is also black. Then he turned out to actually be J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter. Ironically, while the latter is a Martian and his alter ego is usually white, he has been portrayed, in both live action and voice acting, primarily by black men.
      • Maggie Sawyer became explicitly non-white, played by actress Floriana Lima (who's said she has Italian, Irish, English, Spanish and Portuguese ancestors). Later her dad is shown to be Mexican-American, and thus she could be considered a Latina (though Maggie doesn't identify herself that way).
      • Manchester Black is typically portrayed as a white Brit, but the show has him played by the black David Ajala.
      • Lauren Haley is changed from white to black.
    • Batwoman: Mary Hamilton, the show's adaptation of Bette Kane, was Caucasian in the comics, but of East Asian descent here.
  • In Batman (1966), not only did Catwoman get Other Darrined, she received a Race Lift in the process. No one (except the audience) seemed to notice that Catwoman suddenly changed from being the very white Julie Newmar to the not-so white Eartha Kitt, and got about a foot shorter in the process.
  • The Boys (2019): In the comics, A-train was white, but in the show he's black.
  • The 2018 reboot of Charmed features a cast of Latinas (two of whom are Afro-Latin) in the role of the titular witch sisters (who had been all white originally).
  • Salli Richardson-Whitfield has stated in interviews that the original script for Eureka called for her character, Alison Blake, to be a blonde, blue-eyed white woman.
  • The Gruen Transfer featured an ad to appeal to rich parents to give their children Race Lifts.
  • The twins in the Twitches books are white, but the Disney Channel Original Movie cast the biracial twins Tia and Tamera Mowry of Sister, Sister fame. This may be mere pragmatic casting: if you need identical twins, there's only a few with proven acting experience, moreso if you need a certain age (or at least look like it), and the Mowrys were already friendly with Disney.
  • This happens to two characters in Legend of the Seeker. Chase is Samoan and General Trimack is black in the adaptation. Commander-General Trimack doesn't get much of a physical description, but in the books Darken Rahl only allowed pureblooded D'Harans into his elite Praetorian Guard-the First File which Trimack commands-and in positions of high rank. Purebloods are almost universally blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan phenotypes. There are now other people of color as minor characters (such as Chase's family, some villagers, a Mord'Sith) too, while in the books this wasn't so.
  • In the TV adaptation of Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson, Magda, originally a white woman, is played by a black actress.
  • In the television series based on the Pretty Little Liars books, white Emily is changed to an Ambiguously Brown character (played by Shay Mitchell, who is white/Filipino). This is especially obvious because Emily's parents in the books were racists.
  • The short lived 2005 revival of Kojak cast Ving Rhames in the role. The series seemed more like Shaft than Kojak.
  • The television adaptation of The Middleman starred Cuban Natalie Morales playing Wendy Watson who had originally been a fair-skinned redhead.
  • "The Blind Banker", the second episode of the BBC's Sherlock, used Chinese Yellow Peril gangsters as the villains. In the original Sherlock Holmes story the episode was based on, the villains were American gangsters from Chicago.
  • In Game of Thrones, pirate Salladhor Saan, merchant prince Xaro Xhoan Daxos and bodyguard Areo Hotah are changed into emigrants from the Summer Isles and cast with actors of African descent. This was probably done to make them more visibly foreign and to diversify the cast. In the books, all these characters come from cultures with light skin: Xaro is a milky-skinned Qartheen, Salladhor is from Lys (vaguely Southern Europe), and Areo is from Norvos (vaguely Eastern Europe).
  • The infamous live-action Toei Spider-Man TV series was set in Japan and had Peter Parker changed to "Takuya Yamashiro".
  • In the film and series La Femme Nikita, the title character is white. In the 2010 series Nikita she is played by Maggie Q, who is of White and Vietnamese descent.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand cast Peter Mensah, originally from Ghana, as the Gaulish gladiator Oenomaus. They also cast Manu Bennett, a half-Maori New Zealander, as Crixus, also a Gaul; this was a little less egregious, though.
  • The BBC's The Musketeers:
    • Porthos is played by mixed-race actor Howard Charles. Word of God is that this is a nod to Dumas himself, whose grandmother was of African origin. Which is appropriate, since many of the events in The Three Musketeers are based on events in the life of Dumas' father, Thomas-Alexandre "Alex" Dumas, a general in Revolutionary France and the highest-ranking person of color in any European army EVER. Alex's father, Alexandre Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, later legitimized him (though not his three siblings, who remained enslaved), but after a falling out with his father, Alex adopted the last name of his mother, Marie Cessette Dumas, a slave in Saint-Domingue (later Haiti).
    • In the second season, Porthos's full backstory was revealed and turned out to be very clearly inspired by the Dumas family's - Porthos is the son of an aristocrat's affair with a black servant woman, and was brought into the Musketeers by a friend of his father's who felt guilty about helping the father to abandon his black mistress and child.
  • A vocal example: For the most part of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Tom Servo has been voiced by white men: J. Elvis Weinstein and Kevin Murphy. The reboot has him voiced by African-American Baron Vaughn.
  • Riverdale:
    • Veronica is traditionally a non-Latina white girl, however she's being played by the Latina Camilla Mendes.
    • Josie from Josie and the Pussycats is a white redhead in the comics but is being played by Ashleigh Murray, who is black and a brunette.
    • Veronica's mother Hermione is to be played by Marisol Nichols, who is of Mixed Ancestry.
    • The normally white Melody, also a part of the band Josie and the Pussycats, is being portrayed by Asha Bromfield, who is black and brunette.
    • Reggie is white in the comics but was portrayed by Ross Butler in the first season and Charles Melton beginning in season 2, both of whom are half-Asian.
    • Dilton is white in the comics but is being portrayed by Daniel Yang, who's Asian.
    • Archie himself is played by KJ Apa, who is a quarter Samoan, but the character's parents are both played by white actors, and the character himself is still presented as white.
  • An odd example in Atlanta. A black actor portrays Justin Bieber in one episode. Not a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of him, but the actual Justin Bieber.
  • Fiona from the second season of Round the Twist is portrayed by an Sboriginal actress, despite being white in the first. This example can also apply to Changing the Minority because she is portrayed by a white actress again in subsequent seasons.
  • The Magicians (2016): Dean Fogg, described in the books as white, is black here. Penny, also described as white, is Indian American. Margo (formerly) Janet) was also white in the books. Summer Bishil is of white and Indian descent.
  • The Handmaid's Tale:
    • Moira, Luke and Offred's daughter are white in the novel (and movie adaptation). The TV series makes Moira black, and the others mixed race.
    • Along with having Handmaids who are women of color, quite a few of the regime's military enforcers are shown to be black men. In the novel, the Gilead regime is officially white supremacist as well as misogynist. Black people (called the "Children of Ham") are "resettled" in North Dakota.
  • When CBS announced that a pilot for an adult Nancy Drew series was in development, they initially said that they were specifically trying to cast a minority actress in the title role. They ultimately cast Sarah Shahi, who is of largely Iranian descent, and part European Spanish, but her father was portrayed by the white Anthony Edwards. It was never exactly clear if the character was still going to be presented as white, and the pilot was not picked up to series.
  • Parodied in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody when there's a high school version of High School Musical. London gets cast to play Sharpay because of her resemblance to the original actress...who plays Maddie in the sitcom. Oh and London is Asian by the way.
  • The 1989 Walt Disney Presents Made-for-TV Movie "Polly" is this to the movie ''Pollyanna, making all but the Miss Snow character African-American.
  • In Good Omens, two characters (both female) are given race lifts. Pepper goes from a white redhead to a black girl, and Anathema goes from white to a Latina (Adria Arjona is half-Puerto Rican and half-Guatemalan). Also a case of Adaptational Nationality, as Anathema is made American in the show, probably so the actress doesn't try to fake a British accent.
  • NOS4A2: Tabitha, Lou and Maggie are black in the show.
  • High Fidelity: Rob, who's white in every other version, has been reimagined as biracial for the series.
  • In Little Fires Everywhere, Mia and her daughter Pearl were changed to Black for the Hulu adaptation, adding another layer to the racial tension present in the book. However the author, Celeste Ng, has stated that she originally wanted them to be people of color, but felt that making them Asian-American would be too neat a plot and she didn't think she could properly represent Black characters.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "A Game of Pool", Jesse Cardiff is Hispanic. In the original episode, he is white.
  • In The Remake of The Fugitive, Gerard is now African-American.
  • The Letter For The King: All of the characters are white in the book. Here the protagonist Tiuri is from a fictional dark-skinned race (the actor has mixed ancestry) while several others are played by Black or East Asian actors.
  • Jodie Turner-Smith (African-British actress) is set to portray Anne Boleyn in an upcoming Channel 5 mini-series.
  • Shadowhunters:
    • Simon Lewis is a white Jew in the books. Here, he is portrayed by Alberto Rosende, a Latino.
    • The Lightwoods are now a mixed-race family with Isabelle being played by a Latina-Lebanese actress, although strangely her brothers Alec and Max are still white. Maryse is played by a Latina too. Depending on if the series follows the book plot of Robert Lightwood having had an affair, this could end up being significant.
    • Luke was white in the books, but is black in the series.
    • Camille Belcourt was white in the books, being described as having silvery blonde hair and green eyes. In the series, she is played by a Chinese-Irish actress.
    • Magnus was half Dutch and half Indonesian in the books, but is played by a Chinese-American actor in the series.
  • Hanna: Sophie's dad is of South Asian descent now, so she and her brother become mixed race, as their mom's still White.
  • Troy: Fall of a City: Achilles, Zeus and Patroklos. They're usually depicted as ethnically Greek, but are portrayed by Black actors in the series.
  • Titans:
    • Garfield/Beast Boy is fully white in the comics but half-Asian in the show.
    • Dawn Granger is white in the comics but portrayed by Minka Kelly, who is part-Indonesian.
    • Like the Arrowverse, Deathstroke receives a race lift, this time into a Latino. His wife, Adeline, is also changed from white to Asian. As a result, both of Deathstroke's children, Jericho and Rose, are half-Asian half-Latino.
  • Jupiter's Legacy: Hutch is White in the comics (or appears so at least-his mother is dark-skinned, though it's unclear what her race is). In the series though he's obviously a man of color, played by a mixed race actor.
  • Nancy Drew (2019): George and Bess are both White girls in the books. Here, the former becomes East Asian, the latter Ambiguously Brown (played by a British-Iranian woman).

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Clue: Some versions of the American edition had Miss Scarlett changed to an Asian Dragon Lady and she was known as "The Mercenary of Macao".

  • Obviously, this is already more common in theater than it is elsewhere due to its universality - in most theater companies, unless a part is specifically needed to be played by an actor of a particular race, it's usually fair game for anyone who qualifies for it in terms of acting or vocal skill. However, sometimes it takes a more traditional form, when the work in question is an adaptation of something that starred white characters or is a new staging of an older work. Then, often, the Original Cast Precedent settles in. Notable examples include:
    • Utterson in Jekyll & Hyde (usually played by a black man).
    • Hélène in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (adapted from War and Peace; the character, originally a white Russian woman, was created by a black actress in the musical). This is also the case for Natasha, who has been played by mixed race, black and Southeast Asian actresses.
    • Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar (often played by a black man after the original Broadway production and the 1972 film; this is, however, not always the case).
    • Martha in Spring Awakening (presumably white in the original play, created by a black actress in the musical)
    • The restaged 25th Anniversary Tour version of The Phantom of the Opera featured a black actress as Carlotta Giudicelli. Also, in 2014, Norm Lewis became the first African-American to play the title role on Broadway, with at least three others playing the part in the US touring company.
    • Les Misérables is cast completely color-blind, so this is a frequent occurrence, and the opening Eponines in both the 25th Anniversary Broadway and UK Tour casts were black, suggesting a particular inclination toward black Eponines in the new version. There is also a black actor playing Enjolras (interestingly, this first happened in the 1998 film), and one of the understudies for Jean Valjean made history as both the youngest (21) and the first African-American to play the part.
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the 2013 musical) changed Violet Beauregarde, who is specifically described as a redhead in the novel, and her parents from Caucasian to black and initially considered only black performers for Violet, whose role is rotated among 3 child actresses at a time. After complaints that the bratty character, whose "I Am" Song is a Boastful Rap, was overly stereotypical, the creators allowed non-black performers to be considered for the role too. Another adaptation of the novel, the opera The Golden Ticket, went with Ability over Appearance in its Atlanta Opera staging in 2012 when doublecasting the lead role of Charlie Bucket — one of the two child actors alternating in the role, Reuben Roy, was black even though all four actors playing his grandparents were white! (Charlie's parents are Adapted Out in that version.)
  • Miss Saigon: John, Chris' commanding officer, was initially played by white actors, but at some point in the show's run, was taken over by African-American ones. More significantly, toward the end of the show's Broadway run, Ellen (the woman Chris marries after the war), was cast with an Asian actress instead of the usual white blonde or redhead, resulting in a Replacement Goldfish situation—it now looked like Chris married Ellen not to get on with his life, but because she reminded him of his Lost Lenore Kim.
    • Corneilla Luna played the role of Kim in the Toronto production and the role of Ellen in the UK touring production, making her the only actress to do so, and a near-literal example of the "goldfish" trope.
    • This has happened in the current London revival also with Natalie Chua as one of the understudies for Ellen.
  • In Matilda: The Musical, in addition to Lavender often being cast as a Token Black Friend like in the film, the librarian Mrs. Phelps is Afro-Jamaican. In the 2015 US tour, Rudolpho was also black, and Amanda was Asian, creating a sort of Token Trio with Matildanote  and Lavender, until the black Kaci Walfall was replaced by Charlie Kersh, another Asian. The 2018 Village Theatre production once again changed Mrs. Phelps' nationality and accent to Kenyan, made Rudolpho Hispanic, being played by a flamenco dancer, and the Acrobat Asian (which implies that Miss Honey is part Asian as well), along with Matilda having several East Indian classmates.
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
    • Hermione Granger has been consistently played by black actresses in every run of the play.
    • Same with Rose Granger-Weasley, Ron and Hermione's daughter who was stated to be a redhead like her father, who has been consistently played by dark-skinned and dark-haired actresses.
  • The working-class Liverpool housewife title character of Shirley Valentine is usually played by white actresses, most famously Pauline Collins (who was the first to play her on the West End, on Broadway, and on film). In the 2010 West End revival, however, she was played by British Asian actress Meera Syal.
  • The Green Pastures mixes this with Setting Update when transplanting the Old Testament from the Middle East to 1920s Louisiana with an all-black cast.
  • The 2016-17 touring production of The Little Mermaid launched by Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre featured a Japanese-American, Diana Huey, as Ariel. Likewise, the Broadway production cast the aforementioned Norm Lewis as King Triton, along with a multiracial ensemble as Ariel's sisters.
  • Used explicitly in Hamilton: the intention of Lin-Manuel Miranda was to have the cast reflect America as it exists in modern times, in all its diversity. He expresses this by having a cast coming from multiple, different backgrounds and ethnicities.
  • The Pullman vs. Paxton production of Heathers changed Jason Dean from a white Greaser Delinquent to a black Dreadlock Rasta, and Heather McNamara from a Dumb Blonde to an Asian Airhead, making her personal color of yellow and nickname "Yellow Heather" somewhat ironic.
  • Fun Home: Alison's first love, Joan Benson, who is white in real life, was portrayed by Latina actress Roberta Colindrez in the musical's initial Broadway run, and by mulatto-Jamaican Karen Eilbacher on the first national tour.
  • Sir Patrick Stewart always wanted to play Othello—considered one of the great Shakespearean parts—but he refused to do the role in blackface, and ignoring the fact that Othello was supposed to be different from the rest of the cast would diminish the point of the story. He finally received the opportunity in an American production of the play where every role other than Othello was played by black actors, flipping the normal casting.
  • The Musical of Mrs. Doubtfire changes Daniel's court liaison, Mrs. Sellner, from an elderly German woman to a Sassy Black Woman with the first name Wanda.

    Video Games 

  • As Billie was often confused for Asian (black hair and very pale skin in a black-and-white comic) by fans of Roomies!, David Willis just rolled with it and made her Dumbing of Age counterpart half-Asian.

    Web Original 
  • The second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy has the half-white, half-Asian David Lee Mc Innis as Raiden. In the last season and the feature films, Raiden was played by white actors.
  • As did the official onstage continuation of the Harry Potter franchise, Hermione Granger and the Quarter-Life Crisis depicts Hermione as being black.

    Western Animation 
  • The PBS Kids series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is based on a series of books known as The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library. In the books, the male child character was white, but he has been changed to black for the TV series. Additionally, the new books being released under the banner of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That depict him as black.
  • Meta-example: when Total Drama switched to a new cast they released early character designs on their blog. Cameron and Mike were initially both white, but when designs were finalized became black and Ambiguously Brown, respectively.
  • Another meta-example are Darren and Miranda from As Told by Ginger. In the original pilot they are White but for the series itself they are both Black.
  • Cheetah's brief appearance in Super Best Friends Forever. Traditionally, the character is white, or at least used to be before making herself a Cheetah-girl, but in the short, she's brown-skinned with cat-like eyes and powers as well as the Cheetah suit.
  • Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki Tikki Tavi" (part of The Jungle Book) has the eponymous mongoose living with a English family in India. The 1965 Soviet cartoon changes them to locals.
  • In the 1932 Betty Boop short "Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle", Betty is portrayed as Samoan. Oh, and Bimbo does brownface.
  • This is the entire point of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. It takes mostly European fairy tales and transfers their characters to being from different cultures. For example, Goldilocks takes place on a Caribbean island.
  • The DC Nation shorts "Bat Man Of Shanghai" make Batman and Catwoman Chinese while moving the setting to 1930.
  • In Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Carmen Sandiego is portrayed as darker-skinned than she is in the games. In the games she is usually a lighter skinned redhead, though some games use the cartoon design as it is more recognizable.
  • In Lazoo, the 2017 toon on CBC depicts Zuzi with dark skin and brown hair. In the 2015 apl game it is based on, she has light skin and orange hair. Her previous appearance is still visible in the thumbnail used in TV guides.
  • Harvey Comics' Harvey Street Kids changes Little Dot from white to African-American.
  • In Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, Isaac the Devil Forgemaster is a white European. In the animated Castlevania (2017) series, he is a black man from an unspecified desert land voiced by Sierra Leonean actor Adetokumboh M'Cormack, on whose appearance he is based.
  • Invincible (2021):
    • Mark and Debbie Grayson are Korean-American, while in the comics they were white.
    • Amber Bennett is black, while in the comics she was a white blonde.
    • The various background Viltrumites during exposition and other scenes vary quite a lot in color and apparent ethnicity when in the comic they were mostly white.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • Lotor is changed back to half-Galran half-Altean.
    • Honerva is Altean while in GoLion she's Galran.

  • The 5th Avenue Theatre's 2012 production of Oklahoma! made Jud Fry an African-American, sparking a fair amount of negative criticism for "racial stereotyping".
  • In his 2011 Comedy Central special Weirdo, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) discusses the Twitter campaign to get him cast as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, which would obviously be a race lift. He says that one angry fan compared his possible role as Peter Parker to casting Michael Cera as Shaft.
  • It was a trend among bootleggers in the 1990s to depict Bart Simpson as black on unofficial merchandise.
  • It's a little subculture on the Internet to be "Transethnic", where some posters feel they were born in the wrong ethnicity. Most people in this trend tend to fit into this category of Race Lift.


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