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Jul 2nd 2017 at 7:36:20 PM •••

Why was this trope so popular in the 1990s specifically? Along with Green Aesops, it was practically endemic to works of fiction produced in that era, but is much less common today. What happened?

Aug 2nd 2013 at 9:21:55 PM •••

  • Pelswick has a five-token family. The title character is in a wheelchair, his father is white, his adopted sister is black, and his gran-gran is a senior citizen.

Okay, several points:

  1. Is Kate black? Even if she is, it's probably not obvious enough to qualify her for tokenism. She has the lightest skin in her family.
  2. Being a senior citizen in a family isn't very meaningful.
  3. Pelswick's family has five people in it; his little brother, Bobby, is pretty much "default" too.
  4. Pelswick himself is not a token. He was not added "for diversity" but because the show's creator liked having a mouthpiece to make fun of himself. His disabled status not defining him was the entire point of the show.

All things said, I don't think this example really fits.

Oct 7th 2010 at 9:57:29 AM •••

Something's been bugging me lately: how do people go about creating a diverse cast without falling victim to or being accused of Tokenism? Especially if a character is a member of more than one minority? It seems like people just won't be happy: if there are no minorities represented, it's racist. If there's only one, it's Tokenism. If there's more than one different minority represented, it's Political Correctness Gone Mad!

Seriously, where's the line between legit diversity and Five-Token Band?

Edited by Hide/Show Replies
Feb 27th 2011 at 11:24:54 AM •••

A little late, so I apologize, but I agree with the above post. While some of the examples are legit, some examples scream to me: "Hey, the cast's diverse. This must mean that they're all tokens!"

Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought "token minority" means someone adding in a minority to a work of fiction so it doesn't appear racist, but the token acts in a stereotypical manner (like the token black guy in some movies/shows where he speaks in "hip urban lingo".) So if a character (or a group of them) is a minority, but they're not tokens and actually well developed (or at the very least, don't act in a stereotypical manner), do they count for this trope?

Aug 9th 2011 at 9:26:25 PM •••

I think a clearer line needs to be drawn between Five-Token Band and Multinational Team. There's a lot of confusion between them. It might make more sense to highlight one as a "positive" trope and the other as a "negative" trope so there's less confusion - in other words, the Multinational Team is when the show has "legit diversity" while Five-Token Band is when the show uses tokenism.

Another option is to make one a "fact trope" while the other is a "YMMV trope". For example, Multinational Team can refer to the simple fact of having a multi-ethnic team, while Five-Token Band can become YMMV as to whether the show executes this properly.

EDIT: I just rewrote the two tropes to distinguish them; hopefully, these are not too drastic changes.

Edited by screennameless
May 26th 2010 at 2:36:18 AM •••

Minor note on the page image: Extreme Ghostbusters would also be acceptable as an illustration of a Five-Token Band. The Kids Next Door, however, lacks a character in a wheelchair, which is vital to conveying the sheer tokenism.

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