Here are the common signs in American film and television that a character is an ethnic or racial stereotype. Any one of these might be innocent, but each is a red flag. In this post I use “ethnic” to mean someone who is not mainstream White American (or British), “white” for those who are.
- Fits a known stereotype – Asian martial arts expert, Muslim terrorist, Indian brave, black drug dealer, etc. But these are the easy cases because you already know the stereotype. For cases where you do not, read on:
- Ethnic sidekick – the character lives only for the white hero, has no life of his own. Tonto, Spock, every single Mammy character.
- Token – he is the only one of his race or ethnic group and he is not the hero.
- Helpless Darkies – everyone is ethnic except for the white hero and the white bad guys. You…
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