Humans Are White

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Humanoids Are White)
"Hey, it's not our fault if all the important humans in the galaxy just happen to be white."

"Why am I the only black Jedi on the Jedi Council? Ain't nobody else in here black, and if y'all black you got a bone in the middle of yo head."

Mace Windu, Star Wars: A Lost Hope

Space has a lot of people in it. Way, way more people than science tells us there should be. There are blue people, green people, orange people, purple people, people that eat people, Proud Warrior Race Guys, Scary Dogmatic Aliens, Big Creepy-Crawlies, Energy Beings, and even the odd Sufficiently Advanced Alien with a very familiar name. And most of them even speak English.

But there's still probably just the one black guy.[1]

Oh, and even better luck finding Asians, Latinos, or, Heaven forbid, an Arab or Native American. You will hardly ever find an Indian, even though they're the third-biggest Asian minority in the US and the biggest Asian minority in the UK. And there are never any non-assimilated Jews.

This trope can also appear in alternate dimensions or histories as well as in futuristic space stories.

In older live-action works, this occurs because the great majority of actors were white, and the Hays Code prohibited mixed-race romantic pairings of characters and the actors who played them.

Note that Humans Are White doesn't have to be about white people exclusively. If a Bollywood movie set in a distant, alien-filled galaxy features an all-Indian cast with other races in minor roles, and there is no in-universe explanation for the imbalance, then it's an example of this trope.

Contrast with Politically-Correct History. Also contrast with In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race, in which no race can be suspiciously over-represented because there is only one race to begin with.

Please do not confuse it with its Sister Trope, Monochrome Casting. Compare with how whites are blonde.

Examples of Humans Are White include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Tower is full of weird creatures, but if they are humanoid, they are most likely white, except for Quant and Kurudan.
  • Gundam has evolved a lot since its beginnings. Though it is at times a little hard to tell the 'white' people apart from the Asians since they used to make not such a big fuss about it.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam, had at least one (propably) Hispanol Character, Ryou. (He might also have been black to fit the trope.) Apart from that most people looked a lot the same but were probably evenly distributed between Asians and white ones.
    • Zeta Gundam had Tagalong Kid Shinta.
    • Gundam ZZ features Rakan Dahkaran, a ruthless and rather dangerous ace pilot that heavily contrasted with the recurrent goofy Bunny Ears Lawyers that preceded him. Other minor blackish characters also show during the course of the series, like Masai N'gava, a female Zeon's pilot looking to clean up the name of her dead mentor.
      • Though it could be argued that they didn't have too much of a choice, considering that they spent most of the middle part of the series in Africa.
    • Victory Gundam featured at least one female, Afro American main cast member and a couple of other kids who were not white. (Also the origin of Shakti are up to debate)
    • G Gundam for all its internationality featured only one person who was clearly not white (two assuming Domon was supposed to be Asian) They had fighters from all over the world but none of them gets to be in the Shuffle Alliance?
    • Uh, what? At least 3 of the Gundam Fighters we actually get to see are decidedly non-white: Neo Kenya is black, Neo Spain is Hispanic and Neo India
    • Turn a Gundam's Loran Cehak is definitely brown-skinned, as is Earthrace noble Guin Lineford, villain Agrippa Maintainer, and side characters Keith, Miashei, and Joseph (with varying shades), along with plenty of nameless background folks. It's difficult to pin actual ethnic origins on them, however, given that some are from the moon and they are frequently Dark Skinned Blondes. (Plus it's 10,000 years in the future and humans are recovering from a self-induced bottleneck, so gene pools have been basically put in a blender.)
    • Gundam 00 has at least two black secondary characters: Graham Aker's late wingman Daryl Dodge and the president of The Federation. There's also Ambiguously Brown Johan Trinity (who seems to be a different race than his siblings- they're Designer Babies). Despite his Japenese Code Name, the main character Setsuna F. Seiei is Kurdish, along with his ex-mentor/arch-enemy Ali Al Saachez. Princess Marina Ismail and her right-hand Shirin Bakhtiar are Persian (Azadistan is of Persian etymology) Fellow gundameister Allelujah Haptism is Kazakh. And of course, there are all the other cast members with apparently multiracial origins, as shown through their names.
    • Gundam Wing had a large background cast of Arab characters, in the form of Quatre's private army. However, although also of Arabian descent, space-born Quatre was blonde-haired and blue-eyed.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor has its main characters supposedly as members of an international military force. However, pretty much everyone on the ship has a Japanese name, and the high command are likewise Japanese. The token minority member is Lt. Kim who in averting No Koreans in Japan is probably meant as proof of a more "racially harmonious" future.
  • There are absolutely no non-white characters in The Empire in Legend of Galactic Heroes, for justified (if monstrous) reasons. The Free Planets Alliance, by contrast, showed a number of Blacks and other ethnicities.
  • Zoids: Chaotic Century features Moonbay, most likely supposed to be Native American, in the main cast.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist notably averts this trope, particularly in the manga and Brotherhood. With the Asian looking Xingese characters, the dark skinned, white haired, red eyed Ishvalans, and the (generally) caucasian Amestrians, FMA is one of the few anime/manga to not only include a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but actually incorporate them into the character designs. Even among Amestrians, there are "black" supporting characters like Paninya and Jerso.

Comic Books

"I always wanted to have a character who was African-American, and years later, when they did that, they did it in the worst way possible....instead of just incidentally having a character who happens to be black...they made a big fuss about it. He's a racial separatist....I just found it pathetic and appalling."
    • In the Legion's "threeboot" continuity, Star Boy is a black Human Alien from the planet Xanthu who's just one of the gang, though his previous incarnations in the older continuities were white. Atom Girl/Shrinking Violet, another human-looking alien from the planet Imsk, also has vaguely Asian features.
  • In the Marvel Universe, The Kree were all originally blue-skinned, but interbreeding with other alien races led to the appearance of a Caucasian subrace; the superhero Captain Mar-Vell was one of them. The Blue Kree are now a minority that rules their empire and mistreats the others.
  • As part of a well-meaning but horribly misguided attempt to explain why all the Kryptonians in Superman were white, a writer in the '70s came up with the idea that there were indeed black Kryptonians, but they all lived in a state of self-exile in a place called Vathlo Island. This was ignored in the New Krypton event, where Kryptonians of various races were seen. Smallville also tried to subvert this idea by introducing several minor black Kryptonian characters.


  • The original Star Wars trilogy has only one human main character who is not white: Lando. George Lucas has said that at one point he considered making Han Solo a black character, but decided he "didn't feel like making Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." The prequels diversify the cast, perhaps most notably by revealing that Ensemble Darkhorse Boba Fett is a Maori.
  • All of the citizens of the city in Logan's Run are conspicuously white. That could be the result of the city's Designer Babies. Then again, the Killer Robot they fight was originally supposed to evoke a "tribal" African and was portrayed by a black actor. So....
  • The Dungeons & Dragons movie. With a highly improbable array of bizarre species mingling together in one city, Ethnic Scrappy Snails is the only black man. Naturally, he has no choice but to fall for the elf ranger of the group... the only black woman in the entire movie. Apparently in the land of Izmer, cross-species dating is par for the course, but cross-color dating still doesn't quite come naturally.
  • Wing Commander: Unlike in the earlier games on which the film was based (see below), this trope is played straight. There are only two non-caucasian actors in the main cast, and one of them is barely present (Mr. Obutu is part of the Claw's bridge personnel, and often somewhat in the background).
  • Invoked in Planet of the Apes-There's only one black man, Dodge, in the original film. Zira says in the third film that the apes were intrigued by Dodge and stuffed him for display because they'd never seen a human with dark skin before. That said, there was a black man among the mutant society in the second film.
  • Lampshaded in The Ice Pirates, where the lone black character builds a black fighting robot. When asked why he made the robot black, he replies "I wanted him to be perfect".
  • There is only a single black person in Space Mutiny (a frozen corpse). This has bigger Unfortunate Implications than most examples since the film was made in Apartheid era South Africa...


  • The future history of H. Beam Piper's Terran Federation implies that the original races of humanity have been mixed in a Waring blender, resulting in such character names as "Hideyoshi O'Leary" and "Themistocles M'zangwe". One narrator comments that any resemblance between a person's appearance and the ethnicity his name implies is purely coincidental. He cites, for instance, a red-haired, blue-eyed fellow with the family name "Fujisawa, who looks as if his name ought to be Lief Ericsson."
  • Earth in the Known Space universe has had such thorough mixing through the convenience of the transit booth, which eliminated distance and borders. The Belters are also evenly mixed, for the opposite reason—there are only a few asteroids with life support, so everyone meets and mingles with everyone. The extraterrestrial colonies are less varied, either due to adapting to extreme conditions, patterns of settlement, or low starting population; the Jinxians all have very dark skin regardless of ethnicity, due to the intense sunlight of their world. The Crashlanders are 40% albinos. And it's specifically mentioned that nearly everyone uses medication to darken their skins as a protection against sunburn.
  • In L. Sprague deCamp's Planet Krishna stories, one alien monarch simply refused to believe that African-descended Earthmen and European-decended Earthmen could possibly be of the same species. So he tried to test this "scientifically" by imprisoning two people (black man and white woman) together to see if they could breed. Needless to say, they didn't find it very romantic.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle black people are extremely rare, and go as far as for one character to ask if one of the black character's skin is dyed. They apparently come from far away and travel is limited by technology, much like the real world.
  • The Warworld series, set in the CoDominium universe, has black white people; the descendants of extreme South African white supremacists who wound up on a planet with so much UV that they selected for dark brown skin. One of the latter-day inhabitants describes this as "ironic".
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, the subject is handled rather... well, he tried, anyway; In a fumbled attempt at open-mindedness, Lazarus makes a big point out of the fact that his descendents have a black ancestor, while utterly failing to notice the Unfortunate Implications of two thousand years of almost exclusively white breeding. And You Do NOT Want to Know how the future treats the poor Chinese...
    • Averted in many ways by The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The main character's (Manuel Garcia O'Kelly Davis, a bit of a multicultural mashup in itself) race isn't really described, but is described as multi-racial with an ancestor deported from Chad. His romantic entanglement in the novel is also described as being unusual in that her ethnic background is reasonably easy to see, something that usually doesn't persist more than a couple of generations in the decidedly heterogenous Lunar cities.
    • Many of Heinlein's novels included non-white characters, including his Juveniles. In fact, many of his protagonists are multi-racial, despite how they're portrayed on the covers.
  • Everybody talks about Heinlein's aversion of this trope, but Andre Norton did it first. In her very first SF novel, Star Man's Son (alternate title Daybreak: 2250 AD, the protagonist is a "half-breed" suspected of being a mutant (he has silver-white hair despite being a teenager) and the second lead is quite explicitly black.
  • Ursula Le Guin's Hainish Cycle. When a fair-skinned, Caucasian-looking character crops up in the short story "Dancing to Ganam", most other people find his appearance downright bizarre. Ursula K. Le Guin likes to play around with this trope in most of her works, largely in opposition to the racial undertones of many fantasy novels.
  • Justified in Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy, in which virtually anyone with black African ancestry has been wiped out by a racist nanite plague. Two of the main characters, a father and daughter, are black with green eyes, this being a trait the virus was programmed to read as "not black". Period movies featuring black characters have to cast Australian aborigines in those roles, and there's a TV show with an all-aboriginal cast who play black space colonists who'd survived the plague by being on Mars at the time.
  • Out of This World by Lawrence Watt-Evans applies this to a universe based on science-fiction principles, but not to a fantasy universe or Earth itself. It also lampshades the whitewashed astronauts in such a manner as to give Inferred Holocaust a new meaning.
  • Inverted, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Parafaith War's hero is blond and white-skinned... and therefore regarded with a lot of suspicion by everyone as straight "anglos" are rare in the Eco-Tech Coalition. They are more often associated with their adversaries, the fanatical Revenants of the Prophets. Most Eco-Tech citizens are Asian (predominantly south-east asian with a strong component of Japanese.) Because of that he is ultimately sent into enemy territory as a spy.
  • Somewhat subverted in John Scalzi's Old Man's War: colonists for newly discovered planets are specifically taken from the less developed countries in general (though mostly war-torn India). If an American/European (unless you're from Norway) wants to get off-planet, they have to join the Space Marines (who have green skin and die a lot).
  • Somewhat averted in the Honorverse. While many characters seem to be Caucasian, the ruling family of Manticore are explicitly dark skinned, and Honor Harrington herself shows signs of her Asian ancestry. The prevalent skin colour on most worlds is dictated by how much UV they receive from their sun. In addition, cosmopolitan names such as Alfredo Yu seem to be the norm.
  • Averted with a vengeance in the Inheritance Trilogy, where almost all the major human civilizations are varying shades of dark, with only the Amn being explicitly white (and they- or at least, their tyrannical leaders- are mostly bad guys).
  • Averted in Vernor Vinge 's A Fire Upon The Deep universe. All human settlements in The Beyond come from one common ancestor—Nyjora, a Lost Colony already several generations removed from Old Earth—and are described as having a common phenotype: dark skin and black hair. Pham Nuwen's red hair and asian features are so unusual as to be almost alien.
  • Played With in Septimus Heap, since while all main characters and most of the side characters are white, Hotep-Ra is depicted as being black.
  • John Hemry's books dodge this by almost never specifying anyone's skin, hair, or eye color. Names may hint at ethnicities — U.S. Navy Captain Nguyen, for instance, is likely to have Vietnamese ancestry — but how much of such ancestry and how it affects appearance aren't made clear. For that matter, the Nguyens could've adopted a girl who's black, Hispanic, a blue-eyed blonde, or whatever. The only person whose hair color is ever spelled out comes from a colony world named Éire, where lots of people were genetically engineered for green hair. She's probably white ... if there's no non-white immigrant ancestry on Éire. Of course the book covers inevitably portray the male lead as white, and usually blond.

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: The Original Series tried to avert this, at least at first—when the salt monster from "Man Trap" approaches Uhura, for example, she sees a studly black crewman who talks to her in Swahili—but eventually the casting department (or the agents supplying them) got lazy.
    • There was a minor fan theory about this, combining the lack of Arabic or Farsi names in Star Trek (besides Bashir) with the fact that Abrahamic religion—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—seems to have completely and totally vanished from human culture by the 24th century. The Middle East might've been completely nuked to hell during the various nasty wars that form Star Trek's backstory.
      • Originally, there were plans for Worf's human adoptive parents to be Jewish, but apparently it came off too much like Unfortunate Implications when the TNG writers tried that, so Worf's folks became Russians instead.
      • The extreme rarity of anyone who's obviously Jewish on Star Trek was referenced on the commentary track for Firefly, where the appearance of a postmaster in one episode who happens to wear a kippah sparked comments from the actors that this was, indeed, the first time any of them could remember seeing a Jew in space, with Alan Tudyk musing that they should perhaps coin a term for this strange and unusual phenomenon ("A Sp'Jew?").
      • While there are virtually no religious Jewish people on Star Trek, three of the original series' regular cast members were ethnically Jewish, including two of the three main leads: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig. (Also worth noting: the famous Vulcan hand gesture was inspired by the way Kohenim, or Jewish priests, bless their congregations.) It's also notable that there aren't a lot of particularly devout members of any Human religion on Star Trek, the sole exception being Chakotay who grew up in a colony explicitly centered around a Native American animist culture.
        • The lack of religiousness was a deliberate choice on part of Gene Roddenberry. According to him, everyone in the future of Star Trek was an atheist, and better for it.
        • Averted gleefully in the Star Trek Expanded Universe. Starbase Vanguard has a rabbi on permanent staff, and Captain David Gold is an observant Jew and married to Rabbi Rachel Gilman (who officiates over the first Jewish-Klingon wedding. The mind boggles).
    • Supervillain Khan Noonien Singh was suggested to be an Indian Sikh on his first appearance, which was confirmed in one of the Trek novels. Part of his Backstory involves fleeing the anti-Sikh pogroms that took place in New Delhi after Indira Gandhi's assassination. Of course, Khan is played by Ricardo Montalban and his Sikhism is never directly established onscreen.
      • Between the fact that Marla McGivers initially declares that his features look Sikh, and that his last name is then revealed to be Singh, it's pretty clear that he is ethnically a Sikh. Though the fact that he's clean-shaven means he is not an observant one.
    • In "Return Of the Archons," the Enterprise beams down two disguised crewmen to a primitive planet. The crewmen are identified as strangers and get in trouble almost immediately. The crewmen seem surprised by this, despite the fact that the planet seems to be inhabited entirely by white folks, and one of the crewmen is Sulu.
    • Painfully applied in Star Trek: Enterprise, which has one African-American guy, one Japanese woman, one British person, and the rest of the crew is seemingly made up entirely of white Americans, except for a minor marine played by a pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim.
      • Throughout Enterprise, the blue-skinned Andorians repeatedly use "pinkskin" as a derogatory term for humans in general, even after meeting others (and, weirdly, alongside other white aliens?).
    • Though most of the aliens in Deep Space Nine are white, the human cast is quite colorful, including two African-Americans, one half-North African and one white (Irish) man. In addition, several black guest stars appear throughout the show (though most of them are love interests for the African-descended regulars).
      • There is a 'behind the scenes' book that claims that the only way race impacted casting for Deep Space Nine's initial regulars was Jake having to be visibly the same race as his father.
      • The casting directors decided that it would be unrealistic for alien species to have evolved the same 'races' as humans have. A majority of "Caucasian" Bajorans are shown to have red or sandy hair, for instance, and while Asians were cast as Bajorans, no Asians were cast as Klingons and only one black actor was cast as a Bajoran, as a walk-on.
    • Star Trek: Voyager had a black Vulcan, an Asian, a Native American, and a half-Hispanic, half-Klingon. And a blue guy seen exactly twice. And the only other Vulcan was white.
    • Avoided a couple of times in Star Trek: The Next Generation; one first-season episode had Human Aliens all of whom actually seen onscreen were black. And a black female Rubber Forehead Alien was the Red Herring guest star of a later episode, although her only other story purpose was as a Girl of the Week for Geordi, who's black... Which is a whole other race trope. A few of the Red Shirts were black as well, but that's yet another trope.
    • There was an interesting culinary version of this in one TNG episode: Riker is showing a visiting alien some typical Earth food—a cheeseburger.
  • Averted in Stargate SG-1, where many of the alien cultures are made of a mix of races, and those who aren't have a good reason for it. The non-mixed societies are not always white, either: for example, black, Native American, and East Asian societies are all seen.
    • One interesting case is in the episode "The Other Side", where SG-1 visits a planet which is at war between two factions. They first assume that the reason the locals distrust Teal'c is due to his status as Jaffa. Later, we learn that the nation that controls the Stargate is in fact racist and xenophobic, to the point where discriminating against someone for being black is acceptable.
    • Ditto for Stargate Atlantis. Not only did they have TWO Token Minorities in the main team (one of which was a twofer), they went to plenty of planets with mixed societies. Though, they tended to throw in black background characters, often forgetting that there are plenty of other minorities in the world, too.
    • Likewise, the alien species of the Wraith had a range of skin tones—though none of them human.
  • Babylon 5 has a mixed record:
    • The pilot included a Japanese woman with a substantial role in the "bridge" command crew, but she was Put on a Bus for the main series and replaced with Ivanova.
    • Doctor Franklin (and his father) are (apparently) African Americans.
    • With the exception of Franklin, the core cast and most actors with speaking parts were white. The show does better on ethnic diversity when you consider minor characters (e.g., Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago; Senator Hidoshi) and the extras playing the human population of the station. Puzzingly, however, there are hardly any Indians or Chinese (Asian characters are usually Japanese).
      • Though unlike Star Trek (and predating the Firefly occurance), the show did have a Jewish character, Susan Ivanova. Granted, she was not a practicing Jew, but they did at least have her sit shiva in one episode.
    • The Babylon 5 spinoff Crusade had one Asian as Number One, John Matheson, again played by a pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim! There was also the Ambiguously Brown Dr. Sarah Chambers. Everyone else was white, though, except for Dureena Nafeel, who was an alien.
  • In Firefly, though the cast is hardly monochrome, people of Chinese descent are rarely if ever seen, and the only ones given any lines play prostitutes! This is in a world that is supposed to be an American/Chinese fusion, with Chinese language common enough to be scattered through the English-speaking characters' conversation. The DVD commentary on the episode "Shindig," points out that there are a few characters with "Chinese" surnames, like Tam and Wing, which could suggest that there's been a bit of mingling.
  • Lampshaded in the 2007 Flash Gordon; when Nick asks Baylin whether there are any "people of color" on Mongo, she replies "I know many people of color - yellow, red, even blue. I am not so fond of the blue ones, though."
  • Given that Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink that has super-powered ninjas, dimension traveling, and a storm god who routinely acts more like an affectionate great uncle than an all-powerful deity, it's reasonable that there might be an Asian temple near a city populated mostly by white people and that Raiden would take the form of a European. This is countered by the fact that the series is supposed to be set in ancient China.
  • Briefly discussed in 30 Rock:

"How come they're ain't no Puerto Ricans on Star Trek!? They got every race and life-form in the galaxy, except for Puerto Ricans! What's up with that?!

  • Averted in the remake of Battlestar Galactica. In the original show, due to the time, almost the entire cast is white and the majority are male. In the remake, there are several people of other races and/or females.
  • The original version of The Tomorrow People had a black actress in their regular cast, who was once forced to sit out their visit to a Human Alien planet because there weren't any black people on that world. A native asked her if she was from the same planet as the other Tomorrow People, then commented that there must be "an interesting variety of skin color" on Earth when she said yes.
  • Rather darkly pointed out on Blake's 7. Dayna, who's black, wonders before one mission if she'd be able to pass for a native on the planet they're visiting. Avon assures her that the planet was colonized a long time ago, back when there were laws in place requiring colony projects to include a proportionate number of all ethnic groups. Basically, affirmative action in space. The implication is that once the Federation overturned those laws, colony projects suddenly got a lot whiter.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin was quite unhappy about the Caucasian cast of A Wizard of Earthsea. In the novels, the protagonist is red-skinned and his best friend black, and the nation of white folk in The Tombs of Atuan are rather imperialistic and warmongering compared to the other inhabitants of the world. This was not reflected in the animated version, which didn't even have the risible excuse of lacking suitable actors.
  • In Space Rangers all human characters (apart from one recurring extra) are white. Asian actors are cast as aliens.

Tabletop Games

  • Most of the art for the Used Future in the bleak game Warhammer 40,000 shows the humans as particularly grizzled European-types. Leading to a gamer extension of the game's tagline. "In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war" ("And white people"). This could be partially justified by the large amount of hive worlds, where the population would receive little to no sunlight. A few exceptions include:
    • The Salamanders Space Marine chapter, who are all black-skinned due to gene corruption. Note that this black as in the color black, jet black, (like obsidian), not what we call black skin in real life. Whether the unmodified humans of their world are black or white keeps getting retconned back and forth.
    • In Dark Heresy you can roll for your skin tone—aside from the void-born (whose skin-tones range from "porcelain" to "ivory" and eyes may be violet), all origins can have a variety of skin tones and eye colors. Later Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay series don't bother with generating character looks (if you really care about details, you can look up a specific world).
    • In Rogue Trader Lady Captain Sun Lee can't hear these complains over the sounds of shuttle bay on her Nihontu.
    • Possibly the God Emperor, who is "from the general area where modern Turkey now sits." It's unclear exactly what race he is, however, as he comes from a time before Turks lived in Anatolia.
    • Dawn of War introduces Inquisitor Mordecai Toth, who is black. Perhaps the only explicitly black character in the setting. Unfortunate Implication in that the novelization implies he was not real but the creation or avatar of a powerful daemon. Meaning the only black person didn't actually exist. This is however only true in the novel, all other sources treat Toth as a real person.
  • Cheerily averted in BattleTech. Black samurai and Asian Scotsmen abound.
  • The Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebooks for New Orleans, Atlanta, and Milwaukee feature next to no black characters, even though all three cities have a black majority.
  • This was (at least during the 1980s) the official policy of TSR when it came to Dungeons & Dragons, their reason being, quote, "That's what we have demihumans for."[2] This didn't hold strong for long - Mystara and Birthright had "thematic" regions, and there were entire non-Eurocentric fantasy settings (such as Maztica and Al-Qadim) in AD&D2 era.
  • Averted in Traveller. Humans of Terran orgin are as likely to have non-occidental names as occidental ones.

Video Games

  • Averted in Mass Effect. Almost every human being is in a rather tanned range due to over a century of interbreeding (and both prominent human leaders are quite dark-skinned). Mass Effect 2's Jacob is one of few characters who don't look multiracial, and he's definitely black. The names are also all over the place: Donnel Udina is a man of African descent with an Irish first name (Donnel is derived from Domnhail, meaning, appropriately "world ruler") and Russian last name.
    • It is also pointed out that humans have a much wider genetic variance than any other starfaring species. While we see plenty of asari of various shades from blue to purple (and, sometimes, green), Mordin claims this is only a tiny variation.
  • In the world of Final Fantasy VII, there are lion-like people, robots, robot cats, ancient beings... and only about four black guys.
    • In Crisis Core, however, just about one in three of the NPCs (for each gender) is black, seemingly at random, in Midgar at the very least. Though whether it's an intentional aversion of this or just coincidence is anyone's guess.
    • Similarly, Final Fantasy XIII has only two black guys, Sazh and his son.
  • Played straight in Civilization 4. Every regular unit regardless of the civ is white.
    • Averted in the expansions. Various civs get more accurate unit models for their military units.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics had as its only black character an easily-forgettable minor noble who only exists in one cutscene. If you don't count the slightly-darker-than-everyone-else generic thieves.
    • Rafa and her brother are clearly meant to be Arab, however.
    • Granted, FFT takes place in a single country, based off of Middle Ages Europe. Make of that what you will.
    • Similarly, its predecessor Tactics Ogre had exactly one black character, the Dark Knight Andras. However, it's established that he is not from Valeria, coming instead from the country of Nirdam, and it's clear that Valeria is based on medieval Britain from the place names.
  • Played straight in the Disciples series. Arguably justified as the world of Nevendaar is based on medieval Europe. The only characters with dark skin owe it to necrosis.
  • Averted in Final Fantasy XII: One party member, Fran, is part of an entire non-human race with very tan skin; a Guest Star Party Member, Reddas, is not white (at least); and there are several NPCs who are clearly Indian, complete with accents, all of whom hail from a country modeled after Indian culture.
  • Averted in Golden Sun's sequel, The Lost Age. The geography of Weyard is based off of the real world thousands of years ago, and as such, when travelling around in the game's parallels to India and Africa (and to a lesser degree China and Japan), even very minor NPCs are quite a bit darker.
    • If upbringing counts, Sheba may well qualify, since Lalivero is based on Ptolemic Egypt (it has an obelisk in the center of town, and Babi's Lighthouse is clearly a reference to the Lighthouse of Alexandria).
    • And in Dark Dawn, most of the action takes place on the Eastern Sea and Asian-continent-counterpart, so your player characters include members of the Vietnam-equivalent, Siam-equivalent, and Japan-equivalent nations, along with Karis who may be Turkish-equivalent by upbringing (Kalay being based on Turkey) or by blood (depending on who Ivan married), and of course a whole host of non-player characters of various Asian-counterpart ethnicities. And token furry Sveta has been argued as Russian and/or Mongolian, so even she is not immune. Then there are the Wild Mass Guessing theories about who all the unknown parents are—and if I tried to recall them all, we'd be here all night.
  • There is exactly one non-white person (of the common races, anyway) in the entirety of Neverwinter Nights, Aarin Gend. Hordes of the Underdark averts this, though, as a large portion of the campaign is spent among drow (who are black elves).
    • Completely averted in Neverwinter Nights 2.
  • Better dealt with for the squad of ARMA 2 - there are two black men, two white men and a latino in the five-man squad. Even more, the main player character is one of the black men.
  • Averted in Half Life 2, where the deuteragonist, Alyx Vance, is Afro-Asian; Alyx's father, Eli, is black. Then there are the Citizens, who can be white, Asian, and black, of which the latter two can be seen quite often, if not just as often as the white models. There is a black character named Matt, an Asian character named Mary, and even an unambiguously Japanese character (Noriko). There are also quite a few Vortigaunts, if they count (they are voiced by black voice actors).
  • Most of the people we see in Halo are white, despite the fact that all the locations visited on Earth are in Africa. Nevertheless, one of the main supporting characters is African-American Sergeant Johnson; other black characters include Marcus Banks in the 2nd and 3rd games and a female marine in Halo3. As far as Hispanics go, there's Manuel Mendoza inHalo: Combat Evolved and a female marine voiced by Michelle Rodriguez in Halo2.
    • Halo 3: ODST introduces ODST sniper Kojo "Romeo" Agu and New Mombasa natives Sadie, Dr. Endesha, Jonas, and Commissioner Kinsler, all of whom are black (with the latter four being native African).
    • Halo: Reach features three squad members that aren't simply of European ethnicity, although Emile, who has a black voice actor and is depicted as such in concept art, never removes his helmet.
    • The Expanded Universe contains way more characters of non-European ethnicity than the games do; Fhajad-084, Li-008, Jilan al-Cygni, Zheng Cho, Akio Watanabe, Zhou Heng Lopez, Ngoc Benti, Kopano N'Singile, Raj Singh, Maria Esquival, etc.
  • Averted in Mount & Blade: although the setting is based on medieval Europe, it includes both a Central Asian-inspired culture and, in the Mount & Blade Warband, an Arabic/Moorish-inspired culture, each with characters of the appropriate ethnicity. Two black recruitable NPCs also appear, the backstory of each establishing them as from a different continent. The character creator allows a similar range of ethnicities and skin tones to be represented.
  • Averted in StarCraft with Samir Duran, an Arab (or at least pretends to be one). A better aversion would be General Warfield and Gabriel Tosh, who are both black.
  • Every important human characters in the Warcraft games are white. World of Warcraft makes a token effort at sprinkling dark-skinned human NPCs around (albeit as unimportant quest givers or random extras). There is some kind of an explanation for this in-universe humans descend from the very scandinavian Vrykul, but still.
  • The Wild-West game Wild ARMs 3 has Gallows, a "Baskar", a race obviously inspired by Native Americans, as one of the characters in your party. He's not really Flanderized, either. So far he's the only playable Baskar (Aside from Tim Rhymeless from Wild ARMs 2, who is as white as the moon but since he wears a poncho he's totally Indian okay?!)
  • Averted in Fable 3, where there are white, black, oriental, and even vaguely Roma characters sprinkled throughout the world in equal proportion.
    • Played straight in the first two games, where the only black characters are Thunder and Whisper in the first game and Garth in the second. Of course, Garth is from another country, so it's not unreasonable that Thunder and Whisper are as well (the game strongly supports this via dress and accents).
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2. The roster is made up of mostly East Asian and white characters. 4 Eurasians (Ken, Ryo, Yuri, and Benimaru) are also on the roster, along with Balrog (black American), Blanka (originally white, but now takes the appearance of a wild man with green skin), Dhalsim (Indian), Morrigan (a succubus hailing from Scotland), and Sagat (Thai). M. Bison's ethnicity isn't clear, though.
  • Wing Commander: Averted in the first game. Although a majority of your crewmates on the Tiger's Claw are white, it's not by a large margin. Among the main characters, besides the white ones, are a black man, a Japanese woman, and a Taiwanese man. And Maniac.
    • When the games made the jump to Full Motion Video, the ratio of ethnicities tilted towards caucasians, but there was still a fairly significant non-token minority presence, including the first carrier captain seen in the series who wasn't white, Captain Eisen.
  • Averted in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but true in-universe. While the population and cast is pretty diverse and well-represented, advertisements and media that have survived from before the nuclear war seem to be filled with white people only, suggesting that racial equality in the Fallout-verse only seemed to arrive sometime after nuclear armageddon.
    • The above statement is actually true. Most of the vaults were experiments except for a few. Ironically, the most successful vault, Vault 15, was an experiment involving people of different races together. They were supposed to fail. They succeeded. Out of Vault 15 came three of the wastelands toughest raider bands (The Khans/New Khans/Great Khans, the Jackals, and the Vipers). But what really came out of their spirit of multicultural and ethnic diversity was the New California Republic . The first major post-war government that ultimately ended up being like late 20th Century America.
  • Averted in The Elder Scrolls series... sort of. Humans come in four flavors: Roman/Italian, Norse, Celtic/French, and... Black with a cultural mashup of the Middle East, northern Africa, and even bits of Japan. So there it's Humans Are White Except When They're Redguard.
    • Then again, Redguards have a different origin story than other groups of men; they come from the continent of Yokuda instead of Atmora.
    • In Skyrim, Imperials can be anywhere from pasty pale to brown, so it's somewhat averted. And red-blooded Nord Vignar Grey-Mane looks pretty dark, too.

Web Comics

  • Averted with Order of the Stick, based off D&D ver. 3.5, which has a Black protagonist and a large number of Black, Asian and Middle-Eastern NPCs and minor characters.
  • The titular characters of Freak Angels are all pale, even though KK is a pacific islander and Caz is black. They also have purple eyes and were born at the exact same time in the same small English village.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon had one black character - Diana the Acrobat.
  • Transformers Generation 1 was pretty bad about this as well; the only non-white non-alien recurring character was Raoul, a Hispanic-ish street punk... whose skin tone switched to a lighter color in his second (and final) appearance.
    • They probably figured that Jazz was enough.
    • Later series were better about it, with major recurring humans such as Koji Onishi and black Colonel Franklin.
    • Animated itself did a pretty good job. The main recurring human is not white or a human, Detective Fanzone in second place is white, but Issac Sumdac is indian, the mayor of Detroit and his aide are black, as is Corrupt Corporate Executive Porter C. Powell, and backround humans come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Almost all the recurring human bad guys are white, but that's probably to avoid other implications if a Media Watchdog only sees one episode. On another note, during an short story arc in Animated, the five main Autobots turn human. Four out of the 5 are white, to match their voice actors.
      • Don't forget the third-season episode of the original cartoon, "Only Human." The four lead Autobots have their minds transferred into Synthoid bodies, which become conveniently Caucasian (the episode is also noted for being a crossover with the G.I. Joe cartoon).
    • The live action movies have visibility of non-white races, but some Unfortunate Implications that are not just limited to the twin Ethnic Scrappy bots.
  • Silverhawks (which was basically Thundercats in Space!) started with a bunch of white people and their pet. They later added 1 black guy and 1 vaguely Hispanic guy (from the future!) to the team. They were the only minorities I ever recall seeing in the entire show. On top of that, having recently watched some of the old episodes online, it was hilariously unfair to them, via Scooby Doo-style scenarios. The white Silver Hawks have to go talk to a king in his palace. The black guy and the latino get to explore the strange signals coming from the Black Hole of Death in the Terror Galaxy. Every episode.
  • Averted in Gargoyles: Elisa, the main human character, is a half-black and half-Native American New York cop. For an added bonus, the main character, Goliath, was black (or at least Ambiguously Brown) when he was temporarily turned into a human. Note than none of the other Gargoyles seen turned into humans were black, but that's Justified given they're from a Scottish Gargoyle clan. Goliath was presumably made an exception (to match his voice actor, Keith David).
  • Lampshaded in Family Guy's parody of The Empire Strikes Back.

Leia: The Lando System?
Han: Lando's not a system, he's a black guy. Perhaps the only black guy in the universe.

  1. Seldom gal.
  2. Per then-Dragon magazine editor-in-chief Kim Mohan.