FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Old Lady: Oh G.O.B, you could charm the black off a telegram boy!

Narrator: Okay we'll just tell you now. She's the one who dies.
Arrested Development, "S.O.B.s"

Imagine, for example, a Chinese or Middle Eastern character in an American film. He may (or may not) have adopted the culture and speech of the country that he lives in, but he may also occasionally speak in his native language. While most of the other characters think nothing of it, there is one character who harasses him, insisting he should only "speak 'Merican, goddammit!" That one character is also given the most humiliating death scene in the entire movie. What we've just seen is Death by Racism. When it happens to one-shot, otherwise flat characters, it's more of a convenient way to treat the audience to a visually stunning death without having to display a title card afterwards reading "Trust us, he was a dick." Often, though, the killer will not even care that the victim was a bigot, having just chosen a target at random -- which makes this more Kick the Son of a Bitch. The killer might even be a bigot themselves, and it's just that bigotry was irrelevant in this particular killing.

This trope is most common in shows that have a single Token Minority, but it can also turn up in shows with a Five-Token Band. When taken to extremes, it can become Narm or be an obvious Author Tract. Compare Politically-Incorrect Villain and Asshole Victim. Contrast Vasquez Always Dies and Black Dude Dies First.

Note that if done badly, this could be a case of Straw Man Has a Point and What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?. If the target of the insult was himself an Asshole Victim, or the outburst the writers considered irredeemably racist comes off to certain audiences as excusable, the death may not seem like the Karmic Death it was intended to be.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Death by Racism include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Black Lagoon, during the Neo-Nazi Arc, many Nazis are killed by the protagonists Revy and Dutch (Also, the crew had a hacker Jew onboard). When the commander is cornered, given a gun by Revy, and given a choice to either die by suicide or for them to shoot him, he decides to try to shoot Dutch, only to find out there were no bullets. Revy pulls out her other gun and the two both shoot him.
  • In One Piece, reveals that the Fishman Fisher Tiger died because he refused to have human blood transferred into him when a blood transfusion would have saved him, claiming that "The blood is filled with hatred towards the Fishman race". This is opposed to the story everyone hears as spread by Fishmen, that he didn't get a transfusion because humans were too racist to give him one. Which could've been true in most other cases.
  • In Death Note Raye Penber, after telling his fiancée, former FBI agent Naomi Misora, to Stay in the Kitchen gets owned and dies a very humiliating death in his very next appearance.

Comics

  • Sin City has had two instances in which a man uses a racial slur against Miho. To call them Too Dumb to Live would be an understatement.
  • In a CREEPY story called Hell Hound Blues, a couple of racist record collectors go after an old, valuable blues record that a wise old black man tells them he has in a secret location. Throughout the story they belittle and insult this old man. They, uh, don't make it to the record.

Film

  • A secret agent falls out of an aeroplane without a parachute in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay after 90 minutes of brutalizing and terrorizing ethnic minorities.
    • Toned-down example in the first movie, where a racist cop ends up getting arrested.
  • The racist who insulted young Hannibal Lecter's Samurai-blooded aunt is sliced into chunks by him with her family's Katana as the boy's first victim in Hannibal Rising.
  • The first victim of Death in The Final Destination is a redneck who has no compunctions whatsoever about calling African Americans "the N-Word" (His character is actually listed as "Racist" in the end-credits.) He is given a humiliating end when he tried to burn a cross KKK-style in front of the black lead's house: his tow truck drags his burning and screaming carcass while playing War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" before it explodes.
  • Big Dan Teague in O Brother, Where Art Thou?: When our heroes crash a Klan meeting he's attending, after he does his best to kill them, they drop a giant flaming cross right on his face. Homer Stokes gets his comeuppance after he reveals his membership to the KKK during an angry tirade, which contributes to the audience quite literally running him out of town on a rail.
  • By its very nature, Crash (the Haggis one, not the Cronenberg one) averts and subverts this with various characters.
  • Koobus from District 9 could be considered an example. Late in the film he admits that he loves watching prawns die, 'prawns' being the aliens. At the climax, a group of prawns tear him apart and eat him.
  • Pretty much any action film with Nazis or Neo-Nazis, really. This is why they're Villains by Default. They're inherently racist and inherently OK to kill, even without seeing any on-screen atrocities.
  • The bulk of the interaction between the Jerk Jocks and the Indian kid Ravi in The Final consists of them taunting him with racist remarks about "dotheads" and "thank you come again!". They don't actually die, but judging by what happens to them, death may have been a welcome escape.

Live Action TV

  • Treated realistically on Law and Order SVU, where an Arab-hating teen who killed an Arabic victim earlier kills a Middle Eastern fellow prisoner in a holding cell. His lawyer tries a version of the Insanity Defense that's pretty extreme even by Hollywood Law standards; that he's biologically programmed to hate Arabs. He's convicted for the earlier murder, but never serves his time for either murder, as he's ganged up on and killed by the dead prisoner's friends.
  • In the Tonight Someone Dies episode of Arrested Development, the narrator points out the woman who does die after she says Gob could "charm the black off a telegram boy."
  • Toned-down example: the pilot for Spenser: For Hire has cool badass Hawk working as the bad guy's bodyguard -- when he's ordered to kill Spenser, he refuses due to mutual respect. Bad guy yells "I told you to kill him, you goddamn nigger!" Hawk raises an eyebrow, clucking "Racial invective!", promptly resigns, and lets Spenser kick the guy's ass.
  • Inverted on The Jeffersons, when a KKK leader who'd refused to let his son learn CPR in a class with Louise and Florence suffers a heart attack and is saved by George's use of this skill. His parting words ("You should've let me die") suggest he'd have preferred Death by Racism to owing his life to a black man.
  • In The X-Files episode "Kaddish", a very rabid Neo-Nazi who incited three teenagers to murder a Jewish store owner is strangled to death by a Golem created in the image of the murdered man, after it's killed the three teenagers. No one sheds any tears over any of them.

Music

  • The video for Fatboy Slim’s “Don’t Let The Man Get You Down” introduces you to a nice-looking fellow named Don. Don likes a lot of neat things, like fishing. DON IS A RACIST. The middle of the video is mostly about how he makes his own life miserable by being mean to non-whites. At the end, he dies in a non-sequitur fashion, and an apparent Spoof Aesop is that if you are a racist, you will die in some sort of Karmic Death accident.
  • Monty Python’s song Never Be Rude to an Arab plays with this hilariously.

Video Games

  • Garithos from Warcraft was torn apart and eaten by ghouls because Sylvanas was tired of him trying to take Lordaeron from its undead citizens on the grounds that, well, he just didn't like zombies (or any other non-human race).
    • Bonus points for the fact that he spent the previous campaign harassing the Blood Elves. If Sylvanas (also a Blood Elf in life) had known this, his death probably wouldn't have been any less gruesome.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, Herbert Moon is rather prejudiced. This comes and bites him in the expansion Undead Nightmare, where he proclaims to John Marston that he doesn't like Jews, non-whites, Native Americans, Catholics, Fabians, socialists, homosexuals, Asians, British and women. He also claims the current situation is the work of the "Jewish British Catholic homosexual elite" to bring down America. About two minutes later, he leaves his store and is torn apart by some zombies.
  • In both "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" and its comic-book adaptation, we have Nazi spy Klaus Kerner. When Indy, Sophia, and the Nazis all find themselves at the climax in the midst of a "god machine" (an ancient Atlantean device that supposedly uses atomic energy to turn human beings into gods), Kerner insists on being the first test subject. In the comic, he boasts that since he is the only person there of "pure-blooded Prussian" ancestry, he is the most fit to be a god. (In the video game itself, he simply shouts, "I am in charge of this operation!") Ignoring the hideously deformed skulls littering the area and even shoving other people out of the way, Kerner triumphantly mounts the platform at the center of the room just as the machine is starting up. "I, Klaus Kerner, will rule the world!" he crows. "That Bavarian upstart, Hitler, will kiss my feet!" - right before he melts into a hideous mass of brown gunk and then explodes. (In the game, he shrinks into an antlered dwarf so clumsy and stupid that he trips over his own feet and falls into the lava.)

Web Comics

  • Speed Racist from Cyanide and Happiness is a short where a racist dies in a car crash, caused by speeding, after yelling "go back to Africa" to a black guy. This is a short, and not a comic, because it's three minutes of him lamenting (and debating) the irony of the situation, though it's not enough to save him.

Web Original

  • A now-deleted entry from the SCP Foundation "The Racist Door". A door decoration that, when placed on a door, would attempt to injure any non-white person who tried to open it. A white-supremacist doctor at the organization keeps it on his door for his amusement. Eventually, said doctor mysteriously dies after a prolonged illness. It it then determined that the doorway upon which the decoration is hanged will, over time slowly kill anyone who walks through it. The report concludes by suggesting the possible sentience of the item in its attempts to protect non-white races from the effect, and the note that "racism is not exclusive of Caucasians."
  • Rarity in DRESS.MOV of the Pony Dot Mov series forces illegal Mexican immigrants to make dresses for her. It doesn't end well.

Real Life

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.