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Hi there! Want the appearance of more diversity on your white show, now that the audience is savvy (because before they weren't, it's not like they just didn't have the means to spread awareness)? Look no further! In casting a minority as your white lead's love interest, you'll get the appearance of diversity without having to put in any work! Who is this love interest? What do they want, what motivates them? Who cares! As long as they're around to cheer the hero on when necessary, no need to fuss. Come Season 2, you can start leaving them in the background, their sole existence based on their white romantic partner (or, if all else fails, the other men in the narrative!)

It's a tendency that's cropped up recently, notably in superhero television, seemingly as a way to finally give main roles to characters of color... only, it doesn't pan out that way. It's more of a In Name Only second billing, but the character gets neither the screen time nor the independent development afforded the lead, sometimes even the other supporting characters. If they do, it's usually in an otherwise all-white cast which isn't exactly reflective of the real world communities the shows are supposedly trying to depict.[1]

Compare Black Best Friend. Subtrope of Token Minority.


Examples of Token Love Interest include:


Live-Action TV


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