By Gena-mour Barrett BuzzFeed Staff
1. The troubled student from “the hood” who’s merely waiting for a white lady to swoop in and save them from themselves. “WHAT DO YOU KNOW, WHITE LADY?” the black student screams. “You’re right. I don’t know”, she replies calmly, looking deep into the face of the angry youth: “So, why don’t you explain it to me?”
2. The black friend who’s most admirable for the formidability of their fist bump.
3. The badass authority figure who is so tough and so badass and doesn’t care that they’re the only nonwhite person working in their department because who needs diversity when you’re so busy being TOUGH and BADASS.
4. The black friend who proves the white main character is actually really cool and really progressive and super relaxed about race because they have a singular black friend and it’s, like, not a big deal at all.
5. The angry wife who only ever shouts her husband’s name and for ~some reason~ has a voice several decibels higher than all the other dainty, angel-haired wives called Jill.
6. The comic relief who’s excitingly ambiguous because you never quite know whether you’re laughing at them or with them.
7. The mute extra whose only job is to deliver a package and/or roll their eyes.
8. The sole black character in a horror movie who’s promptly killed after minimal screen time, but not before establishing themselves as the only character who doesn’t want to inspect the “weird noise” in the basement and calls all the white characters crazy.
9. The insightful friend who has no visible life of their own, making them perfectly equipped to give the white protagonist the exact life advice they need to hear.
10. The character with the dubious accent that’s kind of supposed to be from somewhere in Africa, sort of, but doesn’t actually reflect a specific country because Africa is basically one big country anyway.
11. The talented prodigy who only realises their true potential when a kind, generous white man decides to really see their talent. “He’s got a gift”, says brave white man to every other character in the movie. Literally no one else agrees until the very end, when the prodigy proves they actually do have talent, and the white character is considered brave for having bothered in the first place.
12. That one character in Harry Potter who magically transforms into a white girl once she gets a speaking part.
13. The affable maid who obediently takes care of the rich white woman’s children with little complaint, and whose own children are never actually acknowledged because she’s just so darn good at taking care of that little white child.
14. The token black character who says “on behalf of all black people” without irony.
15. The sassy friend who uses “girl” or “girlfriend” way more frequently than any regular person would in normal conversation. Girl.
16. The character who says all the movie’s most problematic lines and absolves the audience of all guilt for laughing at them.
17. Every single high school character that has been inevitably played by Gabrielle Union.
18. The man with the cool, silky voice whose voice is so cool and silky that he’s cast as God not once, but twice.
19. The bodyguard tasked with the very important job of protecting the white protagonist and ensuring they get their shit together. The two initially don’t see eye to eye, but they eventually bond after the bodyguard swoops in for 167th time to save the day, leading the white protagonist to come to the beautiful realisation that “perhaps I actually do need you”.
20. The character whose only lines consist of a single catchphrase.
21. The woman who can only be truly beautiful once she removes her weave while looking in the mirror.
22. The black kid who hangs out with all the white kids and whose parents and home life are never revealed.
23. The mystical old black woman, also known as Madame Something, with psychic abilities, who speaks largely in riddles and elongates all of her words. “BeEeEeWare, for there is great…danger,” she warns. The white characters do not give a shit about her warnings.
24. Every other mystical black character, whose powers are only useful for the benefit of white people.
25. The unusually quiet and reserved character who surprises the audience when you discover that they not only can sing, but SANG.
26. The fast-food worker with a “bad attitude” who’s normally chewing gum and never appears to be doing their job properly.
27. The single, independent best friend whose sole purpose is to give shitty love advice and never have a man of her own.
28. The black character who dies solely to advance the storyline. “I’ll never forget you,” cries the white protagonist, who promptly forgets them two scenes later.
29. The assistant who answers the white protagonist’s phone calls, organises their meetings, and pops in every now and again to listen to whatever thrilling new way the main character has fucked up now.
30. The athlete who’s just begging for some tough love from a white coach who’s new in town and completely out of their depth.
31. The black character who makes jokes about how white all their friends are.
32. The “thug”. Easily distinguished by dark clothing, a “shifty demeanour”, and a unique ability to exist in a movie without ever having to explore the injustices of the criminal justice system.
33. The hip-hop dancer type who takes pity on a rhythmically challenged white character, whose life is transformed once they learn how to two-step.
34. Dionne from Clueless.