a message from ic-im
A “token” character is a term for a character who is any combination of non-white, non-straight, and/or non-cisgender and has been included in a story’s cast simply for the sake of diversity or political correctness - and they’re pretty much never the main character. They’re known as a “token” character because they are typically the only non-white/non-straight/non-cis character in the cast, like the author was trying to fulfill their Diversity Quota.
It gets especially embarrassing when all of these traits are piled into one character, and they become the story’s captial-T “Token” character. For whatever reason, it’s like they’re the setting’s Chosen One for sexual and/or racial diversity. Everyone else is white/straight/cis except this one person. It’s weird.
You see token characters a lot with ensembles; for example, in high school stories. There might be a central group of friends, and this group will be primarily composed of white, straight, cisgender people - but they’ll have One Black Friend. Or One Asian friend (whose exact nationality is never determined, funnily enough). Or One Gay Friend. And like I said before, in those weird, egregious examples, they’ll have the One Multiracial Gay Trans Friend. This character will have a grand total of maybe five minutes of screen time and probably will be composed entirely of stereotypes, but hey, at least they’re there, right? See, not everyone’s white/straight/cis! This one person over on the side here is XYZ!
(The above is sarcasm. Ugh, tokenism.)
Question I’m sure you’re all wondering: How can you avoid tokenism? Simple. Make more of your characters non-white/non-straight/non-cis. It’s a big old world we live in, folks. There is no good reason and there is no excuse for populating your story only with White Straight Cis people.
Hope that helps.
Another Second Amendment Hero, fighting tyranny.
yeah this crusader hid behind bushes and shot at a 17 year old girl as she stood on her porch. He also was working as a prison officer with kids of his own.