Racial equality is something that we are currently still fighting for across the world. While we are making progress in some areas, racial inequality remains in areas such as the workplace and even socially. The world’s entertainment reflects this divide in its representation of racial diversity.
We’re going to take a look at some stories in entertainment that have racially diverse characters and represent them well. Only some of these entries deal with racism, while others are the standard for racial equality in entertainment.
This list is made up of TV shows, films, and video games, which means other mediums, such as books, have been left out. I’ve left out stories that focus on only one race or ethnicity, even when it’s appropriate for the type of story that’s being told—Crazy Rich Asians is one such example.
You’d be surprised how difficult it was to build this list. That says a lot about the work that we have left to do. Let’s get into it.
1. Watchmen (HBO)
Pinterest – @applenews @gamespot
This surprise hit had a lot to prove when it premiered at the end of 2019. The Watchmen visual novel is known as one of the best in the medium. HBO’s Watchmen is a tale of redemption and the fight for racial equality and justice. This gritty superhero tale uses the diverse cast to drive home a message about inequality and the work that needs to be done.
2. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Pinterest – @fancaps
Avatar: The Last Airbender originally premiered on Nickelodeon back in the early 2000s. It’s branded as a children’s animated show, but has a depth that even some more mature shows don’t. The characters come from different nations and end up working together, no matter what race they belong to originally.
The narrative in Westworld doesn’t focus on racial equality or racism. The racially diverse cast is what stands out about this entry. You have actors from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities, all with minor and major roles, no matter the color of their skin. It’s an amazing and mind-bending work of art that you should check out.
4. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
On to our first video game entry, with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. This series typically features a witty Nathan Drake as the protagonist; The Lost Legacy is a spinoff with two female leads of different races. Although you only control Chloe, Nadine is just as important and a worthy addition.
5. Master of None
Pinterest @fernanadosantos, @buzzfeed
Master of None is Aziz Ansari’s foray into direction and writing a television show. As a man of Indian decent, Ansari tackles the lack of racial equality in the United States in a hilarious but also sobering way. The supporting cast bring diverse points of view and make this one of the most racially assertive shows on TV.
6. Big Hero 6
Another animated entry on the list, Big Hero 6 features main characters from Asian descent, with a cast covering many other races. The story is simple enough for children to understand, but still kicks you in the emotions if you’re an adult. We’d love to see more stories with casts like this.
7. Black Summer
I picked Black Summer over The Walking Dead because the latter is pretty heavy on the white characters. Black Summer is less bleak than other zombie apocalypse stories and arguably has a focus on racial equality. Characters work together, no matter what language they speak or where they come from.
Yes. Community is comprised of mostly white characters, but there are enough people of color to balance things out, so to speak. This comedy pokes fun at racism and makes some racist jokes, but all in the spirit of acceptance and family. When it comes down to it, we’re all misfits trying to find our real families.
9. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Another animated series, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is now on its second season on Netflix. Kipo doesn’t really focus on racism outright, but instead, treats its characters as equally valuable in spite of their appearance. The show does tackle being different than everyone else, so there are relevant parallels to be drawn.
10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars wasn’t always focused on racial equality. The Last Jedi is the most inclusive Star Wars cast so far, with a female lead and racially diverse characters. The characters’ races aren’t the focus of the story, they’re just people trying to make it in a galaxy far, far away.
Heroes has one of the most racially diverse casts in all of television history. Some of the quirky characters originate from other countries, such as India and Japan. It’s a harrowing tale where anyone can make a difference, superpowers or no superpowers. It doesn’t matter where they come from or who they are.
12. The Walking Dead: The Game
I think The Walking Dead: The Game does a better job portraying racial diversity than the show or comics. Lee and Clementine, the game’s lead characters, are of African and Asian descent and the rest of the cast comes from all over. It’s a dark, heartbreaking tale that we still talk about
13. Altered Carbon
If I had to pick one show that portrayed racial equality the best, it would be Netflix’s Altered Carbon. No one is who they seem and anyone can be anybody else through “sleeve” technology, which allows people to don the body of another. Characters come from every background that you can think up.
14. The Good Place
The main characters on The Good Place are all different races, but all essential to the plot. The series is a portrayal of what Heaven is like, so it makes sense that people of all races would inhabit it. Half comedy and half drama, The Good Place ended on its fourth season but still holds a special place in our hearts.
15. Apex Legends
Pinterest @TechRaptor, @TechNationNews
Apex Legends is a video game that is more about shooting other people online than actually having a plot. Even so, it features some of the most racially diverse characters in all of gaming. It can be a little cheesy and even stereotypical at times, but the developers do their best to include everyone.
16. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is another fan favorite featuring a diverse cast of hilarious and goofy characters from all types of backgrounds, skin colors, and beliefs. The series deals with racism and discrimination quite often. It’s one of the most progressive shows out there and definitely a contender for the funniest one out there.
17. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
It’s rare for an anime to delve into racism, war, identity, philosophy, romance, parenthood, loss, family, and more, all in the same show. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s gruesome show and spends a great deal of time exploring the lack of racial equality in its fictional world.
18. What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Most of the cast of What We Do in the Shadows is European, but there are plenty people of color to be found in this vampire mockumentary. The characters are ultimately just people who happen to be from a certain race. It’s a funny, twisted time.
19. The Last of Us Part II
The last entry on this list is 2020’s The Last of Us Part II. Developer Naughty Dog is known as one of the most inclusive companies in the gaming industry and with good reason. This game ups the ante of the first entry significantly. It’s one of the most violent and depressing stories in the medium, but one that’s worth every second.Next