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Tropes That Annoy Me: The Magical Minority

You know that point in the movie. The hero has hit a wall. Hit a low point. Hit the place where most people would give up, mourn, and try to pick up the pieces. Along comes an inspirational message from the nearest Magical Minority, a trope so large that it has entire sets of sub-tropes. This helps get

It's usually a person of colour, but occasionally a disabled person. For extra points, it's a disabled person of colour. And the reason why this happens so often is that there are no other roles for minorities in the movie.

Fuck "we cast the best person for the role", that's bad casting choices.

When I was a kid, I learned about the "one black person" law for Hollywood. In which films made after a certain date had to have one black person (minimum) in their cast for a certain time. I had a lot of fun spotting the one black person in the movie.

And I also spotted how often this one black person was the font of unexpected wisdom for the downtrodden hero before the inevitable rise to victory. Also alarming how often said one black person was cast as the Worldly Janitor but still spoke thick Ebonics. But not thick enough as to make them unintelligible to the (presumed white) audience.

Not that there's anything wrong with Ebonics per se. It's when it's obviously stereotyped Ebonics that ticks me off.

I was a nerd even in my youth. I got to recognise an obvious stereotype from an early age. I also noticed more than a few patterns that I would later learn are tropes.

This one's been an annoying trope since about 12 years old for me.

It's not just limited to people of colour, of course. Characters who can see the future are most often also literally blind to the present. When writers set out to make a character disabled, they also give them a 'counter' ability that almost renders that disability moot.

Case in point: Daredevil. The magical blind man with superpowers that almost render him fully sighted. Sure, the writers did their homework, and based a lot of Daredevil's abilities on the enhanced other senses that the blind tend to experience.

I've yet to see a long-term super-powered deaf person. That's something that some have tried at, but the powers are usually tied to a super-hearing-aid.

And we all know about a super-powered man in a wheelchair who can literally take over everyone's mind on the planet. If you don't, then go watch one of the X-Men movies. You'll catch up.

Lately, we've had the Super-Autistic Genius. The young man [it's always a young man so far] who has visual tics and stims but in his eyes, he's tuning into electronic frequencies. The hyper-observant man who can see every clue on a body or on a suspect.

Writers use the Autism as an excuse to make their male lead a fallible jerk who nevertheless makes a token gesture of kindness once in a while to redeem himself in the eyes of the audience. I've yet to spot an Autistic lead lady with any kind of superpowers. Usually the Autistic ladies get to be the victims. Except in the film The Accountant, where she's actually a boss-ass hacker in the last five minutes of the movie. That's a skill, not a super-power, but it's kind of close enough.

I like seeing people represented, but when they're a vehicle that enables the otherwise "normal" hero to move onwards... that's when it's awful. When they have abilities that "cancel out" the disabilities, it gets... painful. When the disability is used as an excuse, that's a crutch for the writers so that they can get away with laziness.

That's bad writing.

Writers should have sufficient imagination to avoid this sort of bullshit.