Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes That I Refuse to Say Are Dead Until PoC Have a Chance to Utilize Them

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Favorite Tropes.” I feel like my title this week is very wordy, but I couldn’t think of a pithier way to explain what I was doing with this topic. These are tropes I see lots of people say they are tired of, but I won’t be tired of them until I see just as many books with PoC, specifically written by PoC, also being able to utilize them like white authors have. And please, if you have recommendations, let me know in the comment! Also, side note, can we get more of these stories without the obligatory white love interest?

1. Fake Dating – This is one of my favorite tropes, but I can literally count on one hand the number of times I have seen this in a book written by and starring a person of color.

2. You’ve Got Mail – I’ve seen this one multiple times in YA novels, but don’t think I’ve ever see a book with this trope with PoC at the center.

3. The Chosen One – I know there are tons of readers who are over this trope, but do you know that there are still readers and especially young PoC who haven’t gotten to see themselves as the chosen one? Let them have a turn before you cancel it.

4. Fairytale Retellings – No matter how many Cinderella retellings there are, I will never say no to one where a PoC gets to have their happily ever after.

5. Hidden Royal – I want PoC to have a chance to be royalty, including royalty in disguise. I promise to act surprised and everything.

6. Friends to Lovers – Because I do enjoy this trope, but I don’t seem to pick up too many books with it, I’d like to see a few books with PoC featuring this one.

7. Star-Crossed Lovers – Angst abounds with this trope. I secretly love all the angst and need more of this trope but with PoC leads. Also does anyone know where I can stream Still Star-Crossed? I need to binge watch it because I miss it.

8. Vampires, werewolves, angels, etc. – All these creatures have had their shot, except they all seem to be white and PoC also love creature books and want a shot at being the brooding vampire or the mortal who falls for said brooding vampire.

9. Happy Ever After – All the happily ever afters for PoC please. It really doesn’t matter in what form, but so many books about PoC are “issue” books and put PoC’s pain on display for consumption, I’d really like to see more happy books featuring PoC.

10. Hate to Love – My favorite trope ever that I cannot get enough of. I want to see this trope in all forms in books about PoC. I would eat it up. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!!!

Are you a fan of these tropes? Which trope would you like to see in books featuring PoC? Give me all your recs! Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

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36 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes That I Refuse to Say Are Dead Until PoC Have a Chance to Utilize Them

  1. Tropes are totally fine with me. It’s always interesting to see what new twist an author will put on a passe premise. Star crossed lovers is one of my fave tropes just like Romeo and Juliet is one of my fave Shakespearean plays.

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  2. Yes to everything on this list. One of the things that bothered me about criticism I saw for Trail of Lightning was that it has a lot of urban fantasy tropes, but it has every right to have all of those tropes because, unlike pretty much every other urban fantasy novel out there, it’s an own voices First Nations novel. Also I need to watch Still Star-Crossed – I’m not even sure if it was ever shown here in the UK because I don’t think I ever saw it on advertised on TV here, so I need to find it online and finally watch it. And I haven’t seen that version of Cinderella in years! I love that movie. 😀

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    1. Yes, I remember with Children of Blood and Bone came out, it was criticized for the chosen one trope, but when has a black character gotten to be the chosen one? Still Star-Crossed was so good. I miss it so much. Cinderella was so good. I think I only saw it that one time, but it made such an impression.

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  3. You have some very good points here and yep, I personally am over some of these but you are right, very rarely do you see them with POC. I do see some with supernatural creatures but mainly when they are incorporated into sci-fi/fantasy titles. I hope you get what you want with these 🙂

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    1. Yes, I would devour all of the books with these tropes if PoC got to be in the spotlight. Even things as simple as PoC on book covers is something we haven’t seen much of, but I always hear people complain about models on covers. I like the illustrated cover trend, but I would love to see more PoC models on covers before we move on from it.

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  4. I love most of those! But those I don’t like have been overdone but overdone in the same pattern so having PoC as MCs for those not only provides representation (which is already super important!) but also can add something new as it would often bring some cultural elements as well so it won’t always be in the same worn-out context. And some tropes are Just So Good I can see them thousands of times and never be bored! And diverse rep is always a priority for me 🙂

    As for recs, The Soulstealers has a nice subversion of The Chosen One trope with a black bisexual girl as the MC!

    My TTT!

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  5. My absolute favorite star-crossed lovers book starring two black Americans is If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. While I did enjoy the movie, that book tore me up inside. SO HARD.

    You and I may have talked about this, Alicia, but I hate the fact that I love You’ve Got Mail the movie. Tom Hanks’s character is so f-ing abusive and manipulative, and in the end I’m all sobbity-sobbing that they get to be together. I need to analyze and break that down some day. It won’t be easy.

    Would you consider doing a follow-up post in which you recommend books with these tropes by/about POC, maybe even including some of the recs your readers gave you? I could only think of one, and that made me sad.

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  6. Diversity in general is something that is not quite there yet, but getting better in publishing. Both Jenn Nguyen’s books were fake dating, and Kristina Forest swears she will only write HEA brown girl romances. So, we have the to look forward to. I cannot recall a hidden royal featuring a POC though. You got me on that one.

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  7. Okay so about your entire list of tropes? YES, PLEASE. The taste just jumped out in this one. Ugh, I’m such a sucker for fake dating. I really am. I was thinking about it earlier like, well, I’ve kind of calmed down on that one lately, but then I see it on everyone’s list and suddenly I’m waving a giant neon sign that says TRASH FOR FAKE DATING TROPES and my neighbors are telling me to TURN THAT OFF FOR THE LOVE OF GOD because it’s “too late” or whatever.

    In all sincerity, phew! I’m disappointed that I didn’t even think of the royal twist. The hidden royal is SUCH a fun trope when done right. But it’s like it just slipped my brain entirely??? Dang. Also, yes, give us all the happily ever afters.

    Oh and before I forget (I’m all over the place with this comment I’m sorry!!!) the fact that you used the gif of Brandy in Cinderella ???? yessss. That was my first experience with the musical (Rodgers and Hammerstein work in general) and it started a lifelong love of it and theatre. So, I’m grinning so incredibly cheesy and childlike over that.

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