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Insert one to ignore genuine inclusiveness
It doesn't stop
at the water's edge

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Think of the worst politician you can. When we have a woman as bad as him elected, then we have equality.
—Amanda Vanstone

Tokenism is the practice of using a member of a minority group in order to "prove" how "progressive and forward-thinking" your organization is.

For instance, Alan Keyes was the Republican Party's "token black" and would still be if Alan Keyes weren't too fucking crazy even for Republicans (they now have Michael Steele, Allen West, Herman Cain and Ben Carson. And Dinesh D'Souza Michelle Malkin if you need non-black minorities). Some companies will hire one representative of a given group — for instance, one black person, one gay person, or one woman[1] — to give the entire company the appearance of being inclusive.

Similarly, traditionally exclusionary organizations such as private schools will go out of their way to put photos of minorities in their literature, creating a parallel Bizarro World of multiculturalism that does not exist in said organization's objective reality. It's why Bob Jones University has photos of black guys and Asians on the front page of its web site.[2]

Tokenism is also used to give organizations the appearance of political balance. For instance, Alan Colmes was one of Fox News' "Token Liberals."[3]


See the main article on this topic: Gamergate § .23NotYourShield

In response to criticism of Gamergate being predominantly male and white, and therefore unknowing of minority issues, members of the group created the #NotYourShield hashtag. Members of Gamergate posted pictures of themselves usually with a note indicating a timestamp and purpose. Critics of the movement have claimed that sockpuppet accounts were created, and while this is true, the majority of posts were created by accounts with a long history.

While not strictly tokenism (as it was a direct response to criticism), this shares some traits with the concept.

Example tokens[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Or one black lesbian to include all three groups with one person.
  2. There are many, many more photos of white people, however.
  3. Similarly, Pat Buchanan was one of MSNBC's "Token Racists."