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November 13, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 13, 2008 |

The election of Barack Obama was a momentous occasion in the country for plenty more reasons that the fact that Obama is an African-American. But the fact that he is represents a true turning point in this country, one that has the potential to transform the country’s perception of black men. It won’t happen quickly; racial profiling will still be a problem, secretly racist women will still cling to their purse a little tighter when walking past an African-American man, and Paul Haggis will, undoubtedly, continue to trot our racist stereotypes. That said, maybe the election of Barack Obama will speed the eradication of the token black man from film. Some progress has been made in that direction, but still, unless it’s Will Smith or Denzel Washington, or — sometimes — Samuel Jacksos, there’s a better than decent chance the African-American actor will bite it before the credits roll.

But as we move forward socially, let’s take a moment to look back at the ten best token black characters of all time, actors who have made the best of their screen time before meeting their ultimate and almost inevitable demise.

10. Evan Parke as Hayes in King Kong

9. Samuel Jackson as Ray Arnold in Jurassic Park

8. Jazz the Autobot in Transformers

7. Deon Richmond as Malik in Not Another Teen Movie

6. Joe Morton as Miles Dyson in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

5. Jim Brown as Robert Jefferson in The Dirty Dozen

4.Mykelti Williamson as Bubba Gump in Forrest Gump

3. Dorian Harewood as Eightball in Full Metal Jacket

2. Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian Star Wars*

1. Yaphet Kotto as Parker in Alien

* Note: Although Lando Calrissian doesn’t actually die in the Star Wars trilogy, he is nevertheless a legendary token black guy and warrants inclusion herein. I mean, come on: He’s the most popular token black guy in the history of cinema.

A Seriously Random List XXI / Dustin Rowles

Lists | November 13, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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