5. Neo in ‘The Matrix’
A computer nerd pops a pill and enters an alternate reality in which he learns martial arts and how to stop bullets mid-flight, becoming the messiah who saves Laurence Fishburne and his people (of color) from annihilation. Sounds about White!
4. Dr. King Schultz in ‘Django Unchained’
Virtually every modern slavery film has a redeemable White character — but most don’t include a bounty hunter who helps a Black man find freedom and become some trigger-happy mash-up of Nat Turner and Rambo. Don’t even get us started on the name.
3. Phyllis Saroka in ‘Sunset Park’
A gym teacher who doesn’t know a pick and roll from a finger roll learns the game of basketball and leads a troubled inner-city high school squad to the championship? Technical foul on the play.
2. Al Harrison in ‘Hidden Figures’
Kevin Costner is a perpetual savior — he literally took a bullet for Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. But the most head-shaking aspect of his inclusion in this historical drama is that many of his character’s noble heroics, like destroying a segregated bathroom sign, never actually happened in real life.
1. LouAnne Johnson in ‘Dangerous Minds’
Michelle Pfeiffer enters a gangsta’s paradise and, through sheer White-woman determination and chocolate bar incentives, wins over inner-city students — always “inner city” — and helps them prevail against an apathetic school system. Hey, at least we got a Coolio classic out of it.