Strong person of color character
A strong person of color character is a character in fiction who is depicted as a person of color and is presented in the work as important and beneficial, typically by being an individual with their own goals that are not directly tied to their race. Despite the fact that white people only make up around 58% of the population of the USA, they account for the vast majority of characters in published media, and, when people of color do make an appearance, they're usually an ancillary character or villain, not a protagonist, and they're often depicted in a stereotypical manner (or played by a white actor). This isn't just a problem in the USA, a similar exclusion of non-white characters exists in most other Western cultures as well. This lack of representation shows an underlying problem with all Western media industries. Because of this, the very fact that a work of media even has a character who is a POC is worth noting, but having a strong character who is a POC is rare enough to be striking. In recent years, there has been an increase of strong POC characters, but they're still represented far less frequently than their population percentage would suggest.
The bulk of the media I experienced as a child was almost exclusively white. I think the only show I watched in early childhood which had a diverse cast was Sesame Street. When I got a little older I watched shows like Family Matters, Different World, The Cosby Show, and 227, and I saw a handful of movies with a diverse cast. However, looking back at my lists of favorite movies, TV shows, books, video games, etc., the vast majority of them feature only white main characters with the occasional token person of color. Later in life, when I began learning about the importance of representation in the media, it became more important for me to purposely expose myself to media with strong POC characters and keep track of which media has them.
|Big Trouble in Little China
|Most of the Asian characters are strong, many are successful business owners. Wang Chi seeks to rescue his bride, Egg Shen wants to finally defeat his adversary Lo Pan, and Lo Pan strives for more power.
|Roland, one of the main playable characters, is black.
|Everett is black, Lucy is Asian, both are members of the party.
|Goto Dengo, a main character in the story, is Japanese.
|Jodie Landon and Michael Mackenzie are both pretty strong and, in multiple episodes, address racial inequality.
|The sorcerer class is black, the monk from the Hellfire expansion is Asian.
|Amy Wong and Hermes Conrad are both people of color who see growth throughout the series.
|The character Data, who is Chinese, is very helpful to the group and often rescues himself and his friends.
|Alyx Vance, the second most important character in the series, is half-black, and her father Dr. Eli Vance is black.
|The I.T. Crowd
|Although his race doesn't come up in the show, the character Maurice Moss is played by Richard Ayoade who is half Nigerian.
|Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
|Despite being racially insensitive, Short Round and Mola Ram are pretty strong characters, and there are a dozen of side characters who are people of color.
|Left 4 Dead series
|Louis, Coach, and Rochelle are all playable black characters.
|Memoirs of a Geisha
|It's set in Japan, so nearly all of the characters are Japanese.
|The Marquis de Carabas and Hunter are both strong people of color.
|Stanley Hudson, Oscar Martinez, Kelly Kapoor, and Darryl Philbin are all people of color, and important to the ensemble.
|As it takes place in feudal Japan, all of the characters are Japanese
|Tom Collins, Angel Dumott Schunard, Mimi Márquez, Joanne Jefferson, and Benjamin Coffin III are people of color and all strong.
|Hiro Protagonist, the hero and protagonist, is half-black, half-Japanese.
|All of the human characters are Japanese.
|Lieutenant Uhura is black, helmsman Sulu is Japanese, both are strong characters.
|Star Trek: The Next Generation
|Jordi LaForge ends up becoming the chief of engineering in season two and remains strong for the rest of the series. Worf and Guinan, though not human, are strong characters played by a black actors.
|Star Wars series
|Lando is a strong character in the second and third films.