The elite four are often regarded as the strongest four trainers (baring the regions champion) of the region in which they reside. The only exception being Kanto and Johto who share an elite four, which has changed over the years with Bruno being the only staying member. The concept of the elite four is based on the ‘four heavenly kings’ who are gods in Buddhism.
“Pokémon is racist since there are very few dark-skinned trainers and none of them are important to the plot or game.” I’ve found this statement to be used sometimes in defense of those who wish to degrade Pokémon, and while I agree that the dark-skinned to light-skinned characters ratio is small, there are indeed some important dark-skinned trainers that I would like to point out. I’m not trying fetishize or show a bias to these characters, but I would like to make sure they are known as they are evidence against this claim.
Matt-One of two Team Aqua Admins who contributes to the conflict between the player and Team Aqua and is supposed to be a formidable opponent to newer players (he did support Team Aqua’s cause, making it a major fault of his)
Shelly-One of the Team Aqua Admins who also contributes to the conflict between the player and Team Aqua and eventually opens up to the player along with some other Team Aqua members (she, however, still supported Team Aqua’s cause)
Archie-Leader of Team Aqua and main antagonist in the conflict between the player and Team Aqua who not only manages to achieve his goal but also triumphs over Maxie if you play Alpha Sapphire, and tries to stop Maxie from destroying the world with Groudon’s power if you play Omega Ruby (although, to be fair, his goal was to fill the world with water using Kyogre’s power)
Lenora-The first Unova Gym Leader in Black and White who is director of the Nacrene Museum, is married to a light-skinned man (thus showing a canon interracial relationship in a Nintendo game which isn’t unhealthy as far as we know), and also works as an archeologist. One role of hers in the plot was related to the analysis of the Light/Dark Stone. Her art is different due to American censoring, but I have placed both versions here.
Grant-The second Kalos Gym Leader who also happens to be a trendsetter and carried the title of Grand Duke at the Battle Chateau in the anime (the highest ranking) and Marquis in the game, alongside the other male Gym Leaders.
Marshal-One of the Unova Elite Four who also acts as a support for Cheren once before the player’s rematch with him.
Iris-The final Unova Gym Leader if you play White and the Champion of the Unova League in Black 2 and White 2. If you play Black, she teaches your Dragon-type Pokémon the move Draco Meteor if they have high friendship. She was also a main character in the Pokémon anime who traveled alongside Ash for the Black and White seasons.
And let’s not forget that with the addition of X and Y into the Pokémon franchise, the player could choose from different skin tones. This means that arguably the most important character in X and Y, who defeats Team Flare, the Champion, and possibly the Grand Duke, possibly completes the Pokédex, possibly becomes the most stylish person in Lumiose City, and ultimately assumes the role of a master Trainer, could be dark-skinned. Add this to many dark-skinned NPCs along the way, and it makes quite a bunch.
I’ve probably missed some characters, but the given examples are all more than enough to get the point across. Again, I did not mean to fetishize these characters and openly admit that all of them have their faults, just like any other character. I also admit that they are just as important as others and are no more so. However, they do exist, and thus make up part of the Pokémon franchise. Thank you for reading, and sorry for the long post.