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"Blood-traitor is next to Mudblood in my book."

Bob belongs to a certain group, or at least Alice considers him to belong to it. And thus she demands that he stay "loyal" to this group. It's beside the point whether or not the group actually exists as a relevant group and whether Bob actually sympathizes with it or not.

And thus, Alice will consider Bob a "traitor" or similar whenever he does something she considers to be against the group. This includes anything that might be beneficial to any other group, based on the assumption that helping others is the same as damaging the group. Note that words such as "traitor" or "betrayer" do not necessarily have to be invoked, as long as Alice makes her position clear one way or another.

This group can be exactly anything. In real life, psychological experiments have shown that people can quickly be made to develop group identity over any dividing lines, no matter how arbitrary and superficial. However, some dividers are more common than others. The classics are race, gender, class, religion and what sports team you're cheering for. "Uncle Tom" is a common mainstream term for people who are perceived as betraying their own group in order to gain the favor of an outside, usually more powerful, group.

Branding someone a Category Traitor is usually Serious Business... at least for the character who does it, even if the narrative doesn't agree -- the accuser can be portrayed as justified or at least as a good kind of bigot, but can also be portrayed as a Strawman Political or someone doing Activist Fundamentalist Antics. In either case, being branded as a Category Traitor might cause Internalized Categorism. In cases where the accusation itself is an obvious strawman, this trope can be called Straw Traitor. A Cultural Rebel is especially prone to being branded as a Category Traitor.

Usually overlaps with With Us or Against Us, when Alice gives Bob an ultimatum regarding whatever activities he may be doing that Alice considers traitorous.

No Real Life Examples, Please. And no Audience reaction examples either: Only examples where one character is in-universe accused of betraying his category. Whether or not the accusation is portrayed as justified is worth mentioning, but not relevant to whether or not it counts as an example.

Examples of Category Traitor include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Code Geass, some Japanese people consider "honorary Britannians" like Suzaku to lack dignity for having sought honorary citizenship from an occupying conqueror.
  • In Gundam Seed, of course ZAFT considers Kira a traitor because he fights for Earth while being a Coordinator, but even his friends question his engagement sometimes. Pretty dumb when you consider that as a first generation Coordinator, he is not in the same category his parents are.
  • In Digimon Tamers the Devas and their master consider any digimon who partners with a human (or for some, who have ever been partnered with a human) to be traitors to their kind.

Comic Books

  • In Bitchy Butch, Butchy is very quick to brand other women as gender traitors for not sharing her misandry (hatred & prejudice against men).
  • Whatever Love Means rants quite a bit about how men are expected and indoctrinated to be loyal to men in general, at the expense of women. Mostly at a more structural level than Bros Before Hoes.
  • In one issue of Superman where the second Bloodsport (a white supremacist) is making his debut, he comes across a gang of thugs (two black, one white) about to rape a woman. He kills the two black thugs, then kills the white guy for being a "race traitor."
    • Oddly enough, the woman in this example is initially shown to be white on the first page, but the next page shows her to be a black woman (who Bloodsport also kills before he shoots the white guy).

 White guy: (Bloodsport has him at gunpoint) P-please--don't--

Bloodsport: SHUT UP! Think I want to do this? If there was any other--

Woman: What're you saying? You know what they were gonna do to me? Shoot him! Shoot the son-of-a--

(Bloodsport shoots her instead)

Bloodsport: (about the woman) They always knew their place. (to white guy) You're no better. You're a race traitor! (kills him)

  • Subverted in Manhunter. Kate, who's white, tries this on Director Bones when refuses to send back-up to help Kate rescue a group of Mexican women from superhuman organ-thieves. She insinuates that he has forgotten what color his skin would be, since despite the fact that he literally looks like a skeleton, Bones is in fact a black man. He immediately tears into Kate and essentially tells her "Shut up, you don’t know shit about being black, so don’t you dare patronize me and act like you understand what it means to be a minority."

Film

  • In Avatar, the humans are invading the planet Pandora. Destroying the environment and escalating their hostility against the native Na'vi population towards genocidal proportions. When the human protagonist lives among the aliens as one of them - using the titular Avatar technology - he begins to sympathize with their cause and ultimately decides to become a Na'vi and help them fight his fellow humans. Colonel Quaritch accuses him of "betraying his species."
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy accuses Mola Ram of betraying Shiva - a deity that neither of them worshiped. Mola Ram was a priest of Kali, who in this particular setting seem to be the evil half of a black and white dualism, locked in eternal battle with the good deity Shiva. Jones never explained his reasoning, but one can assume that he felt that Mola Ram was obliged to worship Shiva because he was Indian.
    • The Stones that served as the movies' MacGuffin were said to have been given to humans by Shiva. Doesn't quite explain why simply having them equates to fealty to Shiva, but presumably the god expects to be acknowledged. The "betrayal" was Mola Ram claiming that the stones were his, when Shiva simply gave or loaned them to mankind. Also, nowhere in the film were Kali and Shiva said to be opposites.
    • Also, worshiping Kali implies a belief in Hindu cosmology, which carries with it an obligation of reverence for Shiva. Mola Ram's particular form of Kali worship would be comparable to a Christian claiming that St. Paul was the real Messiah.
    • Actually, this is actually a case of Justified Trope, because Indy is actually saying the phrase in order to activate a defense mechanism in the stones that will cause them to turn against Mola Ram, so its more a case of Indy Ploy here if nothing else.
  • In The Birth of a Nation, the "radical republicans" are implied to have betrayed the white race, especially with Stoneman himself having an extramarital affair with a black woman - leading him to give power to the evil mulatto who later try to rape his daughter.

Literature

  • The Turner Diaries is built on this trope: The base premise is that being white without being a Nazi is a crime, the Moral Event Horizon of "betraying" your race.
  • In Harry Potter, the Death-Eaters consider wizardry to be in the blood. They also feel that all "real" wizards are obliged to be "loyal" to "their own kind," and thus despise Muggles, as well as wizards with direct Muggle ancestry (who are derisively termed "mudbloods"). Wizards who are from pureblood backgrounds, but don't hate Muggles and Muggle-born wizards, they refer to as "Blood Traitors."
    • In this case the trope is actually eating itself; Arthur Weasley and Sirius Black both point out that thanks to blood purism, pretty much all pureblooded wizards are related to a greater or lesser degree and therefore any attempt to maintain blood purity is doomed to eventually if not immediately die out thanks to homozygosity. Arthur himself - and most of the Weasley family we meet - is liberal.
    • In an interesting look at things, even wizards who aren't Death Eaters have negative opinions on wizards who are a little too interested with Muggle affairs. Arthur Weasley is implied to be passed up for promotions (and subsequently means by which to provide better for his family) because of his unnerving enthusiasm for anything Muggle-related, which even the Minister Of Magic sees as disgraceful. Dumbledore also gets some grief for reading Muggle newspapers.
    • And Molly Weasley has a second cousin who's an accountant, but the family "never talk about him."
  • Huckleberry Finn's father (an uneducated, coarse slob) berated his son for taking up reading and doing quite well, because all their family were illiterate prior to that moment. He even goes so far as outright calling his son a traitor.
  • In Ellison's Invisible Man, Lucius Brockway accuses the narrator of being a traitor to him and Liberty Paints when he walks out of a union meeting. The Narrator, a young man who just wants to get by, wanted nothing to do with the company's politics and stumbled into the union meeting on accident. It takes the Narrator literally beating some sense into Lucius to convince him otherwise.

Live Action TV

  • Seen in Coupling where Sally accuses a gay man of being a traitor because he supports the Conservatives.
  • In an earlier episode of Six Feet Under Keith accuses David of acting in a way that betrays other gay people, and David retorts that a lot of African Americans would say the same of him, since he was a cop. This does not make Keith happy.
  • Though no one has accused him directly, Merlin from Merlin has come up against several magical-users, both allies and enemies, who have suggested that he is a traitor (or at least hugely misguided) in supporting King Uther's anti-magical regime (he's not, he's just biding his time until Arthur is king).
  • The team in Alphas has been accused of this by other alphas for helping track them down and hand them over to the Department of Defense, where they face indefinite imprisonment. Some members of the team clearly worry about this themselves.

Newspaper Comics

  • Surprisingly averted in The Boondocks. While Strawman Political characters abound, particularly black ones, never at any point do any of the characters seriously suggest that the others are race traitors. Even Uncle Ruckus, a self-hating black man who constantly expounds upon the joys of Caucasian-hood, is never rejected by his friends however misguided and extreme his actions become.
    • Occurs in the Trial of R. Kelly where Tom is accused of being a self hating black man because he's married to a white woman. However, he's accused of this by the white defense attorney.

Theater

  • In West Side Story, Maria is pressured to marry Chino simply because they are from the same ethnic group. When she falls in love with an outsider, all hell breaks loose. Interestingly, Chino never gets any Entitled to Have You lines, but that's probably because he's such a minor role in the first place.
  • In Fiddler On the Roof, the protagonist Tevye (a good Jew in a really conservative society, who is struggling with his prejudices and social pressure versus the emancipation of his daughters) considers his beloved daughter Chava to be past the Moral Event Horizon simply for wanting to marry a guy who isn't Jewish. Of course, it makes sense in the historical context of pre-revolutionary Russia, given the tension in that time and place between Jewish and Christian communities (who often violently harassed Jews or forced them out of their homes, and we see both in the musical). And considering that Chava had to convert to marry a Christian man, it makes sense for the devoutly Jewish Tevye to see it as a personal betrayal as well.

Web Comics

  • Played with in The Wotch. At the beginning of the feminist arc Anne gets mad with at the moment Sonja because she reminds her that he IS a man, and not "a woman that sometimes is a guy" as Anne was saying.
  • Slightly Damned: Kieri, an angel, is considered a traitor for her companionship with Buwaro, a demon. One particular Knight Templar attempted to kill her too after she merely protected Buwaro. It is uncertain how other angels, particularly her brother, will react to the fact that Buwaro and Kieri are now dating.

Web Original

  • Phase of the Whateley Universe gets it going and coming. He was a scion of the mutant-hating Goodkind empire, until he manifested as a mutant. His family sees him as a traitor to their cause. Now he's at Whateley Academy, surrounded by most of the teenaged mutants on the planet. Lots of them know he's a Goodkind and treat him as a traitor to mutant-dom.

Western Animation

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