Follow TV Tropes


Category Traitor

Go To
"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 the group actually exists as a relevant group and whether Bob actually sympathizes with it or not.

Consequently, Alice will consider Bob a "traitor" or similar whenever he does something she considers to be against the group. This also includes anything that might be beneficial to any other group, based on the assumption that helping others is the same as damaging the group. She gets to decide what's good for the category, and she assumes any disagreement comes from treachery. 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 Straw Character 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. Can bring up accusations of being a Hypocrite (Straw or otherwise) on Alice's part, especially if Alice's category normally stresses the importance of things such as freedom and individuality (the obvious implication being that Alice hypocritically only pays lip service to these values). If Alice is prejudiced enough, she may label Bob a traitor even if she hates the things that non-traitorous members of the group supposedly do — because how can you justify hating someone if he doesn't have the good taste to conform to a hate-worthy stereotype?

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. May overlap with Entitled to Have You, if "loyal to the group" means "having sex with/marrying me", or The Quisling if they actively adhere to the category's oppressor in the process. Often includes the use of an Outside/Inside Slur. Compare Boomerang Bigot, Black Republican, The Whitest Black Guy, Gay Conservative, and My Species Doth Protest Too Much. Can sometimes lead to Defends Against Their Own Kind. Contrast Stop Being Stereotypical, when a character is criticized for the opposite behavior.

This is not an Audience Reaction entry: only examples where one character is in-universe accused of betraying his category are allowed. Whether or not the accusation is portrayed as justified is worth mentioning, but not relevant to whether or not it counts as an example.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: When they're holding meetings at their anti-girls club, the former sometimes accuses the latter of being a traitor to the male sex because he actually finds women attractive.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Sheep & Wolves, the dark wolves certainly see Grey and his pack as traitors to their kind for bucking the natural order and living in peace with sheep. In fact, Gark's whole motivation in the film for targeting Grey is his bigotry towards prey animals and disgust towards his fellow alpha wolf for 'lowering himself' to their levels, wanting to either teach him a lesson or make an example out of him to other wolves.

  • Appears a few times in The Space Gypsy Adventures. DC Bones, as well as being a Federal Alliance officer, is also a Space Gypsy, like protagonist Gemma. This doubles as a Morton's Fork for him, because he knows that to side with the Alliance would label him as a traitor to his clan, but to side with his clan would label him as a traitor to the Alliance. More often than not, he'll let his devotion to the Alliance preside over his loyalties to the Space Gypsies. This means that poor Bones is unable to try and reach out to Gemma, and convince her that he's not entirely bad, when he tries to talk to her in The Christmas New Arrival.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, it's hard not to find a faction of humanity that others have labeled as "traitors" or "heretics". In particular, the Chaos Space Marines descended from the Emperor's traitorous sons. And as for humans who joined the Tau Empire voluntarily or involuntarily and their descendants, all Imperial factions get a bonus to close combat against them — many of these "Gue'vesa"note  fight for the Tau not because they admire the Greater Good ideology of their alien overlords, but simply because they know full well how the Imperium would embrace them.
  • Warhammer: The Dwarfs hate many races in the world - goblins, greenskins, ratmen, elves, but their greatest ire is reserved for the Dawi Zharr, the Chaos Dwarfs. It is one thing to murder a dwarf, it is one thing to burn down Josef Bugman's brewery and drink all the beer, and it is one thing to underpay the dwarf stonemasons who built your castle by twelves pennies, and it is even one thing to shave a dwarf... but it is a special stinging affront for your own kin to turn their backs on the Ancestor Gods and everything that makes Dwarfs great to go off into the wilderness to muck around with magic and the setting's Religion of Evil. The Dawi Zharr are disavowed by their proper kin and it is an exceedingly poor idea to even mention them within earshot.

  • 1 John 2:15 warns Christians to not associate with nonbelievers.
    "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."


    Web Animation 
  • FreedomToons: When a black guest on The Echo Chamber disagrees with the racial victimhood narrative, Dr. Mac somehow finds a way to declare him a white supremacist.
  • RWBY:
    • Blake was a former member of the White Fang, an organization devoted to fighting for the rights of the faunus, a race of part-animal, part-humans. Blake ended up leaving the organization because they had slid into extremism and violence, and Adam, the leader of the branch she was in, declared her a traitor for leaving ...although he had other reasons for being upset at her as well.
    • In Volume 5 when Blake's father Ghira tries to tell the people of Menagerie that the only way to stop Adam's plan to kill High Leader Sienna Khan and destroy Haven Academy is to protect Haven Academy (and therefore all the humans there), Ilia Amitola, an Evil Former Friend of Blake's who works with the White Fang, publicly denounces the Belladonna family as traitors and "the worst kind of Faunus" for even suggesting that.
    • The Branwen twins, Qrow and Raven, were raised by bandits before becoming huntsmen. Raven eventually left the huntsmen and returned to the bandits while Qrow didn't. As such, they both see the other as a traitor to the faction they're loyal to.

    Web Comics 
  • In Goblins: Multiple characters call out the main characters for being monsters that took on adventuring, especially the part about leveling up like regular Player Characters. They usually counter with how badass class abilities and plot armor make them.
    • Duv declares Dies-Horribly and Saves-a-Fox traitors to goblinkind when they refuse to submit to her goals of goblin supremacy.
  • In Kevin & Kell:
    • Kevin says his family of rabbits considers him and his adopted hedgehog daughter Lindesfarne "traitors" because of his Maligned Mixed Marriage to Kell, a predator. Kell's wolf family doesn't go this far, but it's clear that early on, they disapprove of Kevin. The rabbits eventually accept Kevin back as one of them when they realized his hybrid daughter Coney is an asset to them, and Kell eventually won them over when she banned the hunting of rabbits during her brief stint as CEO of Herd Thinner.
    • When Fiona's ears came in (fennec foxes have rabbit-like ears, Fiona initially took after her red fox mother) she briefly joined the Fennec Pride movement but left when they objected to her being in a relationship with a non-fennec (Rudy). She almost got her ears shortened as a result, but Rudy convinced her that she could still be proud of who she is, even if the movement didn't accept her.
    • Kevin's ex-wife Angelique eventually lost the right to call herself a rabbit altogether after she betrayed her species by revealing some of their secrets to R.L., CEO of Herd Thinners. She just had plastic surgery to look like a rat and claimed she was that instead. Years later, she shows that she's still a traitor by directing Herd Thinners to exclusively go after rabbits, forcing the main characters to literally scare her straight.
  • Slightly Damned:
    • Kieri, an angel, is considered a traitor for her companionship with Buwaro, a demon.note  One particular Knight Templar angel attempted to kill her after she merely protected Buwaro. Her brother Kazai tries to write the relationship off as 'not your fault, you've been through a lot', but freaks out when she starts questioning the motives of Kazai's superior officer because of her new outlook on angels and demons; angels have indoctrinated themselves into following all orders and arbitrary customs at all times. Soon after, the superior officer reveals she turned actual traitor because following orders prevented her from deciding who she could love.
    • Buwaro is also ridiculed by his fellow demons for having an angel girlfriend, and the more fanatic demons are dismayed when they get to St. Curtis, the town they are supposed to sack and find their fellow demons have assimilated into its society.
  • Unsounded: Ruffle's brother and the other older Inak in her village berate her for befriending humans, and when they lock her in a closet she reveals that by this point she wants to be human rather than Inak and sees herself as fitting in more with her human friends than her own people.
  • 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.

    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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Race Traitor, Gender Traitor, Class Traitor, Straw Traitor



The only thing that knocks Daemon out her serenity is Hexidecimal's transformation into a sprite.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CategoryTraitor

Media sources: