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Straw Affiliation

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Bob belongs to a lot of groups. For example, he might be a man, an atheist, a heterosexual, and he might also have black skin.

Now, Alice picks one of these many groups, and simply assumes that because of that Bob has certain opinions, beliefs, even needs. If Bob doesn't agree, it's because Bob doesn't know what's good for him, or maybe doesn't even know what he really wants. She might even go so far as accusing him of being a Category Traitor. Or simply dismiss him as not being a real man/atheist/heterosexual/black/whatever.

The specific attitude toward this type of person can vary depending on the real or supposed affiliation of their accuser. While someone of their same (superficial) group will probably play the "traitor" card, someone in a different group (or who has voluntarily joined a different group not because they wanted to, but because they felt they had to, which is itself an example of this trope) might well respond with resentment rather than disgust. A white moderate or (guilty-conscience) liberal, for example, might feel anger toward a conservative of color because of their supposed unfair advantage: "If I said the things you said, you people would call me a redneck!"

When a character does this kind of stereotyping, it is Straw Affiliation. When it's the author who does this, it's something else... typically a Strawman Political, maybe in an Author Tract.

See also Gay Conservative, Blonde Republican Sex Kitten, No True Scotsman, Cultural Rebel, Uncle Tom Foolery, Black Republican. Contrast Mars and Venus Gender Contrast, where gender-based Straw Affiliation is justified by the narrative. Compare Cultural Personality Makeover.


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    Live-Action TV 
  • The 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Dick the Vote" included this subversion:
    Mary: Hecky Mulligan! How can you vote for Hecky Mulligan? Nina, can you believe that?
    Nina: How do you know I'm not voting for Mulligan?
    Mary: I thought you were a Democrat.
    Nina: And why do you think I'm a Democrat, because I'm black?
    Mary: Go ahead, vote for Mulligan!
    Nina: I'm not voting for Mulligan!
  • Used to great effect in an early episode of The West Wing, where Josh is arguing with a Republican congressman, Matt Skinner, over provisions in a proposed anti-gay marriage law. He is baffled by the congressman's refusal to vote against it, even though Skinner himself is gay. When Josh finally breaks down and asks why he doesn't vote against the bill, and why he's even a member of the party when the Republicans always have an anti-gay message, Skinner replies that yes, he is gay. But he is also for lower taxes, less federal government, and most other Republican positions, and he simply chooses not to let his sexuality, rather than his principles, decide how he should vote.
  • In an episode of Parks and Recreation, much of the cast decided to look up dirt on each other as part of a bet to see who could run for office. It's discovered that Donna (who is black) donated money to David Duke (of Ku Klux Klan infamy) when he ran for president. She explains that, "I got a phone call. They said he would lower taxes."

    Video Games 

  • The webcomic Day by Day attempted to illustrate this with Damon, the (white) author’s Black Republican mouthpiece, who early on would be the victim of white Straw Political Jan’s lectures on how he was an improper black man for not being a Democrat or living up to the stereotypes of a black person. They eventually got married. Eventually this dropped off as the author Chris Muir joined the MRA movement and started treating the strip as his personal fantasy world where men are always right and also talk exactly like him and women are sexy eye candy who just need to submit to their husbands, leading to a strip where Damon is portrayed as winning an argument with Jan about government overreach by raping her. For laughs.
  • The now defunct online comic Queer Nation featured the examples of a black gay man who spoke at a Republican benefit and, during it, received superpowers; the "Lambda Rays" put him in blackface, a hobo suit, and apparently gave him the moniker "Uncle Tom". He immediately began dancing for the white crowd in front of him. An Author Tract example of this trope in action.
    • Basically, this comic featured every possible level of hatred for the Gay Conservative possible. All examples were either racist (on the part of the author), mocking (one gay conservative was wealthy, so he was just greedy and evil), or in denial (the most prominent gay "bad guy" turned into a hideously ugly violent monster instead of being ever-so-pretty like all the good gays, er, guys).

    Web Original 
  • Happens in a Whateley Universe story, and the person doing it gets blasted by the target's grandmother for perpetuating negative stereotypes.

    Western Animation 
  • In South Park, at the end of "Cripple Fight", Big Gay Al gives an inspiring speech about how he doesn't believe the government has the right to force the Scouts to accept homosexuals (or anyone). A bewildered Gloria Allred quickly attacks Big Gay Al as being a homophobe.
  • On Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Master Shake is surprised to learn that Frylock is not amused by a Jive Turkey talking cellphone, despite the fact that Frylock is black. Or at least, he sounds black.