America’s backbone: a contemporary analysis of Black women and the trap of loyalty

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
LaToya Dixon (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Cindy Brooks Dollar

Abstract: Black women’s dual subordinate identities (black and woman) create unique experiences in America which are often erased or ignored. Studies focusing on race center on black men, while studies on gender focus on white women. Richie’s (1985, 2012) trap of loyalty, the cultural and emotional exploitation of black women, helps to provide insight into black women’s unique perspectives in America. The trap of loyalty consists of three defining qualities: (1) Black women are more privileged than black men; (2) Black women are expected to endure their abuse in silence; and (3) Black women are expected to buffer their family from racism. This study answers the question: In what ways is the black woman’s experience in the United States today defined, or not defined, by the trap of loyalty? In this study, I conduct one-on-one interviews with 8 black women and femmes to examine the absence or presence of the three defining qualities. Findings indicate that black women and femmes are expected to prioritize race above all other identities, often meaning an erasure of gender issues and the endurance of abuse in silence. The erasure of black women’s experiences and issues continues to leave them vulnerable to racism and sexism in America.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Black LGBTQ, Black Privilege, Black Women, Intersectionality, Misogynoir, Trap of Loyalty
Intersectionality (Sociology)
African American women $x History
African American women $x Abuse of
African American sexual minorities
Sexism $z United States
Racism $z United States

Email this document to