General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

What does it mean when a person says [someone] is playing the race/gender/religion/etc. card?

Asked by tinyfaery (36774 points ) August 7th, 2008

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the fact that someone is a woman, black, Jewish, etc. necessarily determine the point of view from which they speak and act? Why is it bad when someone “plays” this card?

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11 Answers

lefteh's avatar

To me, the point where it becomes wrong is when they use their race/gender/religion/orientation as a reason to deserve pity or special treatment. Not before that.

augustlan's avatar

I think what people are trying to imply is that the “someone” is saying “woe is me, it’s all because I’m a woman/black, etc” when it has nothing to do with it. However, I think most of the time anyone says “so and so is playing the race/ect card” it’s just bullshit.

cheebdragon's avatar

it means they are using their race/gender/religion to their advantage, to get sympathy, to build trust…

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

I think there are time when people are either too quick to assume they are being treated with prejudice and times when people cry wolf. I used to work with a woman who was a horrible server. She was rude to customers, her co-workers, often skipped out early and left a lot of her tasks unfinished, etc. But when she was fired, it wasn’t because she was a horrible, irresponsible employee, no. It was because our manager was “sexist.” When I think “playing the card” I tend to think of scenarios like this, where a person is unable to own up to their behavior and unfairly uses something like their gender, race, etc. to their advantage. I find this particularly disgusting, because prejudice is a serious and hard to tackle topic, and people that toy with it like that are only making things harder.

augustlan's avatar

@crayon: I agree with you, there are instances like these. However, (especially in politics) it seems that sometimes one will twist another’s words and say “See, he’s playing the card”, when he really isn’t.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

@Augustian: Oh yes, I agree with that. But politics is a train wreck anyway, so mud slinging of all kinds is to be expected.

megalongcat's avatar

It’s a card game silly person. And everyone knows Gender > Race > Religion in the game.

augustlan's avatar

@crayon: Sadly, so true.

Cardinal's avatar

Sometimes the race card stand may be true, other times, pure BS! Recently where I live a young black guy gets into a disagreement with an older white guy over a very trivial matter. The black guy punches the white guy. The white guy falls backward, hits his head and dies a little later. Strictly a tragic accident brought about by two hot heads. The black guy hides out for a couple of days and cops are looking for him. When he is arrested the local black support groups claimed the arrest was racially modiavated. How do you figure that?

marinelife's avatar

The phrase means that someone is saying that a set of circumstances is the result of other people acting toward that person because of their race. The connotation is usually that the speaker does not believe that invoking race as the reason for the circumstances is justified.

Knotmyday's avatar

An unverifiable way to trump an opponent’s position. Cowardly in the extreme.

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