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Race card

From Academic Kids

Playing the race card is an allegation often raised against a person who the accuser feels has unnecessarily brought the issue of race or racism into a debate so as to obfuscate the truth. An allegation of playing the race card is almost always a controversial one.

The phrase is used in two contexts; In the first, and more common context, it refers to someone allegedly falsely accusing another person of being a racist in order to gain some sort of advantage. An example of this use of the term occurred during the the O.J. Simpson criminal trial when the prosecution accused the defense of playing the race card in trying to paint Mark Fuhrman as a racist and thus not a reliable witness against Simpson.

In the second context, it refers to someone exploiting the fear of another race for political or some other advantage. The use of the southern strategy by a political candidate is said by some to be a version of playing the race card, such as when former senator Jesse Helms, during his 1990 North Carolina Senate campaign ran an ad showing a black man taking a white man's job, intended as a criticism of the idea of racial quotas. The ad was interpreted by many people as trying to play to racist fears among white voters of black people taking their jobs.

Other similar phrases have been used such as "Playing the anti-Semite card" or "Playing the religion card".

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The race card' is also the list of horses and races at a horse racing meeting.

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