race card, “play the race card”

To say someone is “playing the race card” is to say they are injecting race into a discussion. To say someone is doing this can be an attempt to deflect, diminish or discredit race’s effects. Black feminist scholar bell hooks writes that the expression “trivializes discussions of racism, implying it’s all just a game.” She calls this a backlash against talk about race, “more often than not representing it as mere hysteria.”

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