Friday, August 30, 2019

The Phantom “race card.”

First African American women to vote in Ettrick, Virginia, 1920 • These women, left to right, are Eva Conner, Evie Carpenter, Odelle Green, Virginia Mary Branch, Anna Lindsay, Edna Colson, Edwina Wright, Johnella Frazer, and Nannie Nichols

Stacia L. Brown

"The term “race card” is always evoked as an accusation, implying that black people are playing a game when we mention race in conversation. As the metaphor goes, the race card is a supposed trump card that’s used to shut down a conversation, to win some sort of rhetorical victory. But when you’re black in America, race is not just one card in a hand that can be played or not; it’s an integral part of our identity, as inextricable as our nationality, if not more so. So when a white person antagonizes us, we cannot ignore the fact of our skin color or the way our country has treated people of that skin color since its inception.

When a black person believes her experience—a white person yelling and throwing things at them, or using a derisive tone—has racist implications, she shouldn’t have to convince others of this. If there is any convincing to be done, the onus should be on the attacker, not the assaulted. By accusing Knowles of racism, or of “pulling the race card,” critics are not only erasing the original offense; they’re attempting to victimize the victim yet again, by accusing her of wrongdoing."

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