Mainstream Shuffle and the Racialized Card Game Metaphor

April 22, 2017

 

 

We are playing a card game in America.  It’s called the “Mainstream Shuffle.” Here are the rules, simplified according to the one’s level at the time:

 

  • That we must play the game in perpetuity.

  • That there is no other way to play but by the rules designed by Mainstream America.

  • That the only wild card in the deck is forbidden for us to use, but can be used and maintained by Mainstream America.

  • That if we attempt to call the game on account of cheating, on account of unfair play, on account of marking the deck, we must relinquish all of our cards and start over.

  • That there is no get out of jail free card for us.

  • That if we happen to get our hands on that wild card and use it to counter theirs, we have cheated and must forfeit the game and start over.

  • That we may never win.

  • That we must never play any of the cards that they play.

 

For fifty years after the civil rights movement, we have been playing with a deck provided by Mainstream America and that deck has always been stacked. I think it’s time to change the rules of play.

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