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Does Playing the Race Card Make You Racist?

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Wouldn’t you say that those who “play the race card” are showing themselves to be racist?

It took me a long time to get this straight, but it is impossible for a non-white person to be racist in this country when referring to white people.

Racism is oppression based on racial hierarchy.

Bigots come in all races, but by definition, black people (for example) cannot be racist to a white person.

Some non-white people do “play the race card.” However, I’ll point out that white people “play the race card” every day of their lives. They may not know it, but they do. Such is the privilege of being white in this country.



  • No, people who “pull the race
    Card” have experienced racism in a country that is content to ignore the blatant examples if racism seen everyday. The very term “pulling the race card” was made to trivialize people who have experienced racism and is detrimental to society. In short: no, talking about racism and recognizing it existence or being victimized by it does not make you racist….

  • Steve Cummins

    “Bigots come in all races, but by definition, black people (for example) cannot be racist to a white person.”

    So when I have been called white trash by a blackman, that’s not racist ? You’re not helping yourself are you?

    • Luke Visconti

      It’s not racist. Probably bigoted, although it could be simply descriptive. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Joe Iannone

    So you are telling me when I white person is at work and his boss and many of their coworkers are black they cannot experience racism? Now they are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They can now be ganged up on because of their race. Allowing them to experience racism. This broader racial hierarchy which you speak of does nothing for them. When a white person is targeted and beaten just because he is white, this is not racism? When a city has a black mayor, black police chief, black fire chief and a majority of black council people where does this racial hierarchy actually come in favor of the average white person barely getting buy in the world? White people are not controlling anything then. It’s not like all us white folk are pulling in 300,000 a year The majority of people on welfare are white. They sure would like to know what being white in this society has done for them. So I don’t think your racial hierarchy thing stands up.

    • Luke Visconti

      That’s correct. A white person, given your interesting scenario, can experience bigotry but not racism. The rest of your post is a crock of shit. No Presidential aspirant ever tried to score points with bigots by denigrating white welfare recipients. Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” was Black and completely fictitious, but that example—and his starting his campaign in Philadelphia, Miss.—was enough of a dog whistle for racists. It’s a shame, because he didn’t need their support (especially coming after the disastrous Presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter). He was the only President, before Obama, who was honest about immigration. He also stopped the Soviet Union in its tracks without having to fight World War III. I voted for him, twice. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • You’re contradicting your own definition of racism – when you say that in a city where a white male is the minority and is treated poorly because of his ethnicity – isn’t racism. By your own definition, that would equal racism, because they are at the bottom of the social “hierarchy” in that region. I think we can all agree that bigotry and stereotyping is wrong no matter what the demographic is. But, unfortunately, it will always exist, because no matter where you go, there will always be people who are trying to be a better person than the next. Until they stop competing, (which does not seem likely) prejudices will always exist.

  • Luke visconti- you’re an idiot.

    • Luke Visconti

      So, you spend time on my website. What does that make you? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Is there any difference between “white supremacist” and “racist” or are these synonymous?

    Can an individual white person without defined power be racist by this definition? For example, if a white employee says he hates working for black people, can he be considered “racist” since he is not in a position to oppress anyone and the specific power flow does not align with a white supremacy paradigm?

    Why do dictionaries consistently disagree with this definition of racism? How does defining the term in this way further our discussion of the topic?

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