play the race card

play the (something) card

To bring up a particular, typically contentious issue or idea in order to gain an advantage, as in an argument or political agenda. Playing the race card like that doesn't change the truth about the topic at hand. He always plays the Jewish card whenever he feels like someone is attacking him.
See also: card, play

play the race card

To dismiss or discredit an opinion, argument, position, action, decision, etc., as being the product of prejudice against one's race. The candidate played the race card as an explanation for why her polls were much lower recently, claiming that the media has been giving her less visibility than her white opponents simply because she is African American. I hate it when casual racists try to brush off legitimate criticism by claiming that you're just "playing the race card."
See also: card, play, race
References in periodicals archive ?
The 'Leave' campaign, which has been losing the economic arguments and has failed to make a breakthrough in the polls, is clearly getting desperate and has decided to play the race card.
He concluded by saying he preferred the "old Beyonce" who was "less inflammatory and agitating", and who "didn't play the race card so deliberately".
UKIP is still generating headlines, not least at its manifesto launch where ethnic minority members jeered a journalist for trying to play the race card against the party.
au, Arthur, who is seeking a four million-dollar payout or reinstatement after being axed from the side last month despite two years of his contract remaining, has been painted as a dirt-dishing, money-hungry figure prepared to play the race card to obtain massive compensation.
Mr Millar said: "It's a disgrace to play the race card from an organisation like this that should know better.
He couldn't divulge details but revealed the Brit had 'made peace' over the 'Ali G' jibe, which to many was seen as attempt by Hamilton to play the race card.
Stanford law professor Richard Thompson Ford's book The Race Card: How Bluffing about Bias Makes Race Relations Worse decries those who play the race card by claiming race discrimination when it may not really be involved.
It is disturbing that any candidate in 2008 would play the race card.
Finally to play the race card is, in my opinion, a very cheap shot, especially as Mr Ahmed said: "I don't know if there was a racial aspect as well.
Democrats never miss an opportunity to play the race card against Republicans and even black conservatives like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who dare to dissent from liberal orthodoxy.
Hughes not only lied and misled us, she played right into the hands of the Tory party who love to play the race card and put Labour in the firing line B.
At the moment if anybody dares mention issues such as asylum,people immediately play the race card thus stifling all reasoned debate in one fell swoop and decrying freedom of speech in the process.
The reason the White House turned on Lott had little to do with distaste for the Mississippian's remarks at Thurmond's 100th birthday party; it moved only when it appeared the controversy might expose a penchant to play the race card when convenient.
We do not want to play the race card in any way whatsoever.