Playing the Race Card

“Playing the Race Card” is an on-campus initiative out of the University of Oklahoma Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s Center for Social Justice. This program was developed to foster on-going and wide-reaching conversations about the relationship between race and academia following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the results of the subsequent murder trial of George Zimmerman in 2013. The outcome of Trayvon’s case inspired many individuals and groups across the nation to stop and reflect on whether or not America was truly living in a “post-racial” society.

During the fall 2013 semester, Dr. Lupe Davidson initiated such a conversation on OU’s campus with “After Trayvon,” a series of events that shed light on the way our society has internalized racist presumptions to the detriment of racialized people that culminated with “Playing the Race Card” in late October. As part of “After Trayvon,” this event brought the OU community together to share six words on an index card that best captured their views on race. From that first event, our team leaders have further developed “Playing the Race Card” into a dynamic, individualized, and participation driven conversation for several groups on and off The University of Oklahoma campus.

Team leaders and facilitators work with each group individually to determine their needs, goals, group dynamics, and why this conversation is important for you. “Playing the Race Card” facilitators are available to help guide these difficult conversations in a variety of group settings. The duty of the facilitator is primarily to frame the conversation and to ensure the setting remains a safe space by keeping the conversation open, honest, and judgment free. During the course of the facilitated meeting, participants will have the opportunity to share their views in confidence with the group. Participants will also be able to submit a six (6)-word memoir encapsulating their candid views on race, racism, and racialization. These may remain anonymous, however participants may be encouraged to share their words with smaller groups during the facilitated meeting. Prior to ending, facilitators will bring participants back together in reflection before offering suggestions on how the group can continue their conversations in a positive way in the future.

If you are interested in hosting a facilitated conversation on race for your department, organization, or small, medium, or large group, please contact the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Social Justice at or stop by Robertson Hall, Room 103 for pricing and more information.

Playing the Race Card Team

Team Leaders:

Rodney Bates
Lupe Davidson
Michele Eodice
Moira Ozias


Roksana Alavi
Peter Barker
Jill Irvine
Erin Simpson