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The White Card

Claudia Rankine
The White Card stages a conversation that is both informed and derailed by the black/white American drama. The scenes in this one-act play, for all the characters’ disagreements, stalemates, and seeming impasses, explore what happens if one is willing to stay in the room when it is painful to bear the pressure to listen and the obligation to respond.
—Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s first published play, The White Card, poses the essential question: Can American society progress if whiteness remains invisible?

Composed of two scenes, the play opens with a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, an influential Manhattan couple, for the up-and-coming artist Charlotte. Their conversation about art and representations of race spirals toward the devastation of Virginia and Charles’s intentions. One year later, the second scene brings Charlotte and Charles into the artist’s studio, and their confrontation raises both the stakes and the questions of what—and who—is actually on display.

Rankine’s The White Card is a moving and revelatory distillation of racial divisions as experienced in the white spaces of the living room, the art gallery, the theater, and the imagination itself.

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A play about the imagined fault line between black and white lives by Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric

About the Author

Claudia  Rankine
Credit: John Lucas
Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Her work has appeared recently in the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.
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Upcoming Events

Claudia Ranking reading as part of Inprint Houston's Margarett Root Brown Reading Series

Rice University in Houston, TXview map
Location: Stude Concert Hall, Entrace #18. Tickets are $5.

Claudia Rankine reading at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma-Snow Branch

Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma-Snow Branch in Parma, OHview map
In conversation with Dave Lucas, Ohio Poet Laureate. This event is part of the NEA Big Read and is presented in partnership with The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. Please register for this free event.

Claudia Rankine reading as part of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures' Poets Aloud

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PAview map
In conversation with Carrie Mae Weems. Tickets are free for this event.


  • “Claudia Rankine is a giant. . . . The White Card is a flash of brilliance. Read it and weep!”—Carrie Mae Weems
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