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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 Rankine reading at Old Dominion University as part of NEA Big Read

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VAview map
Location: Big Blue Room, Ted Constant Center.

Layli Long Soldier and Claudia Rankine in conversation as part of the PEN Out Loud Series at The New School

New School in New York, NYview map
Location: John L. Tishman Auditorium, 63 5th Avenue. Tickets are $20. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Claudia Rankine reading at University of Baltimore as part of NEA Big Read

University of Baltimore in Baltimore, MDview map
Location: John and Frances Angelos Law Center. This event is sold out, please add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted if a ticket becomes available.

Claudia Rankine reading at the National Museum of African American History & Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DCview map
"A Seat at the Table: On Race and the Imagination." In conversation with Brian Gilmore. Location: Heritage Hall. Doors open 6:15 PM. Tickets are $50.

Claudia Ranking reading at the University of Connecticut as part of the 56th Annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program

Univ Conn in Storrs, CTview map
Location: Konover Auditorium.

Claudia Rankine reading at the University of Michigan as part of the Visiting Writers Series

Univ Missouri in Columbia, MOview map
Location: Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union North.

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 reading as part of the Villanova University Literary Festival

Villanova Univ in Villanova, PAview map
Location: Connelly Center Cinema.

Claudia Rankine appearing at the Walker Art Center

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MNview map
"Notes on The White Card." Tickets are $25.

Claudia Rankine delivering the Robert Chasen Memorial Poetry Reading at Cornell University

Cornell Univ in Ithaca, NYview map
Location: Alice Statler Auditorium. Free admission — ticket required.

Claudia Rankine reading at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Univ Illinois-- Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, ILview map
Location: Alice Campbell Alumni Center.

Claudia Rankine and Tracy K. Smith appearing at New York Live Arts

New York Live Arts in New York, NYview map
In conversation with Bill T. Jones. Tickets start at $10.

Claudia Rankine reading as part of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, CTview map
Reading with Emily Skillings. Music by Jeff Barnhart Duo Ivory & Gold. Tickets are $15-20.


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