Last week, Cards Against Humanity made news with a what many feel is a transphobic card. Reading "Passable Transvestites," the card was brought to public attention by someone on Tumblr using the handle "horriblepeople." The user posted a picture of himself burning the card with the caption "DEATH TO TRANSPHOBIA." The photo provoked the co-creator of the game, Max Tempkin, to issue a personal apology: "I regret writing this card, it was a mean, cheap joke."
Well, yeah. Cards Against Humanity calls itself a "party game for horrible people," and the humor is largely based on constructing jokes that many would consider offensive. It seems, however, that this particular jab went a bit too far. The Tumblr post quickly went viral, with over 44,000 notes.
Tempkin, who describes himself and the other founders of the game as "straight, white guys," has said that he and his friends were initially surprised by the game's success. In an interview with Fusion, he said, "We were writing jokes for ourselves and we weren't really thinking about how it would affect other people." That much is certainly clear. The transphobic card is only one of several questionable jokes in the set. Here are five of the most offensive cards. You can determine what's kosher.
1. "not giving a shit about the third world"
It's fairly clear the creators of this game didn't intend it to be played by anyone outside of the developed world. As with most cards in the deck, this card can be utilized in many ways, and none of them seem good. Also, who uses the term "third world?" Other than textbooks from the 1960s ...
2. "wifely duties"
Wifely duties? you must be thinking. People can't really believe husbands and wives have radically different obligations! It's 2014. Then your remember the "straight, white guys" who made this game, and you get a little depressed. Shortly after CAH was released, Bitch magazine suggested the option of "sanitizing" your deck of cards, but pointed out that even still, issues prevail. Author Lillian Cohen-Moore wrote:
If one of my friends hands me their sanitized Cards Against Humanity deck at a party, I can play and know I'm in a safe space. I don't have to listen to rape jokes or cracks about domestic violence. I am still horrified, sometimes extremely, by things I see played, even in a sanitized deck. But the things that hurt me, that reinforce a violent kind of humor against women, aren't ever on the table.
Then again, maybe you can use a card like this to spark conversation about marital obligations. People love to discuss that at parties, right?
3. "the hardworking Mexican"
As a commenter on this Portland Mercury article pointed out, many people spend their time playing CAH "trying to figure out if the person next to them is an ironic racist or an actual racist." Personally, we don't love either of those options.
4. "the homosexual agenda"
This card can be played along with the one that reads "the gays." Great. In CAH's defense, this phrase sounds like it was directly lifted out of the Tea Party playbook, and could be used with the "Dick Cheney" card to make poignant statements about the state of conservatives in America today. At the same time, why even pay lip service to that bigoted rhetoric?
5. "The Virginia Tech massacre"
Given the frequency of school shootings, this card is in incredibly bad taste. It's not all bad news though. In addition to the option of "sanitizing" your deck, you can invest in Ladies Against Humanity, an awesome version of CAH "by ladies, for ladies." Ah, that sounds nice.