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Now traditional card games are said to be racist and sexist too

When playing cards, do you expose yourself to racist and sexist vibrations that poison society and cement an outmoded order? Yes, the literary and cultural scientist Susan Arndt recently emphasized that in the Aargauer Zeitung. Specifically, it is about the Jass cards that are widespread in Switzerland and the Alemannic region.

“The king is worth more than the ladies, as the word lord suggests the idea of ​​rule. In addition, the hierarchy that gives noble titles the most value stands for a long-forgotten political order and its social reality,” says Arndt from the University of Bayreuth. The cards are also clearly racist: “It's not just about who is shown and how, but who is not represented at all. And these are people who are not white."

Card games are "just not harmless"
Arndt, whose fields of work include West African women's literature and “critical whiteness research”, does not accept the manufacturers' argument that they want to preserve the tradition of this game. This would "slow down long overdue discussions". In the end, however, it is about “maintaining a traditional power constellation that sets white men as the superior norm”.

One could argue that now that society is fighting against a pandemic and the economic consequences that come with it, there are far more important issues. But the scientist also has a suitable answer to this. The message that the card game sends is “not harmless”.

Because it reads: “Women have less value, less importance in society - and non-heterosexual people or black people do not have to be considered at all. Such images solidify in our subconscious.” This has consequences even in everyday life.

There are already signs of competition

In Switzerland, with its affinity for the market economy, there is no demand for which there would be no supply. The 22-year-old Zurich designer and photographer Alain Wohlgemuth now presented “Däandro Jass” in order to bring more diversity to the Swiss national game. In its variant, there are not only women and men, but also people of other ethnicities and other gender identities. "I tried to integrate transsexual people as well, " he told the tabloid Blick.

He had 100 sets produced and after a week they were all sold. At this point in time it is not yet possible to say whether the “diverse” cards will actually be a bestseller. Because competition was announced immediately: three students from the University of St. Gallen want to produce a game with purely female characters.

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