When I first heard of Cards Against Humanity, my first thought was “Oh dear…” the second was “I bet that’s hilarious”. Being a human rights campaigner for over 20 years I am well aware of the use of humour as a stress release. Sometimes being able to see the comedy in a situation can help as a way to work through things.
I cautiously ordered the International Edition. Mostly because I wanted to see “How bad” it was. I played it with friends -Other human, animal and environmental activists. It was funny, friendship building, and as expected controversial.
I’ve had a bit of a secret like of both the cards and the company behind them for sometime, a lot of organisations such as schools and colleges have banned the cards, and I totally understand why. They are the pinnacle of bad-taste and controversy.
Yet, they start debate, they cause people to google, to question, to ask more. They keep certain human rights debates current and relevant when played. Most importantly, they show that the world is far from equal.
I’ve used them in Human Rights training sessions as a ‘break-out’ to achieve awareness of issues, but the focus is on the mental health of activists. At some point you need to release the stress, the tension and the sense of never-ending future problems which human rights campaigners are often under. The cards work. They help cultivate a ‘personal’ letting go. They remind us that deep inside all of us is the knowledge that there is no such thing as a grown up.
The other reason I like the cards is the company. Troublemakers for peace of the highest order. From using kickstarter campaigners for counter cultural commentary on how we live in a material world, through to billboard campaigns targeting Islamophobia.
My personal favourite is the buying of land on the Mexican border to actively prevent Donald Trump from building the Great Wall of hate between the USA and Mexico.
If you get a chance to be a child, and play the game, remember, these are issues, these are people, and that all forms of discrimination is highly wrong. But also remember that the game is intended to teach you that through humour.