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Make It Awkward made easier in new card game in works

Racism is not a card that anyone should play. Make It Awkward is developing a game to help drive home the point.

Do your conversations include casual racism? Umm ... it’s not that funny. Maybe you didn’t realize how damaging it was to say what you said. A new opportunity to learn in a fun and supportive way is coming to the kitchen table for you, your family and friends.

It’s called Not That Funny and it’s a card game that its creators at Make It Awkward hope will start some much needed conversations about underlying racist attitudes and behaviours in our communities. The best part is that it’s designed to be as user-friendly and universally-accessible to all players as possible.

“It's a relatively simple card game, but there's so much information and education on every single card and every play. This is the truth of the matter: you have to make it easy,” explained Jesse Lipscombe, Make It Awkward founder. The game's not just about racism, it's about discrimination across the board.

It was five years ago when Lipscombe was at the centre of a racist incident in downtown Edmonton that was caught on film. He was making a commercial while walking along the street when two individuals in a vehicle starting yelling racist epithets at him. Make It Awkward arose as his way of encouraging more people in their daily lives to stand up against racism.

Make It Awkward’s director of communications, Chelsea Gouchey, came up with the idea to put the topic right in people’s homes. Not That Funny bills itself as a “tabletop game designed to uncover damaging truths behind everyday jokes directed at marginalized groups.” Lipscombe explained that racism will be just one facet explored in the game. Expansion packs are being developed to focus in on the LGBTQ2S+ community, ableism, sexism – “all of the isms,” he says.

Lipscombe noted he still experiences instances of racism – from micro to macro aggressions – almost daily in his personal life.

"It's unfortunately quite normal," he explained. "It's a daily thing, and it's a daily thing that exists, basically, because of ignorance. For the most part now, there's a lot that people don't know. There's a lot of well-intended intentions human beings that don't realize the impact of the things they say and do."

Make It Awkward's original purpose was to focus on those little things. Tackling these subjects even with a small group of people around one table can still count as work toward much greater social progress that is real and lasting, he adhered.

“We can actually make those small changes, which actually create the environment we all collectively live in but a lot of us don't think we can do so much: what can one little thing do? Obviously (with) an accumulation of a ton of small things in the right direction, we'll move mountains.”

Right now, Not That Funny is still in development as a Kickstarter campaign but orders have already been coming in from across North America. With just over a month left in the campaign, the game needs to be fully supported toward its goal of $20,150 before full funding will be approved, according to its website at Currently, it’s close to $11,500.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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