Abstract Our paper uses online comments posted in response to news items reporting the police shooting death of a young Aboriginal man to map out the ways in which power works through discourse. Specifically, we ask: how does this public discourse reproduce racial privilege? Our analysis shows that the majority of posters draw upon a 'discourse of denial' that de-historicizes the event and a 'discourse of responsibilization' that individualizes it. In the process, both discourses rely on a racialized dichotomy of 'Us versus Them' in which not just the deceased young man, but all Aboriginal peoples, become othered. We argue that while posters accuse Aboriginal peoples of 'playing the race' card when they connect McDougall's death to 'race' and racism, they are actually the ones 'dealing a card': the card of racial privilege. We conclude with a consideration of the role that research on Winnipeg's inner-city communities can perform in challenging this racialized discourse.