Pokemon Go launched a few weeks ago to much fanfare, it threw Nintendo’s stocks sky high, dragged people out in their millions to go searching for digital creatures augmented onto our reality.
If someone is out their wandering in circles, aimlessly looking at their phone then it’s quite possible they are playing the game!
And let’s face it, even those of us who don’t know much about Pokemon feel some curiosity to give it a go.
But, for the black man, playing this seemingly innocent game may well end in arrest, police brutality, citizen justice and death!
Seems a bit dramatic but really it’s not!
Omari Akil wrote a very thought provoking piece on medium where he broke this down! He wrote:
I spent less than 20 minutes outside. Five of those minutes were spent enjoying the game. One of those minutes I spent trying to look as pleasant and nonthreatening as possible as I walked past a somewhat visibly disturbed white woman on her way to the bus stop. I spent the other 14 minutes being distracted from the game by thoughts of the countless Black Men who have had the police called on them because they looked “suspicious” or wondering what a second amendment exercising individual might do if I walked past their window a 3rd or 4th time in search of a Jigglypuff.
When my brain started combining the complexity of being Black in America with the real world proposal of wandering and exploration that is designed into the gamplay of Pokemon GO, there was only one conclusion. I might die if I keep playing.
The breakdown is simple:
- There is a statistically disproportionate chance that someone could call the police to investigate me for walking around in circles in the complex.
- There is a statistically disproportionate chance that I would be approached by law enforcement with fear or aggression, even when no laws have been broken.
- There is a statistically disproportionate chance that I will be shot while reaching for my identification that I always keep in my back right pocket.
- There is a statistically disproportionate chance that more shots will be fired and I will be dead before any medical assistance is available.
The premise of Pokemon GO asks me to put my life in danger if I chose to play it as it is intended and with enthusiasm. Let’s just go ahead and add Pokemon GO to the extremely long list of things white people can do without fear of being killed, while Black people have to realistically be wary.
It just really hammers home how life is for non whites in the United States!
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