Technically Incorrect: Should Black People Play Pokémon GO?

Focusing on the intersection of technology, politics, and social issues from an African American perspective

(Image: File)

Since its U.S. launch on July 6, Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times, surpassing Tinder in downloads and Twitter in daily active users, reports Venture Beat.

But are black people among the millions playing the game?

Or, does the recent news of yet more instances of police brutality with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling; as well as a polarized political climate which seems to be bringing out the racists from everywhere, make indulging in a past time such as Pokémon Go frivolous, especially for black adults?

Should we be playing Pokémon Go in such times of crisis?

Yes, says Anjuan Simmons a software developer, speaker and author. “Yes, black people should play Pokémon Go. If we waited for peace and tranquility before we let ourselves experience fun little diversions, then we would never enjoy them,” says Simmons.

“Also, Pokémon Go encourages physical activity and socially exploring the real world, which is a nice alternative to sitting on couches playing video games all summer.”

“So, not only should black people play Pokémon Go, I think it is one of the best summer activities for black families.” Simmons says his daughter is an avid Pokémon Go player.

Chan C. Smith, a.k.a. Twitter handle @BlkFilmSmith, tweets, “Yes, black people are playing Pokémon Go, especially the ones who grew up playing it as a kid on Game Boy.”

Others say yes, Pokémon is a diversion from very painful current events, but that playing the game does not mean you don’t care about issues such as Black Lives Matter.

Ashley, a.k.a. Twitter handle @tokenblackchick, tweets that as black people, “we can do both. You can protest with and still earn steps to hatch your egg.”

Entrepreneur, Katherine Valeri takes the opposing view. “Black people most certainly shouldn’t be playing Pokémon Go; it is too much of a diversion. We are experiencing a crisis; one that has existed in this nation since black people stepped foot on the shores of North America. It’s imperative that we as a people remain focused and undivided on the matters at hand; only then will we be able to see change and progress.”

Stephanie Foxwell, a professional and mother of four says that in her area she saw kids playing of “all different races.”

Perhaps a silly game can build much needed relationships in trying times.

What is your opinion? Do you play Pokémon Go or is it the farthest thing from your mind in light of recent news and events?

Samara Lynn has covered the technology space as a journalist for almost a decade and previously worked in the IT field. Follow her on Twitter:@samaralynn

  • Phillip Lucas

    I agree with Ms. Valeri. We have enough on our plates without expending precious time and energy on a game. We’ve played around long enough, which is why we ( African Americans) continue to slide further down the economic totem pole. If we continue playing games, not just Pokemon Go, we’ll end up Brokemon Po!

  • nrw4018

    Like with anything, moderation is key. People need to be about their business. But a little amusement here and there to take some of the tension and stress of life away is a healthy thing. Playing a game of touch football with your kids and their friends, is a good way to both exercise and bond with your kids and your community.

    As far as pokemon goes, what black people need not be doing is wandering around in strange places, barely aware of their surroundings, trespassing on private property, and all the other craziness you hear about playing the game. For some it may be harmless fun. For us, you just never know…