Why Black Men Avoid Playing Pokémon Go

The question about whether Blacks should play Pokémon Go in such times of crisis is irrelevant. What matters is our safety.

Many people argue if it is respectful for a Black man to waste time on childish fun in the times of extreme tension caused by recent brutal killings of two African-Americans, Philando Castile, 32, and Alton Sterling, 37.

While White and some minority video gamers gather in centers all across the U.S. to play Pokémon Go, Black people continue to stay isolated, not being able to adapt to the violent and unjust system.

The problem is that Black Americans are too paranoid to even go out at any hour, day or night, to look for a rare Pokémon. For a Black man committing even the smallest offence while playing the game may end with death.

For example, Iowa defensive lineman was recently stopped by police, who drew their weapons on him. 23-year-old Faith Ekakitie was just playing Pokémon Go when officers mistook him for a bank robber.

In a post on social media he wrote, “Today was the first time I’ve truly feared for my life.” But does it look like innocent amusement?

Again, if predominantly Black people are seen gathered near PokeStops, the police conclusion will be that they are dealing drugs. As police officers are in the habit of shooting Black suspects before giving orders, there is every reason not to risk hanging around.

It all could be a cause for a good laugh, if it were not the top of the same old racist iceberg: driving, having a hair-cut, travelling… anything ‘while black’ becomes humiliating or dangerous. Why? A fun game for the world has turned into a critical issue and in our country of free will and free speech, some people are just afraid to play freely.

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