Kotaku: Pokémon Go Could Be A Death Sentence For A Black Man

Nov 3, 2013
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#1
http://kotaku.com/pokemon-go-could-be-a-death-sentence-for-a-black-man-1783388743

This week has been a catastrophe for Blackness. Two men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police officers within 24 hours of each other. Neither had committed a crime that was punishable by death nor did they put any officers lives at risk. It’s inexcusable, unjustifiable, and is perpetuated by a system that disproportionately targets Black Men. Then in the same week, police officers in Dallas were killed during an otherwise peaceful protest about those killings.

In another sector of the internet this week, a mobile game called Pokémon Go was released. Being of the geekish human variety, I was inexplicably excited about this game. They were giving me a chance to catch ’em all once again, this time in the real world using an obvious combination of technology and magic. I downloaded it immediately when I saw the news of its release.
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 Pokémon Go, there was only one conclusion. I might die if I keep playing.
-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

Let’s just go ahead and add Pokémon 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.

Honestly, I wish this was a joke post or satire of some sort. It isn’t. Something needs to change.
I would please ask people read the article before posting. I know there's a lot that I quoted above to read but I think it would help the thread if everyone read the entire piece to get the context.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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#11
I think the sheer ridiculousness speaks for itself. A social videogame is basically denied because of societal issues. That's quite ironic. Society hinders the ability for people to gather despite being the definition of a society.
 
Jul 19, 2015
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Philadelphia,pa
#14
I said this in the Ot I've played from the comfort of my home just getting lucky finding pokemon. Walking around the city of Philadelphia with my phone out no matter the time of day is foolish. I did it one time around 7am I had one a black sleeveless hoodie with the hood on and some shorts took an early walk decided to play. 15 minutes I get pulled over by the cops because my hood was on and I looked "suspicious" waving my phone around
 
Jul 7, 2008
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#15
Completely true.

I was walking in circles around a parking lot at night with cars (saw some grass ruffling there) and thought I probably looked potentially creepy as a white dude. Never thought about the implications for a black person, and my wife is black heh. She at least has the advantage of not being a black male
 
Jan 14, 2009
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#18
I thought the title was a stretch until I read the OP. Hopefully this doesn't happen. And when/if it does, hopefully mentioning that it's just Pokemon Go will be enough to de-escalate the situation.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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#20
Completely true.

I was walking in circles around a parking lot at night with cars (saw some grass ruffling there) and thought I probably looked potentially creepy as a white dude. Never thought about the implications for a black person, and my wife is black heh. She at least has the advantage of not being a black male
Black women are harmed by police as well.
 
Jan 11, 2016
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#21
This is a legit concern. Though I'd think anyone wandering around my house the whole time is super suspicious, regardless of the race.
 
Nov 9, 2013
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#26
Pokémon Go is potentially dangerous for a large number of people because wandering around places you don't know well is dangerous in its own right. I'd be more worried about getting mugged/robbed because wandering around with a phone makes you an easy target.
 
Feb 15, 2014
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Vancouver, BC
#27
It's really sad that targeted minorities can't walk around in normal society without having people look at them like some kind of killer in disguise.

Man I just wish the US would get it together when it comes to guns, there's no reason for it to be first and last word when it comes to crime.
 
Jun 2, 2013
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#28
Pokemon could get anyone in trouble. What happens when a kid jumps over a fence that says" Do not trespass, shot on sight" Because the Poke is on the GPS near the person's lawn?
 
Oct 23, 2013
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#30
Yeah, I thought of this already. Got this yesterday, and I only stuck to streets and parks, and only during daylight. Think this goes for everyone but don't walk up on someone's lawn just for a Pokemon. Not tryna get shot.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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#31
I said this in the Ot I've played from the comfort of my home just getting lucky finding pokemon. Walking around the city of Philadelphia with my phone out no matter the time of day is foolish. I did it one time around 7am I had one a black sleeveless hoodie with the hood on and some shorts took an early walk decided to play. 15 minutes I get pulled over by the cops because my hood was on and I looked "suspicious" waving my phone around
I put a hard ban on all Pokemon Go in Philadelphia
#NoNerdShit
 
Aug 22, 2015
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St. Louis, Missouri
#34
I said this in the Ot I've played from the comfort of my home just getting lucky finding pokemon. Walking around the city of Philadelphia with my phone out no matter the time of day is foolish. I did it one time around 7am I had one a black sleeveless hoodie with the hood on and some shorts took an early walk decided to play. 15 minutes I get pulled over by the cops because my hood was on and I looked "suspicious" waving my phone around
What the hell? That happened to you, brother? Wow...this country...
 
Jan 25, 2014
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#40
Unfortunately police involvement is entirely possible given the very nature of this game. Exploring is fine however exploring on other people's property leads to all kinds of potential problems. There are bad cops out there, however the vast majority are good hardworking individuals who just want to come home at night. If you do happen to have a police encounter with Pokemon Go, just follow their instructions and you'll be fine.
 

jroc74

Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
Jun 1, 2013
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#42
Pokémon Go is potentially dangerous for a large number of people because wandering around places you don't know well is dangerous in its own right. I'd be more worried about getting mugged/robbed because wandering around with a phone makes you an easy target.
This too. After getting robbed by 2 guys at gun point some years ago, told to get on my knees (yea I was bracing for the shot, waiting to get shot in the back of head.....thank god it didnt happen).....as soon as get off public transportation my earphones go in my pocket along with my phone. I only use it while walking if I have to make or take the call. If its just to ask whats for dinner....damn that I will find out when I get home.
 
May 17, 2008
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#44
I was thinking about this last night when I downloaded the game and decided to stay inside instead of exploring my neighborhood. I didn't want to end up a statistic because someone saw a "suspicious Middle Eastern man" checking his phone repeatedly in odd locations. I'd absolutely have to be extra careful playing Go if I was wearing my 'ethnic' clothes.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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#50
Pokémon Go is potentially dangerous for a large number of people because wandering around places you don't know well is dangerous in its own right. I'd be more worried about getting mugged/robbed because wandering around with a phone makes you an easy target.
So much this, all a thief (or predator) needs to do is download Pokemon Go to find out where the nearest best spots are to find (possibly underaged) distracted people with their phones out, probably often in places those people have never been before.

Scope out good secluded spots with a pokestop or whatever and you're set.