Racial advocate Aura Bogado has recently begun her war on the West’s latest form of institutional racism: Pokemon Go. In a Twitter rant picked up by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) Monday, Bogado explained how the video game app perpetuates racism by placing Pokestops in areas geared for a “white male city-dweller,” making it less convenient for people of color to play with.
Bogado began by dissecting the factors that brought Pokemon Go to life, including the maps it was built on and the users it attracts. In addition to being built by “white tech-savvy players,” Bogado complained, the game “illustrates inequity.”
“Why does tech-savvy often mean not black or latinx?” the Grist author of environmental racism protested, adding that the “inequity” of the game’s map source is “a lot more systematic than that. This starts at pre-k tbh.”
Bogado complained that many of the places that have people of color in them, like where she lives, don’t have Pokestops in them. She said because Pokestops are often located in parks and green spaces, it causes an inconvenience to communities of color because those communities lack parks.
The writer claimed the location of the Pokestops makes it so that “already vulnerable people,” assumedly people of color, have to travel to the more commercial downtown areas that have more white people in them, to enjoy the game. But the white people areas are not unsafe for people of color, she added.
Bogado also complained PokemonGo is discriminatory toward black women, transpeople, and “black trans women in particular.”
“Women in general have a different relationship with public space,” she said. “I’m going to guess that most of the Ingress stops were created by men. What would #mypokehood look like if it were mostly created by women? What if transpeople, and black trans women in particular, were included as key players in mapping augmented reality?”
She took the rant a step further and alleged the game was ignorant of “disabled people who can’t leave home” and “kids in hospitals.” She also added PokemonGo was completely dismissing rural areas and reservations that lack internet service.
“What all of this translates into is a white male city-dweller preference for #PokemonGo,” she said, complaining that aside from being able to collect more free PokemonGo items, white people get to advance in the game faster than people of color. All of this is because of “systematic inequity,” she said.
Bogado’s sentiments are not self-derived, however. In a Grist article last week, writer Katie Herzog claimed PokemonGo was using its mapping system to “lure voters” to white areas that are favorable to certain candidates.
“What all of this translates into is a white male city-dweller preference for #PokemonGo."
Racial advocate Aura Bogado
Bogado’s Twitter feed also featured a retweet of Independent Journal Review’s Hunter Schwarz quoting Hillary Clinton: “I don’t know who created Pokemon Go, but we need to figure out how to make Pokemon Go… to the polls.”
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