Is Pokémon Go a Racist Game?

It was interesting reading Allana Akhtar’s article Is Pokémon Go Racist?, as she points out a potential flaw in the game. She found there to be more PokéStops in predominantly white neighborhoods than that of predominantly black neighborhoods, and argues that both Hispanics and African Americans are both under appreciated and under represented in technological work spaces (for those unfamiliar with Pokémon Go click here) Akhtar states that this is a result of lingering structural inequalities that are determined by race. To progress and move forward, the article addresses that tech companies should focus on hiring more engineers of color. For those unfamiliar with the game, a Pokéstop can be seen below.


However, I believe that this proposed solution will only temporarily solve part of a much larger problem. In today’s society, it is commonly accepted that racism is both unfair and unjust. However, there are many cases where racism remains unseen until looked at closer (as seen with the Pokémon Go example). The proposed solution to hire engineers of color will only progress those in specific fields of work (software engineering), as this issue needs to be addressed globally. Furthermore, I propose the solution should be to increase public awareness that racism may still be present, even today. If people are more aware, this will allow for people to actively reduce racism and promote equality. Pokémon Go is just one example where subliminal inequalities can be present in a seemingly unbiased environment.

Now, to answer the question at hand, I can see how Pokémon Go can be argued as a racist game, but I do not believe the creators had this intention whatsoever. Rather, it can be viewed as a racist game as a result of the society we live in.

One thought on “Is Pokémon Go a Racist Game?

  1. I agree that the author’s proposed solution does not really address the issues of racism in games like Pokémon Go. We must consider the possibly that engineers of color may be silenced in those tech companies. For example, if a tech engineer of color asks for more pokéspots in urban poor areas other privileged voices (who are typically the majority) may disagree. As a result, the ideas of the engineer of color do not come to fruition. I do not have a solution myself, but I think it should involve more discussion as you have noted.


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