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