*At one point, I really thought I was the last person on earth who hadn’t heard of Pokemon Go, the allegedly interactive mobile game that’s being played on literally millions of mobile devices as I type. Even with reports of players falling off of cliffs, being robbed, and even killed, it’s caught on like wildfire — kinda this summer’s Candy Crush (a fad I also missed).
About a week after Pokemon Go’s launch, I counted over two dozen people staggering along the river adjacent to my neighborhood, staring at the small screens in each of their hands.
During the same walk, I saw a guy on his hands and knees reaching desperately into a curbside sewer grate. He’d accidentally dropped his iPhone into it while playing Pokemon Go.
At another point during that evening’s junket, another dog walker warned me to be careful, as a group just down the path had spotted a rattlesnake in the adjacent brush. As I cautiously approached the gathering crowd, I wondered why they were all staring at their phones in the midst of a poisonous serpent. Were they trying to get a good picture of the snake?
No. It turned out they had spotted a rattata, one of the much-sought-after characters in Pokemon Go. The guy who’d warned me had thought they said “rattler.”
Pokemon Go is being heralded for getting people outside and walking about. I don’t want to begrudge anyone an afternoon stroll, but did it really take a mobile game to get us all outside?
At that point, on the way home, I started paying attention to the makeup of the Pokemon Go crowd. Both primary genders were represented, as were multiple age ranges. There was, however, a noticeable lack of melanin among the Pokemon players.
That’s when it hit me: Pokemon Go is a white folks thing.
I’ve dubbed that elusive sepia game player the “Pokemon Negro.”
I did a little “research,” starting with my own kids. Neither of them was playing, had any interest in playing, or knew of any of their black friends who were playing.
Only one of my friends admitted to the addiction, telling me he’d spent the afternoon at the state fair playing Pokemon Go instead of…well, enjoying the state fair. He’s down, but he’s also Asian. I mean, the man couldn’t drive a car to save his life.
I spent days watching broadcast and online stories about the Pokemon Go craze. All white folks.
Several museums have reported that Pokemon Go players have showed up at their doors, demanding free entry so they could capture characters that allegedly were there. No such reports from a single Popeye’s, dollar store, or beauty supply shop.
So I stand by my thesis: Pokemon Go is a white folks thing. While they’re all staring at their phones, I’m going to keep my head up and my eyes peeled for my first Pokemon Negro. I’ll let you know if I find him.
If you’re brown skinned and are playing Pokemon Go, let us know in the comments. Also, hit freelancer Michael P Coleman up at michaelpcoleman.com, as he may want to interview you for a follow-up feature. Speaking of follows: @ColemanMichaelP