It's official. Pokémon Go is the newest nationwide obsession. People are glued to their phones, trying to capture as many Pokémon as humanly possible. Diversity issues have captured the nation's attention as well, but for very different - and tragic - reasons. The shooting at the Orlando nightclub, the deaths of Black men at the hands of police officers, and the sniper attack of 5 Dallas police officers have left Americans reeling. These recent events are overwhelming for many and perhaps that is part of the reason Pokémon Go is so popular. At a time when so much of the news is bad news, it's nice to have some kind of escape.
But you can do both - enjoy Pokémon Go and learn about diversity. In fact, both are great activities to do alone or with others - especially kids. Read on and discover what they have in common (it's more than you think!).
But there is one caveat; one way in which Pokémon Go is very different from diversity: Pokémon Go isn't real. The discrimination and oppression that minorities deal with on a daily basis is very, very real. Yes, Black men get shot and killed. Yes, women get sexually assaulted while they are unconscious. Yes, LGBTQ young people are subject to bullying at an astonishingly high rate. That is not augmented reality. It's not virtual reality. Those are simply the facts.
Don't shy away from learning about diversity. It can be surprisingly fun and I highly encourage that you do it with your kids. And unlike video games, which come and go, diversity is here to stay. So embrace it all - the initial learning, the updates, the technical errors. In the end, the payoff is always worth it.
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Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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