An Urban Institute analysis discovered an average of 55 PokéStops in White neighborhoods, but only 19 located in Black communities, USA Today reports.
The Belleville News-Democrat confirmed the racial divide when it looked at areas of Detroit, New York City, Miami, and Chicago.
“It turns out Niantic, which makes Pokemon Go, relied on a map from a previous augmented reality game called Ingress, which was crowd-sourced from its mostly [White] male, tech-savvy players,” Aura Bogado explained in a blog post on Grist.org.
Yes, that’s how the game developed, but there’s a bigger issue involved, according to some observers.
Bogado said the most popular smart phone game app gives White people an advantage. “That’s how systemic inequity works: It influences every facet of life, even in augmented reality,” Bogado added.
There’s also widespread criticism among many app users who suggest that it redlines communities. Redlining is the practice of selectively discriminating against people of color based on the areas where they live.
“This is not a new story in terms of a product having some type of — whether intended or unintended — discriminatory effect,” Safiya Umoja Noble, professor of information studies and African-American studies at UCLA, told USA Today.
Noble pointed to Amazon’s same-day prime delivery service, which bypasses predominantly Black neighborhoods.