In this game of “socially conscious monopoly”, race and privilege are a currency

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“You listen and learning and your MDs are open. So brave. Raise $ 50,000, ”reads a player-only opportunity card of white characters in Blacks & Whites: 50th Anniversary Edition, a“ socially conscious ”tabletop game about privilege and inequality in real estate and land use. American company. “The government is launching an ‘urban renewal project!’ Lose all the properties of the non-gentrified zone, ”reads a single one invented for black characters.

Blacks & Whites is similar to Monopoly, but with a twist: the character’s race is crucial to the player’s success in the game. The privilege is clear from the start, when white characters are given $ 1,000,000 to go. buy a property with. Black characters, encouraged to pool their assets in some form of class action, only get $ 10,000 ($ 40,000 less than the two cheapest properties). On my first turn, playing the role of a black character called Rico, I got a 10 and landed a bullet myself held at the police station. If I had been white I could have put up $ 20,000 as a bond, ride again and pretend it never happened.

From there, things only got more complicated. Players can land on opportunity spaces, draw a card, and gain an advantage or a disadvantage. But the stacks of cards are separate, and the black-only pile has more bumps in the road than White’s. For the first few turns of the game, black characters are only allowed to buy properties in two of the four property zones (the non-gentrified zone and the integrated zone) while white characters can also buy in the other two (the non-gentrified zone). suburban and zone 1%) from the start, not that I could afford it anyway.

There are several ways to get a foot in the Suburban Zone: buy privately from a white player, jump at the opportunity to bid at a white player bankruptcy auction, or attempt a card. opportunity that allows them to buy there. Additionally, black players can only buy in the 1% area if they have $ 1 million in assets. A long way over the starting $ 10,000.

My best luck came when I accidentally applied too much sunscreen, got to play the next three rounds as a white player, and got $ 100,000 just because… woo!

“It tackles something very serious and very not funny in a way that is extremely antithetical to it: board games. It’s family-friendly, it’s a fun time, it’s light,” says Nehemiah Markos , the black half of comedy duo Neversad, the other half is the “very white” Jed Feiman, and together they humorously tackle difficult topics like race and inequality to start conversations about privilege.

“We thought it could be effective in making people laugh, but also in making them think,” Markos tells me.

Photography: Never sad


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