Paul D. Miller on Sun, 21 Apr 2002 15:43:15 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> New "Life as a Black Man" board game

well... more adventures in the super absurd... this game fascinated=20
me a little while ago. Here's an interview on mainstream Fox TV with=20
the inventor of the game. The website, has some=20
additional twists... There is absolutely no shortage of dumb sh*t in=20
this kind of genre, and this game kind of takes the cake. What next?=20
"Life as a Black Writer in NYC"? That'd be even funnier... the real=20
life context would really give Fox TV etc etc some real grist for the=20
mill... the game could never outrip the actual reality. Thanx for the=20
post though.

interview below:
well... Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" and identity politics all rolled=20
into one. The photos on the website are hilarious too...,2933,46683,00.html

this is one of the funniest/most absurd situations I've seen in a=20
while... I haven't laughed this hard in a long long long time. It's=20
almost as funny as the "Fightin' Whities" mascot


the website for the game is:

here's a transcript of the show -
=46ox TV:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Would you want your family playing a board=20
game called Life as a Blackman? Here are the rules. You assume the=20
role of an 18- year-old African-American male. The goal is to get out=20
of the ghetto, whether it be by a life of crime or some other means.=20
Joining us from Los Angeles is the game's creator, Chuck Sawyer.

Chuck, nice to see you.

CHUCK SAWYER, LIFE AS A BLACKMAN CREATOR: Nice to be here, Greta. And=20
thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Chuck, explain this game to me.

SAWYER: OK. Well, Life as a Blackman is a board game, and as you=20
said, it's a game in which all the players are portraying the role of=20
an 18-year-old black male just entering society, and the object of=20
the game is to be the first player to get to freedom. Players not=20
only start in the ghetto, but players would first roll the die to=20
determine your character type, which would be your special talent.=20
You would either be creative, intellectual or athletic, then you'd=20
roll the die again to determine exactly where you're going to begin=20
the game.

So by the luck of the die, if you roll a 1 or 2, you'd have to start=20
in the ghetto. If you roll a 3, you would start in the military. Four=20
or five is black university, and 6 is "Glamorwood." From that point,=20
the players would traverse the board and work their way up to try to=20
be the first player to get to freedom.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me just stop you for a second.


VAN SUSTEREN: Do any players come from a privileged background at all?

SAWYER: Well, we start all the players off with zero money. This=20
isn't like any Monopoly or any board games like that, where we give=20
you money in the beginning of the game. In Life as a Blackman, life=20
is what you make it, so you start with zero and work your way up from=20

VAN SUSTEREN: How come there's no Life as a Black Woman? Why are you=20
ignoring black women in this game?

SAWYER: Well, literally, the game is truly black life. I called it=20
Life as a Blackman because in America today, that word, black man,=20
carries such a negative connotation. So when you hear the word black=20
man you're, thinking crime. You're thinking prison. You're thinking=20
drugs. You're thinking single mothers. And in reality, that's not=20
truly what life as a black man is. Life as a black man is truly the=20
same as life as every man, except we have that little twist in there,=20
which is racism, bad police, lack of education, and different issues=20
like that. And we try to incorporate those things into the board=20
game, and it's very...

VAN SUSTEREN: I still haven't gotten my answer about why there aren't=20
women in there, but I'll pass for a second on that. We may come back=20
to it. But how do you portray racism in this game?

SAWYER: Well, racism is what it is, truly. You could land on a racism=20
space, and it could say, "Your co-worker repeatedly tells you racist=20
jokes, move back two spaces." Or you could pull a racism card that=20
says "You win a discrimination lawsuit. Collect $10,000." So I don't=20
put any good or bad on each particular category, but I kind of=20
sprinkle the reality in each category.

And as far as with not having black women in the game, personally,=20
from my personal view, I see the black man as being the low man on=20
the totem pole in American society today. Even the black woman has=20
been elevated above the black man. So when I incorporate Life as a=20
Blackman, I want to break that stereotype that America has for the=20
word black man.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right...

SAWYER: So truly, the game should truly be black life.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I'll just challenge you on that a=20
little bit, Chuck. I can't tell you how many African-American women=20
who are single mothers and the men have taken off -- they got a rough=20
-- some of them have a rough time, as much as the men.

SAWYER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I'm not discrediting that,=20
and I'm not excluding the black women. I'm actually including the=20
black women under the umbrella of Life as a Blackman. I'm not really=20
putting gender, where you are a man and the situations are exclusive=20
to being a man. The situations are truly exclusive to being a human=20
being in America. And whether you're Middle Eastern, Asian or=20
what-have-you, you could still face the exact same discrimination=20
that you would face in life as a black man.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what do you get if you win?

SAWYER: Well, the first player to get to freedom wins the game, and=20
you don't have to deal with the obstacles that were on the board. So=20
that's what you really win. You win not having to go through what the=20
other players are still going through.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this game out in stores?

SAWYER: We're in the mom and pop stores. Right now, we're looking for=20
distribution where we can distribute the game nationally and be in=20
the major chain retail stores. But being a black man, once again,=20
it's a struggle. So you know, any opportunity we can get to let=20
people know that this is a positive game, this is a game that was=20
designed to uplift our people and all people, and bring people=20
together by heightening everyone's awareness.

A perfect example of that is say that you just happen to be joking=20
with your co-workers, and you might just, you know, not really care=20
about the kind of connotations or emotions or feelings that they may=20
have about what you're saying, but the game actually demonstrates the=20
consequences for our actions.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Chuck. I have one last question for you=20
before I let you go. Is this your idea, this whole game?

SAWYER: This is all my brainchild.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, congratulations on your new game, Chuck Sawye=

SAWYER: Thanks so much. Appreciate you for having me, Greta.

>The game is called "Life as a Black Man," and its title
>alone has raised a considerable number of eyebrows
>from coast to coast.



"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe=20
they are free...."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

Subliminal Kid Inc.

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