Blacks and Whites board game

A ’70s Board Game Designed to Teach Players About Race, Housing, and Privilege

This 1970 board game, Blacks & Whites: The Role Identity & Neighborhood Action Game, created by the magazine Psychology Today used gameplay to teach adult players about racial privilege and housing.

Slate: The game, a sideways adaptation of Monopoly, allows players to choose white or black identities.”Black” players start the game with $10,000; “white” players with $1,000,000. Rules for each of the game’s four housing zones—in “Estate Zone,” players playing as black could buy “only when they have one million dollars in assets”—are calibrated to make it hard for the “black” players to climb out of their initial cash deficits. “The goal of the game is to achieve economic equality,” writes Swann Auction Galleries’ Wyatt H. Day, “yet the game is strategically designed to make a black win impossible.”

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Humans and other animals

Blacks & Whites: A ’70s board game about race, housing, and privilege

This satirical Monopoly-esque board game was made to underscore the socioeconomic disparities between Blacks & Whites. It was “designed for educational use… to give middle-class whites a taste of the helplessness that comes from living against implacable odds.” The game begins when 3 to 9 players select whether to play as white or black. White players are then instructed to begin with $1,000,000; black players begin with just $10,000. The goal of the highly controversial game is to achieve economic equality, yet the game is strategically designed to make a black win impossible. — Swann Auction Galleries

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