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Racism is all over Pokémon HOME because everything is awful forever

Pokemon Home Pokedex
Pokemon Home Pokedex (Image credit: iMore)

Updated February 20, 2020: I've added other screenshots showing how poor Nintendo's filters are.

Pokémon HOME has been out for less than a week and it's already turned into a garbage fire. No, not because people were asking for mythical Pokémon that couldn't be traded (and has since been patched) — it's because people are now naming their Pokémon after racial slurs. Because the world is awful.

One quick look on the global trading system (GTS) after searching for "Greninja" shows us three named after the n-word, presumably because it's shiny form is black instead of blue. I've also seen what I presume is the same person trying to trade similarly-named Greninja yesterday. I've attached an image of the aforementioned Pokémon, but censored the names.

Pokemon Home Racial Slurs (Image credit: iMore)

It's difficult to tell how prevalent this issue is when millions of trades have taken place. Pokémon are listed on GTS practically every second, and it's impossible for a single person to catalogue them all. I haven't seen any widespread reports of others noticing this trend, but I can't be alone. I'd imagine there are a lot more, but no one else is saying anything. Let's not pretend like this may have just been one isolated incident when we all know how awful some people can be. People have already been trading hacked Pokémon with the sole purpose of crashing another person's Pokémon Sword and Shield game.

Pokémon has had its fair share of controversies in the past. Jynx's original design drew many comparisons to blackface, and that's only one of the most notable cases. The series is no stranger to racism.

I'm white, so I could never speak to the lived experience of having to deal with this personally. I'm just not targeted. But it needs to be called out regardless. There's no room to be neutral.

I doubt this is the first (and it certainly won't be the last) time people do this unless Pokémon employs some better filters and censors. It's absurd that companies like Pokémon and Nintendo, so obsessed with their family-friendly image, would let this slip through, especially given the history of both. We should at least be able to report players for ourselves, but there's no way to do that right now, unfortunately. If you happen to come across one of these Pokémon, your best option is to unfortunately ignore it until Nintendo gets involved.

Even worse, I've discovered how easy it is to trick Nintendo's filters, but the problem runs much deeper. If you attempt to change the "i" in "bitch" to a lowercase "L", the filters still recognize it as an indecent word, and will not allow you to input that name for a Pokémon. However, when this same trick is employed using the n-word, it allows you to get past the filters.

Pokemon Cannot Change Name (Image credit: iMore)

Pokemon Can Change Name (Image credit: iMore)

Source: iMore

Nintendo needs to fix this right away, because I can't deal with any more H.P. Lovecraft wannabes. This is disgusting. The world already has to deal with racist idiots in the real world and online, Pokémon doesn't need any of that.

Do better, Nintendo.

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and bought a Nintendo Switch specifically for all things Pokemon. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.

4 Comments
  • This is why we can't have nice things
  • Not sure how much of this is Nintendo's fault, this happens on all kinds of game services, and pretty much everywhere on the internet where there's enough users. With the amount of people on the service it would be pretty much impossible to validate every single name that goes through, all you can do is make some profanity filter and outside of that, try catch as many as you can (no pun intended)
  • Wow, so negative. I get it though, there's a bunch of "Nerdlike" trolls in these online games sadly. I don't think it makes the world bad, just tons of jerks. Regarding Jynx... you all know these characters are designed in JAPAN? I could be mistaken, but I don't think they have blackface as a culture thing that they use there to be hateful. Plus if people look at the design, both Jynx variations Black/Purple on the whole face AND on their hands! The skin of that creature is black or purple, it DOES not look like they are wearing a painted face. I'd have to agree with some people who see that as hate have to be looking for it, as it never crossed my mind... 🤷‍♂️
  • You've clearly haven't looked up anything mentioning "Jynx" in your article, here I will do it for you. "In recent years, some fans of Pokémon have noted that Jynx may be inspired by ganguro, a Japanese fashion where women tan heavily, bleach their hair, and apply large amounts of makeup, instead of a black stereotype" source - bulbapedia https://m.bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Jynx_(PokA9mon) Learn to know the difference in culture, not all is bad, and not all is after something. This is why we cannot have anything without a greedy outright hateful journalist writing an article to cower up her outright anti-japanese articles, you might as well draw a racist Japanese character like they did in the 1940's you'd fit right in with that logic. See what I did there? I copied your logic and how easy it is to breed hate when that isn't needed. Take down your article and start again, learn logic, learn how to write with dignity when it's clear you don't have one.