Geocaching while Black: Outdoor pastime reveals racism and bias

Read the full story at NPR.

On a sweltering day earlier this summer, Marcellus Cadd was standing in a trendy neighborhood in downtown Austin.

His phone told him he was 20 feet from an object he was honing in on using GPS coordinates. He walked over to a bank of electrical meters on a building, got down on one knee, and started feeling underneath.

“Holy crap, I found it!” he said as he pulled out a small metallic container. Inside was a plastic bag with a paper log. Cadd signed it with his geocaching handle, “Atreides was here.”

Cadd is one of more than 1.6 million active geocachers in the United States, according to Groundspeak, Inc., which supports the geocaching community and runs one of the main apps geocachers use.

Every day for the past three years, he has taken part in what is essentially a high tech treasure hunt. It’s a volunteer-run game: some people hide the caches, other people find them.

But soon after he started, Cadd, who is Black, read a forum where people were talking about how they were rarely bothered by the police while geocaching.

“And I was thinking, man, I’ve been doing this six months and I’ve been stopped seven times.”..

He writes about encountering racism on the road on his blog, Geocaching While Black. He’s had some harrowing encounters, such as being called “boy” in Paris, Texas. Or finding a cache hidden inside a flagpole that was flying the Confederate flag.

  1 comment for “Geocaching while Black: Outdoor pastime reveals racism and bias

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