Game

“Black and white, black and white, black and white”

The informant first heard of this game in the third grade when she was about eight years old.  She was at her cousin’s house and they planned to play hide-and-go-seek-in-the-dark but everyone wanted to hide.  Nobody wanted to be the seeker.  Therefore her cousin told her a game that you can play to pick who has to be “it.”  All the players start with their hands behind their backs.  Then they are supposed to chant “black and white, black and white, black and white” while flipping one hand in the center of the circle.  For example, at the call of “black” one’s hand might be facing palm up, so at the call of “white” the palm must be facing down.  However, you can start in either position you want, palm up or down.  At the call of the third “white” the players with their hands in the minority position have to replay the game.  The majority doesn’t have to be “it.”  When the player number reaches three, whoever has the single odd hand has to be the seeker.  After the informant learned of this handy game, she used it for every game when no one wanted to be seeker.  She thinks it is a quick and easy way to pick fairly.

Though this game is originally Vietnamese, the informant’s cousin taught her in English.  The Vietnamese translation would be “đen và trắng,” but those words aren’t used as much.  This game is commonly played among children, even when they aren’t playing a game with a seeker.  Sometimes they will play just to see who the last person is and that person will be the winner instead of the loser who has to be “it.”  This game is spread by the children who love to play it and the game is a useful way of passing down the tradition of Vietnamese games.  Also I think because it is such a simple game, it arose from the children from Vietnam who are poor so they don’t have material games to play.  Therefore they come up with games they can play just with their hands or minds, so that they can still have fun and enjoy their youth.

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