Cops and Robbers

Main Piece:

In person interview. AM is the interviewee. LJ is me, the interviewer.

LJ: Can you describe how you play?

AM: Oh there’s six of us, so we would all split up. Three people would be cops and three would be robbers. And, um, it would be like hide and seek, like if you were a cop you kindof’ had to tackle the robber and that’s how the game would end. And yea…

LJ: Who taught you how to play?

AM: Um…I don’t remember…probably my cousin, they were older than me.

LJ: Would the winner get anything?

AM: The winner? Let me think. We would just switch, there wasn’t a prize or anything. We would just switch.

LJ: But was there an “oh I won” moment?

AM: Um…for like the guys, it was a bigger deal. So like my brother and my two cousins would be like “ohhh” and throw it in your face. When me and my girl cousins would win, we were just like “ok.” Haha.

LJ: How often would y’all win?

AM: We didn’t really care if we won, so we lost most of the time.

LJ: Haha. How often would you play?

AM: We played after school. I remember playing between 5th grade and 8th grade-ish–when all six of us went to the same school.

LJ: Where did you play?

AM: We would play outside of my cousin’s house. Or in their backyard, they had a big back yard.


This was brought up at a meeting, but I asked at her about it at a later date.


The participant is a first year student at the University of Southern California. She was raised in South Central, Los Angeles around the university in a Mexican household.


This caught my attention, because I had only heard of “Cops and Robbers” from television. It is interesting how this game is played in a community that primarily consists of people of color and which has had a high crime rate for the past couple of decades. That it is more of a hide and seek game was also interesting. I assume–although I should have asked–that the robbers would hide, while the cops would seek.

Typically, the male cousins wanted to win, as seen in the transcription above, while the girls were more interested in just playing. Perhaps this has to do with gender norms. If further study was done, I would observe children playing this game now and how/if the interactions have changed. It may help normalize male and female  interactions within the community. The participant played this game around the time of middle school, when many children are going through puberty. Perhaps it helped transition the participant and her cousins into teen years by allowing time away from the changes happening in middle school through this fun, competitive game.