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My Fellow Black Nerds, We Have a Problem

 

Growing up, I had a lot of misconceptions about Blackness and what it meant in relation to myself. I’m a nerd, always have been, and Black people aren’t supposed to be nerds; that’s a white thing. Or so I thought. I don’t know where I got that idea from, no Black people bullied me for being a nerd. If anything the white kids were the ones that said my nerdiness contradicted my Blackness. Still, I redirected all of my insecurities about my identity onto Black people, blaming other Black people for me not feeling as Black as them. Turns out, a lot of Blerds (it flows better than “Black nerds”, but I’m not happy about it) felt/feel the exact same way.

A lot of nerds, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. feel ostracized from other social groups and, in general, it’s valid. Although nerd culture has become pretty mainstream, it’s still common for nerds to be bullied or teased for it. There’s a specific method of thinking, caused by internalized white supremacy, that has Blerds specifically blaming Black people for their mistreatment. It’s not fair. Especially since so many Black people have aspects of nerdiness in their lives and personality. The only difference is that, as a defense mechanism, many Blerds make their nerdiness the forefront of their personality and identity.

This isn’t an attack on Blerds (except for the name, it’s a horrible name); it’s a reality check, from one of you. We can be Black and be nerds, nobody is trying to stop you from having that duality except for white supremacy. Don’t take your anger and frustration out on other Black people who have done nothing to you. The Black community is split enough as it is, with other aspects of racism oppressing us, so we don’t need our own insecurities doing it as well.

We all have our own personal experiences, and I’m not trying to dismiss anyone’s personal experiences with being Black and nerdy. However, I am purposefully dismissing the idea that Black people reject Blerds because of the duality. That’s an old and assumptious way of thinking and, quite honestly, it’s BS. This is coming from a Blerd who thought this way and grew up thinking I had to pick a side. It’s not other Black people hating on Blerds; it’s us redirecting internalized racism and self hatred as a defense mechanism. Cut the crap, everyone, it’s time to grow up and realize we can embrace Blackness and nerdiness.

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Etienne Rodriguez
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I'm an 18 year old social justice/culture journalist currently studying at Rutgers. I want to expose how injustice is ingrained in our culture and how people can use culture as a platform for change.

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