Dear Black Nerds

A few months ago I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, and I saw this post addressing black nerds, regarding our disregard of black culture. The post said something kind of like, hey just cause you were insulted for being a nerd, you shouldn’t turncoat on your race (rough paraphrase). And then there were a few comments that were in agreement. Comments like, “Yeah. I know, right? They need to get over it.” or “Yeah, cause it wasn’t just black nerds, no one in school really valued the weird nerdy kid, get over yourselves.” And for a while I wanted to agree with that sentiment. I wanted to look at that post and go, “Haha. Yeah. I was just tripping. This isn’t the time to be spiteful about adolescence.”, but then I kept thinking about my adolescence and my prepubescent years. And woof. That was a harder time than I thought. It wasn’t something I was simply tripping over.

Now that I’m currently in my childhood town, the source of all my character flaws, I think I should address the fault in the concept that black nerds should just get over how they were treated now that we (as black people) are at a time where we need to unite. And the argument I have goes beyond just saying, “Fuck that noise. You can go fuck yourself with a dirty ass brick.”I mean for quite of treatment of blerds it went beyond simply being insulted as regular nerds are, because white nerds aren’t told that they aren’t white because they’re fucking nerds. For many blerds, the idea of nerdy-ness stole from the identity of blackness. Being called white was the territory of being black and nerdy. So before one should call anyone turncoat, they should realize that they exiled the nerds. Took their “black cards” and shunned blerds for not being what most saw as black. Which I mean, what the fuck, how the fuck are blacks supposed to act? What? When I was younger I was called white because I listened to The Fray. I was listening to white boy music. Which okay, now of days The Fray is kind of considered bad. Say my taste in music is shit, then. I’m fine with that, but don’t for a fucking minute relegate me outside of a goddamn race I was born into. Listening to The Fray, not liking sports/ rap, and loving anime has never excluded me from discrimination, so don’t just fucking act like it does. I can love as much “white” culture as I like, but at the end of the day, if racism comes into play, I’m still just a nigger.

Now another problem with this logic of just getting over yourself comes into play. It’s that anytime a blerd tries to confront this problem of otherness or complain about it, there are two routes for advice. Some might say to ignore it and just be yourself, which is fine, except that that advice doesn’t really help. It furthers yourself. You get called the good kid. When you start to seem more “black” you’re told not to. “It’s not like you.” As if there’s no “redemption” and being other keeps you at other—don’t pass go.

Then there’s the other advice that irks me to no end, “You need to expand your horizons. Maybe you should like what the rest of the kids like.” Which I get it. One should be more well rounded, but that advice is saying that there’s a problem with black nerds liking what they already like—that they need to conform to this fucked up idea of what blackness is. And to that I can only say, fuck that noise. Let kids, let adults, let teens like what they like (of course under the condition that it’s not harmful, let’s not get carried away), don’t regard them and treat them as other and make them not fit in with their own fucking race because of it. That’s why we “turncoat.” Why we “abandon our race.” “Abandon our homes.” Why we “cut away from our roots” and date out our race. Cause we were labelled as white all our lives, but now, now you want us to act like we’re down for a cause you shoved us away from? Don’t make it as simple as getting over ourselves. Cause for many it’s not. And if you don’t understand, then it must be fun sitting with the silent or oppressive, acting like you don’t know. Acting like you gave a shit about how many of us felt.

And to the black nerds out there filled with spite, I’m not going to tell you to get over yourselves. That’s shitty advice. But you have to reconcile. We’re at a rough patch and using pettiness to fight pettiness only fuels ammo for annoying oranges. Turn the other cheek, it doesn’t need to be quick, it can be a process, but eventually we’ll have to come to terms with our differences and unite. Don’t call the black people who hurt you, “those people”. Don’t liken them to savages and hate all of them. Don’t turn your nerdy-ness into a superiority complex (I’ve done it many a time and it never ends well. It never does). Like what you like, exist how you want to exist, but don’t turn this into negativity for all of the black community. Please do not try to burn down BET because a girl curved you for a “blacker guy”. What I’m saying is don’t turn into the black version of Dylan Roof, please. Just try to understand each other and not let it turn into full blown anger. You can be angry about the treatment, but don’t just ignore your blackness, cause you can’t escape it. Trust me. I’ve colored myself as mixed multiple times, but it never really helps. Just try to make peace, but call out the bullshit when you see it. I leave you with a .gif of the guy my family calls me.

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