Are Black people not allowed to be Trekkies? That question popped in my head when I was nine, standing in line at the Star Trek convention filled with excitement. Suddenly I realized besides my mom and siblings, we kinda stuck out. My family, Michael Dorn (Warf), and LeVar Burton were the few people of color there. It makes you feel self-conscious navigating through the sea of white, but the nerdiness was strong with our family. We went every year and enjoyed it so much, leaving with bajorn earrings, Starfleet communicators, and Romulan Ale.
When we return we gushed over how great it was, showed our loot to our friends, and they blankly stared, confused as to why we love Star Trek. That’s not a black person show; it’s a nerd show. We should be watching things that are relevant to us (i.e. stereotypical box), like Cops, Court shows, Oprah…etc. It’s frustrating that the color of your skin and the texture of your hair disqualify you from having a huge crush on Han Solo. For me and my siblings, we got backlash twice over. White people became frustrated that Black people are invading their territory and Black people were angry at my mother for teaching her kids the wrong culture. So, I became a closet nerd.
I stopped going to conventions, put away all my nerd figurines and watched Dr. Who in darkness. Many sad years later, only talking to my family of all things nerdy. Suddenly, I found Twitter, a place full of nerds; it was paradise. The anonymity Twitter provided allowed me to find: Supernatural fans, Whovians, Trekkis, Lord of the Rings, Merlin, Batman, and more! I thought to myself I can be me and no one will ever no “what” I am. Then I realized some of these nerds were Black, mixed and Latina! Now I could squee with people like me, who share similar backgrounds, who are also emerging out of the closet of being a Black Nerd. Now my confidence is built up, and it spilled right over into my son. His first joke: Knock Knock? Who’s there? Doctor? Doctor Who? And he bursts into laughter “you just said it!”
It’s a joy and an honor to be a person of color and a huge nerd.
I am a nerdy mom to my nerdy son in beautiful Nor Cal. When I am not a chauffeur/butler/maid for my son, you can find me in bed wrestling with a demon named depression. I’m winning…I think.
I think therefore I tweet: @CurlsGish