The other day was very difficult for all of us. As we heard the verdict delivered in the Trayvon Martin case it took a piece of hope in all of us that we lived in an America where the word “post-racial” was something to look forward to. A part of me that hoped we were becoming a more progressive country, had actually died that day. This same day I received a few tweets from a troll that questioned why this blog is called ‘Black Girl Nerds’. Ironically enough also that same day I tweeted with Rosetta Thurman, who was dismayed by comments made about her aptly titled blog called ‘Happy Black Woman’. She made a comment that struck me. She said she found it strange as to why people object to the term “Black”, when used to create a network or website. I received a tweet from a guy who asked why do I call my blog ‘Black Girl Nerds’?
He tweeted imprudently, you don’t see sites called ‘White Boy Geeks’ or ‘Asian Nerds’ do you? I took a deep breath and exhaled, because one of the worst things people do on Twitter is have a knee-jerk reaction to an ill-informed comment from a fellow tweeter. I articulated to him, that Black Girl Nerds is meant to be empower women who live in a world where every geek, nerd, dork, and dweeb has a non-black face.
This whole blog started because I simply wanted to find a website about girls of my ilk. I noticed a lot of discussion and web topics on the emergence of black nerds. I was so excited that now it was finally happening that nerds are cool in our mainstream medium! We were finally being pushed to the forefront and I can feel like someone who belonged and not some sort of unicorn that lives in a mythological place in my head. The night I Googled the term ‘Black Girl Nerds’, in a search engine where you can relatively find anything, not one iota of information about nerdy women of color came up. I saw a Yahoo! Answers site where someone asked the question….do black girl nerds exist?
It was at that moment that I realized I truly was a unicorn. One with wings. Named Pegasus.
Places of solidarity are very important, especially for groups who have felt suppressed, dismissed, and ignored. We need to find a place to feel like we belong where we can foster relationships and build a rapport with others. It’s easy to come from a place of privilege, where you have never undergone such experiences and throw vitriol to another person by harshly accusing them of being exclusive. It’s very easy if you have never had an experience where you felt like you lived within a sea of people who don’t share your same cultural sensitivities, experiences, or interests. It’s effortless to assume that harmonizing a subculture is somehow elitist. I know there are people who will never understand why this blog was created, and to those people I say to you, to dig a little deeper into another person’s experience before you give a shallow and superficial point of view.
Take a moment to understand the whys and not the hows. It’s a beautiful thing to read a comment, email, or tweet from someone who says, “Wow, I thought I was the only one! There are others just like me!” I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve received those kinds of responses since creating Black Girl Nerds. It’s an amazing feeling to converse and establish relationships with so many girls and guys who get my nerdiness and don’t judge me for it. Right now we are living in a time where racial tensions are uprising and being black in some circles is still seen as a deterrent for upward mobility. We live in a time where gerrymandering has a major bias in predominately black towns and cities which is utilized to suppress the black vote. We live in a time where a black unarmed teen is killed simply by racial profiling and his killer goes free. We live in a time where more black men are incarcerated for petty crimes than non-black men for felonious white collar crimes like what happened on Wall St. I try my best not to racialize everything, because not everything is about race.
However, this website is used as a conduit to allow women who once didn’t have a place to share their voice, or felt awkward or weird for saying it, to finally be their nerdy selves. We are black, female, and nerdy and gosh darn it we love it. So to all the naysayers who have don’t have anything nice to say about a community that empowers being black, being female, and being nerdy—then I say, go create your own blog. What each of us do with this blog every day is not easy, and it’s so simple to be judgmental of another person’s work, but until you take a walk in their shoes, you don’t have a place for disparaging remarks. Rosanna Thurman from Happy Black Woman posted an excerpt on her Facebook fan page about why she titled her site Happy Black Woman which you can read HERE.
Thanks for taking the time to read and now we will continue with our regularly scheduled blog postings about all things nerdy.