Phasers and Fros

Geekness and Black Culture! Where Do They Meet?

“Sun, Moon, Stars, Quasars, !@#$% sound like Elroy Jetson!” Come on, which brother you know uses the word Quasars and isn’t a geek? Doughboy, your cover is Blown!  And you watch Hanna Barbara.

I think that sometimes a person’s inner geek clashes with the culture they grow up with.  And I think this is especially true with African Americans.  I feel that my black people sometimes fall for the beliefs that they should look and act a certain way, and that geeks and nerds act a certain other way. In their minds one rarely looks like the other.  And let’s not talk about the PoC out there that don’t even realize they are under-cover geeks and nerds.  Ever strike up a conversation with a brother or sister and find out he / she collected comics, knows all kinds of characters, watched The Matrix and all the Superhero flix, gets into arguments about Twilight Zone episodes and is a serious gamer?  But if you tell them that they sound like a geek they get all defensive “Man, I’m not a geek!  I just like stuff.”  No dude, no sister, you’re a geek.

I love addressing people about their geek-phobic ways.   Because when they start to accept their passions for things in the geek universe, they open up their imagination and find out it’s okay to tell stories and dive into their own Scifi fantasy worlds.  It gives them opportunity to find even more content, more worlds to explore.  It’s a lesson that says that being a geek and being black doesn’t have to be a point of denial or inner conflict.

The terms geek and nerd don’t have the same connotation they used to.  Many people of all backgrounds are calling themselves a ‘this’ geek or ‘that’ nerd.  Some of that acceptance is spilling over into the black community.  But the acceptance doesn’t necessarily come with plaid shirts and pocket protectors. Their geek comes with Echo, cultural dialects, new dance moves and a tight haircut.  Black people are learning how to blend their inner geek and nerd into their outer culture so they don’t have to clash with themselves or the people around them.

And the epitome of the mixing of geek and black culture are manifesting in examples like Afrofuturism and SteamFunk.  There are all kinds of sites, blogs, podcasts and youtubers that express themselves and their nerdy passions with cultural flavor and flare.

I’m hoping that not too long from now the face of geekdom won’t be the stereotypical pimply faced young white guy, but a person of any shade, background and gender.  The more I connect with black geeks and nerds around the internet, the more that face looks more like mine.

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