Phasers and Fros


A Tweeting Black Girl Nerd

For a Nerdy Girl, what’s worse than being seen as a unicorn? A rare species, only thought of as a Myth by the world that surrounds them?  I tell you what is worse.  Being a species that even the unicorns think are a myth – Black Unicorns.  A black girl or women that is a nerd to the core.  Even in the geek community, this combination of Black+Girl+Nerd is almost seen as an oxymoron.  And to set the record straight, I’m not trying to say Unicorns are White (or other) girls and black Unicorns are Black girls.  They are all unicorns by mainstream standards.  Just wanted to give an analogy.

The general stereotypes that Black Women have to deal with are that they are – angry, loud, video vixens, curvy sex objects.  Even when a black girl is shy or introverted, the last thing the general population might label her with is being Nerdy.

I started the twitter tag #BlackGirlNerdDatingTips on a whim.  My friend Jamie of runs a Jem and the Holograms live tweet every Saturday night at 7pm est. (#JemLiveTweet). If you don’t know what Live Tweeting is, then unlike me you probably have a productive life.  Jamie, on the other hand, can multitask like a gangster.

Anyway, as the live tweeting was coming to a close I thought to myself “What would a guy have to know in order to date a Black Girl that was Nerdy?”  I started the hashtag just to see what would happen.  For those that don’t know, hashtags are searchable topics on twitter that let you be part of a conversation, joke or rant. That’s how live-tweeting a show or film works also.  Of course I included @blackgirlnerds in my tweets because if Jamie picked it up, I knew it would snowball.  I also wanted to see what kind of answers my sisters of geekdom would come up with.

What I didn’t anticipate was the self-love, community love, and support that the tag would generate among the nerdettes. I’m not taking credit for this.  I’m marveling that such a simple thing could be an avenue of expression and release of frustration to the myths and bias assumptions the world thinks about black women.  The sentiments of the women were “I’m not settling for …” and “This is what I like! Deal or Step!”. It wasn’t nasty, but fun and cynical at the same time.  It was a filter that said if you wanted to date them, this is what they were about.  And what they were about was everything from Dragon Ball Z to Action Figure collecting to Finishing Anime Quotes.  It was more than an opportunity to joke about dating tips.  It became a road to sharing and validating themselves to each other, to non-geek guys, and to everybody else out there.

Many ladies said it was an important tag, and that type of response I was not expecting.  I read tweets like “one of the best Tags ever” and “I had a bad day but #BlackGirlNerdsDatingTips made it better.”  Being able to be a part of something that made a person feel better is its own reward.

Trending on twitter isn’t a big thing for the most part.  It’s when a hashtag topic is being tweeted so much that Twitter moves it up the ranks of suggestions to tweet about.  Then other people see it and join in the conversation.  I will admit, I was proud that it trended (with the help of Jamie), but also because a bunch of Black Nerdy Girls were giving themselves a voice that others could hear.

The best thing for me was the comedic quality to the whole thing.  Even though there was a serious layer behind it, the tweets were just pure entertainment to all involved.  And yeah, reading all those tweets from my sisters of color getting their nerd full-on had me developing about a hundred+ twitter crushes in the six hours it was trending.

I want more hashtags now.  I want more events and media coverage for my Nerdy Black Sisters that are unique, hilarious, loving and spirited.  There is no difference between them and anybody else that wants to be understood and accepted for who they are. It’s a general struggle for geeks everywhere, Black Girl Nerds have it even harder.


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