Being a Black nerd/geek is a struggle.
Most still remember the bullying and name-calling that took place in their younger years. Watching anime was weird. Listening to rock music was a “white people” trait. Reading comics was equivalent to having no life.
Then low and behold, these geeky and nerdy lifestyles of Black kids turned mainstream.
On the one hand, more visibility in the awesomeness that is anime, Marvel and DC, and the like expanded. More celebrities, like Michael B. Jordan, are open about their anime opinions and even take roles as their favorite superhero characters. However, we already created our communities for support and solace. Black people revel in knowing there are others that share their experiences and can now nerd and geek out as much as they please. Here, we have a sweet escape from the realities of the real world.
But alas, these groups are far from a perfect nerd world.
Just because we have a group of people to bond with over nerd/geek topics doesn’t mean they don’t also present wildly disrespectful behaviors. Sure the groups provide a safe haven and maybe some casual roasting, but it doesn’t erase our other identities. Topics of race, sex, religion, gender, and the like will come up in conversation. People will have their opinions, and more times than not they’re respectful. However, there are those who will stay in their ignorance and exhibit problematic behavior and thoughts. Because there are people in groups that have the identities being discussed, they feel harassed, discriminated against, and overall largely offended and attacked.
Here are few examples of comments that have sparked heated discussions in these groups, and did not end well.
“You can’t call yourself pro-Black if you’re dating the oppressor.”
“The #MeToo movement is a joke. Women are just accusing men of anything.”
“I’ve never been in such an anti-Black men echo chamber in my life,” said after posting homophobic and transphobic comments.
“You come off like you get paid to be this retarded over a group in the internet.”
“Oh whatever should I do without that group full of sensitive gays.”
“I think broke brothers tend to wife anything fat in general white or black.”
Luckily, admins monitor discussions to make sure things don’t get too out of hand. There are also people ready to educate others in these groups if the topics come up in a respectable manner. There is hope yet that there are those still left in the world that want to be informed and others who won’t turn a blind eye to harassing and offensive statements. But, it’s sad that draining conversations and offensive content such as these are unavoidable even in Blerd groups.
We need to do better. Opinions aren’t just “opinions” if they present to be extremely harmful to someone’s identity and livelihood. It becomes easy to get defensive when others call you out on your ways, but that’s where the learning begins. People need to learn how to actively listen to what others are pointing out as hurtful and problematic in the same way these discussions should be had in a mild-mannered way. Yes, the go-to reaction is to yell, name-call, and drag an individual for their wrongdoing, but that won’t change their ways or open their eyes. There may be a better chance at allowing someone to see the error of their ways by holding them responsible without being on their level. What happened to the phrase, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?
But, if the situation arises where the display of disrespectful and hurtful behavior continues despite others’ efforts, prepare to be roasted, dragged, and removed.