Black nerds, especially my fellow Black nerds who can trace their lineage to American slavery, you greatly disappoint me.
How is it that we live in a time where nerd culture is the dominant culture in entertainment, Black Americans have proven themselves to be the masters and creators of mainstream culture itself, yet, we have Black nerds who refuse to better themselves? Why do many of my fellow Black nerds use their nerdom to hide from their reality and problems as opposed to embracing and dominating them? What will it take for you Black Nerds to stop talking about nerdy things all the time and have other interests? When will you guys wake up and realize you are Black first and that being a nerd won’t save you from systematic white supremacy?
For the past few years, these are a few things I have pondered over with other Black nerds. Some have agreed with me while most others think I’m an asshole who doesn’t need to think and talk about race with nerds all the time because I make them and their white friends uncomfortable (by the way: I’m not an asshole – I’m the asshole and your white friends like me more because I have balls unlike your cowardly, weak Black ass).
Either way, it made me realize something: We need a Renaissance Black Nerd. You know, like a Renaissance Man, but he’s a Black nerd instead. Now, you may be wondering: What’s a Renaissance Black Nerd, why do we need them, and how to become them?
Well, let’s get right into that!
WHAT IS A RENAISSANCE BLACK NERD
A Renaissance Black Nerd is a Black nerd whose interests span beyond nerd culture. He refuses to be just a nerd with superficial knowledge and hobbies; knowing that it won’t get him far with others and in life.
He must have swagger, charm, and balls – the latter being the most valuable. The Renaissance Black Nerd makes it a point to explore topics that normies can relate to as to not alienate others or himself from discussions.
He can be a fan of live-action mainstream shows such as Power, BMF, and Empire as well as being a fan of anime such as My Hero, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Demon Slayer. He could go one step further and watch anime that isn’t on the mainstream’s radar like Troublesome Old Man and Odd Taxi or classic anime like Project A-Ko and Dirty Pair (1985); introducing both normies and entry-level anime fans to lesser-known shows in addition to holding conversations with hardcore otaku who’re fans of older and obscure anime.
He works diligently to improve himself. He takes care of his health by working out and avoiding fast and junk food. He doesn’t allow escapism media to neither control his life nor shields him from reality. He views his hobbies as luxuries – not necessities.
Finally, The Renaissance Black Nerd wants not to be a better nerd – but a better person. Seeking to be merely a better nerd only places limitations, but being the best version of you never does. He acknowledges that the Black nerd community needs someone like him; even if he has to step on a few toes and piss people off to get his way and change the community for the better.
WHY DO WE NEED A RENAISSANCE BLACK NERD
With the understanding of what is a Renaissance Black Nerd, we can look further into why we need them for the Black Nerd community.
First, there’s a disturbing amount of Black nerds who’re either cornballs, goofballs, coons, or willfully ignorant towards white supremacy in and out of geek culture and circles. They desperately yearn for attention and acceptance from white people – especially white nerds. This could be rooted in not being popular with their Black peers, befriending mostly white nerds, and nerd culture not being socially accepted before the 2010s…supposedly.
I say supposedly because the Black community in general (especially Foundational Black Americans) do love gaming, movies, TV shows, anime, and comics. We are some of the biggest, if not, the biggest consumers of them. However, most of us didn’t allow those things to consume our lives and use them as a way to build a false identity via escapism unlike the few who did (emulating their cornball white nerd “peers”).
Second, Black nerds generally need to have outside interests as there are some who are handcuffed by and to geek culture. No one neither respects nor cares about your fantasy fist-fight between Mileena from Mortal Kombat and Komi from Komi Can’t Communicate” while Komi is peeing herself out of fear for her life and Ren Yamai is collecting her pee to use later on at night when she is laying up in her bed having dirty thoughts about Komi.
That’s not interesting. It won’t get people interested in you. You know what will? Exploring and branching out of your comfort zone (more on this later). Stop sticking to only watching anime and watch live-action TV shows. Keep up on what’s going on in sports. Follow both local and national news and dive deeper into the world of politics so you can talk to people.
You’ll get more respect from upping your game that way.
Finally, to conclude, Black nerds need to do better. We need to be aware of how we present ourselves to the world. Image is everything: from your grooming, to the clothes you wear, and yes, even your weight. It doesn’t hurt to get a haircut every once in a while. If you’re gonna wear an anime shirt in public, at least make sure it fits (know that people still going to think you’re immature for wearing one, regardless). Don’t shy away from dressing maturely. Not saying to go out and buy a suit, but you want well-fitting clothes for every occasion: work, interviews, upscale bars/clubs, casual/romantic dates, etc. If you’re fat, exercise! If you’re a skinny twig, build muscle! Take care of your body, health, and mind!
Better your social skills – even if you’re an introvert! Not saying you to become the master of charisma, but work on building some charm to draw people into you. This is accomplished by following what I stated earlier above.
HOW TO BECOME A RENAISSANCE BLACK NERD
Armed with the knowledge of what is and why we need a Renaissance Black Nerd, you can now learn how to become one.
To start, branch away from and slow down on the nerdiness. You shouldn’t forgo it completely, but you can’t entertain or empower yourself or others with useless nerd triviality. People (especially women) love those who are well-versed in many topics and display self-empowerment, growth, and useable everlasting tangibles. If you can do that then you will be rewarded greatly.
Next, you must be willing to escape your comfort zone. Say you only leisurely travel out-of-state for conventions weekends. Get out of your comfort zone by spending 3-4 days before the convention exploring the city in which the convention is hosted. Explore Chicago if you’re going there for Anime Central. Make some time to spend a few days wandering Los Angeles if you’re there for Anime Expo. Don’t be scared to talk to the locals of the city and learn about the people who live in them daily. Ask them what’s going on in the city, where are the best restaurants, bars, parks, and sites to visit. Who knows? You might love it to the point that you want to return to that city not for a convention, but because of how dope the city’s culture is.
Lastly, you must embrace your Blackness. You are Black First and foremost. Believe it or not, these white folks respect Black men and women who aren’t buck dancing, shuckin’ and jivin’ brown-nosing coons on the job. They can’t run games on Black men and women who showcase superior intelligence and stand up to the system of white supremacy in the white-run and operated workforce.
Do this, Black nerd:
At the next event you’re attending (may it be a party, convention, what have you) talk to these white folks about politics, current events, nerd/pop culture, and history. Be casual and friendly with it at first, don’t start aggressively. Disarm them with a smile. Ask them about where their family originated. Example: When talking to someone who claims their roots are Italian, ask them if they’re family from North Italy or South Italy. If they respond with South Italy, say “Oh, Sicily! I can tell you’re from Sicily because of the darker skin and hair!” Throw in some history with how the Moors conquered Sicily during the Medieval Ages and that’s why they have dark hair and skin.
(They’re also talking shit about you behind your back because you reminded them that they have that Moorish blood in them despite claiming white)
To conclude, the Black Nerd community needs more of us to become Renaissance Black Nerds. While it’s cool to love being a nerd, it doesn’t hurt to use your nerdy ways to empower yourself. We need to make sure that the cornball goofball Black Nerds get overthrown and replace with a Renaissance Black Nerd that’ll better the image of the Black Nerd. Nerd Culture is on the rise and has become mainstream. Now more than ever, it’s cool to be a nerd. Black Empowerment is on the rise.
Let’s use that for our advantage my fellow Renaissance Black Nerds!
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The Swarthy Nerd Podcast
A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in nerd culture. Every Tuesdays we drop episodes containing serious and laidback topics while Saturdays we drop episodes talking about TV shows, anime, film, comics, manga, and video games.
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