A rant on Black Stereotypes;
Blerd, Blipsters, Afropunk rockers, Black metalheads, these are labels i see quite a lot and i wonder… Why are these kind of labels popping up? Well here’s what i think…
The stereotypical black person is someone who listens to hip hop/rap/r’n’b music, wheres clothing that makes them appear gangster and acts in a similar fashion too. For a black person to like a completely different subculture e.g. punk is considered weird, strange and too white. They end up either feeling intimidated by fellow black people or not being fully accepted by their own subculture and sometimes have to deal with mild racism. JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE BLACK.
When people associate subcultures like punk, indie, hipsters, metal heads they automatically think of it as something with a majority of white people. If you’re black and you tell someone you like those kind of things you’ll instantly get the raised eyebrows look and a comment with a definite undertone of racism. This has to be one of the top things that pisses me off. Why can’t it be accepted that black people like other music and cultures that are different to what is generally typcasted of us? Why does rock, punk, indie,scene, all those kind of things have to be associated with white people and not black? And then we are given stupid names like blipsters, afropunk rockers, black metal heads which annoy the hell outta me. These subcultures shouldn’t be divided down even more into black and white, that’s just encouraging segregation all over again and are we really gonna move backwards in time to when segregation was prominent?
For me, i’m a young black girl who enjoys listening to rock/heavy metal/grunge/indie and my dress sense is like soft grunge/indie with my own added edge. My black friends are very much the typical rap listeners, who try to dress thuggish and act “thuggish” too. Even though my taste is different to the majority of people in my school,I’m not afraid to tell anyone about my taste in music and i’m very much ready to fight my corner if anyone wants to put me down about it. But other black people like me should not have to face that, whatever taste in music/ fashion we have should be accepted and encouraged; we have the guts and the originality to act the way we want, dress the way we want, even if it’s completely different to what we are stereotyped as. I hope anyone reading this will be encouraged to be original in their own sense of style and to not tolerate or feel intimidated if someone doesn’t approve of the way you look. After all, you ain’t doing it for them are you?
Anyways i’m gonna end this coz i think this rant is longer than i expected it to be and i’m now gonna have dindins which smells good.
Peace out bloggers!
On the topic of "Race, Sex and Nerds: from Black Geeks to Asian-American Hipsters"
A little while ago, I wrote a post entitled “The Blerd and the ‘Acting White’ Conversation” which examined the concept of the black nerd a.k.a “blerd” and its association with “acting white.” As promised, here is a continuation of that post where I will dive into a deeper discussion of Ron Eglash’s piece “Race, Sex and Nerds: from Black Geeks to Asian-American Hipsters.”
Eglash’s piece provides a brief history of the nerd identity and deconstructs the nerd stereotype within the context of race, gender and class. One of the points he makes in the piece that I find most interesting is in regards to hybrid techno-gender and techno-cultural identities, as he calls them: he cites groups such as GeekGrrrls and Black Geeks Online and claims that they are problematic because
“these figures of technological and cultural hybridity often reproduce the very boundaries they attempt to overcome: not surprising since they are focused on attaching the “wrong” race to the “right” identity. While the figure of the black nerd contradicts the normative opposition between African American identity and technology, it does so only by affirming the uncool attributes of technological expertise.”
I strongly disagree with this statement: I believe it over-simplifies the purpose of these groups. As I see it, these hybrid techno-gender and techno-cultural groups are not about “attaching the ‘wrong’ race to the ‘right’ identity” but instead they focus on highlighting a subgroup that has historically been rendered invisible by the identity generalized to the entire group. The phrase black nerd is not merely pointing out a contradiction—frankly, to interpret it as such only further reinforces the problematic stereotypes and institutional structures that have caused it to be perceived that way in the first place. I view the phrase as an attempt to reconcile two different cultural experiences: connecting one’s experience of being black in America (limiting it to America here for the sake of this discussion) with the general experience of possessing nerd-like qualities and interests. In doing so, the phrase black nerd is not simply “revers[ing] the semiotic values” as Eglash quotes but actually closing the perceived gap between the two identities of “nerd” and “black” by showing that they are not in fact mutually exclusive. Claiming the black nerd identity is a way of saying “we exist and we will no longer allow ourselves to be rendered invisible, neither by the ‘cool’ stereotype attributed to blackness nor by the ‘anti-cool’ stereotype associated with nerdiness.”
While I see his argument, spaces like Black Geeks Online, Girl Geeks and BlackFemaleCoders should continue to claim these identities because in doing so they are actively pushing against the boundaries imposed upon them by society, not playing into them as Eglash may suggest.
Overall, Eglash’s piece proves to be an interesting and refreshing read, as I find the development of the nerd identity tends to be a topic that is hardly ever addressed from the perspective of both race and gender. I’ve seen the black nerd concept addressed in some books on nerd culture like this one from Benjamin Nugent; however, much to my dismay, the topic is usually only briefly mentioned and the history of its development is often left unexplored.
Why am I so adamant about further exploring this area? Well, for one, I view it as a wonderful intersection of identities that forces society to think outside of the limited box of predetermined stereotypes. Similar to the concept of the black indie hipster (a.k.a “blipster”), the black nerd identity shines a bright spotlight on the individuals who find themselves in a role that was once not deemed appropriate for them. It crosses lines and breaks boundaries in a way that society is often too afraid to acknowledge, as evidenced by the noticeable lack of discussion in this area. Recently, more organizations have started to help address it (Black Girl Nerds, Black Girls Code, GirlDevelopIt, Blacks In Technology, Girls Who Code, etc.) but we are still far from where we want to be when it comes to numbers of women and minorities in STEM. And while it is important to look back and analyze how history has led to the way these statistics have developed, I believe it is just as important and more fascinating to think about what this means for the present and future development of the nerd identity. By encouraging society to acknowledge a more three-dimensional view of blackness, could we possibly help to render the phrase “acting white” obsolete? Could the terms blerd and geek girl help replace the quintessential image of the emasculated, socially-inept white male nerd with something more universal and less exclusive?
If you are not on tumblr and would like to share your thoughts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us #blackfemalecoders @lifeissweetgood! We want to hear from you!
Martha Jones: Why I Believe She Deserves More Respect (Reason 1)
They’ve recently started replaying season 3 of Doctor Who on BBC America; the season of Martha Jones. As a proud Whovian I am aware of the prominent Martha hate within the fandom, a hate I just can’t seem to understand. I do understand that she took over the role of companion after the much loved Rose Tyler, which is part of the dislike, but I have seen people who are just cruel towards her for no justifiable reason.
Again I get it “She’s no Rose!”, “Rose wouldn’t do that!”, “I miss Rose”…hell even the Doctor acted like that! I understand Rose might have been your first companion, you loved her relationship/friendship with the Doctor, she was just “better” in your eyes and everyone has a right to their opinion so here is mine.
I love Martha, she is my favorite companion. I feel it’s time to spread some Martha love and unlike the baseless hate for her that I’ve seen online, I will provide the reasons.
The first and my main reason: She saves the day & the Doctor (multiple times!)
- “Smith and Jones” - Okay in her very first episode she saves the Doctor. As the Judoon arrest the plasmavore and leave the hospital Martha is forced to save the Doctor’s life. As the oxygen depletes she uses CPR to revive him, remembering he has two hearts she uses her last breath to bring him back to life!
- “Shakespeare Code” – Only her second episode and once again she saves the day. As a Carrionite stops one of the Doctor’s hearts she starts it up again. Also Martha thinks of the perfect word “EXPELLIARMUS!” to conquer the Carrionites. She not only outsmarts the Doctor but William Shakespeare! In the end saving the day.
- “42” – When the Doctor is possessed by star Martha helps him into the stasis chamber to combat it.
- “Blink” - Though they don’t feature in the episode very much in the glimpse of Martha we get through the video conversation she states how she’s working in a shop to take care of the Doctor. Once again, though off-screen, she is taking care of him.
- *“Human Nature/The Family of Blood”* – It is in these episodes that Martha’s strength and importance in the Doctor’s survival are really apparent. Trapped in 1913, Martha is forced to keep her eye on the Doctor, now in his human form John Smith, as they hide out from the Family of Blood. Though a medical student, Martha must become a maid in the school where John Smith works and suffer through ridicule from the students. Even disrespected, Martha fulfills her role of protector keeping an eye on the Doctor and the TARDIS. In the end she fights against the Family of Blood, endures racism/ridicule, and successfully keeps the Doctor safe.
- “The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords” – Okay she walks Earth by herself for a year to save the Doctor and the world! Based on her unyielding faith in the Doctor she risks her life to tell his story. It is through her actions that the Doctor is able to regenerate into his original form through the Archangel Network. Martha Jones saves the day!
Towards the end of season 4’s “The Poisonous Sky” The Doctor thanks Martha for all her help those, “so many times”. (FINALLY!)
I will post reason 2 later.
I’ve touched upon this briefly before here: