Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Will Barack Obama's Presidency Make It Cool To Be A Black Nerd, Geek, Or Egghead?

Facts is facts. President-Elect Barack Obama is a combo black nerd/egghead/geek with just a little hint of coolness. He loves his Blackberry, reads everything from comic books to historical biographies, likes pie, tells corny jokes, looks like Ichabod Crane when playing hoops, doesn't like conflict, use to be an academic, is a MAC user, gives long-winded answers with $100 dollar words, and soft like cake when it comes to his wife and his daughters. Oh yeah, he just might kick your ass (in an intellectual great brain fashion) if you make the mistake of under-estimating him.
I for one, have had more than enough of the black athletes, entertainers, and reality television coons that have served as the dominant mainstream face of Black America. I'm tired of explaining to other folks that black people represent much more than these one dimensional images. If Barack Obama can make it hip for black folks to admit they have interests and influences outside of the usual stereotypical stuff connected to being black, more power to him. Let the rise of the black nerds begin!


Thought December 2, 2008 at 7:31 AM  

Your post seems to imply that there was a time that I wasn't cool? I refuse to believe this.

In all honesty though, I respect what Obama is doing for the country, but what inspired my intelligence are guys like Steve Urkel and before that Dwayne Wayne. To me seeing young black men who were so good at math and science - particularly Dwayne who got married to Whitley Gilbert (nice!!!) - was so inspirational. So I've got nothing but respect for Obama, but he's not the first cool black nerd.

Oh yeah props to Heathcliff and Claire Huxtable too.

Claudia December 2, 2008 at 7:34 AM  

Let the rise of the black nerds begin! LOL. I say, hooray! I would be thrilled if geek became the new bling. I love the fact that my president reads the same comics I do...

Anonymous,  December 2, 2008 at 8:18 AM  

I read a New York Magazine article a bit back about this and I couldn't get past the "acting White" aspect. You're an academic Professor Tracey so maybe you might have a better insight. Do you think that its really as prevalent as perceived - the idea of being smart equals acting White?

I feel like its there but overhyped like most things in the Black community.

roslynholcomb December 2, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

From where I sit it's always been cool to be a black geek. That's the only kind of guy I've ever liked. So every guy I've ever dated has been a geek. In particular, I don't care for athletes at all.

Professor Tracey December 2, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

@Thought -

Never meant to imply that anyone that identifies as a black nerd wasn't cool. LOL! I'm just saying it's not the "regular" identity of African Americans.

With that said, Urkel and Dwanye never did much for me. And they are not real people which is what I'm trying to get at. I don't mean the black nerd stereotype, I believe that there are more black people who live "original" lives than the so-called "blackness" that lives on the television and mainstream news.

Professor Tracey December 2, 2008 at 9:37 AM  

@Hey Ladies -

I'm talking about you too. I know plenty of black female nerds. Get over the stereotype about the nerd look, there are plenty of black undercover nerds. Come out, come out! Where ever you are! LOL!

@Symphony -

You raise the heart of this problem and tomorrow's post. I'm not sure anymore what exactly is "acting white" because over the last few years I have been teaching I have seen more white folks "acting black" or what they thought black was.

I'm with you, I think this "acting white" business is something some black folks have bought into and those of us that reject that crap just go on doing whatever we want to do. Maybe it's time we stop being silent.

cinco December 2, 2008 at 11:37 AM  

I'm all for it. We've had too many years where entertainers, athletes,criminals and others have been the inspiration. Not all of them have inspired good behaviors.

An intelligent mind is a horrible thing to waste.

I find my man's mind very stimulating...it doesn't hurt that he's also attractive and kind.

The image that Obama portrays will have a greater impact than many pundits can articulate. I hope it will go a long ways in the way others see us and more importantly in how we see ourselves.

Miriam December 2, 2008 at 5:17 PM  

cheers for the nerds! I would classify myself as a former nerd although I'm not nearly as well read as Obama. Also, I also felt I needed to "dumb down" what I know or how I felt about things.

Eye D. VS Mel O. December 2, 2008 at 5:37 PM  

being a nerd especially one of color has alway been a dope thing but people weren't ready for us and still aren't but here we come in full effect.

(raising fist, dictionary, and my headphones)
Black Nerds Represent!!

ActsofFaithBlog December 3, 2008 at 12:43 AM  

Hear hear! Though loving a MAC makes you uber cool. I love that PacMan sticker on his laptop! I gotta get one of those.

TD1016 December 4, 2008 at 1:31 AM  

Black Nerd here also. We rule and kick rocks if ya don't like it. The whole acting thing was always something I didn't get either. I think its if you don't sound like you have some form of attitude in your voice, then you're not considered black. In elementary and 7th grade I always was told I acted white b/c of how I spoke and I got good grades. Sadly I even found myself one day walking home from school trying to make myself "talk black", because I got so tired of hearing it. I realized how stupid I sounded, not in the fact of how I was talking, but in the fact that I was trying sound a way that I wasn't meant to sound. In 8th grade two classmates that use to tease me about it actually came to me alone and apologized saying that they were just jealous because they're parents want them to study and get good grades also, but they just didn't apply themselves. Real talk from them, seriously their words and not my own. I remember it to this day because it shocked the he!! out of me. Big up to Steven and Simone for keeping it real and being mature to admit when you're wrong about someone.

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