I was an anomaly growing up: pretty, smart and Black. I went to public school, had college educated parents, and was reading by age 4. I got my first library card at age 5, the old fashioned way: writing my whole name without help.
I was smart. Really smart. In second grade, I was almost skipped to fourth grade. I was telling stories by 5, writing stories by age 7. I was never told nor taught to be ashamed to be smart!
The first time I was called a nerd I was 10. It was told to me in the way you would call a woman bitch. I couldn’t quite process what this little ugly girl was telling me! Now, look. I get that I had an embarrassment of riches when it came to my personal education: access to libraries, involved parents and teachers who cared! But to be called a nerd by a girl that looked like me? Bruh. That hurt.
With this my darling ones, I can extend empathy (and sympathy) to you. I know what it’s like to be ousted or ostracized for being intelligent—even talking White on occasion! I know what it’s like to not know the newest dances, which show got the finest dudes on it, or who Ace Hood is because the book you were reading or documentary you were watching got you caught up! I also know how lonely it is to be labeled *the smart Black kid.
Where you feel you don’t have a home anywhere but in books. I’ve been the kid that had no idea how to do hair, or how Black I was allowed to be. I get it, I do. I’ve been the kid that had to develop a school persona to be able not be as bullied.
I was a nerd without a community. I knew I wasn’t the only smart Black girl in the world—but I surely felt like it! So, from one Mama Blerd, raising Baby Blerds, tell you this—
Be YOU. And let the world catch up.
I want you to know that you are special, that you are worthy—and you’re a Blerd! BLACK AND A NERD! You have the power and right to walk in any room or realm you desire! You have a right to be Muggle, Oracle, Hero, Cosplayer and Valedictorian! Being a Blerd is a superpower!
Behold! Princess Shuri: Blerd.
Write the books, loves! Study the comics and have the debates about the weaknesses of DC versus Marvel. Talk about films, physics, or the flaws of Hawkings’ cosmological theories. Write your law briefs to trap music! But be you.
You have space to do all you need, dear ones. Don’t fade to the wallpaper because you feel you have no space in a room. Don’t be intimidated by a name—it’s what you answer to which matters! If they call you a name, they will never call you anything else. Or for anything else!
Take heart, my Baby Blerds, Secret Blerds and old Blerds! Our time is now! From podcasting, to science to medicine to tech—there has been no no better time to be Black and Nerd!
Do! Let nothing stop you!