WARNING: This article WILL induce bouts of teeth-sucking, rolling eyes, Marge Simpson-like grunts, and the need to counter by way of anecdotal examples which fail to prove otherwise!
For whatever reason, the Fates deemed it so that would I come of age in the good ‘ole 1980s…the decade of big hair, video arcades, and—coincidentally—classic teen coming-of-age movies such as “Sixteen Candles,” “The Karate Kid,” and “Revenge of The Nerds.” And in many of those movies I so fondly remember from my younger days, the story of the socially awkward nerd/nerdette seeking acceptance was reoccurring theme that left an indelible mark on my generation’s collective memories. Even more so, for someone who identified so much with [the] now culturally-ingrained outsiders like Daniel-San and the Tri-Lambs, I often wondered that—since it was a sure bet that “nerds” like myself would surely not ever hook-up with a “normal woman”—if my opposite in the form of the female nerd existed.
Sure, white female nerds—and those few open-minded “normal” white women who accepted them—were portrayed in the movies, but for those rarest of breeds such as myself, the “black nerd” whose interests entail intellectual and abstract interests, I often wondered about our female equivalents. Where are the black female nerds?
Granted that with the advent and rise of the internet, individuals like myself with similar interests can now network with the knowledge that we are not as alone as we once thought, we still find ourselves somewhat isolated by the lack of black female appreciation for who we are as both individuals, and as a social sub-group within the African-American community. For this reason, many of us are forced to seek the company of non-black women who are seemingly not as judgmental as, and more socially accepting of us than black women. More so, the lack equivalent numbers of black female “nerds” provides an unfavorable insight into who black women are as a group.
In much the same way that many successful black women gather in groups in order to determine why they “can’t find a man,” many of my friends and contemporaries often find ourselves in debates about the why we can’t find our opposite in black female “nerds?”
One reason—as we see it—is that black women are not prone to thinking and embracing concepts and ideas in the abstract…at least those not related to religion, an issue which many black male nerds like myself tend to eschew. Allow me to elaborate.
Granted, there are many cultural and personality differences between black women and those of other ethnicities, there are also some levels of commonality which can be applied to black women by association. For example, I have a friend who is a member of an online dating site for freethinkers http://www.freethinkermatch.com/ . As of this writing, the website has 12,499 male members, and only 3,745 female members. It’s not hard to extrapolate the black male-to-female ratio represented by these general numbers on this particular site. The same level of disproportionality can be applied to other abstract ideas and traditionally “non-black” interests that tend to attract black male nerds in greater numbers, such as a passions for the hard sciences, politics, history, current events, comic books, science fiction, and philosophy just to name a few. This speaks negatively about black women in a contemporary pop culture which embraces all things sexual over intellectual.
You can argue the point, but really…how many countless instances in your high school experiences can you recall of black male nerds rebuffed by more socially-accepted black females? You simply don’t have enough fingers and toes to count (or should I have said, there aren’t enough digits in pi to represent these instances?). How often did (and still do) we hear the “smart kids” in our public schools being slandered as “nerds?” And how often did (do) you stand in their defense?
Just as black women sit around and wonder why black men go after white/other women, black male nerds are equally as inquisitive as to why the few black female nerds tend to go after the “bad boy” or “thug” images. And to presume that black male nerds are not attracted to black female nerds would be one of those anecdotal assumptions that I warned about as a preface to this piece. Simply put, the numbers are simply not there for us. The lack of appreciation for our intelligence is not there. Instead, the focus on our undesirability seems to be on our lack of social graces, our propensity not to spend inordinate amounts of money on the most fashionable dress, the way in which we nonchalantly wear our embrace social nonconformity, and our often single-minded devotion to broadening our intellectual horizons.
Unlike like yourselves, we black male nerds are a highly underappreciated breed. This is true because, while you have you feminine natures and lady lumps to fall back on, we black male "nerds," have to rely on having “nice personalities," smarts, and the often empty hope that we just might run across those enlightened and intelligent enough to appreciate us for who we are.
On a final note, one cannot claim—as black people like to say—to “be real” if one cannot accept the same level of “realness” in others.