Geek Girls Rule! #17
Yeah, I know. I promised the post on “Nice Guys,” but I’m just not feeling the love. Besides, I said it all here as well or better than I can in an article here, mostly because at the time I was in high dudgeon and, well, I write better that way. Please post your comments about it here. Thank you.
Before I get into the meat of the matter I have an announcement:
I’ve been a little flakey posting here because I’m trying to simultaneously do re-writes on two novels. I’ve had interest in both, so wish me luck. Yeah, yeah, I know: surgery, novels, what’s the next excuse going to be? Well, if I have my way, Jason Statham tied naked to my bed. I love you all, but Jason Statham trumps… everything.
Now, on to the column: Geeks and Racism.
Before I really get started, I’m not going to deny that there are indeed racist Geeks out there, from the offensively, openly racist bigot to the Ameritaku with a scorching case of “Yellow Fever” because they have this cultural preconception of Asian women that has little to do with reality. Racism comes in many guises and is all over. That said, one thing I notice about the bulk of the very mixed group of Geeks I hang out with anyway (and really, those are the only ones I can talk about) is that they just don’t seem to care about race.
Now, I don’t mean “don’t care about race” in that they don’t recognize that there is racism out there or don’t believe it’s still a problem. I mean “don’t care about race” in that, if they think you’re a smart, funny, geeky person who can hold your own in a conversation on giant robot porn and cat girls, they wouldn’t care if you were purple, they’d hang out with you. And I think a lot of this comes from the fact that Geeks spend an awful lot of their social lives (especially in school) as outcasts, losers and misfits in the eyes of the rest of the world. How many times have you started to wax poetic about comics to a co-worker who wasn’t a Geek just to watch their eyes glaze over? How many times have you had to interrupt a story to keep explaining the more arcane bits of Geek-ana to the listeners before you just give up and tell them it was great time the end?
Geeks understand that racism exists, and Geeks of minority ethnicities experience racism in addition to the crap they get for being a nerd (or more accurately, they often get the crap about being a Geek in addition to the larger portion of crap the get as a POC*), but for the most part, the Geeks I hang out with don’t “get” racism. We’re a really mixed bag of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds anyway and we don’t get not liking someone based on DNA because that’s just so fucking arbitrary. There are tons of REAL reasons to not like someone, say for example, that they try to tell you Chuck Austen is a really good comic writer. But because of their skin tone? That’s just dumb.
And part of it is that Geeks have a culture all their own. It has subsets even. Comic Geeks, Gamer Dorks, WoW nerds, Anime Dweebs, but regardless of which subset they are most in line with, most Geeks will get along on a basic Geeky level with other Geeks. And really, we’re just so fucking relieved to have someone to talk to who understands our stories, gets our jokes and doesn’t just look like they wish we’d shut the fuck up.
Let me make one thing clear, I am not trying to equate racism with the crap that Geeks get for being nerdy. I am stating my perceptions of how the Geeks I surround myself with view race and why. That is all. And how my Geeky, nerdy friends and I perceive race is that it is part of what shapes your experience as a human being, part of what makes you you, but it certainly isn’t going to dictate to me whether or not I can hang out with you.
Like I said in the opening, I know there are racist Geeks out there, the majority of those I’m aware of tend to be of the second description I gave of the Anime obsessed white boy who is wildly in lust with Asian girls because Anime has given him this very weird concept of what Asian girls are like. These guys can be irritating, but to be honest, I really don’t even know very many of these anymore. And I don’t personally know any Geeks of the extremely bigoted variety, because I don’t put up with that shit. Or maybe I do and they’re just intimidated enough by me to keep their mouths shut in my presence, because lets face it, the worst thing you can do to a Geek is make them look dumb, and racism is just… dumb. In my eyes, and the eyes of most of my Geeky little buddies, you just cannot intelligently justify racism, and I think on some level Geeky racists know that, or I hope so.
However, I like to think that the reason I don’t know any loudly bigoted Geeks is because Geeks are smart. We’re smarter than that, as we should be, as everyone should be.
If you’re interested in discussions on racism in media like comics and such, let me know and I’ll post a bunch of links to people who discuss it better than I can.
*POC – Person of Color