Blerd Around The World
Hello all! Let me first start by introducing myself! My name is Christopher (Chris for short) and I am a Blerd (Black nerd for y'all new to the term) currently living in Germany with my wife. I come from a military background: Dad being in the Army and myself serving in the military, hence how I met my wife. In the 36 years I've been alive I have lived in: New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, Texas, Panama, Italy, Maryland, and Germany. In every single one of these places I have been a NERD, all caps. Growing up it wasn't as beautifully embraced as it is today. I've been bullied, picked on, harassed, humiliated... you know, your nerd badges of honor. As a Blerd growing up there was very little refuge, if I wasn't getting picked on at school there was the odd moments of "watching too many cartoons" at home. You're probably wondering why I need to share all this information with you and what does it have to do with the content of the page, well... I'm here to share what it's like to truly embrace you! The amazing Blerd that you are.
When I was younger I wasn't aware that anime was "Japanese cartoons" with their own certain style and flair to them. Some of the very firsts before I knew they were anime: Captain Tsubasa (I believe I saw in Italy), DBZ (I first watched fully in Spanish), Saint Seiya (Caballeros del Zodiaco), Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon. Naturally pre-everybody has internet days. I also was very into Power Rangers as a kid, Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Spider-Man... your Saturday morning cartoon vibes. Cereal and action packed adventure mixed with trying to show your parents the tv when the commercial came on for a toy you wanted. The enjoyment of these things were my release as a kid from the trials of growing up and the lack of knowledge of events surrounding me. I was fortunate enough to be a kid and talk to other friends about the cool cartoons we got to watch. It was around high school (Texas) where I noticed everyone trying to distance themselves from anything that could be seen as "uncool" and focusing on the pleasures of adult proximity. Basically a lot of us just cursed a lot and chose more aggressive ways to express our independence. Yet I gravitated every chance I got to the Pokemon card and Game Boy players. I do have to say that growing up in Texas I had maybe one Black nerd friend which honestly is something necessary because whether some admit it or not, it's necessary to culturally be yourself and enjoy the things you enjoy. I will say that even though the majority of my friends in HS (high school) were white, the punchline for most of the jokes was my blackness and coming to Texas from Panama, I actually had no idea how to handle that kind of thing. With all of these experiences at a young age, I became guarded about sharing my interests; either due to my enjoyment being ridiculed or having to deal with opinions I did not ask for.
While in the military I was able to afford more of the things I enjoyed: figurines, games, books, concerts, and the occasional convention when I had time off. This was also the time youtube was just a bunch of weirdos sharing things, so naturally when the uncommon nerd would make a cringe video I'd be sent it by some of the non-nerds (always the men) to tell me how it reminded them of me. No similarities other than Black and liking anime. By that time I was fully enjoying nerdom though so it was like watching someone unaware of how much fun they could be having. Games were coming out like crazy, anime was just growing and growing, I got back into comic books after reading the Watchmen for the first time. Like, I was living it up! I was also doing other stuff unrelated too, hanging out in bars and clubs, dancing and having great times with some truly remarkable people. [Since I mentioned this, I will say that being a nerd is usually the core of who you are, but it shouldn't be the only thing you are. There are a lot of things for you to enjoy and be happy about, and the world is much brighter if you don't just pigeonhole yourself to one specific thing... also, some people just don't know what they're missing just by having you introduce them to the things you truly love.] Anyway, I was able to go to New York Comic Con which was like a bucket list thing for me and a dream. I was also able to go to Gamescom in Germany, which hopefully I'll be able to see again this year. It wasn't until recently (like 6 months?) that I was actively looking for Blerd material.
Why specifically Blerd material? I didn't feel truly comfortable in nerd spaces because there was usually this air of dismissiveness. Black characters were "sjw complaints" or "for political reasons" and it was infuriating to see. It only ever comes up that a character is not a character when whiteness wasn't at the center. Over the time finding Blerds I was able to find the Black cosplayers, content creators, comic book makers, podcasters, and general kind nerds I have spent years wishing I knew early on. It's truly a blessing and I'm glad that the community is every bit as protective of its creators as I'd hoped. Black cosplayers get so much bs from non-Black people, it's insane. The harassment is a constant, and when we are called to action to defend that person, EVERYBODY showing up. This is what I always wanted, it's what I always believed was possible. The artists, the content creators, the cosplayers are truly bringing blackness into a space that tells us to create our own space and then harasses us for creating our own space by saying it's not inclusive. We dope, imaginative, and truly a sight to behold. I only do this... talkin' and writin', but it's 100% me. My voice unchanged online from offline. Philosophical thought is my absolute nerdy jam and it doesn't always have to be serious. Enjoy yourselves Blerds and nerds, and I hope to write a bit more in the future for you!