So where are the geeks? Watch "Black in America: The New Promised Land - Silicon Valley" at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET November 19 on CNN.
Growing up in Dothan, Alabama, Makario Lewis knew there weren’t many people like him.
He was a black nerd and it confused a lot of people around him. It was easy for him to grasp that there was no way he could fit the socially accepted notion of a black male, but it wasn’t easy for others.
Nerds are traditionally the target of bullying taunts in American grade schools, but usually for having thick glasses, being a know-it-all and having an obsession with niche topics. But as a black nerd, the teasing takes a different direction.
“Part of being a nerd is understanding, ‘Hey, you’re different,’” Lewis said. He went to grade school in private schools, which were predominantly white.
“There were very few black people there anyway,” he said. “But being the black guy who’s a geek made it weirder.
“I got a lot of ‘Hey, you’re not black, you’re white’ comments,” he said. “That actually really did bother me, and it still does.”
It was his ability to use computers and love of technology and anime that led classmates to tell him he was “white on the inside,” he said.
For Lewis, being a nerd became an identity crisis. He cites comedian Donald Glover: “It just recently became legal to be a black nerd.”
Now studying computational media at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, Lewis doesn’t run into existential issues with being a black nerd – there are plenty of people just like him, especially in the College of Computing where Lewis spends most of his time.
“We can talk about geek stuff and nerd out as much as we want, but we still have some black culture that we can talk about,” he said.
Admittedly, the conversations are more about computing than being black, he said, but it’s a tight-knit group that understands one another.
“Georgia Tech has someone for you, no matter how nerdy you are,” Lewis said, with a laugh.
Janeka Rector, living in Austin, Texas, has similar tales of growing up as a black nerd.
InAmerica: Letting my black-girl-geek flag fly
With the exception of her parents, she said, “I don’t bring my geeky, nerdy craziness anywhere near the rest of my family, because they don’t understand it at all.”
Surrounded by athletic relatives as she grew up, Rector was more interested in watching science fiction television shows. But even though she enjoyed having a crush on Wil Wheaton, the actor who played “Star Trek: The Next Generation” character Wesley Crusher, she rarely identified with the female characters on the shows she liked to watch. (Whoopi Goldberg’s “Guinan” on the same show was as close as it got, Rector said.)
Being a black nerd could be a very isolating identity, especially for a military brat who moved around a lot, she said. So she made sure to surround herself with other quirky, nerdy friends.
“I always found a gang,” she said, whether they were from the speech and debate club, the theater club, show choir, or later in LARPing groups, the Pagan student alliance or the anime club at the University of Texas, Austin.
“I was always the only black girl in a room with lots of white people,” she said. “I just grew up that way and I never really thought much about it. But I know that my cousins had completely different lives.”
The mainstreaming of nerd interests within popular culture has made it easier to be a black nerd, said front-end web developer Adam Darby, but he, too, had a singular identity growing up.
“When I was young and growing up in the 80s, we were definitely anomalies,” Darby said. “I grew up in North Carolina and all of my friends were white. There was that and it was in my face and I had to deal with it my whole life.”
“My survival [strategy] was to stay low-key,” he said.
But a nerd is a nerd and there’s no getting around that, he said.
“Once you’re in the nerd category, you’re just there,” he said.
Lucky for nerds, Darby said, the nerd community is more accepting of differences than many other communities he has been exposed to.
“We have to be,” he said. “Our whole thing is we want acceptance on some level or another.”
“You can’t really say much if you have a tattoo of a Japanese cartoon character that no one within a mile of you probably has heard of. Our whole essence is based on things other people don’t understand or know about. So you wouldn’t turn around and then be judging of someone else. That’s hypocrisy.”
“We liked to think we were smarter,” Rector said of her nerdy circles of friends. “Race was for other people. We were intelligent, we were enlightened.”
Lewis agrees. The nerd communities he’s been a part of, “have been tolerant no matter who you are. No matter what race you are or sexual orientation you are or what religion you are.”
“Online it’s different, because they can’t see your face and can say whatever they want to say,” Lewis said.
Curt Jackson, an IT consultant and record label owner in Atlanta, Georgia, agrees that online, things are different, discouragingly so in the nerd community.
“Read any thread in Reddit about women, any thread about black people, Asians, Mexicans, gays, anything that’s not white male, there’s all sorts of things that are said on there that are either factually untrue, offensive, and they’ll use their intellect and their arguing capability to prove themselves right on the Internet,” Jackson said.
Jackson grew up in the shadow of steel mills in Braddock, Pennsylvania, during the 1970s and ’80s. He said his peers generally let him “do his own thing,” and didn’t accuse him of “acting white.”
Advised by his mother and grandmother to always be himself, he thought nothing of regularly carrying a briefcase to school in the seventh grade. A practical decision, he thought, especially if he wanted to sit down. No one treated him any differently when he tested as “gifted,” he said.
He sees himself as a nerd hidden in plain sight, one that people would need to talk to in order to know he’s a nerd. “I’m proud I’m a nerd,” he said. “Totally nerdy.”
“That’s how it should be, anyway,” Jackson said, “You should have to talk to people to find out what they’re about.”
But as Lewis knows, sometimes those conversations can be disheartening.
“The worst part about being a black nerd is having to explain yourself and having to defend your race,” he said.
He often has to face comments like, “You’re the only black guy I like,” or “I’m not trying to be racist or anything, but I really like how different you are.”
“Just because I’m a nerd and I’m not as physically active as other black men doesn’t mean anything about them or my race at all. It’s just who I am,” Lewis said.
But there are undeniable advantages to being a black nerd, he said. For example, being different and being good with computers comes with a lot of attention. “You being different and being black and not being a stereotype brings more favor to you,” he said.
“Since you’re the only black girl for miles around, everybody kind of knows who you are,” Rector said of her similar social observation. “Which can be neat.”
But whenever she’s in the company of nerds and meets another black nerd, it makes her happy.
“When I’m at Dragon*Con, I’m always like, ‘You! Hi!’,” she said. “I always have to at least smile at them, because we’re here. That’s so cool!”
“Part of being a nerd of any stripe is that you are excited when you meet someone who understands even part of what you’re about,” Darby said. The enthusiastic conversations that often ensue are opportunities for nerds to test each other’s knowledge out, to see how deeply the nerd runs in their veins, he said.
“There are so many good parts about being a nerd,” Lewis said. “I just like being me.”
It's unfortunate that one is still judged by the color of their skin and not by their character. In my life I have been treated badly by all races but for the most part, people treat me for who I am. As human beings, we can never move forward until we know that we are all the same. No matter the race, religion or creed... As a Deputy Director for one of the Navys IT sites on Okinawa, I can tell ya that there are people of all races that are worthless and lazy that work for me and I deal with them all equally. Either you perform or you are out the door. I can care less what background or color you are. I was the same way when I was a Marine.... Anyway, as a Nation, we really need to get pass this "color of skin" BS. That young man is obviously a go getter and would love to have him on my team. Now I will say that when you are in MY work area, I expect you to carry yourself in a professional manner but whatever you are after 1630, I can care less. As long as it's nothing illegal, you have the right to do whatever you want. Anyway...One People, One Planet. BTW, in my 20 Years as a Marine, I can tell ya that there are more than enough people around the world that don't care about the color of our skin. They hate us because of three other colors red, white and blue..... Semper Fidelis.
My Husband and I are both Black Geek/Nerds... AND WE LOVE IT!. he's a Computer Engineer & I am a Front-End UI/UEX web designer. Its great when you find that safe place to just "BE" (no black not white just... "Geek") :) #longliveGeeks
I was a black nerd at heart, but held myself back because I wanted to fit in. BIG MISTAKE! Didn't graduate college until 35, so many years I wasted avoiding being the "N-word", that I didn't fulfill my potential. Now I'm pushing 40 and just catching up to nerd culture. Always did like technology, but now I'm getting into app development, web analytics and database administration. Not just because they're lucrative industries, but because it's my calling. I believe this society is more welcoming of nerd culture, and I congratulate Adam for telling his story.
Just because someone likes technology, it does not mean that person is a nerd. A nerd is someone who is socially akward and dresses poorly. You can be a techie and still be cool.
i don't think its just black who put dwn nerds its all ppl!
tru that tru that, ppl need stop blaming black ppl for everything like white ppl don't do no wrong! remember we are only 13% of the pop.
Should call this article. "black people that don't scare whites". Or. "your wallet is safe around these people"
Proud to be one. This shows a real? team. Like 29 point unerddogs pull out a win from the #2 OSU... this is just amazing. No words can describe it.. Proud to also say I was out there on the field at the end.. cheering for my team. Go Clones. (:
I am not a racist, but I am bias in the sense that I prefer the company of other 'nerds' as the writer puts it. Skill in technology knows no color. I don't like people, I like others like me, so I wonder if that puts me at the same level as a racist for hating on non nerds lol.
I'm biased in the fact that I like people who like things that I like, love me for me, and don't suddenly don't have a need for conversation with them if they ever introduced me as their black friend or said anthing concerning me acting any other way than crazy ... the good kind of couse. I make it a habit not to introduce anyone concerning race, been a practice since I was a kid. I'll describe every other aspect of them but race. If I can't make you figure out who I'm talking aobut without saying black, white, asian, or what not then obviously I need to get to know them better.
Awww You used the Race Card, Good for you!!!
Yeah!!!, so glad that we Oreo's have finally come out of the closet. I love being a nerd, book worm, dork, or other words that I have heard over the past 40+ years. Proud that I love to read intelligent books, love to watch intelligent shows, love all types of music, especially pop, classical and jazz. Proud that I have a great grasp on the English language. Glad that I have manners.
...And that makes you an "oreo"? Please tell me you are using that term ironically.
This story can be looked at in broader terms than black nerds; it serves as a reminder that there are those out there who break multiple cultural, racial, and societal stereotypes. I'm not a black nerd, but I'm a "black goth" (because in America if you are half black you ARE black, and goth is always used to describe me because of my tastes and interests, not because of what I proclaim myself to be). It's nice that being a black nerd can be a positive thing, especially in life after high school. This story is also good because it sets the mind's cogs turning as one thinks of other broken stereotypes that can be far less accepted, and not have such happy endings for those that dare to be–or simply are–different. I'm not hinting at myself really–though in my entire life I've never met a non-white person similar to me, there has to be one out there, in London perhaps–I'm thinking more of an outed star football player in high school, a Latina wiccan, and other things I can't even conjur up at this moment. Whatever. Society and the vast majority that make it up are so close minded and dull...
To Another Breed of Outcast: You and my beloved fiance are both goths of color and you are BEAUTIFUL.
if only all nerds did really well at math science engineering....
Una pena no poder aitssir.A ver si te animas a sacar el material del ppt o lo que muestres en publicación electrónica, porque a muchos nos vendría bien el taller. Te has planteado sacar un libro? Yo fijo que lo compro. Muchas suerte!!!
I have heard blacks and Hispanics say" You act white" after you filter though what they mean is you act civilized. Apparently Blacks and Hispanic (Mestizo, and Mulatto) really believe you can act like a race. Why are they so racist? Its like they are conversely saying that in order to act black and Hispanic you must act uncivilized.
As a black female nerd growing up in SC in the 90s, I definitely identify. I feel like I had to live and navigate two worlds where I had to speak two different languages and hold different conversations. I can say now, after years of teasing from family and friends and "hiding," I am much more comfortable in exposing my nerdiness.
These kids are obviously acting "white" and disrespecting their race... They have no street cred and will be mocked by the black community for studying and being smart... Bet they don't even have any kids...
Sad that black people think that everyone need to act a certain way depending on their skin color. It's only a skin color, not a culture. We are humans and all have unique traits, gifts and interests. It's sad to see people defined by skin color and not who they are.
I was lucky enough to find a group of black nerds identical to me early on in High School. We formed an anime club (the first in the school's history!) and commandeered one of the classrooms, making it our little sanctuary in a place that had no love for us. If I didn't have them to lean on and identify with back then, I probably wouldn't have made it out of school without being emotionally scarred in some way. Once I left high school and ventured out into the world (DC to Berkeley, CA!), I discovered that there were way more of us out there than I could have ever imagined, and it gives me hope that my future geek babies will have it even better when THEY grow up. Why? Because the GEEKS will inherit the earth!
That being said, Adam, thanks for your story. I love hearing from 'our people,' the alleged Oreos of the world!
I like turtles
I cherish the mind over all. Skin is just a protective barrier to the sack of meat we call human beings. The mind is more important to the human race than anything else. Sadly, our world lives in this Jockdom where being a big, muscle-bound bag of meat is more important than solving diseases, aging, pollution, life's riddles, and infinity's questions and answers. Keep being you and continue saving this messed up world. Dan.
Because thinking is so white.
Lemme just skip to the end!
ninjaKid is pretty cool but he sucks at HALO LOL!
you ass! hahahaha!!!! i don't recall seeing a time to battle! bring it on, i'll frag you with a "SHIBUYAAAA!!!" :-)
Love the article! I am a black nerd and I have been called white girl all my life. I can't tell you how angry it makes me to be forced into some sort of category based on my skin color. I have to say though that it is refreshing that it is now cool to be a black nerd but it was always cool to me!!!
Black and nerd is a great combo. My best friend introduced my white, meatheaded / ADHD brain to the Halo series, music production via ProTools, the advantages of Apple products, Afro Samurai and the Boondocks among many other and even more awesome things. I'm very thankful for that.
Isn't being called a nerd putting you in a category?
Ladies under 25: Grab this man before someone smarter than you does. While you're off chasing the bad boy who will break your heart and end up pumping gas for a living, this one will be making 6 figures, treat you well, and if this picture says anything, he's pretty hot to boot. If I weren't married....
talk about stereotyping.
oooh, ladies under 25! bring 'em on!!!
(i'm 37 (although i was probably 32 when that picture was taken (i still look exactly the same, though!)))
What's the notion of a socially accepted black male? Is it the ignorant, stupid ghetto heads you see with their pants falling off their ass who can't manage to speak a single sentence of proper English?
The fact that you think you were bothered because you didn't fit into the category of "stupid ghetto black person" makes you as ignorant as the people who said you were white.
Black people who tell other black people they're white because they can actually speak English and hold a job that pays more than $15 an hour are complete garbage. Why would anyone care what they say or think? It's like a homeless guy telling Bill Gates he doesn't know anything about business.
The fact that the first thing every ghetto black person does when they get some real money is move away from black people tells you a lot. Even ghetto people don't want to be around ghetto people but they pretend to be proud of being trash. Can't lie to yourself fools!
Don't let trash make you feel bad for being better than them. It's just their way of dealing with the fact that they're jealous. And all this applies to all the fake ass ghetto white people out there too. You fake corn balls are the worst of the worst and not fooling anybody. Amazing how country white trash mixed with black ghetto culture to make the lowest form of human there is.
I was Growing Up. Kids in school go through these things. I don't give a flying fig about what anybody chooses to label me as now, but when I was growing up, yes, it hurt to be an outcast.
And "socially accepted black male" doesn't necessarily mean the guys that fit your description. Steve Harvey is a "socially accepted black male", and he dresses sharp as a tack and is highly successful! I think that some of you are missing the point that most of what I'm talking about is relating to my experiences growing up. As an adult, I EMBRACE my difference from other people in general! True, I LOVE breaking down stereotypes and smashing expectations.
All I'm saying is, don't make too many assumptions from one article. :-)
Interesting argument. Would have been much more compelling if you didn't start it off with "whateva" though.
"the nerd community is more accepting of differences than many other communities he has been exposed to...."
I have found the "'nerd" community least accepting of religion and people of any kind of faith. Nothing but anger, ego and ridicule.
i guess i could be categorized as a nerd, though i don't consider myself one. i have had friends who are religious. one of my closest friends, in fact, is always telling me i should convert to judaism. another is so deeply methodist that he won't even touch wine vinegar and my daughter goes to a very religious preschool. and i daresay, some of them are the nicest people i've known.
what i don't have is friends who want to proselytize me 24/7, telling me i am going to hell, that jesus is the only way to heaven, that religiously-indifferent people are amoral.
so i would surmise that you are one of those religious people who need to be in everybody's face about being religious. take a chill pill. stop wearing your faith on your sleeves. accept that people are different, that you don't have to belong to a church to be a decent person. then you'll like nerdy people just fine.
I will concede that a lot of "nerds" tend to be non-religious, and that's perhaps due to the nature of the beast. However, one of my close friends is one of the most religious people I know (a devout Christian), and she is as nerd as they come! Blankets keep you warm, but they make poor statements. I'm sorry that you've only encountered intolerance from nerds, but that's not all of them/us – believe me!
I learned c++ from a black geek.
The occurrence of Geek-girls among Latinas is also growing. Here's to hoping that more of my fellow geek girls of color stop being afraid of being different!
ALL women of every color should step up and stop being afraid. In the South, white female geeks, and black male geeks ,were rare like unicorns. But a Latina geek, or black female, is rarer still. The way different cultures tend to strangle and stifle the talents, abilities and ambitions of their children must be overcome.
Nerds are cool people! My husband is a nerd, I am not. Sometimes I have to bring him down a bit, cause not everyone gets them. I am not black, but when I was in high school in the 70's, the only black girl in our high school in a small town, was a nerd and my good friend. She was a huge nerd. I remember that she can do so much and I do not know if I would of made it through Algebra without her in my life.
Go ahead and be that nerd! I was a big black nerd, married a black female nerd and today I am a very well paid Sr Manager in a very very large firm and my wife is a succesful doctor in private practice. We still do our own thing and are defined by what our "black friends" do. We rock a combined $500K a year salary, have two black nerd children, one who is on a full academic sholarship and the other who is straight A student in all AP classes. It was tough getting picked on and talked about, but those folks wish they were us now!!!! Nerd on!!!!
I really meant to say we don't get defined by what any of our black friends do! We do our own thing!!
I am glad you brought that up. Because I truly believe, the most important legacy of the Obama administration, will be what he and his wife achieved and what they aspire to for, and encourage and expect from, their kids.
Bravo to you and your family - you sound like very well-adjusted, positive-thinking, game-changing people. We need more like you!
9 minutes ago · Like
Trevor Cutrer Ask him if he knows what a BBS is lol... see if he can use "dial up" in a sentence beyond "I dial-up the pizza place"
8 minutes ago · Like
Trevor Cutrer <- only Black Nerd, Fat Brain, Tea House of The Net, California Networks...Xerox Training Center (1990-95) Kinkos...First Black DTP professional California State Printing office...Yes, I know what it's like...and I loved every minute of it
SON. i had a 1200 baud modem and Telix, and wrote my own computer programs on my TI-99/4A and saved them on CASSETTE TAPE. and was playing MUDS, MUSHes, MOOS, and MUCKs over the token-ring network at college while you were probably in elementary school. SIR!
pwned him dog.
I'm white, but I can see where he's coming from. I remember in HS the nerdy black kid (nicknamed "White William") was treated much differently than the "cool" black kids. Poor guy...
you must be jane from south granville. its william
How old is this man? Is he single? Yum....
Great story...and it's "Blerd" btw
Be nice to nerds. Someday, they will be your boss.
Hey kids...don't fret....I was a black nerd in high school, too. IN THE 70S!!!!! Usually one of two blacks in advanced classes in a school that was 80 % white and I was accused of "being white" many times. I didn't do sports except Track and Field and Basketball (mainly to stop the taunting so I became a "cool nerd"). Marching band, Jazz Band, etc. (in fact I was in band with Food Networks Alton Brown). But let me tell you...the jeering and taunts etc were all worth it cause five years outta high school, I was a Sr Systems Analyst and Officer of the largest bank in my state, making 30K/yr (remember, 1985 this was good money) and bought my first house. I paid the jocks from my high school $10 a pop to wash one of my cars and got all the sweet revenge I could handle. Hang in there and make your dreams come true. BTW, I am still a computer nerd at 48 and I STILL watch SYFY, History channel, and such instead of sports!
NICE!!!! rock on, man!!!!
I can tell ya it has been tough at times being an African American nerd but all I did was took it in stride and laugh. You should never judge a book by it's cover. Some people were shocked to know my profession and that I actually knew what I was talking about. The 90's in North Carolina was brutal... Either way I'm a nerd and very proud. I served my country as a Marine for 20 Years as a nerd and being a nerd gives me a very nice salary and retirement. :-) And yes when I was young, my pants agged. I listened to a lot of Hip Hop and Rap and had the tunes bumping in my ride. (Still do) Now geeks on the other hand are the guys I can't be like. You know the guys that sit in their house playing WOW and raising thier pet spider or snake and never interact with people outside the net.... I could never be like that hahaha But to each his own.
i agree, the 90s in NC were wack . . . i was there! mid to late 80s as well . . .
. . . and i play WoW :-)
but i also have a great social life (sometimes too much!)
Is that even possible?!?!? To play WoW and have a social life? I have yet to see that. You probably play EVE Online too, don't you? If that's true, that's the article you need write about. "Online gaming and Real People in Person...they can co-exist." That's an article I'd read, forward to my boyfriend and all his friends, and tell him "HINT, HINT" in big red letters. You need to start using your social superpowers for good! Stop writing articles that bring out the ignorant in people and stir the "I've had black friends therefore I'm ahead of the times" individuals from the warm, fuzzy bubble to gloat on their good deeds. It's rough on my stomach this early in the morning.
yep, i actually have a LOT of friends that play WoW and have social lives . . . the media (and people in general) tend to focus on the worst of the worst. sure, there have been times when i've stayed glued to my chair for full days playing an MMO . . . but it doesn't rule my life by any means. EVE, i never got into, but i have a friend who's an EVE fanatic – but you wouldn't ever know it unless he brought it up.
I have black punk , goth , ska , geek , metal rock friends and the unfortunate thing is they get treated badly by everyone.
The notion that only whites can be nerds is rediculous. What this is really about is black culture which holds the gangster rap thug model as the proper way for a black male to act and ridicules blacks that dare to demonstrate intelligence. Culture and peer pressure is what keeps people down
Let's get this straight. Black culture is not defined by gangster hip-hop. Media and non-black think it defines black people. I guess we are believing it if they tell us it defines us enough time.
This article definitely relates to my life. The ostracizing, racial taunting and misunderstanding, manhood insulting, never fit in anywhere, only just starting to accept your kind in the last decade...
Posting this just to say I'm one of them. That is all.
Oh, look! Another CNN article about race. Stop focusing on peoples' differences.
Amen. aI am fed up with niches and media trying to split us up into neat, notated rows..
The irony here is that,in a story about a young African-American male, we can freely use a term like "nerd." I guess I am a nerd–and proud of it–but it's a term that has largely been stigmatized in popular culture. When most people call someone a nerd, it's not a compliment. If you were to remove "nerd" and replace it with another epithet, it would be unacceptable. Funny, that.
i actually am quite proud of being a "nerd". it doesn't have the sting that it used to have, and someone can definitely use it in a tone of voice that indicates their scorn – but it is what you make of it. NERDS 4 LIFE!!!!
It is quite refreshing to hear others who are proud of being nerds. I too stand out as being a 'black nerd' and completely understand what it is like. My hope is that one day we can take the 'black' out and as a society realized it is cool to be smart, regardless of the race.
Hmmm I have a lot of black nerd friends ... Note sure whey this is news worth. C'mon CNN there are more serious things going on right now in the world.
I'm so glad it's normal for you to know several 'black nerds'! I think it depends on what part of the country, or the neighborhood, you're in though as for if it's normal or not. My whole life I've stuck out as 'talking white' or 'acting white'... and it's both black and white people so subtly or not so subtly say it. I wish this wasn't the case because I am only being myself, not trying to act a certain way.
The "non Nerd" community makes fun of Nerds to hide their own insecurity. They are intimidated by the Nerds ability to understand and do things that they can't even comprehend. The Nerds will inherit the Earth because they are going to build the new technology that will define the Earth.
Everybody knows black nerds anymore, at least that is if you are a nerd yourself. It's not all that shocking. Enjoying nerdy things is not limited by skin color, heck, Star Wars, Firefly, Star Trek, whatever your poison, tons of nerd-centric things have black characters. I can identify with the feeling of being singular though, as far as I'm aware, I'm the only full-blown New Romantic in my city. You just get used to it after a while.
I like New Romanticism! "Fade to Grey" is one of my favorite songs!
I hate to tell you this, but he is not special. There are many of black nerds out there. We are keeping a low profile. I grow up in Brownsville and Bed-Stuy, Do-or-Die Brooklyn NY. My kids are going to Chinese class to learn Chinese for 5 years. Interesting thing when they go to their regular school, teachers do not know how to label them when they talk Chinese to their Chinese friends. I drive a MB and my wife drives a Volvo. I live in a 3,500 SF house.
I am getting tired of blacks and whites’ thinking this is not a normal thing and I need a pat on the back telling me good job. This is what I am supposed to do. It is my job to raise my kids and support my wife.
I am not bragging about what I have like the rap idiots rap about which sometimes they themselves do not have.
Call me an Uncle Tom if you want. Do not care. Learned from whites and Jews about not caring what you say about me and how to do business.
So, like I said! Not special. But happy he is doing the correct thing. I wish the News Org stop treating it like a special Article that most be printed as well.
rock on, dewd.
There ought to be an uprising of nerds the world over. Did you ever see the movie "Hackers"?
DO NOT keep a low profile! How are you helping the little ones who will come after you by doing that? It's absurd! Get out there and make some noise by proving what you are capable of! Successful white men don't "keep a low profile" so why should you? Think about the legacy you are leaving. Think about your responsibility to the next generation. Stand up and be counted for your achievements!
We keep a low profile to concentrate on our kids. We do not want our kids to think they are special in some way. Only smart like the rest of society. Ask yourself this question, does anyone think that a Chinese kid is special in any way? No, just very smart.
Chinese parents DO think their kids are special And so should you. I have seen this up close. But they believe in their kinds not in a way that is detrimental to the child... not in a way that rewards them for achievements they have not fullfilled. But in a way that *believes* in them, and supports their ideas and aspirations. And just assumes that they CAN. A kid doesn't have to be a NASA candidate to be successful. All kids can learn, and rise to the highest level of their potential if they work hard and have parents who believe in them in a constructive way.
Don't get me wrong, I do think my kids are special. Why should I parade them around to prove they are smart? I do not need CNN to broadcast it out to show everyone that my kids are black and special. Get what I mean?
Yes, I get what you mean. As a parent, you have to decide what is right. But I must remind you, talent and achievement in children needs a venue to be expressed and acknowledged. Without that, children will wither like flowers without water. Just as it is with athletes, what is the point of all that training if they never get a chance to perform and be acknowledged? That's why there are science fairs, and musical concerts, and art shows and all the rest. It feeds the mind and it feeds the soul and they are necessary for healthy minds.
I think that you're missing the "nerd" that we're talking about here. "nerd" != "successful". to me, my nerdiness is the fact that I watch 2-3 anime series and read tons of manga every week. the fact that i use "shiny!" when i'm excited, or that i drive by the Flagstar bank and immediately think of the Frogstar Fighters from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. i have a ton of vinyl toys and i can still name all of the original Ghostbusters, Inhumanoids, Silverhawks and Thundercats.
I will agree with you that I am not EXTREMELY uncommon. However, I definitely have to say that it's become more accepted to be into these things that i love over the years. and that goes for nerds of any color.
Sorry, forgot to mention that I am a big nerd.
Since when being smart and educated become a bad thing? I was teased a bit in school because I got all A's. Thank God I didn't let other kids make me feel embarrassed for it! Now I can laugh int heir face about my six figure salary and comfortable life! Things can sometimes be so distorted. It's like being happy because someone is an addict, yet berating someone because they have no dependencies. Common get real. I know part of this is teenage peer rejection, but even for teenagers this is totally illogical.
Susan, I'm sure plpeoe are speculating all over the place. I'll speculate that it's just that each flood event has its own characteristics - this one may have been just bigger and faster than usual due to precipitation, temperature, and timing. Or, there may have also been some particular "hot spots" or drainages that were more impacted in this event than in prior ones. Regardless, this huge impact from one day of flooding just emphasizes the need to get on with the cleanup, sooner rather than later.
This shows the lack of respect for black people that still lingers in the subconscious of many americans and being promoted on TV and movies all the time... but we'll just have to keep on proving that we are capable of anything...
Blacks, Hispanics, women...anyone no white middle-age has something to prove in the US. Do you think Obama would still be president if he was as bad as George W. Bush?
Yes. Do you think George W. Bush would have been president if he was as black as Obama?
@zimmyb, Hardly. Our views in these country are too skewed because of race.
I grew up in Sothern Alabama and was the victim of relentless teasing for being a black tech geek. I'm glad I didn't allow that to effect me staying true to who I was. Now I look back at the people I went to high school with and they lead miserable lives.
Last laugh is always the best.
I think you mean "affect me" or "have an effect on me," not "effect me."
@zimmyb Dude, what's up your ass? You're a vivid example of the gripes of people on this forum.
awesome. glad i helped you visualize a "gripe."
...and I think a "gripe" must be what you have up YOUR ass. haha. doofus.
@ Jose: On an article about nerds, I think the guy pointing out correct grammar fits right in. :)
Good for you dude. I felt the same sort of pressure to conform when I was young. I lived 15 miserable years as someone's secretary, before I found the guts and a way to make something of the odd interests I had had as a kid (science, taking TVs apart, how sound waves work, nothing appropriate for a female in my culture). I have never taken a physics class in my life, so I had to teach myself, and then I went back to school, at night, for 5 years. It took me 40 years fo figure out who I was. And on my headstone it will read "Nobody's Secretary"/
Is there something wrong with being a Secretary?
Only if your heart and soul tells you it's not where you should be, and that you are capable of more.
What I wanted to point out is, in my youth, I conformed to the expectations that existed at that time for a woman in my culture. They same way black kinds tend to conform to the expectations they see coming from their communities. And these expectations do not take the individual children's abilities into account. Until 1975, I was not even ALLOWED to take a drafting class in my high school, even if I tested out as genius, even if I demanded it. Not allowed. I was 16 in 1975. The law changed, and I took that class, and after that I knew I was different. But because I was a woman, it tookd me another 25 years to do something about it.
And my apologies to everyone for my really bad grammar and typos! I think I need a new keybaord, I mean keyboard...
I had the onuirtppoty to sit? up in the box this game, which I denied, because I kept saying "it's pretty hard to storm the field when your up there." There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win. I wouldn't trade my season hill side tickets for anything in the world. GO CYCLONES
The fact that it is remarkable for a black person to be a "nerd" (aka: intellectual) such that it is CNN newsworthy should be troubling.
The overt rejection of an intellectual life is clearly THE problem that cripples the black community (if we are to discuss blacks as some sort of unified group).
I hope that some sort of cultural shift hits "the black community" and makes academics and thinking "cool".
For now, most of what we are seeing is worse than any of the stereotypes presented by even the most creepiest of racists.
Sheeeeit. Awww yeeuuuuh.
Try being a middle-aged, white femal nerd.... I was almost 40 when I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and what I wanted to be didn't exist when I was in high school. I am now a successfule female Network Administrator, and I have been callled everything from "The email lady" to "Yoda." I am way more attractive than Yoda. Non-tech men are consistently uncomfortable dealing with me on any level. If I fix a problem for them, they will annouce they "fixed it themselves." If my boss fixes a problem for them, they will announce "Robert fixed it." Every time. I feel a solidarity with the black nerds, because over the past 15 years here in the south, I have encountered exactly ONE. He was recently hired by the FBI to do counter-terrorism work. Good for them.
more power to you! sounds like you work with some people who are extremely lacking in confidence . . . keep on!
CNN Tagline: Growing up in Dothan, Alabama, Makario Lewis knew there weren't many people like him.
So what are you trying to say?
"Black Nerd = A black person who can turn on a computer?"
Total Fail, CNN.com.
fo shizzle. probably my black physics professor couldn't be bothered with such an asinine interview.
seriously. I tell you what: CNN is keepin' the black man in his place, at least in the subliminal messages they are sending to many of their white readers.
Did you even read the entire article, or are you just trolling in accordance with your own prejudices?
We prefer the term 'ogre' not troll, sir. Trolls, as opposed to ogres, are not like onions. WE have layers.
Few blacks want that kind of thing. Good for him though.
I'd say that nerd is a bad mutha shut-yo-mouf!
A$$hats are equal opportunity employers.
well, maybe these kids can consider themselves nerdy, geeky or whatever. but they don't evidence great intelligence.
they should have featured my black physics professor larry gladney from penn. now, there's a smart guy and really, he's not even that nerdy.
hey now! i went to Carnegie Mellon University, and I've been a web developer for 10+ years.
PLUS my trivia team won 1st place in our league.
i think i'm pretty smart :-P ;-)
I worked with Adam for awhile at CNN, although I'm sure he wouldn't remember me. Great guy, very smart and clever with words. I admired his combination of computer and people skills.
LOL, who is this?
I'm sure you don't remember me, it's Peter Swanson from 1999. I was very quiet and you were more outspoken. I just did my thing and didn't meet too many people. I mainly enjoyed your wacky QC messages and your fearless style of writing on the email groups, as well as your excellent tech skills. Seeing your photo gives me nice memories of the early web years.
Peter, I'm pretty sure I remember you (or at least your name). Good to know you're around! Those were good times, until Ze AOL Merger. :-)
We need to get past skin color in the U.S. These kinds of articles and special recognition for being black aren't helping but hurting. Imaging seeing the headline "First White Man Walks On Mars"... there would be an outrage. What about "First Black Man Walks On Mars". Forget skin color.
Way to go. Both my brother and I grew up in Dothan. Picked at because we were different. Stayed with the vision and ultimately ended up becoming a physicist and engineer. Stay focused and you can accomplish anything.
Once in a while a nerd is born but the highest level of education in Alabama is middle school.
Hey Change, get over yourself. Comments like this are indicative of your level of education, or lack thereof.
No sheeeit. And most of the time the nerds are born while their mothers are still IN middle school. It's a vicious cycle.
Americans talk too much about race. That by itself, I think, is a problem because it amplifies perceptions of race. I sometimes think we don't have better subject to talk about so race is always there and most people don't have exposure to other races and cultures so the shallow talk about race keeps going on and on and on.
We need more young black people like this young man. Instead of participating in mob roberies and destruction of fast food establishments, he is developing his mind and is destined to be a responsible citizen. I admire him!
If you want to see for a fact that CNN has an agenda of propaganda then watch any segment of the BIA series. Nothing but pure propaganda from beginning to end.
I agree. CNN is the most racist news agency ever. Every time and every day on their website, there is an article related to race. That is how liberals typically are. They try to destroy everything and make it all about race. Shame on them. Soledad O Brian, is another. She is also half white, but does not like mentioning that. She dresses like a white person and also has hair like a white person and talks like one, but then tries to act black by doing the BIA series. It is all about showing that white America is responsible for keeping the black man down. This country will never move forward, if it thinks in terms of race.
"In 2007, O'Brien was awarded the NAACP President's Award.
She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, which named her the Journalist of the Year 2010  and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students.She also serves on the board of directors of The Harlem School of the Arts.
She was named to Irish American Magazine's "Top 100 Irish Americans" on two occasions. She is also on Black Enterprise magazine's 2005 Hot List. Also in 2005, she was awarded "Groundbreaking Latina of the Year" award by Catalina magazine.
In April 2008, she became the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award, an award created in her name by Morehouse School of Medicine. "The award was created to recognize her accomplishments and willingness to be a voice for the voiceless in our society, and her determination to cover stories that might otherwise go untold. It will be given annually to mid-career professionals who serve as catalysts for social change in their given fields."
During a panel discussion for the 50th National Convention for Delta Sigma Theta sorority in New Orleans, LA, O'Brien announced that she would be inducted as an honorary member of the sorority in February 2011. She was inducted on February 7, 2011 during the Sorority's 22nd Annual Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital."
yeeeeeah doesn't sound like she's hiding from her heritage to me . . . ;-)
If American culture focused on letting people be themselves and values intelligence more instead of expecting everyone to conform to this idea of being a social zealot and an greedy idiot, then we wouldn't be in this situation. As a Jewish man with Asperger's who proudly considers himself to be a "Nerd/Geek", I have enough trouble with American culture as it is. For the student's in the article, I couldn't even imagine their challenges...great job to them for being able to be themselves regardless of what anyone says an expects!
Poor guy. Should come to Canada. We never made slaves of the black man, like the US did up till recently so we'd probably not even notice one working beside us here...in fact, I JUST realized that I work with three blacks, one from Jamaica, and two from US...hmm... Never noticed till now. Maybe because my grandparents never "owned" one...
canadians are more racist than anyone!!!!
i am a native indian from canada.
i was raised by 2 black men, 1 native man and a white mother.
all my friends in elem school were asians.
all my friends in hischool were african,east indian,and white.
i have lived on rez and off.
as for your claim that noone in canada notices colour??
from personal experience the most racist people are: blacks, asians, then whites.
that is a fact jack
and have you ever noticed how canadians treat natives?
find a 'normal' native working in the computer industry, or other areas...watch how people think/act!worse than whites to blacks in the usa.
as for histroy-the canadian equivalent of the cia/fbi has the most notorious past with respect to treatment of natives, physically and mentally challenged people, asians etc. do some research and dont believe what u r told! this org. is more diabolical and devious than any other in the world!
My step daughter is native. Her mother and father, both native....bailed on her. So now I guess she's going to be "white" now?...? Part of the culture's problem....is the culture. Your fire truck would work just fine on your reserve if your kids stopped stealing the batteries out of it...get me?
Wow, I'm from the US and I never owned a slave... Nor do I care what race or ethnicity the guy/girl working next to me is...
I bet if you went far enough back, and you are a "true" American (whatever that is, yer all from England or at least Europe anyway) I bet if you had any family in the south, someone owned one. Honestly, as a Canadian, I cannot say that. Never once has a Canadian ever owned a black man in Canada...or an aboriginal man for the record. Quite popular for a while in America. Actually, "Made in America"... Look at some history books that aren't still stuck in "creationism"...and don't only go back to the first Gulf war.....
Ummm... believe it or not, some whilte people down here were actually too poor to own slaves. Really. And they became sharecroppers for while men who owned property. Really. I am a daughter of the South. My people were hillbillies and tobacco workers. Not tobacco farmers – those were the wealthy white men who owned the barns and the fields. We were the workers. Labor. Field hands. Coal miners. But Southern for generations. God fearing people who knew slavery was not God's Will.
WOW Betsy, you really should be given a cookie. no one is saying anything about you owning a slave. what is your problem. just because race is a topic of conversation you think that someone is putting you under a microscope. the lady doth protest too much methinks
Hey Dave, that's an eye opener for me about Canada. Sad but true what you say about the US. But this article goes to show that commonalities in aspects other than race are more powerful than anything else. I've been around people of all colors and didn't even notice that the were white, or black or yellow or green. It was basically how much we had in common. Back in college my circle of friends consisted of a Guyanese, a Sri Lankan, a few Hindi people (from India), Jamaican. I myself hail from the Dominican Republic. It was a great group of friends and I had some of my best moments in life in their company! Diversity is so great!
...and I bet everyone is assuming I'm "white..." I'd bet my native stepdaughter on it, except I'm Canadian and human flesh has never been a usable and valid currency here. Okay I'll stop!
Hey, I'm into diversity just for the food. Holy crap some cultures make some good eats. And some cultures know how to party. For example, if you ever get invited to a Chinese wedding, DON'T EAT for three days before...and wear loose fitting elastic waistband pants.
@Dave Actually the first recorded incidents of slavery in Canada (Aboriginal men) was in 1500 Check out Olivier Le Tardiff sold black slave boy in Quebec. Slaves were bought and sold in Canada for over 200 years under French and British rule. 1793 Upper Canada passes Act Against Slavery and it goes on... don't forget Marie-Joseph Angélique (slave) in Montreal oh and there was that nun what was her name? ah yes Mere d' Youville (slave owner). Have a look at Code Noire on how slaves were treated. Canadians were just as bad as their Southern cousins. I am Canadian and I can assure that race/ colour is noticed here. I've been through some of the same things the 'nerdy' folk have.
There is no such name as "Makario." If you want to play "creative language," be a lexicographer or a linguist. If you insist on having a "name" like this, your credibility will suffer. If you want to fit in in the US, you must act like it. Give up the "creative name" and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Actually, the name Makario is a variant of the greek name "Makarios" which means "blessed". There are several Catholic saints with this name. It's unfortunate that one must conform his name to what you or others believe is proper in order to be accepted. Instead of blaming someone for having a cultural name, blame those who refuse to see past it. Besides, no one asks Irish-Americans to remove the O's from their surnames, or Italian-Americans to avoid naming their daughters Olivia. Perhaps we should all have a good old English name like "Eddie".....wait, this isn't England is it?
@Eddie, "Makario" is probably his birth name. He did not "insist" on having a particular name. You sound stupid.
All the nerds in the companies I've worked for got paid pretty good. So that's a plus for the nerds.
Keep it up the good work, brother.
"the socially accepted notion of a black male"
Ohh im sorry whats that? Like a thug? Crass? Pants sagging? Why does what someones into have ANYTHING to do with race?
Let's first move forward away from the term "black or white" when used to associate with someones skin color. Address yourself not as a term of "nerd" which draws all sorts of negative aspects to it, but as an educated individual with interest exciting to you.
wa da ta. sa da tay on the tippie tie.
Good for this kid but I got to say how far is cnn going to take this Black in america series (I think there up to part 9); I guess you could keep the theme running: black in silicon valley, black in the supermarket; black going to the dentist; black on the highway, I mean come on, a little overkill don't ya think...
Clever. Four years ago.
i gotta say – he's one of the best looking nerds i've ever seen
Lol, too true. He's definitely no Steve Urkel.
oh wait, i can't do that.
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