Never Fit in

Do you remember being made fun of because you watched anime? Or read manga? Or playing a video game that wasn’t 2K, Madden or GTA? I do and it wasn’t fun. I was often labeled “Not really black” or “Not black enough” by both my black and white friends. Let’s get this out of the way, I wasn’t bullied by no means. But I was made to feel like my blackness was in question because I played Final Fantasy instead of 2K or knew all the lyrics to Yu Yu Hakasho instead of a Biggie song. As I got older, I learned to mask my nerdiness before ultimately not caring what people said or thought. I happened to be lucky that the people I was friends accepted this part of me and paid it no mind. I understand not everyone has been that lucky.

In high school I noticed that because someone liked something different than the stereotypical norm, they were considered not really “insert ethnicity here”. I never understood (and never will) why PoC mocked other members of their ethnicity because they were different. I hated hearing black people tell me “You don’t like 2K? You can’t be black” or “What the hell is a Cowboy Bebop? Listen to some hip-hop”.

Feel the Meep

I could and did both. I was able to intersect between anime and “black” culture. The issue is that I should of never had to do so. Why did people with the same pigment as me label me as less than? Who the hell are you to classify my blackness? We as a people sometimes stifle our own because it’s something that goes against what they are used to so it’s automatically not really black. This isn’t necessarily exclusive to those of us in the African American community. This happens with other PoC communities as well. When a member(s) of whatever group like something that is different or against the grain of what their society deems “normal”, they are immediately singled out and made fun of. Some even resort to bullying those people who are different. And let’s not get into the reasons (some people say) that nerd guys/gals don’t date who they want until its cool…I already wrote something addressing that a year ago. Take a look here.

Just blind to my haters (or seeing impaired)

For good portion of my life, I’ve had to intersect between being myself and what is perceived as being black (Thank you @sineaterdanyi for the phrasing). No one should have to do that…for any ethnic background. It’s not needed. You are an original. Be proud of it. As a society, we often try to fit into whatever box that will give us the least amount of grief. Forcing yourself to fit in will end up making you feel like being yourself isn’t important…that is not the case. It took me until my senior year in high school to realize that I shouldn’t care or be afraid to show people the real me. I was still me, just added some video games and a LOT of anime to it. My friends still liked me and didn’t judge me (though they did play me sometimes but not to bullying levels).

So…you want to not be an asshole

It’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be different. What’s not okay is alienating others because they are different from you. I’ve noticed this in high school and some of the Comic cons I’ve been too. When someone isn’t on the same level of “nerdom” (not even sure I used the right phrasing), some blerds/nerds shun them and treat them like dirt. Is it because its how they were treated in the past? Possibly, but doesn’t mean they should treat someone else like they were treated 10 plus years ago. Assholery begets Assholery.  Yes, high school sucks and so do most of the years after but lashing out at innocent people for how you were treated gets nothing done and only perpetuates a bad narrative onto nerds.

*Special Insert: To the people still making fun of people for enjoying nerd things…why? What does me enjoying throwing fake kamehamehas around affect you in your everyday life? Did you not grow up from your high school mentality? People are allowed to like things you don’t know about or like. You watch “Real Housewives” or “Love and Hip-hop” yet you call me the childish one? Stop it. There is no need to belittle someone enjoys watching what you call “cartoons” (it’s anime for the record). Get off your high horse and chill out. </end rant>

giphy (4).gif
I think about destroying trolls often…

I literally can go on and on about this subject because I see this happen often. It’s saddening and not necessary. All in all, be yourself. You are the master of your story, make it a worthwhile one. Has something similar happened to you in high school, college or presently? If so, how did you handle it? How do you handle it now? What advice would you give someone who hides their “nerdself”? Let me know in the comments below.


10 thoughts on “Never Fit in”

  1. That is a powerful post. As a biracial person who’s been in and out of anime subculture or nerdy things, I had my issues and was bullied. I felt like people treated me I wasn’t good enough and that’s not getting into the moments where I felt like I had to prove my humanity. People need to chill. Just because I like Japanese animation or international film doesn’t make me a buffoon or another word that rhymes with it which I won’t utter. Good call about the double standards. Don’t call someone childish if someone watches reality shows or mainstream TV shows. I could go on and on about hypocrisy. I’m glad you were able to talk about your experiences. It shows you have some depth as a blogger and as a human being.

    1. Thank you man. I appreciate your comment. I learned to embrace my difference and live completely in it. Most of us go through things like this but we don’t do anything about. We just keep it to ourselves and keep pushing. Which makes us stronger but doesn’t make it right for us to be treated like that.

      1. You’re welcome. I certainly had to adjust to everything while embracing my differences with others. I had an issue internalizing a lot of my anger and sadness with no one helping me. However, I focused my energy on work, my music, blogs, and my fiction. I wanted to have some positive goals while also being aware of societal vices (racism, classism, politics, etc.). I’m glad you were able to become stronger.

  2. It’s funny how many of the geeky things I got bashed for liking in the past are now mainstream. People are so fickle. Comic books are for kids they would say, but when they become popular suddenly they like superheroes. Luckily for me I have never encountered someone who believes that hobbies should be determined by a person’s skin color. That’s daft and borderline racist.

    1. Not borderline, basically is. And discrimatory. A lot of nerds of color went through this kind of crap just to navigate through high school and college. Sadly some still go through it in adulthood. Its unnecessary and idiotic. I wrote this to kind of give them encouragement that it’s fine to be yourself. There are people who will like you for you and not question your interests

  3. Your post speaks the truth. When I was in school I dealt with the same thing. I felt like I had to hide who I truly was, but then I got tired of doing so and I was honest to my peers that I like anime, and other things they may consider to be weird. I learnerd not to care what others think.

    1. I feel the same way! Main reason I wrote that piece. I shouldn’t of suppressed what I liked for so long. Being myself without hiding myself is the best decision I’ve ever made.

      1. Exactly, and what is so funny to me now is anime, or “nerd culture” is starting to become mainstream now and people that use to make fun of others that were into those kinds of things are now jumping on the band wagon because anime has become popular now.

        1. Exactly. I mean I understand that there are some asshole blerds and nerds that tend to ruin it for most of us but you are right. People love hopping on the band wagon after the fact. When this “trend” dies, they will go back to making light of us and anime smh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *