What it’s like being the only black nerd in the room

December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

When I read this, I thought, “This is what Betsy DiSalvo’s been talking about, and why Glitch is so important.”  It’s about creating a place where it’s okay to be black and want to learn computing. Amy Bruckman points out in her blog post that Glitch’s success is also about the money, that paying them made the task legitimate and convinced the Glitch students that high tech jobs really do pay well.  (And I agree with Amy’s postscript: Betsy really is terrific, and your department ought to hire her.)

“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.”

via What it’s like being the only black nerd in the room – GeekOut – CNN.com Blogs.

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Technology changes what we teach — even in CS The Greatest Potential Impact of Computing Education: Performamatics & Non-Majors

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