The Secret Fight of the Black-Girl Nerds

    The life of a “nerd” typically involves a certain amount of loneliness and other social challenges. Try being a black girl on top of that.

    Sure, mainstream culture has its ways of portraying nerd-dom as trendy and cool (hello, The Big Bang Theory), but this treatment is generally reserved for men … most often white men. So it’s not uncommon for a young black girl who may be into comics, science fiction, horror or anime to ask herself, “Am I the only one? Is there something wrong with me?”

    “As black women, just based off our gender and race, we do have two strikes against us,” said Jamie Broadnax, creator of BlackGirlNerds, an online community described as “a place for women of color with various eccentricities to express themselves freely and embrace who they are.”

    When I started my site, I typed ‘black girl nerds’ into Google and nothing came up, which was crazy to me,” Broadnax recalled. “There wasn’t any sort of online nerd-centric community that spoke to black women.”

    Luckily, with the growth of the Internet and its accompanying social media platforms, it’s become much easier for women like her to discover that as nerds who happen to be black, and happen to be women, they aren’t alone.

    “Social media has been a really great conduit for us to connect to each other,” said Broadnax. “We’ve always been around. Unfortunately, mainstream TV, film and media doesn’t really depict black people as being nerdy, but you’re seeing more of us prevalent now as opposed to five, 10, 20 years ago.”

    Broadnax isn’t the only African-American woman who supports others in the embrace of interests and hobbies typically linked to geekiness. Ashlee Blackwell has created Graveyard Shift Sisters, a growing community for black women who are into horror.