May 20

black man surfing

Can you believe that in many of our favorite pastimes the reason why the participants aren’t as diverse as we wish is because of an invisible color barrier? One would think that it was due to some bullies keeping it “pure” or a general disinterest by the other side but unfortunately the reason why these activities remain largely monotone is due to people’s fear of being “the token” or “the first” or a Twinkie, an Oreo, or an… wait there isn’t one for white people is there? -__-

Let’s take Hip Hop legend and rapper Eminem as a large example of this. Eminem was as big a hip hop head as any kid growing up in his time and broke down a ton of barriers to become what he has in Rap history. With the stigma of a white boy doing urban Hip Hop that for the most part is an expression of street-level Black and Latino culture, Eminem comes out looking like some sort of warrior doesn’t he?

But what if all he did was pursue something that he loved despite race, stigmas and name-calling? Isn’t that what all “firsts” or “tokens” will tell you that they did?

People wonder why nerds take part in some of the most embarrassing, uncool things on the planet and seem to do so with no care as to how they look to outsiders. It isn’t due to nerds being so “weird” and “socially awkward” that they do it because believe it or not many DO notice you laughing and are actually bothered by it.

The advantage with being a nerd trailblazer

cute hip hop headThe reason why nerds can continue to cosplay, LARP, play desktop fantasy games, card games, video games, watch anime, read manga, and have long loud conversations about fictional characters is because popular society has already labeled them as outcasts.

When you are labeled different, a nerd, a loser, a wigger, an Oreo, a weirdo, whatever, it puts your mind at ease in trying new things or things that you may like without the stigma of popular culture judging you for it. This is the nerd advantage.

On the flipside if you have lived your life staying inbound of your invisible racial and social territory, afraid to break out for fear of being stoned and jeered by your peers then you will not find it easy to break out of your comfort zone and try new things. This is why you will find people who will never date beyond their color lines, will never go canoeing, will never cruise, will never do karaoke, will never travel, will never learn to swim, will never attend a concert by their favorite musician for fear of being the only (insert color) one, etc., etc. Does this seem ideal?

Breaking the barriers and becoming yourself

If you have been othered, outcasted or deemed uncool in your younger years then you probably have no qualms with going for things that you are interested in. If you are a cool guy or gal it probably takes some facet of the activity being a fad, or something that close friends are doing for you to even consider it – right?

When you become a grown-up there are some things you should leave behind in teenager-land; comfort-zones based on cool factors and invisible racial borders are one of them. Do things because you are interested in doing them and you actually enjoy it. Forget how it looks to the audience of the world, do what’s good for you and sign up for it.

I think that if more people would flex their wings instead of staying within the comfortable borders of blackazonia or whiteburbia there would be a lot less “firsts” and many more “bests” in the world for us to celebrate. So tell me, are you ready to spread your wings?

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