Black Nerd Love: Why I Want to See That Fairytale
Does being Black & quirky mean you won't find a Black mate?
I love the web series Awkward Black Girl. The show's creator, writer, director and star Issa Rae is hilarious, witty, and does a great job of making her niche not only accessible, but universally appealing. (If you haven't seen it, watch it here, but - spoiler alert! - after 12 episodes of watching her character J stumble to gain the affection of her office crush - a cute, mild-mannered Black guy named Fred - I must admit I was disappointed to see J end up with Fred's awkward homeboy, White J.)
I'll initiate "backpedal mode" now and say that I am not racist. I don't care at all who anyone in the world wants to date. If you like it, I love it. I will however admit to having feelings, thoughts and comments about certain people's motivations behind why they date who they date, but that goes for gold-diggers, cradle robbers, modelizers and fetishists alike.
My point is: I don't make blanket assumptions about people because they date interracially. So now, that I've made that clear, let me explain my sadness at J's choice of White J and not (Black) Fred.
My immediate reaction of sadness was, in large part, due to the fact that I wanted the fairytale that two Black nerds could find each other in the chaos of life and be in love. The reason that I wanted the fantasy is because, in reality, all of my Black male friends that err on the nerdy side - not Steve Urkel types but, you know, cool dudes who prefer alternative and indie to hip-hop, love computers and comic books - never date Black women. And it's due to the fact that they say they can't find Black chicks that can appreciate their quirks.
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Then, this weekend a movie called Medicine for Melancholy popped up in my Netflix queue, starring Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac. I watched the artsy black-and-white film and realized that whomever wrote this movie had the same quandary. Two alt-Blacks have a one-night stand and spend the day getting to know each other. The girl has a white boyfriend; the boy continuously harasses her about it. She thinks he is narrow-minded. She then discovers that he recently broke up with a girlfriend, who is also white, but she doesn't tell him. Instead, she says that she thinks it's crazy for him to believe that they should be together simply because they're both Black. She ultimately returns to her boyfriend.
At no point in the film am I rooting for these two as I did with J and Fred of Awkward Black Girl - they're just weren't as likable - but the story did draw me in and left me with tons of questions about the limits of categories and what it really means to "live outside the box." And still, it left me longing for a Black nerd happy ending.
I'm not sure why I even care exactly, but it might just be because of the images that Hollywood and reality TV put out into the world of what Black love is, with perfectly manicured people or insanely dysfunctional ones, I'd really just like to see some truth, where Black love wins in the end.