Those who know me say that what I am about to reveal has never been a secret. As a teenager I vividly recall both my father and sister, Sherri, publicly commenting on my status in a way that would be called “shaming” today. Even other family members, whom I love with my entire being, from my cousin Jeff and Bakari, my uncles Cliff, Gary, Jeff, and Arthur, cousins Niece, Kenya, Shannon, Cheryl, Celeste, and Stacy recognized that I was a bit different from the rest of my family.
People say that as you get older, you begin to get tired of people and their stuff; I guess that this is a critical moment in one blossoming and definitively stating who they are.
So I am taking this moment to step out and reveal to all of those who know me, the vast majority of whom love me that I am now ready and willing to accept that dastardly label that they so hastily placed upon me. Oh, I apologize; I failed to highlight the label that was placed upon my personage. That label is none other than NERD.
As I am certain you can imagine, to be an African-American male during the height of the selling of crack cocaine and the ascension of a drug and gang culture that was solely aimed at accumulating flashy, yet depreciating, trinkets such as gold chains, cars, and women was not the easiest task. In fact, it was one that led me to be “a man without a country.”
I intuitively knew that the cultural formations and linguistic patterns that had bullied their way into being ‘authentic black culture’ by the time I graduated from a Catholic High School in the late-eighties failed to represent my understanding of Blackness that flowed from the experiences of what I would later come to understand were fellow nerds such as: Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Assata Shakur, Huey P. Newton, and Paul Robeson. Additionally, I was certain that all of the immorality and negatively that fit the drug lifestyles that so many of my peers had effortlessly adopted as if it were second-nature would eventually come back to bite them in the butt. Unfortunately for those individuals, I was correct in my expectation as so many of them lived their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s incarcerated.
So it is with glee that I have stepped forward as a NERD (Never Ending Radical Dude) and would encourage others to step out of thatshadow and shout to the world, “Yes, I am a NERD and proud of it.” Trust me when I say, it is a path that will bring unconscionable opportunities and guaranteed success.
NERD’s of the African-American Community Unite!!!!!!!!!
James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.