Hey I Like your Afro

An updated Urkle Era thanks to President Obama?
November 18, 2008, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Obama

President-elect Barack Obama has shattered more than just history records and stereotypes when he won the Presidency. According to New York Magazine writer John McWhorter, Obama’s victory has made it cool again for African Americans to be “nerds.”

When speaking on the sterotype that being smart means “acting white”, African Americans have a new secret weapon to fight back with.

“As of last Tuesday, however, there’s a new weapon, and it’s Barack Obama himself. Whenever a black nerd gets teased for thinking he’s white, all he has to say is four words: “Is Barack Obama white?”

Although no one could directly prove the social dynamics the article is highlighting, the piece insists that black students often get scorned by their peers as “acting white” if they make good grades. Roland Fyer, an economist at Harvard and the youngest African American to ever receive tenure at the prestigious University, has researched this theory. According to his research, black students who have higher grades in school have fewer social connections compared to white students.

The oversimplified piece barely touches on a societal racial issue that some could argue, has held back minorities from achieving their academic climax for years. But as some of the respondents to the article have pointed out, nerds have always been stereotypically at the bottom of the social totem pole, no matter the color of said nerd’s skin. Does having an African American president send a message to African Americans everywhere that it’s ok to be smart again? Would a Hispanic American send the same message to Hispanics? What about a woman President?

Social dynamics aside, I would like to propose another angle to the nerd movement. It’s pretty apparent to anyone who is connected with the hipster city style that the “nerd” look has gained popularity long before the President-elect won office.

Lifestyle branding chains such as Urban Outfitters and American Apparel have included the stereotypical nerd look (you know those large thick-black-frame glasses with the tight jeans, white t-shirt, cardigan, and or bow-tie or drop-tie) into ad campaigns.

Blogs everywhere from Black Voices to fashion blog The Fashion Bomb have been picking up on the trend. Some have even turned the nerd movement into a brand such as London based branding company We’re Black Nerds Network which has its own blog and t-shirts.

Even celebrities like Kanye West, Common and Jay-Z (some of the biggest nerds I know) have joined the “dress like a nerd” bandwagon. Because let’s face it, it’s different and unexpected for the cool kids in hip hop to challenge the tough-faced rappers on their swagger.

Want to join the Nerd-chic fashion movement. Learn how at WikiHow!


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

i feel like this blog has too much talk & not enough afros.

Comment by ian

Damn, Ian.

I think this post was swell.

Comment by mlp

I think Ian Bauder is too much talk & not enough afros.

Comment by Rose

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