Not Here for Your Race Pain Porn

Recently I tried to find a new home for a story/feature I wrote about blerd experiences. The piece was rejected and mostly I can live with that. One of the criticisms was that it wasn’t a story, which I can accept because I interviewed a couple of people for the piece and it isn’t strictly about me. However, what pissed me off is that the editor said she wanted to know about the “pain of being a blerd.”

What pisses me off about this point is how whites always want to reduce the experiences of POC to pain and/or inspiration porn. My piece is about the ways blerds have connected in ways not possible 20 years ago when I was teen because of technology. Why does that particular narrative call for a painful experience?

I admit that there are a few confessional points to the piece because that is part of the experience. But that is not the only part of the experience. Not every narrative from a black person is a “woe is me” story. I’m glad I connect with others who are like me and I had no way of knowing other black nerds and geeks existed before I finally connected to the Internet. Yes, this is important to me and it makes a difference in my life. My story is not someone else’s story. When you ask me to focus on the difficulty of being a black geek, ironically you are trying to make my story just like someone else’s and fit a narrative that makes you comfortable.

There will be times when I will explore painful experiences and I’m actually working on one of those stories now. However, don’t expect me to give you your daily dose of race pain porn. I’m not here for that.

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