Aisha Tyler and Jean Grae: To be Young, Geeky, and Black.

Jean Grae: “I represent for the misfits, the outcasts, and I’m like, if I could tell anyone in high school anything, I would tell those girls ‘Its okay, don’t worry about it, trust me, after this, it’s not going to matter.'”

Aisha Tyler: “You know the ‘It Gets Better‘ campaign they were doing?  I was so excited about that and I’m not even trying to undermine or diminish it because it’s an amazing thing and its continuing and it’s great, but I felt the same things I was saying to young gay kids, I want to say to the young weird kids and especially the young weird kids of color, ’cause look: young white nerdy kids…they have it hard, but it’s a little easier. Now if you’re a nerdy black kid, I mean you are just alone!”

– from Aisha Tylers podcast “Girl On Guy” interview with rap artist Jean Grae.  Listen to the full interview here.

Two things:

1) I agree wholeheartedly with Aisha Tyler.  Not to overlook the hard work of numerous anti-bullying organizations out there, but when I first heard of ‘It Gets Better’, I was happy that it was up and running, but couldn’t help to wonder why a similar campaign hadn’t been launched for bullied kids.

2) As a geeky teenager in high school during the mid-to-late 90’s, I had also noticed the same race issue Tyler brought up.   As bullied and alienated as I was growing up, I knew that things would be far more complicated for a black kid in my position.  On the one hand there would be the usual bullying, but that would be compounded with racism, discrimination at work and school, and of course, being rejected by your own because you don’t “talk black”.

Now, I don’t have any personal anecdotes of actually hearing anyone give a black kid grief for “talking white” when I was in high school, but I was fully aware of the prevailing social climate that fostered that kind of thinking.  Sadly, that same line of thinking persists to this day as csandreas explains here:

I loved listening to this interview.  Tyler and Grae go off like a house on fire with hilarious and thought provoking topics: creativity, starting out in the music scene, being a woman in a male dominated industry, and the plight of black kids who choose not to sag their pants, wear oversized clothes, and talk like an extra in a rap music video.


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