GeekMundo turns five years old this year… That’s a long time for me to not throw in the towel on something. I’m notoriously afraid of commitment to most things because I’m flighty like that, but this process has been super rewarding thus far. When I first started GeekMundo, I wanted a place to vent as a black female geek. Correction, I wanted a place where I could vent as an Afro-Latina geek (hence the name of the site, as I’m a native Spanish speaker as well) who was obviously black but whose experience reflected growing up in another country for most of her formative years. I liked anime. I grew up with it in Panama so it was the norm to me. I didn’t consider myself an otaku or anything like that. It was just common for us to grow up with anime dubbed over in Spanish right along with our Looney Tunes, Pink Panther, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. My love for all things geeky that I held dear was formed growing up in Panama, so it was impossible to write about one experience without discussing the other. Voltron was in Spanish for crying out loud.
It came to a head after the 2011 release of one of Michael Bay’s vile efforts at a Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon to be exact. All these fanboys with established sites that were the “authority” on all things geeky were talking about how awesome the movie was when it was a racist, sexist, misogynist mess with a below average plot and subpar acting. At the time, the only site who kept it real was Racialicious, and they were just one site covering media like film, TV, books, and comics in a world of stans. I was part of a collective on MySpace called the Black Nerds Network where I had originally felt right at home, but that page slowed down to a halt with the posts. So, I just had to jump in at that point to keep it real, get things off my chest, give an alternate viewpoint, and save my sanity. Thus, GeekMundo was born.
Mae Jemison via Capmembers.com
At first, I made it clear in most of my starting posts that, “Hey! I’m a black female geek! Here’s what I have to say!” I wasn’t hiding. I wanted people to know that this is what they were dealing with because my cultural and racial background absolutely affects the media I consume. I’ve boycotted Into the Badlands (because I’m old enough to remember the fuckery that was Kung-Fu and David Carradine’s yellowface, rest in peace), the last Transformers abomination, Age of Extinction, and Gods of Egypt, and a whole host of others. Life is too short for assaults on one’s psyche by the media, so I move on very quickly the minute it becomes clear that’s going to be the end result.
And while I was very open, blunt, and clear about not supporting or finding issue with certain tropes or actual movies, comics, posts, popular opinions, etc., I realized that it is high time for women of color like myself to be included in the discourse from the jump. We really shouldn’t be fighting this battle for recognition or exposure in 2016. I mean, (Queen) Nichelle Nichols busted on the scene as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek back in the 60s. Women of color, specifically black women, have been “outchea” for some time. We’ve been looking at the stars, creating, imagining, and so much more for a long time. We should be taken into consideration just as much as anyone else when it comes to media. We should be the norm just like anyone else. We should be part of the standard. Black geeks, especially black female geeks, should not be considered the exception. For the longest time, I thought I was an outlier when it came to my love for comics, cinema, and books. Part of it is where I’ve lived for sure, but, when I got online and met other black girl nerds and geeks like myself (and the men of all races who welcome and support them), I no longer felt like an island, but part of a nation; part of a community.
LT Nyota Uhura via Memory-Alpha-Wikia.com
It’s not the easiest jumping out here and hoping that other black nerds (blerds) will find me. The name of the site is *sigh* slightly misleading. I wrestle with wanting to change this shit every single day. One day I might, and when we make the change, you’ll be the first one to hear about it. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to be outspoken and drop that info–because I read way too much not to share–in my writing every chance I get. And if it’s a racist, troublesome mess, we won’t support it no matter how many hits we may miss out on. To be honest, not everything deserves our attention and I’m a proponent that speaking with your pocketbook is the only language some producers, writers, directors, and/or studios understand. But I’m not a unicorn and while my experiences are unique, I just want to be treated the same way as Bae, who is white and male. I don’t want me or any other black woman or girl to be treated as an afterthought.
Call it a pipe dream, but it is entirely possible.