Latrell, Lamar? Lamar Latrell.

In a world where a criminal may be charged for additional crimes because two news helicopters collided and killed 4 while tracking his high-speed chase, and two 12 year old boys facing 10 years in juvie for slapping girls bums at school while racing down the hallway, or even the case of Genarlow Wilson, who had consensual sex with a girl 2 years younger than him (17 and 15) and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, it's good to know that somebody in the halls of academia is focusing on the real problems--being "hyperwhite."

I'd like to pick the stupidst quotes from this article discussing the intersection of "nerdiness" and "hyperwhite"--but it's really hard. Perhaps you can help me.

Nerdiness, she has concluded, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, “hyperwhite.”

But the nerds she has interviewed, mostly white kids, punctiliously adhere to Standard English. They often favor Greco-Latinate words over Germanic ones (“it’s my observation” instead of “I think”)

By cultivating an identity perceived as white to the point of excess, nerds deny themselves the aura of normality that is usually one of the perks of being white. Bucholtz sees something to admire here. In declining to appropriate African-American youth culture, thereby “refusing to exercise the racial privilege upon which white youth cultures are founded,” she writes, nerds may even be viewed as “traitors to whiteness.”

On the other hand, the code of conspicuous intellectualism in the nerd cliques Bucholtz observed may shut out “black students who chose not to openly display their abilities.” This is especially disturbing at a time when African-American students can be stigmatized by other African-American students if they’re too obviously diligent about school. Even more problematic, “Nerds’ dismissal of black cultural practices often led them to discount the possibility of friendship with black students,” even if the nerds were involved in political activities like protesting against the dismantling of affirmative action in California schools.

1 comment:

Sallyb said...

Hey Aaron,
Help me out. What is this guy saying in his article? Does he believe or not that Bucholtz spent her 12 years of research effectively? Yikes, it's scary.

One funny thing I got thinking about while reading this article was that scene in the old movie Airplane (have you seen it? Of course you have) where the elderly woman comes down the aisle offering to translate "jive." Don and I were just talking about it the other night. What a classic.

Thanks for your blogging. I check on it monthly and really enjoy it. Your not so nerdy librarian aunt Sally.