5 Things Black Nerds May Have to Deal With Growing Up

Finding a Group of Friends Who Can Relate to You

Oftentimes, as a Black nerd, it’s hard to find a group of people you totally relate to. This is especially true for Black kids in school. Far too often, you were never fully accepted by any social group because the Black kids mislabeled you as “acting white” and the other kids couldn’t relate to your cultural background. This all made for a very lonely experience.

Being Different From Everyone Else in Your Family

Although family is always supposed to be a sanctuary, that wasn’t always the case if you were a Blerd. Your family members may have always meant well, but they didn’t quite relate to all your “nerd” interests when they were busy concerning themselves with sports and music. However, in the end, your family still loved you, and this became particularly true when your “nerdiness” subsequently led you to be one of the most successful people in family history.

Being the Only Black Kid in the Classroom

Many Blerd kids who worked their way into gifted programs find themselves in a dilemma when they end up being the only Black kid in the class. It’s another time that Blerds end up being lonely and not having anyone to relate to fully, especially when they have to deal with the fact that their teachers are white as well.

blerds students

Having Your Exceptional Work Be Insulted by Being Called a ‘Quota’

Anyone who understands the way systems work understands that there’s no truth to this accusation. However, the truth isn’t always enough to ease the sting of this perception. While the stereotype is definitely something that needs to go away, all most Blerds can do in the meantime is continue being exceptional and continue to set more examples for future Blerds so that they feel less ostracized down the road.

Having to Code-Switch Between Your White and Black Friends

When being a minority in the classroom but still being in a Black family and neighborhood, the way to possibly fit in is to toe the line between both very distinct cultures. Code-switching can be defined as alternating between different language styles to fit the particular social setting that you’re faced with. Most Blerds had to learn how to do this to some degree in order to have any semblance of a social life in each different environment.

10 Important Things You Should Know About Intellectual Property to Protect Your Ideas

copyright symbol

What is intellectual property?

The term “intellectual property rights” refers generally to the ownership rights over a creative work such as musical, literary and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, trade dress, and, in some jurisdictions, trade secrets.

Copyright vs. Patent vs. Trademark

The most common types of intellectual property are trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Owning the copyright means you control how your creative, intellectual, or artistic works are copied and distributed. Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed, and usually for a limited time.

A patent grants an inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell and importing an invention (product or a process) for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention. A patent may be applied for only in the name of the inventor or group of inventors.

A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression that distinguishes products or services of a particular trader from the similar products or services of other traders. Trademarks last in perpetuity and can help to establish a company’s perceived value.

How can intellectual property help your business?

Businesses can use copyright laws to protect creative works or use patent law to protect inventions or ornamental product designs. Many businesses can use the law of trade secrets to protect confidential information. Every business can use trademark law to create and protect its brand.

When is a copyright created and how long does it last?

There are two basic requirements to create a copyright. First, the work must be original. Originality only requires that you, the author, contributed something more than a trivial variation. Second, the work must be tangible so that it can be perceived, reproduced or communicated.

The copyright begins when the work is created (not published) and lasts 70 years after the death of the creator. If the creator is a corporation, then the copyright lasts 120 years from the time created or 95 years from its publication, whichever is shorter.

Who owns a copyright, and what rights does the copyright owner have?

The person or entity who creates the creative, intellectual or artistic work is usually the copyright owner.

An employer automatically owns the copyright to any works created by an employee as part of employment. This is known as the “Work Made for Hire” doctrine and is an exception to the general rule that the creator owns the copyright. A written agreement between the parties is not needed for the employer to own the copyright under this doctrine. However, if the material was created by a consultant, a written agreement is usually necessary.

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to use and give others permission to use the work.  The copyright owner can also assign or transfer the rights of ownership in the copyright to a third party.

5 African-Americans Making an Impact in The Video Game Industry

Morgan Gray

Morgan Gray is a veteran in the video game industry and has worked on many popular games, such as Tomb Raider, Star Wars and most recently The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Although Gray has worked on many mainstream games, he’s very ready to see a change in gaming when it comes to race. According to an interview he did with mtv.com, Gray stated:

“I am sick of playing the average white dude character. And I’m sick of playing a black stereotype. … As a player I want to have more experiences other than the futuristic super soldier white guy to the unlikely hero white guy. There’s that line where you’re playing you, and you’re playing the character. It’s sort of like, are you behind the character pushing? Are you holding hands with the character in your mind? And for me, I’d like to get more of relating to this character.”

Karisma Williams

Senior Experience Developer/Designer for Xbox Kinect

As a senior experience developer/designer, Karisma Williams designs and develops the various onscreen interfaces, which include menus, interaction models and onscreen elements. In addition to her work at Microsoft, Williams also serves as creative director of Matimeo.com, an independent UX development company.

Gordon Bellamy

Gordon Bellamy has spent the past 19 years producing and marketing interactive content and developing strategic business partnerships with video game publishers, social media developers and technology partners.

He has worked with major companies like MTV, EA Sports and Spike TV. He was named EA’s “rookie of the year” for his work on marketing the NFL Madden series and was instrumental in creating Spike TV’s Video Game Awards show.

7 Minority-Led Investment Firms Every Black Tech Startup Should Know

645 Ventures

Location: New York, New York

Led By: Nnamdi Okike

Portfolio: Poshly, Admittedly, Keaton Row, AbbeyPost, Rifiniti and Hire an Esquire.

About: 645 Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm specializing in software and Internet companies. The firm invests in companies in the following sectors: SaaS software, application software, e-commerce, data analytics, online marketplaces and Internet-enabled services.

Base Ventures

Location: Berkeley Hills, California

Led By: Erik Moore

Companies Invested In: SocialCam, Swapbox, Virool and many more

About: Base Ventures, founded by Erik Moore, is a seed-stage fund investing in technology companies. Successful exits include Socialcam (acquired by Autodesk), and Appstores (acquired by InMobi).

Bronze Investments

Location: San Francisco, California

Led By: Stephen DeBerry

Portfolio: University Now, LendUp and Better Finance

About: Bronze Investments is a financial investment advisory firm headquartered in San Francisco, California. The firm manages 1 account totaling an estimated $25 million of assets under management.

EchoVC Partners

Location: San Francisco, California

Portfolio: Stipple, Dekko, GraphScience, Life360º and more

About: EchoVC Partners is a seed and early stage venture capital firm focused on financing and cross-pollinating leading technologies, teams, business models and knowledge across North America, Africa and southeast Asia. Average investment size ranges from $25,000 to several million dollars depending on the stage of opportunity and capital needs of the business.

5 Blatant Instances Of Racism in Video Games

Street Fighter

Although most people who grew up playing Street Fighter loved the franchise, it’s hard to overlook the blatant racial overtones of the characters. From Blanka, the savage from Brazil, to Dalsim, the yoga-practicing Indian, to Balrog, the only Black character in the game who’s portrayed as an evil greedy boxer.

Ethnic Cleansing

It’s hard to believe that a game this blatantly racist exists! Developed by Resistance Records, the game lets you play as a Klansman or skinhead in the quest to kill Latinos, Blacks and Jews.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex Human Revolution is a cyberpunk-themed, action role-playing video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Released in 2011, the game was critically acclaimed, except for one particular character, a Black female depicted as Letitia. As reported by time.com:

“Letitia’s a really bad part of a really good game. When lead character Adam Jensen encounters her in Detroit, she’s picking through the trash. It becomes clear that she’s an informant from Jensen’s police days.

“The purpose of talking to Letitia is to move the player forward and give some hints about Jensen’s backstory. Yet in doing so, you encounter something really ugly. Letitia embodies a strain of racist stereotype that renders black people as less than human, as the worst that society has to offer.”


The objective of Scribblenauts, as implied by its catchphrase “Write Anything, Solve Everything,” is to complete puzzles to collect “Starites,” helped by the player’s ability to summon any object (from a database of tens of thousands) by writing its name on the touchscreen.

However, users were able to uncover a particularly unnerving coincidence that when the term “Sambo” was typed, a watermelon appears on the screen and the character of color eats the entire thing and then falls asleep.

Resident Evil 5

The Resident Evil franchise is one of the most popular game franchises of all time, consisting of not just games but a string of movies as well. However, prior to the release of Resident Evil 5, a trailer featured the lead character (who was Caucasian) massacring numerous Black people in an African village, who had been infected with a disease that originated in Africa.

Although the game producers tried to defend their position by saying that other iterations of the game had taken place in other countries, the racial overtones in the trailer were too blatant and did cause serious backlash at the time.

6 Insults Most Blerds Have Heard at Some Point in Their Lives

Being Called an ‘Oreo’

The term “Oreo” is defined as a Black person who is regarded as having adopted the attitudes, values and behaviors thought to be characteristics of middle-class white society, often at the expense of his or her own heritage.

Although Black culture is part of what defines Black people, the idea that the culture is static is completely ludicrous. The term “Oreo” completely discounts the fact that no matter how different a Black person acts in comparison to racial stereotypical images, that can never change his or her skin. So that person still has to deal with the day-to-day racism or injustices that are geared toward Black people.

‘Why Do You Sound/Look White?’

This insult is closely related to the “Oreo” insult. Not only is it offensive for not realizing the dynamics of Black people, it goes a step further in perpetuating the myth that white people somehow have a monopoly on looking, sounding and being intelligent.

‘The Only Reason You Got Into a Good College is Because You’re Black’

This stems from a lack of understanding of how affirmative action works, and believing that it has something to do with filling quotas. The truth is that Black youths have to be quite exceptional to get into a good school, especially when compared to their white counterparts.

Ironically, as many as 15 percent of freshmen at America’s top schools are white students who failed to meet their university’s minimum standards for admission, according to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. These kids are “people with a long-standing relationship with the university,” or, in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians.

According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who have benefited from affirmative action.

‘You’re So Articulate …’

This is the ultimate backhanded compliment. Often, the people uttering the phrase truly believe they’re being nice when saying this. However, it is quite an ignorant statement. First, it assumes that the average Black person is dumb and inarticulate, and that the person they’re “complimenting” is so rare it’s like they’ve come into contact with a unicorn. It also assumes that there’s only one acceptable way for smart people to talk.

‘You Look/Remind Me of Urkel/Carlton Banks’

Because of the gross misrepresentation of Black people in mainstream media, characters like Urkel from Family Matters and Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air are the only archetypes many people have of a Black nerd. However, equating someone as being a Blerd for simply wearing large glasses and “preppy” clothes undervalues the intelligence of true Blerds

‘Being a Sellout’

This insult is particularly offensive because it usually comes from another Black person. While there are many people who have betrayed the Black community, being smart and successful does not automatically make you a “sellout”.