Friday, February 5, 2010


I really like this essay. After yesterday's fun good times, I debated linking to it, but...I really like it and it really hits home.

Last night, I watched Adventureland which is really terrific and something that I totally connected with. But when it was over, I thought, Where are our coming of age stories for people of color? Ones that aren't about getting out of the ghetto, I mean.

Part of my debate about posting that was not wanting this blog to be about race. But it's unavoidable. In the back of my mind, I've decided this is the year I'm going to deal with race more head-on in my work and I guess on this blog, too. If you're not down with that, cool. There are other theatre blogs to read. If you are...welcome to the ride. It might get bumpy at times, but I doubt it's gonna be boring.

And, yes, I am indeed a nerd of color. A colored fanboy. A Negro Geek. I grew up on a steady diet of space opera, flying guys in tights and swords and sandals. I gravitated towards Marvel Comics and the X-men in particular because, for comics, having a blue guy with a tail, a Russian who turned into living steel, and an African counted as diversity. It reflected the multicultural, patchwork world I lived in, both in my house and outside. And that is what I think we need from art: a reflection, a refraction of our world. It doesn't always need to be comforting, but it needs to feel true. The adventures of a bunch of people who didn't fit into their world because how they were born felt true. It still feels true.

I like Bao Phi's summation so much, I'm just going to use that to finish this post.
When it comes down to it, having these discussions is necessary, even if those of us who choose to confront it and speak against it are one against a thousand voices shouting us down. As nerds, as people of color, we are used to insurmountable odds. We’re used to doing what we think is right and standing up for what we believe in, even when it’s not popular and endangers our lives. Isn’t that what being a nerd is all about?


joshcon80 said...

The only coming-of-age story about a person a color I can think of off the top of my head is "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."


joshcon80 said...

Also, shameful secret... I may or may not have played Vampire: the Masquerade. I may or may not still play D&D on Tuesday nights.

isaac butler said...

I think my favorite RPG was Cyberpunk. The great thing about Vampire was the character creation system (I think I always picked Bruha or something like that) the rest was kinda meh. Their werewolf game was terrible!

RVCBard said...

Where are our coming of age stories for people of color? Ones that aren't about getting out of the ghetto, I mean.

Don't you know? That's all Black people do!

I may or may not still play D&D on Tuesday nights.

Which edition?

joshcon80 said...


We may or may not "switch it up" a slots of people find 4th edition kind of dull (not me.)

RVCBard said...

If I play D&D, it's 4E or nada. It's not perfect, but it's the best version of D&D I've played so far.

In any case, I tend to be more interested in small press games. There are so many things at Complete Strategist that have my name on it that I don't go there that often because I'll have gaming books instead of food.

And then there's this narrative, dramatic system I'm building myself.

joshcon80 said...

Me too. The mechanics of 4e are so much better than before, but my party sort of romanticizes 1st ed in this weird way.

Have you played Dread? or Traveler?


RVCBard said...

I've seen Traveler but never played. I don't know about Dread.

(Weird side note: my word verification thing is "preowne" so fucking weird)

99 said...

I love all you geeks so very much.

RVCBard said...

For your information, I'm a NERD!

Thank you.

Sean said...

I'm late to this but I think my advanced comparative age would explain why a) I played AD&D, 2nd Edition, for years growing up and b) I find myself marveling that you guys still have *time* to do it now!

(sigh) I loved that game...