Hyperwhite?

Sunday's New York Times included an article by Benjamin Nugent entitled Who's a Nerd, Anyway? that reported on a 11-year study completed at UC Berkeley by linguist Mary Bucholtz, in which she concludes that "nerds" act "Hyperwhite" and reject any cultural influences from black America.

My own claims to "nerdhood" are pretty solid, and I can comment on this article from the perspective of one with thirty years of continuous experience working with chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists in university, national lab and industrial settings.  The paragons of "nerdom" are those enrolled in -- or teaching -- advanced degree programs in computer science, engineering or the hard sciences.  Since this population includes many, many Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indian and Koreans - a lot of whom are foreign born and educated - it will probably come as a surprise to most of them that they are acting "Hyperwhite". 

Dr. Bucholtz could easily have ascertained the facts about the racial diversity of nerds by walking around Berkeley's campus and crossing the threshold of any of the "hard-science" departments.  Instead, it appears that her "research" consisted of watching dated Hollywood movies that poke fun at socially-inept white nerds.  In contrast, modern TV depictions of "nerds" in extremely popular shows such the numerous CSI series and NUMBERS show characters, including blacks, who are hyper-competent and resourceful with advanced forensic science.

In my own case, my beautiful and intelligent black American wife and mixed-race children would find it spurious to hear that I, a nerd, reject black-American culture.  Indeed, interracial couples are quite common among the many nerds I know. 

The article does not mention the true common characteristic of nerds: they are numerate, i.e. conversant in the language of mathematics - an odd omission for a linguist.  This omission can be explained by the fact that Berkeley-style multi-culturalism is threatened by numeracy, the development of which is the hallmark of Western Civilization and the historical wellspring of western economic and military success.  Consequently, it is incumbent on multi-culturalists to discredit whenever and wherever possible those who are numerate.

In sum, I believe that this article and study reveal a lot more about the racial bigotry and monomania of the NY Times and swaths of liberal arts and social sciences departments than it does about nerds.
Sunday's New York Times included an article by Benjamin Nugent entitled Who's a Nerd, Anyway? that reported on a 11-year study completed at UC Berkeley by linguist Mary Bucholtz, in which she concludes that "nerds" act "Hyperwhite" and reject any cultural influences from black America.

My own claims to "nerdhood" are pretty solid, and I can comment on this article from the perspective of one with thirty years of continuous experience working with chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists in university, national lab and industrial settings.  The paragons of "nerdom" are those enrolled in -- or teaching -- advanced degree programs in computer science, engineering or the hard sciences.  Since this population includes many, many Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indian and Koreans - a lot of whom are foreign born and educated - it will probably come as a surprise to most of them that they are acting "Hyperwhite". 

Dr. Bucholtz could easily have ascertained the facts about the racial diversity of nerds by walking around Berkeley's campus and crossing the threshold of any of the "hard-science" departments.  Instead, it appears that her "research" consisted of watching dated Hollywood movies that poke fun at socially-inept white nerds.  In contrast, modern TV depictions of "nerds" in extremely popular shows such the numerous CSI series and NUMBERS show characters, including blacks, who are hyper-competent and resourceful with advanced forensic science.

In my own case, my beautiful and intelligent black American wife and mixed-race children would find it spurious to hear that I, a nerd, reject black-American culture.  Indeed, interracial couples are quite common among the many nerds I know. 

The article does not mention the true common characteristic of nerds: they are numerate, i.e. conversant in the language of mathematics - an odd omission for a linguist.  This omission can be explained by the fact that Berkeley-style multi-culturalism is threatened by numeracy, the development of which is the hallmark of Western Civilization and the historical wellspring of western economic and military success.  Consequently, it is incumbent on multi-culturalists to discredit whenever and wherever possible those who are numerate.

In sum, I believe that this article and study reveal a lot more about the racial bigotry and monomania of the NY Times and swaths of liberal arts and social sciences departments than it does about nerds.