Though Bucholtz uses the term “hyperwhite” to describe nerd language in particular, she claims that the “symbolic resources of an extreme whiteness” can be used elsewhere. After all, “trends in music, dance, fashion, sports and language in a variety of youth subcultures are often traceable to an African-American source,” but “unlike the styles of cool European American students, in nerdiness, African-American culture and language [do] not play even a covert role.” Certainly, “hyperwhite” seems a good word for the sartorial choices of paradigmatic nerds. While a stereotypical black youth, from the zoot-suit era through the bling years, wears flashy clothes, chosen for their aesthetic value, nerdy clothing is purely practical: pocket protectors, belt sheaths for gadgets, short shorts for excessive heat, etc.
– Benjamin Nugent, Who’s a Nerd, Anyway?
Wow, in addition to being socially awkward I am now being accused of being racist. I’m also somewhat taken aback that nerdism is being equated to a unique social class with it’s own membership requirements.
Jason Steck of The Moderate Voice puts it better, suggesting that it is Bucholtz who is possibly the racist:
Second, Bucholtz’ equation of “nerdiness”, which includes “conspicuous intellectualism”, with whiteness only reinforces the notion that “blackness” is anti-intellectual or at least intellectually inferior.