(The Root) — With all the media attention they’ve been getting lately, I think it’s safe to say that “blerds” — black nerds — are now officially a thing. Since Eric Deggans’ 2012 NPR story “Move Over Urkel, There Are New ‘Blerds’ Around,” the Internet has been ablaze with blerdness: What is a blerd? No, seriously, what is it? How do you date one?
Yes, blerds are having the best year ever, but they are nothing new. The blerd was not invented with the NPR story. It didn’t take its first breath when Donald Glover began his campaign to be the first black Spider-Man. It didn’t materialize the first time Steve walked through the Winslows’ door. Though the portmanteau is fresh and faddy, the blerd is as old as black folk are beautiful.
We all know the story of America’s inception: The British were like, “I say, do what we tell you, won’t you, old chap?” and then America was like, “Nah, bruh. We’re not calling cookies ‘biscuits’ anymore.” And the British were all, “Oh, bother. I fear we shall have to thrash you.” And Americans were like, “LOL, nope,” and then they won their freedom in the dawn’s early light. Also, slavery happened. It was with the transport of those unfortunate first slaves that the first blerd seeds were planted. These blerds were innovators — among the first to do what they did.
This Black History Month, we thought we’d celebrate by taking a look at the blerd through history.