Race & Culture

An examination of the racial and cultural lenses through which we experience our favorite geeky pastimes and the different perspectives that shape our interpretations.

Using Music as an Escape in the Black Community

A few notes float across my consciousness as I lie awake at 4:00 a.m., coasting through a gray night, inundated with news posts on TV, Facebook, and whatever meme posts about the failure of the American system come up. As a young boy, I was told—so often it felt scripted—that America was never going to work for me, that I would always be against it. This internalized message gave way to a commonplace depression known in most black communities:...

Understand this Crazy World a Little Better with the Power of Video Games

“Fantasy is not divorced from our world. It is a lens through which we explore it.” —Rhianna Pratchett Log into Facebook, hop onto Twitter, skim the headlines, and one thing is clear: the world is on fire. Everyone seems to be posting about current events, a nonstop stream of news articles and opinions, personal anecdotes and memes. As they should be. As stressful as it can be to feel bombarded by what seems to be an endless tidal wave of insanity...

Octavia Butler’s Graphic Story Kindred Gets the Graphic Novel Treatment

Octavia Butler is one of the most important writers of our time, known as the mother of black science fiction and speculative fiction. Because of her unique perspective, Butler adds a new lens to these genres using the influences of sex and race and their relationships to power. Her best-known work of speculative fiction is her 1979 novel Kindred, in which the protagonist, a middle-aged black woman named Dana living in 1976 California, travels back in time to a...

Hidden Figures Reminds Us That Black Women Are Important, Period

In 2011, a friend of mine had passes to see The Help and asked if I wanted to go and see the movie with her. I took one look at the poster and said, “No thank you.” After hearing the glowing reviews of the movie, I contemplated giving it a shot, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that gnawed at the pit of my stomach. In 2013, movie reviewers tackled 12 Years a Slave. They said it...

What If Wolverine Were Reimagined with a Native American Origin Story?

Wolverine’s first appearance was in 1974, but he went more than two decades without anyone knowing much about him, including himself. Young fans like me were content with this status quo, though when writers gave us nuggets of information through new characters and villains who had a secret history with him, we never stopped turning the pages to find out more. But in 2001, Marvel Comics decided to do the unthinkable: they were going to reveal Wolverine’s origin. After...

Geeky Veterans Are Everywhere and They Have Their Own Facebook Group

As you go about your day, you may notice a veteran here or there in uniform. What you may not notice is the veteran picking out their favorite book or their groceries. What you may not see is the veteran chucking dice at your local gaming store. What you may not even consider is the veteran decked out in cosplay at your local science fiction or comic book convention.  Like everyone else, veterans are civilians too, and there are more geeky veterans than...

Fight Evil on a Personal Level by Finding Your Inner Superheroes

I remember when I was around 13 and bought yet another Spider-Man action figure. My mother was not happy about it—she expected me to be past the age of being into such “childish” things. Well, I’m now 34 and still very much a fan of all things superhero. I’m not ashamed of it, though I should acknowledge that it does help to live in a world in which superhero and geek culture is more alive and accepted than it...

Cosplaying While Disabled Is Both Wonderful and Frustrating

Many geeks enjoy the art of cosplay. Whether you go for a traditional look or you combine your favorite couple of themes, it’s always fun to embody your favorite character. Some people cosplay casually, adding a wig or a piece of jewelry. Some people go all out, painting their entire bodies or spending tons of money on the perfect look. Everybody has their own rules for cosplay. Some people refuse to go outside gender lines. Other people will dress...

The Surprising Difficulty of Being a Cambodian American Geek

I am a Cambodian American. Okay, technically, I’m an Asian mix of Cambodian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai, but I identify with being Cambodian because both my parents are originally from Cambodia. I’m also a nerd, having gone full bore into otaku geekdom and mostly inhabiting the immense rabbit hole that is video-gaming subculture. Sadly for my wallet, it’s barely surviving my being both a nerd and professional musical artist, but I digress. I love almost all things Japanese, from...

Día de los Muertos: It’s a Memorial, Not a Halloween Festival

Día de los Muertos is a much-loved holiday in Latinx*, primarily Mexican, culture. On this sacred day, we honor our loved ones who have passed on. Although the holiday is called the Day of the Dead, it’s actually two days: one to honor the spirits of dearly departed children and youth and the second to honor the spirits of our adult loved ones who have passed on. Unfortunately, though this holiday is highly revered and completely unrelated to the white...
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