when megs become peters: a blerd perspective

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


an essay on bullying within the blerd community.

Submitted: April 26, 2018

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Submitted: April 26, 2018

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When Megs become Peters: A black nerd perspective.

 

Growing up as a black nerd at the social level isn’t always easy. Around other black students, you might not always find another student that shares your interests. This can cause you to feel alienated from others. Sometimes, other students may claim that your interests are stupid, and even call you other degrading names that cause you to drift from other black people into either isolation or other races and cultures. Even at home, blerds may feel isolated from their families and often do not have ways to cope with that isolation. This rings especially true for blerds who live in small areas where nerd culture isn’t highly celebrated. So, essentially, many blerds have become Megs.

By now, most people have seen the show Family Guy at least once. Meg Griffin is the titular character -Peter Griffin’s daughter. Throughout the course of the show, Peter often bullies Meg and the rest of the Griffin family also jumps in, agreeing with the father character. Meg is a genuinely good character, not very rude and pretty sweet, the abuse she receives is for the most part unwarranted, yet it continues. It grows to the point where she can’t open up to her family at all, and turns to dangerous things to gain attention. This is the same suffering that many blerds go through. Many black nerds are sweet, intelligent, good people, and yet they are bullied for their interests, or feel isolated from others because the interests aren’t shared.

In the age of Facebook, that isolation gradually becomes curbed. Gone are the days where people in small towns feel isolated from the rest of the world. People can now interact with people across the world if they wish. However, it can be hard to break from the habit of feeling alone, especially without the presence of friends in the physical sense. These same people, still yearning for attention and acceptance, can do things that are toxic, in the form of vague posts, dangerous pictures, and other social media related things. Their Megginess has transcended from the physical realm, to the cyber realm, the biggest difference, they expect the cyber realm to be more understanding. However, it doesn’t always work that way. Oftentimes, people in the cyber realm, even fellow Megs, can be just as degrading and awful to blerds as people in the physical realm. For many attention seeking Megs, this can be even worse because people whom they believe share their experiences and feelings are saying things as harmful as people they don’t believe share their feelings. This causes extreme social-withdrawal and suicidal thoughts for the Megs, and causes the blerds participating in the degrading to become Peters.

 

So, I’m going to tell a story. I once knew a guy; I’ll call him Dan. Dan was a black nerd who grew up in the 90s in a southern country town. Most of his interests included anime, manga and video games. In school, he didn’t interact with many people because they didn’t share his interests and spent most of his days throughout grade school being bullied. His home life wasn’t much better, his mother was negligent, father was absent, and his brothers were bullies. Dan spent most of his time playing video games to escape the harsh reality of living in the projects in a rural southern town without any friends. Video games were his escape; they were his coping mechanism. While playing games, he could easily reset the life and rewrite his mistakes – things he couldn’t do in reality. Eventually, Dan joined an online forum full of blerds that shared his experiences and his depression. They felt isolated from their people, alienated from their families and suffered from a variety of mental damage…. nerd and geek things being their coping mechanisms as well. Due to never having an outlet in the physical realm to divulge in his thoughts (i.e. close friends), he began telling them to the people in the online forum. What he didn’t expect was for the people in the forum to not immediately attach to him the way that he attached to them. As such, he began doing dangerous things for attention. Posting inflammatory posts, leaving and rejoining the forum with exit messages, and overall toxic things, in the hopes that people would attach to him. Instead, he received the opposite result. Many of his fellow blerds began to tease and degrade him much like he suffered throughout his physical life. He ultimately couldn’t understand why, and eventually closed himself off to the entire world, suffering in the most dangerous way possible – silently.

 

You see, Dan, much like many Megs, don’t understand that attachment doesn’t occur automatically. It doesn’t happen just because of shared interests. It takes time and development of relationships. However, since Dan never received that type of affection and attachment from home, he never learned how to naturally develop relationships.

However, this isn’t a piece to victim blame, this is about the Megs who develop into Peters. So, to rewind a bit, back to the blerds that did the degrading. It is normal to become desensitized to people who deliberately try to seek attention. We see things like every day, from the most depressed of individuals to the most privileged. As such, people may feel less obligated to help attention seekers. This is what happened in Dan’s case. However, what these fellow blerds never acknowledged was why Dan was the way he was. Many of those blerds admitted to being depressed, but didn’t notice the depression in another. That’s not to say that they were wrong to not notice it, it’s not abnormal to not notice the signs of depression in another person, however the degradation didn’t necessarily need to be called for. The main point is blerds seek comfort in each other, what makes us feel like we can eliminate the comfort in another because we become desensitized to their attention-seeking? What makes us as fellow Megs decide to become Peters even if only for a brief moment? It’s not right, no matter how we twist it.

 

I say all of this to say, don’t allow yourself to become a Peter. Remember that just because you are a Meg in some aspects doesn’t mean you should become a Peter in others. Just because you are oppressed in one area doesn’t mean you aren’t privileged in another. If we remember that, we can make the world a safer place for all of us.

 


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