“There is a need to address the complexities of globalization, colonization, and the alienated labor of people of color in the production of technology that advances digital scholarship practices that they will not be able to access or directly benefit from.” – Moya Bailey
This quote from Moya Bailey’s piece “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave” spoke to me on various levels. I had recently enjoyed reading a piece by Lisa Nakamura for another class of mine, and when I came across her again in Bailey’s piece, I found it resonated with what I had been discussing in my other class. In that class, we had discussed Nakamura’s thoughts and studies in minorities, specifically women, queer folk, and BIPOC, in the gaming industry and gaming culture as a whole. While it is unsurprising to find a patriarchal connection between these two spheres, it is interesting to consider in relation to the word “nerd,” which both Bailey and Nakamura employ in their writing. The term “nerd,” alongside many relations to computers, computer science, and gaming cultivated an air of negativity around it in the decades following the Columbine Shooting, which sparked nationwide scrutiny on games and gaming. This term then became related to new masculinity, one of the gamers, which prioritized not only the mechanical ability but also required a show of intelligence or lore knowledge. This circles back around to the digital humanities. Similar to how minorities in the gaming community must “prove their worth,” minorities represented in the digital humanities must do the same, and in doing so accept an academic burden to fight for equity in their field. I find these connections very compelling as showing the poor treatment of minorities in the gaming community in the form of gatekeeping or doubt of real “gamer” status can translate well to academic fields and delegitimize gatekeeping under the guise of testing someone’s knowledge. While both of these are normalized within their communities, academics might be able to perceive the similarities in these and therefore find fault in themselves, leading (hopefully) to self-improvement and the improvement of the community.