I remember my first semester at the U. As I neared the end when me and all my friends were burnt out and finals were looming, I remember hearing about “Geek Week” and being so excited: ASUU was doing something to recognize my culture. I imagined screenings of classic Geek films like “War Games” and “Monty Python,” discussions about the collective artistry of Joss Whedon and vendors selling traditional Funko figures.
Instead, I discovered it was nothing more than a less-than-clever rhyme used to encourage mass study habits. Not only was I massively disappointed, but I was also surprised and offended. On a campus where diversity and non-discrimination is a widely promoted (and generally accepted) agenda item, how could this blatant stereotyping have gone unchallenged? Associating Geeks with late nights, intense studiousness and crappy pizza is something I thought we had moved past. And implying that students should spend a week doing these things as if it makes them a Geek is downright insulting to those of us who live and breathe the culture.
But the insensitivities didn’t stop there. Just look at the depiction of a Geek on this ASUU-sanctioned banner. The taped glasses, carefully parted hair and apathetic expression would make any Geek cringe. These stereotypes – perpetuated by the media and nostalgic of a heritage full of bullying – are entirely unreasonable in our modern age, and are even worse when attached to this event.
My first couple years here, I kept my head down about it. I only really expressed my concerns to my fellow geeks, who agreed with my discomfort. In an environment where so many other people were letting it slide, I didn’t want to be the one guy who stood up for something. But after dealing with this harassment for several years, I’ve decided that’s not the right way to do things. If you want to see real change in the world, you have to be the one to lead it.
So I’m calling on all Geeks and allies of Geeks to help me get this ridiculous name changed. Stop trying to perpetuate the stereotypes. Please tweet @ASUUevents or go to ASUU’s Facebook Page and send your message with the hashtag #DontSpeakForGeeks. Tell ASUU that they don’t have the right to stereotype my – or anybody’s – culture like this.
Solar is the Manager of K-UTE Radio and the Creator of The Geekwave Podcast, which publishes new episodes every Friday.