Recently the British Broadcasting Corporation Sport Twitter, put out an interesting tweet where they mistakenly called a Gundam a Transformer.

Some news sites in a clickbaity fashion suggested geeks across the Twitter-verse just lost their minds on the British Broadcasting Corporation, for making that mistake. Now granted… A few may have gone a bit overboard, but the vast majority took it with incredible grace which led to the following response from the British Broadcasting Corporation,.

Some even went on to poke fun at the situation. Here’s one of my favorites.

All that being said, it got me thinking about an issue in geek culture. Well, to be fair, not just geek culture; it’s all subcultures, sports, tech, music, underwater basket weaving, whatever! But as this is a website devoted to Geek Culture, I will be speaking to my fellow geeks.

While the above situation was not as bad as some made it sound, we have all seen cases where individuals in Geek Culture have absolutely lost their minds when someone mislabels or mischaracterizes something in Geek Culture. This stems from a variety of places. Some of it comes from a place of hurt. We passionately love these things in Geek Culture because it was our escape in the darkest of times. For some it some of our geekdoms are a link to beautiful moments while growing up. I know folks who passionately love Star Trek because, for them, growing up, the only time their family seemed to get along was when they all sat down to watch Star Trek together.

When you have such key connections to anything, it’s natural to become defensive when someone seems to degrade or talk down about it. Unfortunately, this looks especially vibrant in Geek Culture. While much of Geek Culture is becoming more “mainstream,” there is still seems to be a stigma that if you’re into geeky things, then something must be childish. So over the years, geeks have been picked on and bullied by folks, not realizing the items they attack have been important to us for some very valid reasons. But sometimes, people’s misunderstandings are simply misunderstandings, not an attack, and we as geeks have to learn to navigate these things. Why?

  1. Responding negatively empowers and validates bullies.
    • Those who are genuinely out to be a jerk seem to feed off of the negative response. This is why “trolling” often goes to an unhealthy point. Those being a “troll” or simply a Jerk think it’s funny when you respond negatively, so they want to see how far they can push you.
  2. Sometimes responding negatively makes you the jerk
    • Hate to say it, but it’s true. We can get so aggressive in defense of our fandom that we become the jerk in the situation. Especially if we have perceived the offense as something more significant than it actually was. We need to be willing to respond with grace.

But why do we need to respond with grace? As I said before, some just folks don’t realize that they don’t know what they are talking about. Speaking with grace allows them to learn and grow. What if they don’t? That’s on them. They now choose to live in ignorance, and depending on how “wild” they get with it; everyone will know that they are ignorant. But if they do listen… then you’ve helped to create a positive view about something you love or, even better, opened the door for a new fan. A lot has been said over the years about the issues of gatekeeping in geekdom. Sometimes our response to people who simply don’t know is the most significant act of gatekeeping or the most prominent invitation to enjoy something new.

As I said, this isn’t just about geekdom. I know many individuals who get their noses bent out of shape if someone misuses a sports term. We can all struggle with this, and if we want others to understand or even love the things we love, we have to show grace. I know, it’s hard at times, especially when some folks say things that make our brains go; what? But we need to strive to be better so that our favorite geekdoms can continue to grow, expand, and become even better.

With all that said, Devoted Geeks, I leave you with this final meme.