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What's a blerd?

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Seun Erinle. Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free press Seun Erinle. Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

From Albert Einstein and Sheldon Cooper to Tina Fey and "Weird Al" Yankovic, nerds have no shortage of celebrity icons these days.

The geeky set represents a growing presence in the cultural mainstream, but some self-described "blerds," or black nerds, say that — with the exception of high-waisted stereotypes such as Steve "Did I Do That?" Urkel — Hollywood's nerd spotlight primarily shines on white faces.

Growing up in New York City, Seun Erinle, 29, says her nerdy white counterparts could see themselves reflected in iconic characters such as Velma Dinkley ("Scooby-Doo") and Dr. Egon Spengler ("Ghostbusters"). Famous black nerds, however, were a much rarer breed.

As a result, she says she felt socially disconnected — "a math geek who played basketball" — especially once her family moved to Chattanooga when she was 9.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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