To my fellow young blak nerds: your deadliness is unbeatable | Indigenous Australians


There are many things I want to speak about, such as my journey in navigating the pop culture world and making sure our people have a platform in the pop culture industry. There’s plenty on my mind about what I have experienced, have been told or had to argue about. However, this article won’t be about trying to promote my work – it is for the ones who will benefit from my platform.

This article is for the young blerds of our community, the blak nerds who haven’t really felt included in the community or made to feel “different”. Our IndigiNerds going into the gaming industry, cosplay realm or just being a panellist on a stage at a comic convention.

This is for you.

“I AM YOUNG, BLAK AND DEADLY!” Now, repeat it back to me, repeat this to yourself. Every morning and every night, do this in front of your mirror, record it on your phone, scream it into your pillow. Do what you have to for you to understand that your deadliness is unbeatable!

You have a long path ahead of you, but please do not give up.

You will face some obstacles that are designed not to be fair, but please don’t give up.

This society will try to keep you excluded, unwanted and invisible, but please don’t give up.

This world may affect your mind to have negative feelings about yourself, but please don’t give up.

You are part of the world’s oldest living society on this planet. Your being is combined by thousands of years of pure deadliness. You should feel nothing but pride.

My own journey has taken me down a path of pop culture. Indigenous representation is at the forefront of my work and the storytelling that’s flowed intergenerationally from those before me. My path isn’t new, nor is what I have had to deal with, but it might be a little different to others. So, here’s a few words I wish I had before embarking on this path.

Your journey will be long and tough, I won’t lie. I’m still navigating it myself, learning with every step. Across any of the pop culture platforms, you will be expected to represent your community, which is understandably not your responsibility. However, it is your duty to educate the misinformed on what is and is not your responsibility. Be clear with them, and yourself, on why you are there and what questions and conversations you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with.

For my cosplayers, your garment is a reflection of your pride, a window into who you are. It’s a statement which will sometimes confront some, but a necessary act to loudly announce your presence, giving many others reason to be proud, especially those younger than you. You will be confronted by others who see such a beautiful celebration of self-reflection as a caricature. In these cases you have every right to feel enraged, and to use your platform to expose this behaviour for what it is, racism.

Your presence may be seen as a threat, but that threat is a feeling of fear – fear of your resilience, determination and focus that flows through your body. Do not let the feelings of others derail you from your path. Tap into that resilience of your ancestors and walk on by with a smile, confronting them with the successes you’ve earned.

Your path will be a unique one to many around you. Seek out those walking a similar path or those willing to walk with you on your journey. You will be questioned by many, even some within your community, about why you have chosen this path. You are not bound to answer, just know your exploration and curiosity of this world is the very same feeling so many of our community pioneers felt. The path into the unknown.

Support those who want to pursue a path in astronomy or astrophysics, our young scientists who found an interest in the sciences of life or the mind. Support those young ones who find solace in the company of numbers, solving complex equations with ease, unaided by a calculators. Support those wanting to head into the gaming industry, cosplay space, creative writing, costume design, game design. Just support their journey, find a way to connect with them and help where you can. You are the facilitator of their dreams, it is your responsibility to help them as far as you can.

• Cienan Muir is a Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri young man living in Narrm. He is creator of INDIGINERD, director of IndigiCon, comic book reader, hat collector and cosplayer