From video games, to comic books to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, terms such as “geek” and “nerd” have followed fans around for many years. It used to be that these were terms used by school bullies to belittle these subcultures, but since they’ve become widespread and popular in the media, many now see these words as a badge of honour.
Maybe they’re right, but according to a professor of psychology, “geek” and “nerd” should be considered hate crimes when used negatively. In a recent post on Twitter by the British current affairs program Good Morning Britain, Dr. Sonja Falck said she believes there’s the possibility of significant lifetime effects from “anti-IQ insults.”
Should branding someone a 'nerd' be made a hate crime?
Dr Sonja Falck thinks 'divisive and humiliating' anti-IQ insults can have negative effects that last a lifetime, while @Bobby_Seagull says the move would trivialise actual 'hate crimes' based on disability, race and gender. pic.twitter.com/4woAjRFJWf
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 19, 2019
Falck, who’s a lecturer in psychology at the University of East London, spoke in an interview on the show about how people can be marginalized because of their IQ, saying that she thinks other terms such as “egghead” and brainiac” should be included as hate crimes.
I think people find it startling because very high IQ people are a minority group in society who are very much ignored, they’re not understood and largely neglected…It is the case that very high IQ people very often are bullied at school, for example. They’re a target for being bullied quite viciously.
It might sound like a bit of a leap to brand these terms as hate crimes, but Falck feels that a hate crime is simply a matter of targeting someone – or an aspect of an individual’s personality – in a negative way.
If you look at those legislations that relate to hate crimes, hate crime is simply about somebody being targeted in a negative way for who they are. And a person with a very high IQ who comes across in a different way often is targeted in that way. So I just think [it’s] an individual difference that should be respected.
It’s interesting to note that she likens geek and nerd to people with higher IQs. In this modern era of political correctness and trying to be more inclusive and sensitive to others, many might not think of these words as hate crimes, especially when a professional psychologist references it to intelligent people.
What do you guys think, though? Should hate crimes be reserved for more serious forms of victim targeting (race, gender, sexuality etc), or can the words “geek”, “nerd” or “egghead” be included as well? Sound off down below.