• Professor recommends dropping “nerd” and “geek”

    Date: 01.14.10 | by Judge Tom.

    Psychology professor David Anderegg of Bennington College would like to see the use of these words eliminated from our language. He believes they are as damaging to an individual as a racial epithet.

    NerdCarla216

    Carla216 (Flickr)

    Historically nerds and geeks have become people to avoid. A nerd is one who displays social ineptness, while a geek is a person with expertise in a specific area. Most students do anything they can to avoid either classification.

    However, being good at math, science, or computer technology is associated with being nerdy or a geek. Without these labels, where would American students stand in comparison to other countries in math and science proficiency? Is it possible that being considered a geek keeps a student from excelling in an area of his or her interest?

    The term “cool nerd” has surfaced and is proposed as a compliment rather than a criticism. It is meant to describe a person who is multi-faceted – one who combines computer skills with another field of study – graphic design, for example. Do you think “cool nerd” will take over and replace the commonly accepted “nerd” or “geek?”

    What are some ways to adjust to a label others have given you? Whatever the label might be, you’re most likely not alone – there is comfort and support in camaraderie.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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