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UK Psychologist Argues Calling Someone 'nerd' Should Be Hate Crime

UK Psychologist argued that calling smart person 'nerd' is a hate crime. Dr. Sonja Falck claimed that 'anti IQ insults' have detrimental effects on people.


A UK psychology professor argued in a television show that calling someone a nerd is sort of a hate crime. In an episode shot in December, the University of East London lecturer Dr Sonja Falck claimed that 'anti IQ insults' can have detrimental effects on people that could last a lifetime. Her claims indicate in the direction of discriminations like racism or homophobia. Falck launched her book, 'Extreme Intelligence' on the show. 

"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, " she explained on the TV show.

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Fellow contestant disagrees

Explaining what hate crime legislation is, Sonja said that hate crime is 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, she added. Her point was to bring respect for individual differences. Yet she was straightaway disputed by University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull on the show. Bobby didn't agree with Falck on calling the terminology a hate crime arguing that to class such incidents as hate crimes will trivialize hate crimes based on gender, race, or ability.

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'Mensa' supports people with high IQ

Yet many agree with Falck. The chief of Mensa - the international society for those with high IQs - told on the show that very high-IQ individuals often experience isolation or bullying from people around them because they are perceived as being different from the majority. Their organisation - Mensa - gives people with very high IQ a community that is non-judgemental and inclusive of difference. She concluded by saying that everybody is different but no one is. 

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The N-word was common parlance in the UK until at least the 1960s, Falck said. There have been slangs about age, disability, religion and gender identity. Unfortunately, the society turned a blind eye to their impact by passing them off as harmless banter, she said. Anti-IQ words like 'nerd', 'brainbox', 'geek', 'egg-head', 'dweeb' and 'smarty-pants' fall in the same group pf words. The psychologist even demanded legislative actions for such usage so as to keep the dignity of the brightest members of society.

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