FOR THESE DAYS, since the meaning of words are evolving, the term like “cool nerd” or “social geek” is a compliment. But, a linguistic discussion raised by David Anderegg, a professor of psychology at Bennington College, is interesting, though.
Steve Lohr of NYT notes:
The Times ran an article Monday suggesting that what America will need in the future are more “cool nerds.” A playful tweak of the nerd stereotype, to be sure, in an effort to alter it. The people described in the piece were ones with hybrid careers, combining computing with other fields from medicine to Hollywood.
These are jobs that do not match the classic computer geek or nerd image — a heads-down programmer who is socially isolated. In the new hybrid careers, computing is a crucial ingredient and, economists say, such work will be the source of many new jobs of the future.
But David Anderegg, a professor of psychology at Bennington College, says that merely mentioning terms like nerd or geek serves to perpetuate the stereotype. The words are damaging, much like racial epithets, he says, and should be avoided.