Following the publication of her research into discrimination against intelligent individuals, UK psychotherapy practitioner and academic Dr. Sonja Falck has recently begun to advocate for the British government to take legislative action and classify insults such as ‘nerd,’ ‘geek,’ ‘egghead,’ or ‘brainiac’ as hate speech.
Speaking with The Telegraph, Dr. Falck details her eight-year study into the impact of intelligence-based bullying on developing children. During her interviews with 20 individuals, 16 of which were members of high IQ society Mensa, for an hour-and-a-half each, Dr. Falck identified that a recurring theme amongst these individuals was a sense of social exclusion and inclusion based on their intelligence:
“That was a really big one. That’s where being taunted with names like ‘nerd’ or ‘egghead’ or ‘brainiac’ comes in because the person is being set apart as being different to others and feeling like they’re a misfit and they don’t belong.”
At a recent launch event for her new book Extreme Intelligence, which further details the findings of her research, Dr. Falck equated such intelligence-based insults with the ‘n-word’ and cautioned that these ‘slurs’ would be continued to be used unless “legislative action is taken.”
“The N-word was common parlance in the UK until at least the 1960s. Other insulting slurs about age, disability, religion and gender identity remained in widespread use until relatively recently.
Society at the time turned a blind eye to their impact by passing them off as harmless banter. It is only with the benefit of hindsight and academic research that we realise how wrong we were.
The same can be said about anti-IQ words like ‘nerd’, ‘brainbox’, ‘geek’, ‘egg-head’, ‘smart-arse’, ‘dweeb’ and ‘smarty-pants’. Slurs such as these will continue to be used unabated at the expense of the brightest members of society unless and until legislative action is taken.”
Criticizing the insults as “divisive, discriminatory language,” Dr. Faulk noted that it would be “progress” for British society to adopt a similar stance against the use of this language:
“The government says it is committed to creating an outward-looking, inclusive society yet continues to tolerate divisive, discriminatory language.
In the short space of time since racial, homophobic and religious hate speech was banned, it is now seen by most as morally abhorrent.
It would be progress for British society to come to feel the same way about hate-filled, prejudicial slurs against our high-IQ community.”
Dr. Faulk further warned that these insults could cause lasting psychological damage to a child, but stated that legislation covering the terms would help end the “archaic” bullying and torment of more than a million “gifted” Britons with an IQ of 132 or more.