According to a psychologist and a lecturer at the University of East London, who has a new book out, labeling smart or academically inclined people as dorks, geeks, boffins, or eggheads should be deemed as a punishable offense. Furthermore, name-calling of the aforementioned sort must be considered as “hate speech”, says Dr. Sonja Falck.
“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,” says the psychologist.
Dr. Falck further argues that names such as smarty-pants, wonk, smart-arse, and know-it-all are divisive in nature and end up making smart and high IQ-individuals feel like they don’t belong with everyone else.
While promoting her new book: Extreme Intelligence: Development, Predicaments, Implications, Dr. Falck said that labeling smart individuals in the previously mentioned manner is as equivalently derogatory as using the N-word.
“It would be progress for society to feel the same way about hate-filled, prejudicial slurs against our high-IQ community,” says Dr. Falck
For her book, Dr. Falck interviewed over twenty brainiacs for ninety minutes to find out when they first realized their unusual skills and intelligence. Based on the interviews, she said that it became apparent “with the benefit of hindsight and academic research that we realize how wrong we were.”
To better understand the claims made by Dr Falck, we have to dive deeper into the subset of people she interviewed and how she found them. Among the twenty people she interviewed, sixteen of them belonged to the elitist social club Mensa which takes people if they manage to score about 132 on an IQ test.
Dr. Falck then segregated a select group of individuals who have been at the receiving end of name-calling and labeling due to their intelligence and wit.
It is worth noting that Dr Falck says that she herself was a gifted child who was offered admission at a school for children such as herself but was restrained from attending the school as her mother feared that she may have difficulties in society later in life.