Monday, July 30, 2007

Oh Reginald....I DISAGREE!!!

Instapundit linked this study asserting that nerdiness is actually a function of being "hyperwhite." As in nerds are people who do not adopt non white forms of speech, and dress. This may or may not be true. A follow up post from American Thinker says:

The article does not mention the true common characteristic of nerds: they
are numerate, i.e. conversant in the language of mathematics - an odd omission
for a linguist. This omission can be explained by the fact that
Berkeley-style multi-culturalism is threatened by numeracy, the development of
which is the hallmark of Western Civilization and the historical wellspring of
western economic and military success. Consequently, it is incumbent on
multi-culturalists to discredit whenever and wherever possible those who are

I disagree however, I think defining individuals who are "nerds" as only intellectuals who are involved in numerical or scientific occupations is extremely limiting.

I think the assertion that nerds are only individuals with strong mathmatic ability is just as biased as the assertion that nerds are only people who conform to what is traditionally viewed as a "white" culture.

Are Librarians, Historians, Archeologists, Spelling Bee Champions somehow not nerds because they are not necessarily numerate? Having seen some of those spelling be contestants I don't really see how that could be argued. One of my most stereotypically nerdy professors in college was in fact a history/political scienc professor.

Perhaps nerds like myself who are highly numerate have less exposure to the history nerds or the social science nerds, but that does not necessarily mean that these people are not also nerds.

I propose another definition of nerd, a nerd is someone who focuses on intellectual pursuits in lieu of attempting to conform to social norms. Do with that, what you will.


DED said...

I accept your definition of nerd.

KateHarding said...

As a nerd who doesn't know from numbers, I definitely prefer your definition.