WORDS such as ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ should be outlawed to protect people with high IQs, according to a leading academic.
Psychology lecturer and psychotherapist Dr Sonja Falck argues that the ‘divisive and humiliating’ terms are hate crime’s ‘last taboo’.
She said the jibes, often dismissed as ‘banter’, were as offensive as homophobic, racial and religious slurs.
And she wants the 1million ‘gifted’ Brits with an IQ of 132 or more to get the same legal protection as ethnic minorities and gay people.
The Mensa member, of the University of East London, said being labelled a ‘nerd’, especially as a child, can cause lifelong psychological damage.
‘The N-word was common parlance in the UK until at least the 1960s,’ she said. ‘Other insulting slurs about age, disability, religion and gender identity remained in widespread use until relatively recently.
‘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”.’
In England and Wales, any communication which is threatening or abusive and directed towards a person on account of their race, colour, disability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is classed as hate crime. It is punishable by a fine, jail, or both.
‘It would be progress for society to feel the same way about hate-filled, prejudicial slurs against our high-IQ community,’ Dr Falck said.