In a movement that's taking the nation by storm, nerds across the country are attempting to wrestle back control over the N word, that being the word 'NERD'.
Though once considered social laughing stocks, nerds have have had what can only be referred to as a technological resurgence. As computers continue to become an integral part of our lives, people are increasingly spending inordinate amounts of time on websites such as facebook.com and digg.com and the nerds behind these sites are becoming mini-celebrities. Today, most 15 year old kids are as familiar with Mark Zuckerberg as they are with Paris Hilton and Lebron James.
That said, it has almost become 'cool' to be a 'nerd', and if you think that Nerds would applaud this transition you'd be wrong.
Many nerds have grown angry as the 'n word' continues to be inappropriately used in the media. The word 'nerd' has traditionally been used to poke fun at the technologically inclined and socially inept members of society. But over time, nerds have grown to embrace their status and have become remarkably protective over who can use the n-word and under what circumstances.
"I'm tired of it", said James Gene, a 24 year old nerd from Brooklyn. "My whole childhood I was pushed around for being a nerd. People made fun of me and laughed at me in high school for never talking to girls and for being interested in computers. Now, I've embraced being a nerd and I'm proud to say that I was and continue to be one. And then I turn on the TV and see celebrities tossing the n-word around like it's no big deal."
"I agree", said Steve Rigleman, a lifelong nerd from San Fransisco, "I'm watching Leno the other day and this gorgeous model is on talking about how when she was a kid, she was really awkward and a huge nerd. Never mind the fact that when she was 14 she was off modeling in Paris."
Abuse of the n-word has even seeped into the workplace.
Rigelman, who works for a consulting firm, said that one of his co-workers always tries to play up the fact that he USED to be a nerd in order to get girls. "This guy really ticks me off. Just the other day he was telling an attractive female co-worker that he used to be the biggest nerd in high school and that he only had 3 girlfriends during his teens. THREE GIRLFRIENDS?! In high school I only had three friends TOTAL!! And I never even talked to a girl until I got to college."
According to John Lee, president of the NAACP (Nerd Association for the Advancement of Computer Programmers), this isn't the first time non-nerds have treaded onto nerd territory.
"Non-nerds exploiting nerd culture to their advantage is nothing new. In the late 1990's, black rimmed glasses became very chic. But historically, only nerds wore black rimmed glasses. This trend did not go unnoticed by nerds. In fact, many nerds continue to view stylish black rimmed glasses as being downright inflammatory, insulting, and offensive."
According to most nerds, a non-nerd wearing black rimmed glasses is the equivalent to saying, "Hey, look at me! I'm so cool and good looking that I can even look good while wearing nerd glasses!"
"What's next", said an anonymous nerd via twitter, "the pocket protector?"
Some people, however, don't see what the big deal is. Mark Tilson, a 20 year old college student from Santa Cruz, isn't a nerd but doesn't see why he shouldn't be able to utter the n-word. "Look", said Tilson, "my best friend is a nerd. I grew up around nerds and I really like the culture. "
"This is an argument we hear often", said Jason Lee of the NAACP, "but what people don't realize is that being a nerd isn't just about being into computers. It's a state of mind. A lifestyle. What it really is is a badge of honor, and we want to make sure that the people who use the n-word are the people who have earned the right to say it."
According to noted Psychologist Michelle Senk, the word nerd has very powerful connotations. "Though the word 'nerd' is just a simple 4 letter word, it has a very deep meaning and we should be wary of who is allowed to say it. A few nerd jokes might not seem so harmful, but before you know it, nerds are getting wedgied in gym class and are having their books knocked out of their hands as they walk to class."
Often times, non-nerds refer to themselves as nerds as a way to deflect attention away from an interest of theirs that they deem embarrassing. For example, it is quite common for people to exclaim, "I think I'm gonna skip out on that party and take it easy and watch a movie this weekend. Yeah, I'm a nerd." WRONG! A real nerd wouldn't have even been invited to that party and wouldn't even have the option of going out in the first place.
Ironically, however, the nerds are fighting back. Well, sort of.
"If I have to hear one more athletic guy talk about how he's such a nerd because he likes the show LOST, I'm gonna lose it", said David Finkelstein, a 19 year old college student at M.I.T. "It's like me calling myself an athlete because I enjoy watching basketball which I don't. "