When we look into our own culture and see the typical “nerd” what do we actually mean by this? Why are we placing this title to someone we have never even seen, met, or even had a conversation with. This idea of a nerd is simply a subjective statement that plays into our own personal belief system that has been shaped by our ever changing society.
This nerd that was just mentioned may actually be a die hard football fan who works with the Dallas Cowboys. Now we see a shift in viewpoint. Now say we see the same person in a restaurant watching the game with a bunch of popular sports enthusiasts, wife at his side, and two children. What would you call this person we had just so recently considered a nerd? The tide suddenly shift from him being a stereotyped nerd to a considerably popular sports geek.
Stereotypes. The reason we avoid, move toward, or dislike certain people before we know them just because they seem to fit into certain groups of people. This is why our society has coined the term nerd as a normal insult to the individuals who do not fit in to our own subjective point of view. What many people do not realize is the fine line that tears the border between nerd and geek. To illustrate this we will look to this video How Do You Define Geek or Nerd? A youtube original created by Chris Prillo.
In this video we can see how this persons interests and overall demeanor can be stereotyped as nerdy. Lets take two different definitions of this person’s character and judge them. The first description is a quirky man who in this video talks about his Lego Star Wars miniature figurines in a Darth Vader hoodie. What would you call this type of person? However, lets take this person and change the description. A successful Youtuber creating videos for his 300,000+ subscribers who raises money and donates it to a charity for helping disabled individuals. This person suddenly changes from a “nerd” obsessed with Lego and Star Wars to a popular Youtube sensation that donates his time to help people who are less fortunate than himself. See the difference? We change our views about people not by what they are or who they are, but by the choices of interest they have and if their interests fall into a certain subjective border they go from being normal to a nerd.
What can we tell from these different examples? How can we judge based on little known facts? The idea that stereotypes define who people are and to what category they fit into is wrong. The concept that an individual’s character is either this or that isn’t how we should view people. Outside characteristics alone are just not enough to define a person in entirety. When you take the time to break through that outer barrier a whole new world of opportunity and friendships begin. This is how God intended for us to be. Kind and loving towards all people. If we have to categorize based on differences alone we would all be alone. Because no one person is exactly alike. Everyone has they small quirks, their strange habits, and their own goofy behavior.
While archetypes are usually was to classify the differences between two individuals (i.e. geek and non-geek), we must not fall into the realm of stereotyping. Stereotypes are not facts, they are assumptions. A quote from former Unites States Representative states,
“Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.” – Ed Koch.