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“ Don't nerds also suffer "real" and "measurable" bigotry? ”

Conor_FriedersdorfTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 5:37 PM

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“ Not in any comparable sense, no. To even imply any equivalency is absolutely absurd. It does a disservice to people facing systemic discrimination.

There are negative stereotypes of "nerds". Without a doubt. Social isolation for some. But "nerds" are also celebrated in pop culture, have entire sites and shows that pander to their tastes. They are accepted as "normative" in a way most disadvantaged groups don't.

Let's look at television, since representation is a bit part of privilege according to McIntosh's original definition. Can you really suggest there isn't representation and voices for nerds in the mainstream? ”

BradanFeasaTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 5:45 PM

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“ See, I asked whether nerds suffered "real"and "measurable" bigotry because it is the standard you offered–but now you want to shift so that only "equivalent" bigotry counts. Why should one sort of bigotry need to be "equivalent" to another kind to make discussing it legitimate? As for nerds having "entire sites and shows that pander to their tastes," that is also true of most every group–certainly women, gays, and African Americans–that you consider as having cleared some vague threshold that nerds haven't. Can you really suggest that there isn't representation and voices for women on television? ”

Conor_Friedersdorf THE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 5:50 PM

THE ATLANTIC2015-01-29T06:17:28.000Z

The comment that begat this small Internet miracle wasn't perfect. Neither were the responses to it–as ever online, some needless cruelty and lack of charity followed.

But Aaronson and his interlocutors did transform an obscure, not-particularly-edifying debate into a broad, widely read conversation that encompassed more earnest, productive, revelatory perspectives than I'd have thought possible. The conversation has already captivated a corner of the Internet, but deserves wider attention, both as a model of public discourse and a window into the human experience. It began with the most personal thing that the professor had ever publicly shared.