In Defense of Geek Culture

I wrote this in response to a complaint that was written in the Sound Off section of the local paper after the staff of my school dressed up as nerds for Halloween:

Dear Record Courier,

I would like to submit this as a rebuttal to the anonymous submission in your Sound Off section in regards to the Falcon Academy staff’s choice in Halloween costumes. The writer was clearly unaware of the significance of the costume choice and while not concerned enough to approach the staff in person, cared enough to complain anonymously in a print publication for the whole town to see.

I am a teacher at Falcon Academy of Creative Arts. It is my dream job and I am very thankful to work with such wonderfully supportive people. I am also one of the large percentage of Americans who identify as a nerd. My nerdyness has been a part of me since childhood; the long nights of Star Trek marathons, waiting in line for hours for the next Harry Potter book, years and years spent studying so I could get good grades so I could get into a good college. I am proud to be a nerd.

Fortunately, I work with very understanding and supportive people who put up with my geeking-out on a daily basis.  When Halloween rolled around I excitedly suggested the FACA staff choose a group costume again this year. For those of you who are not nerds and may not be aware of nerd holidays and traditions, Halloween is essentially Nerd Christmas.  I asked, “Do we want to do a group costume or am I the only nerd who loved that?” As a display of solidarity, it was decided we would all embrace our inner geekyness and rock nerd costumes for Halloween.

The author of the aforementioned submission has missed an important trend: geek has become chic.  Being a nerd is no longer something to bully, it’s something to celebrate. Look to the popularity of shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and movies like “The Avengers” and you will see that things like comics, computers, and video games are the new cool.  It’s a nerd revolution. People who identify as nerds have finally stood up for themselves and their interests. Google “May the Force be with Katie” and you will see a community of self proclaimed nerds rallying around a little girl who was bullied at school for being a “nerd.” Why can’t Falcon Academy do the same? At Falcon Academy we take bullying seriously and we encourage our students to be themselves. Our students are free to be artists, athletes, writers, actors, dancers musicians and yes even nerds. We are a welcoming and safe environment for students, which is one more thing that makes FACA great.  We were in no way mocking our students. Our costumes were so outlandish that the students clearly understood it was meant to be funny.

As a life-long nerd, I am glad that being a nerd is cool these days. Nerds are the innovators and dreamers who create the technology, art, music, books and movies we love. These nerds are people our students should be imitating on Halloween and every day.

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