Actor Wil Wheaton is best known for playing teen “Wesley Crusher” on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” His character was a bit of a nerd, and apparently so was Wheaton as a kid. So when a young girl asked Wheaton at Denver’s Comic-Con convention how to deal with being called a nerd, his response—which was caught on video—is both touching and wise.
After explaining that he was bullied for liking math, science, books and school as a kid, Wheaton said, “It’s never OK when a person makes fun of you for something you didn’t choose. We don’t choose to be nerds. We can’t help it that we like these things, and we shouldn’t apologize for liking these things.
“I wish that I could tell you there’s a really easy way to just not care,” Wheaton continued. “The truth is is hurts . . . [But] when a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s not about what you said. It’s not about what you did. It’s not about what you love. It’s about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad. They don’t get positive attention from their parents. They don’t feel as smart as you. They don’t understand the things that you understand . . . They take that out on you.”
He followed up with some advice. “When a person is cruel to you like that, I know it’s hard, but honestly, the kind[est] and best reaction is to pity them,” he said. “Don’t let them make you feel bad because you love a thing.
“I will tell you this,” he added. “It absolutely gets better as you get older. I know it’s really hard when you’re in school and you’re surrounded by the same 400 people a day that pick on you and make you feel bad about yourself, but there’s 50,000 people here [at Comic-Con] . . . who went through the exact same thing, and we’re all doing really well.”
The video was shot and posted to YouTube last summer, but just started going viral this week. It currently has more than 472,000 views. Watch Wheaton’s whole response above.