MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Mid-South pastor hopes to change the negative connotation associated with the "N-word" and he's doing it with a hashtag.
Terrell Monger is a pastor and IT professional who kicked off the campaign.
What is the new N-word, you ask? Nerd.
"Be a nerd, because the pay is so much better," Monger said.
Monger said his own life is proof that money comes along with being a nerd.
His new campaign, aimed at pushing students into information and technology career paths, earned him the ear of Shelby County Schools.
"It's about information, preparation, and focus. You can be who it is you're trying to be and not what everybody's telling you [that] you have to be," Monger said.
With his education in IT, he's been able to pull his family out of poverty.
"New information and technology took me out of the housing projects in the Belz Apartments to a 5-bedroom, 3-car garage house," he said. "All of the things relevant today, whether it's Apple, the iPhone, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, were created by self-proclaimed nerds."
Monger said he grew up challenged to break the cycle of crime in his family.
"So, if we use information the right way we can open up so many avenues for ourselves," he said. "All of our information doesn't have to come from music and TV and on the street corner."
The pastor launched a website, printed t-shirts, and his team will host a presentation next Saturday at 1 p.m. in Hickory Hill detailing how you can "Be A Nerd."
"All we're doing is making the nerd life fun," Monger said. "We're highlighting all the things. Why do you want to be somebody in jail or end up doing negative things when the nerds are creating the things that cool people are paying for?"
Monger said he wants to present his concept in a way that causes it to become a culture.