Admitting that you don’t know everything is a hard thing

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When I asked a class of teenagers this week how long slavery existed in the United States, I was met with shrugs and nervous faces. There was no phone in sight, just empty stares.

One student finally said… “50 years?”. On a different day, I asked to know the number of hijackers that participated in the September 11, 2001, attacks. The closest guess I heard was the number four. It’s scary to acknowledge that we don’t know what we don’t know. But we can’t recognize this because society frowns upon it.

On the seventeenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I realized that teenagers were the first generation to have been born after that terrible day. They only know what they heard in the distance or might have seen on YouTube.

The rest they make up through assumptions and feelings. They don’t know what they don’t know because they think they know everything. But then, maybe so do we as adults.

People are interesting things. I write about them and what makes them interesting.

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