I went to a Chinese New Year celebration event tonight and I overheard a conversation that I now wish I had written down because I've forgotten the exact words. The fact that I can't remember is bugging me more than the actual topic that inspired this post.
The conversation was between a boy, around 10-12 years old, and his parents. They were sitting in the corner behind me, talking non-stop throughout the first portion of the performances. The boy made a comment on how the MC has used a Chinese word incorrectly. The parents laughed with him, agreeing with each other on the stupidity of the MC.
Except that the MC HAD used the word CORRECTLY. There was no language mistake.
It reminded me of various things I've heard and seen while on the street, or waiting in line at the grocery store, or just observed while people watching. Small, jarring notes of ignorance that, like the conversation I overheard tonight, once said and done are just as easily forgotten.
And that disturbs me.
I'm disturbed that people - college educated, working, respectable people with families and lives and mortgages - can be so inexplicably ill-informed.
I'm disturbed that I can so easily forget and forgive their wild misconceptions too.
Most of all, I'm disturbed that the ignorance breeds itself, perpetuating in person after person after person. There's urban myths and then there's believing President Obama is Muslim.
Then, on a whole different level, there's successfully convincing other people to believe President Obama is Muslim when he is not. Therefore, effectively cycling false information and fostering a non-fact-checking culture.
Well, I guess you CAN fact check. OR you can go around and call people "US Americans," like Miss Teen South Carolina did.
Oh, the work, the sheer vertical cliff of work that is education.