Not 24 hours after the great man’s passing, there is a Tumblr site documenting ignorant people taking to Twitter to ask Who is Nelson Mandela?A few add the hashtag #RIPNelsonMandela, some go so far as to say “I thought it was a type of beer,” or “Is it a fruit?”
The tragedy here is not that these people do not know who Nelson Mandela is. The tragedy is it appears they don’t really care to know the answer or that they’re displaying their ignorance.
Had they typed those exact words into a search engine and not Twitter, they would have their answer. Instead, try celebrate their utter lack of knowledge and curiosity with flippant Twitter posts. They are displaying the anti-intellectual bias that is celebrated in American culture.
We have in our pockets devices that can link to most of the knowledge of this world, yet so many of us make a deliberate choice to remain ignorant. Rather than despair, I choose to remain curious. My life’s work had been to provide information to broad audiences using clear, concise language. If there is a large part of the population which doesn’t care to know, I want to know why.
Aside: this started out as a Facebook post, then I remembered my promise to myself to blog any thoughts longer than a paragraph instead. I must say though, the WordPress mobile experience leaves something to be desired…