There’s an old saying that it’s hard to know what you don’t know, the premise being that when you’re ignorant about something, you aren’t likely to realize your blind spots.
But I’m not so sure. Sometimes, knowing what you don’t know just requires a certain degree of humility.
For instance, I don’t know calculus, because I never took it in school. But here’s the thing: I know that I don’t know calculus; and as such, I would never presume to know it, let alone to tell others for whom it had actually been their major that I knew it better than they did.
How nice it would be if white Americans would exercise a similar restraint when it comes to the topic of racism and discrimination in America. For although we have rarely had to know much about it — and though most of us, by our own admission, socialize in nearly all-white environments where we won’t benefit from the insights of persons of color who have, indeed, had to major in the subject — we continue to insist that we know more about it than they do.