The geography of ignorance

During the break between second and third period, Gaby and I switched our books at our lockers and walked to class together. We rarely lingered for more than a few minutes. We weren’t eager to go to English class; we avoided the guys who had the adjacent lockers as much as possible.

Unfortunately, we had no such luck that morning. The Hunters descended. Gaby knew the two Hunters from middle school, but I could never tell them apart. Their Dixie Outfitter t-shirts and camo hats made them indistinguishable.

“Mornin’ Gaby. Mornin’ Samantha.” Hunter M. tipped his frayed cap.

Politely, we replied, “Good morning.”

Hunter D. leaned on his locker, blocking our path. “Say, Gaby — do you speak Mexican?”

“I’m from Peru. I speak Spanish.” Gaby rolled her eyes.

Hunter M. asked, “Is that near Afghanistan?”

“No, it’s in South America.”

Hunter D. turned to me. “How ’bout you, Samantha — do you speak Mexican?”

“My parents are from the Philippines, so they speak Tagalog. I’m taking a Spanish class now, though.”

Hunter M.’s brow furrowed. “Is the Philippines in the Middle East, too?”

“No, it’s in southeast Asia.” I exchanged irritated looks with Gaby. “We better get to class.”

“See y’all later — we’re gonna review for our quiz.”

One would think that sixteen-year-olds could correctly guess the regions where Peru and the Philippines were located. Then again, the Hunters’ lack of knowledge illustrated why Alabama was ranked the fifth worst state for education.

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