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Every once in a while, a viral video comes along that makes us question everything we thought we knew. Whether it’s a miracle scientific breakthrough or a sanity-saving parenting hack that’s so obvious it’s painful. Sometimes, though, it offers parents a glimpse into their children’s worlds, and what they find there can be startling or terrifying. And sometimes what we see just makes us shake our heads and say “WTF” right out loud — like the latest evidence that some kids are confusing Helen Keller with Adolf Hitler.
Many parents around the internet had that WTF reaction today when they noticed that “Helen Keller” was trending and decided to find out why. Turns out, there’s a viral TikTok video shared on Twitter that shows what might be some surprising lapses in Gen Z education.
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The video begins with a teacher asking his students about Helen Keller. A student answers, “Helen Keller is like a Nazi guy.” The teacher, absolutely agog, replies, “Helen Keller is a Nazi Guy?” To which the student responds, “I don’t know he’s like a terrorist.”
So at least some small portion of Gen Z thinks Helen Keller was a Nazi terrorist?
But wait, there’s more.
Another student pipes up to offer her knowledge of Helen Keller. “Helen Keller was the blind and deaf person who was fake. She didn’t exist but everyone believes she was deaf and blind.”
Yup. The student said Helen Keller didn’t exist. Apparently, Helen Keller, the renowned author, disability rights advocate, and activist whose existence has been documented in photos and on film, who spent time with presidents and top celebrities of the time… didn’t exist. At least that what the internet is telling people. And people, for some reason, believe the internet.
While we hope this particular video was just a good-natured prank on the teacher, TikTok is full of videos of teens and young adults debating Helen Keller’s very existence. It’s a wild conspiracy theory that is likely rooted in disability erasure and it’s honestly just gross.
For more information (for your teens) on the incredible life of Helen Keller, hit up your local library or even Wikipedia if the library is COVID-closed.
If anyone has energy left after fighting for our kids to get any kind of education amid this pandemic, it may be time to re-start the debate over the Common Core.
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