My recent morning routine includes playing over a dozen different variations of the Wordle game, including, but not limited to: Dordle, Quordle, Octordle, Sedordle, Lewdle, Sweardle, Hurdle, Waffle, Nerdle, Heardle, Framed, and Worldle.
Worldle is a geography game. I suck at geography. At this point in my life it is through some fault of my own, but to be fair to myself, I was ill-prepared for this game by our education system. I was never taught geography. Hardly any at all.
So, of course, I can’t identify more than a handful of countries by their shape on a map. When I guess wrong, as I do every day, the only clue this ridiculous game will give me is a directional arrow. How does that help me? I don’t even know if France is north or south of Germany? Or if Italy is east or west of Iran?
It sounds ignorant. It is. It is exactly ignorant.
Spoiler alert! Todays Worldle answer was Gabon. I am embarrassed to admit that before today I don’t think I had ever heard of Gabon.
After an exhaustive Wikipedia search, I have come to learn that Gabon is an African country with a Portuguese name that was colonized by France. It is on the western coast of the continent. It remains a big supplier of American petroleum. Over 65,000 Gabonese people were forcibly placed on ships and sent into slavery here in the US. Maybe that’s why I never heard of it?
In elementary school we surveyed American history. I remember one page in our textbook that glossed over slavery. We learned that slaves came from Africa. No one told us that Africa was made up of over 50 countries. It seeemd to my young mind that African slaves came from only one place. It certainly didn’t seem like over 12 million people were taken from several different countries.
It was one page of our textbook. Maybe two.
I remember spending months in grade 4 or 5 learning about Switzerland. We made dioramas of the Alps, and at the end of the Unit, our teacher made fondue! Cheese and chocolate. It was really good. But, come on! Six weeks on Switzerland? They’re neutral, for chrissakes?
In high school we learned about Mesopotamia, Egypt and all of Europe in World History class. The ancient stuff. And then a lot of England stuff. No mention of any specific African countries. Just Africa, as a whole. And also Asia, as a whole. And The Middle East–just lump all of them together. I honestly can’t remember being taught anything about any of those individual countries in a classroom setting, until college.
It sounds racist. It is. It is exactly racist.
But I am not racist. I mean, I don’t think I’m racist. Who does? My formal education was certainly racist, though. And I will always be a product of that flawed and limited early education.
So I will continue to suck at Worldle, but I’ll keep playing, because there are so many other countries to google. So much to learn and to unlearn.
Re-education is a Worldle away.
[If you know any other Wordle type games, please send the links my way]