We are taught that it is best to know the answers. School reinforces this over and over— you’re supposed to know the right answer to every question asked.
It’s a painful moment to have to tell your teacher that you don’t know something that you’re supposed to know in front of all your classmates who already know it (or at least pretend to).
It’s embarrassing. It feels exposing and shameful.
The “stupid question” — as in, “This might be a stupid question, but…”— points out the places where we feel like we’re supposed to know something that we don’t.