Embarrassing poll says that 56% of Americans don't want kids taught Arabic numerals. We have some bad news

Embarrassing poll says that 56% of Americans don't want kids taught Arabic numerals. We have some bad news
Shutterstock

Data can be soul-crushing. While sometimes numbers communicate exactly what you’d like to hear, polling isn’t for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to polls that reveal a lot about your peers. Like, for example, the 60% of white men who voted for Trump—or, for that matter, the 47% of white women.


Anyway. A more recent poll suggests that 56% of Americans are not only ignorant but probably also prejudiced. Why? Let’s look at some results from CivicScience Inc., a research firm based in Pittsburgh. And try not to laugh at the results!

Their CEO, John Dick, tweeted the following visual of the results of what should have been a simple question on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, people loved (and hated) it.

For some context: CivicScience polled more than 3,200 Americans in this survey. The general topic was math instruction, which seems like it wouldn’t be controversial. Perhaps it would reveal some hard feelings about geometry, but nothing too attention-grabbing, right? Wrong!

Let’s start with the good. 29% of respondents said that Arabic numerals should be taught in schools. That’s great, because they already are!

16% had no opinion on the subject. That’s … odd, but okay.

An astounding 56% of Americans said Arabic numerals should not be taught in American schools.

Arabic numerals. Which are, you know, the ones we use.

Is there an explanation that doesn’t have to do with bigotry? I think not. Islamophobia is a huge problem in the U.S. My guess (and the only explanation I can gather) is that people read “Arabic” and immediately went negative. Gross.

#story_page_ below_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.