Researchers have found that generic American parents, faced with a child who can’t do math or science, will say “Don’t worry, Johnny, because you have so many other talents.” Asian parents, supposedly, will say “Since you aren’t apparently naturally gifted at math or science you’ll have to study extra hard in these areas,” and not stop nagging until the kid is doing well.
This evening I encountered a woman talking about her kids. “They’re just not numbers people. I tell them it doesn’t matter if they can’t do math or work with numbers because we’re English and Social Studies people.”
[The mother who was speaking has an administrative job with a company contracting to the government of Massachusetts and her innumeracy has not, as far as she knows, hindered her ability to earn a living.]