Why are some Americans so bad at geography?

By: | Post date: January 22, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Countries

Originally Answered:

Why are Americans so bad at Geography?

I responded to Nick Nicholas’ answer to What do you think when you hear the words, “United States”? with a map, to undo such questions.

I got the ball rolling, with all the questions listed in the answer wiki under How many Central and South American countries can you identify on a map?, in order to undo this question.

How many Nepalese can name the three former Guyanas? How many Slovenians can make a stab at sub-Saharan Africa?

The American education system may well be crap, not my place to pass verdict. But America’s a big country, and (correlated with that) Americans are not a people who need to know much about what goes on outside their borders, in their day to day lives.

Of course, it’s been America’s world, we’ve just been living in it. So we non-Americans expect Americans to take more of an interest in us, closer to the interest we take in them. After all, we don’t do as badly as we should at naming the States of the US. (Quick: Which Indian states are well known in other countries? How many Brazilian states can you identify on a map?) We expect reciprocity.

But that’s the thing with being a superpower. There is no reciprocity. And as Irene Colthurst would be pointing out at this point, being a superpower was the elite’s idea; the American people never truly bought into it.

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