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The White Supremacy of Arithmetic
From a recent FoxNews story: “The Oregon Department of Education recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages ‘ethnomathematics’ and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.”
Now, as a conservative, I don’t pretend to understand this. But to my untrained ear, it certainly sounds like leftist teachers think that being white is equivalent to being correct. Although perhaps I misunderstand, because again, to a conservative this makes no sense.
Part of the “Equitable Math” toolkit explains that, “the belief that there is such a thing as being objective or ‘neutral’” is a characteristic of White supremacy. It expands on this point, “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.” And it instructs teachers to “identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.”
Remember, this is middle school math. How are you supposed to teach math to 13-year-olds without perpetuating objectivity? How does long division uphold racist views? How is finding the right answer related to white supremacy? I’m fairly certain that this is not satire. I think they’re serious. And these people teach our children.
This isn’t even sociology, which is essentially the study of the absurd. No. This is middle school math.
When my dad went to college in the ’60s, he said a lot of his professors and coaches were WWII veterans who went to graduate school on the GI bill after the war. They were not flower children, as you might imagine.
When I was in grade school in the ’70s, some of my teachers were men who stayed in college and got their teaching certificate, then agreed to teach in underserved areas like mine to avoid the Vietnam draft. They were a bit different than the hard-boiled typed my Dad described. This, I think, is when it really started.
Since then, our educational system has moved gradually but steadily left. Each little step seemed relatively unimportant, and anyone who argued was understandably criticized for making a big deal out of nothing.
And eventually, 50 years later, here we are. Training middle school math teachers on the white supremacy of arithmetic.
How do we get back to reality? So many little things have changed. So many little things. I’m not sure how to fix all this.
But I’m sure of this: Our public schools cannot be fixed. They’re too far gone. We need to start over.
The teachers’ unions, the Democratic Party, the media, and many other powerful organizations will make this a difficult and messy process. But it must be done. And the longer we wait, the more difficult and messy it will be.
Meanwhile, our 13-year-olds are learning about the white supremacy of arithmetic.
We need to get started.Published in General
I think entropy is not confined to just money, but societies. It take a lot of energy to stay ahead of decline.
Point out the absurdity – would we want to give different change for the bill depending on the races of the clerk and customer?
No, arithmetic remains constant. Teach about Mayan 0s and Inca Quipus, if you want, but modern math is the most convenient way to get accurate arithmetic
And bridges. It also upholds bridges.
Maybe that is capitalist, imperialist, and racist too?
These people are too brain-dead to realize they are doing seriously what Alan Sokal did as parody years ago.
full text: https://physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html
It’s going to get a lot worse for these kids if they want to have a career in I.T. IBM mainframes, for example, utilize Base-16 (hexidecimal) architecture and, whether it’s a “white supremacist construct” or not, it must be learned. The computer does what a person tells it to do; not what the person wants it to do.
It’s sad that the race hustlers are dooming minority kids to lives of meaningless cr*p, because they, the race hustlers, are 3d rate minds. Yet, they seem to rule the educational hierarchy.
I am dyslexic. I really struggled with math not the concepts but actually arriving at the correct answer. School was one thing but it became personal owing my own business. On a wholesale level I bought and sold product by both pounds, ounces ,tenths of pounds, kilos quarter of cents and euros. I also had to deal with percentages. Before teachers should be allowed to teach nonsense they should place their own money at risk.
Each one of those teachers is more interested in other people’s money.
It starts by moving the election of the school board to every two years in November of even years. Make the positions partisan. Then it consists of finding out who the teacher’s union is backing in the local school board election and defeating them.
I was just thinking about how bridges in the future are going to be interesting.
Aircraft too. Who needs mathematical precision. So White Supremacist.
The Chinese, Russians and Indians are laughing their a##es off.
It’s not just minority kids. This cr@p is going to be taught in every government school in the country and some of the finest private academies.
As are the Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Singaporeans. Doubtless there will also be a push for more H1B visas.
I believe that U.S. Students are somewhere around 25th in the world when it comes to mathematics so a few more nationalities can probably be added. All those countries are teaching Pythagorean Theorem and our kids are being taught Critical Race Theory. Guess who is better suited for well-paying jobs?
Watched Hidden Figures with my daughter last week. A story about Black women who cared very much about getting the right answer. Always though math was one of the places that would remain free from wokeness because, numbers are numbers and don’t care about race, gender, etc. I guess I underestimate the crazies.
The head of the Oregon Department of Education formerly was elected statewide, until the democrats managed to get that changed to an appointed position. For “efficiency”. Also, over the last twenty or thirty years, funding for schools gradually shifted from local property taxes to state income taxes, allowing more and more control by the state.
Math is the apotheosis of everything Critical Theory rejects. Math demands that that things are true or false. The condition of truth and falsehood presupposes an objective structure of the world. At its core, Critical Theory rejects the concept of an objective, impartial reality.
Knowledge isn’t objective or impartial. Thath why you frequently hear people say they are “Speaking their truth”. It might not be objectively true. But that doesn’t matter. There is no objective truth. They’ve already conquered the social sciences and history and biology. Math is the last bastion.
It’s called H1B Visas. High tech workers at a basement bargain price.
Big tech knows what they paid for this last election.
David P Goldman (Asia Times) opined that in the 80’s & 90’s we were so busy congratulating ourselves on winning the Economic Wars and the Cold War that we forgot all about the Culture War. With the exception of some sharp engagements waged by evangelical Christians, we never fought. We barely even acknowledged the conflict. Small wonder we got routed.
Exactly the result.
I stood in line to register behind some of them: I swore at the time I would never have any of them as teachers for my children.
I used to work with an immigrant fellow that was one of the best engineers I knew: He was trapped in a low paying position because of the visa system. A true wage slave.
The United States has essentially lost every war since World War II (the 1991 Gulf War is debatable since it just got us deeper into the Middle East) with no serious consequences. This will result in the loss of a war with consequences.
Great news for you, PH! Check out the cover of this month’s Mensa bulletin!
I decided to skim the documents Fox cites and overall its fairly bad and will ultimately be destructive to the people they claim they want to help. In the interest of charity I’ll assume they are doing this to help “black and latinx” students learn math as opposed to just get a line on their CV and get flown around to give workshops. Some parts of it get a little too post-modern and too nakedly anti capitalism to be sure, but some aspects are simply designed to get around some lazy forms of teaching and grading math.
Skimming it, the actual point of the documents seem like improving regular pedagogy. P47
I don’t see how that is white supremacy culture but the general pedagogical response suggested seems like a good one.
I’m not sure about the “right answer” bit. I think formal uses of math are objective even if implications may not be. There solution to this is to: “Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers.” If you do that, then “come up with at least two answers that might solve this problem.” Briefly looking up some algebra problems with multiple solutions its very disappointing and seems like a tedious and uninteresting pedagogical point especially if one is claiming that math isn’t objective. The solutions are objectively correct. What I think they mean is teachers should not penalize students who leave square term in when you can take another step and remove it.
Overall though, strip away the overwrought and silly political dialogue and some of the ideas would probably be helpful to the students. I kind of wish people wouldn’t wrap this stuff up in heated partisan language.
You mean, like journalism?
The correct answer doesn’t care how you feel about it.
See. Your entire worldview is so … quaint. You insist on these bourgeois concepts like the existence of a “correct” answer. You will require extensive re-education.
That will be a hoot.
I agree. If the writers of ethnomathmatics work books just said they were trying to improve math education, fine. But when they suggest changes in the math curriculum to address white supremacy and imperialism, then I don’t really care what else they have to say.