Wonder why a college degree nowadays isn’t worth what it once was?
A math education professor at the University of Illinois linked learning and teaching mathematics to white privilege.
Rochelle Gutierrez included her theory in an article for a math education anthology titled “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods,” Campus Reform reports.
Gutierrez argued that professors must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings,” and worried “emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”
The professor asserted a close relationship between whiteness and mathematics:
“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.”
She said math promotes white privilege because the economy prizes math skills highly, creating a form of “unearned privilege” to mostly-white math professors.
“Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?” Gutierrez asked, arguing that “social studies or English” professors deserve grants as much as math professors.
“If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” going on to claim that many minorities “have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms… [where people are] judged by whether they can reason abstractly.”
For Gutierrez, all knowledge is “relational,” meaning “[t]hings cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.”
Gutierrez’ biography at the University of Illinois website states:
“Dr. Gutierrez’ scholarship focuses on equity issues in mathematics education, paying particular attention to how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning.
“Through in-depth analyses of effective teaching/learning communities and longitudinal studies of developing and practicing teachers, her work challenges deficit views of students who are Latin@/x, Black, and/or American Indian and suggests that mathematics teachers need to be prepared with much more than just content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, or knowledge of diverse students if they are going to be successful.”
The “math is white privilege” argument sounds like another attempt to award everyone a trophy. Things don’t bode well for the country if this is the future of American education.
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