Is Objective Math a Form of “White Supremacy?”

Is Objective Math a Form of “White Supremacy?”

Mar 29, 2021 Debi Ghate

An email with a provocative subject line hit my inbox last week: “Woke Educators Release Letter Declaring Objective Math a Form of ‘White Supremacy.’” I admit I blinked a few times to make sure I was reading that correctly. 

The email was from the Heartland Institute’s School Reform News team and highlighted an article by Kerry McDonald, writing for the Foundation for Economic Education. Here are some of the points McDonald made to explain that provocative title:

  • There are new mandatory teaching standards that incorporate critical race theory being considered by state legislatures.
  • A group of educators authored a report calling for “dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by visibilizing the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture with respect to math.” The report added “reinforcing objectivity and the idea that there is only one right way” also “enforces paternalism.” The report is published on a site called equitablemath.org.
  • A group of university professors, including Sergiu Klanerman and John McWhorter, has criticized the educators’ report.
  • McDonald predicts the increasing focus on “woke” ideology will likely “accelerate the current exodus from district schools” as parents have become more engaged, knowledgeable and responsible for their children’s education during the pandemic.

As McDonald pointed out: “While the growing emphasis on critical race theory in American classrooms has broader societal implications, including the devaluing of objectivity and individualism, the real victims of this educational approach are the students themselves.”

Let’s hope students are still taught that 1+1 = 2. Anything else just doesn’t add up.