Or, How 2 + 2 = Racism
Were you thinking 2 + 2 = 4? Well, today you’d be wrong. Welcome to the new antiracism.
The new antiracism is a particularly vile sort of racism. Francis Menton explains in the Manhattan Contrarian, this racism is about treating black and other minority kids like “dopes.” The vile racists are refusing to require black and minority students “to learn the material or hold them to any standards.”
The question is whether there is an expectation that minority students are capable of becoming responsible adults, and whether their education reflects such an expectation, versus an expectation that they are on track to become sub-adults in a lifetime of permanent dependency.
And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, we now have something called the “Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” just issued by some huge collection of West Coast “educators.”
The list of collaborating entities that issued this document starts with the Association of California School Administrators, and then the California Math Project, the California Partnership for Math and Science Education, and on and on for dozens more such. Oh, and with the “generous financial support” of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Classic White Supremacy
The document is divided into five main parts, called “Strides.” The first “Stride” has the title “Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.” The MC gives a few choice quotes from that one.
Stride #1 “proceeds month by month through the school year, starting before the school year begins in September.”
The task for that time of year is to set “expectations” — and the important point is that there are to be no expectations for the minority students. Indeed, to set expectations and expect minority students to meet them is classic “white supremacy.”
Stride #1: What are my expectations for the year? . . . White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when. . . Expectations are not met.
This is a classic example of either/or thinking. If parents don’t show the characteristics of what I think a good parent is, then that parent is bad. If students don’t show the characteristics of what I think is a good student, then that student is bad. This thinking creates meritocracy in the classroom: Students have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and if they fail it is their fault. It does not give room for the systemic reasons students fail, which often lie in problematic expectations.
Stride #2: White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when. . . Grading practices are focused on lack of knowledge.
Grades are traditionally indicative of what students can’t do rather than what they can do, reinforcing perfectionism. In addition, math teachers also focus grades on what is more easily measurable, rather than the knowledge that we want students to have, reinforcing quantity over quality and often evaluating procedural or skills-based knowledge rather than conceptual knowledge.
Math for Black Kids
Mr. Menton highlights Columbia professor John McWhorter’s post at Substack on 28 February. He says the title fairly captures the gist: “Is it racist to expect black kids to do math for real?”
There is a document getting around called Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, a guide put together by a group of educators. It has a black boy on the cover. . . . [T]his is in essence a document that could be called “Math For Black Kids.” . . . [T]his lovely pamphlet is teaching us that it is racist to expect black kids to master the precision of math. To wit – its message, penned by people who consider themselves some of the most morally advanced souls in the history of the human species, is one that Strom Thurmond would have happily taken a swig of whiskey to.
Mr. Menton also includes pushback on 1 March from Bari Weiss at Substack:
There is no such thing as “white” mathematics. There is no reason to assume, as the activists do, that minority kids are not capable of mathematics or of finding the “right answers.” And there can be no justification for, in the name of “equity” or anything else, depriving students of the rigorous education that they need to succeed. The real antiracists will stand up and oppose this nonsense
Artificial Intelligence = Artificial Stupidity
There is never justification, whether you call it “equity” or anything else, to deprive students of the rigorous education and discipline needed to succeed, as Thomas Sowell would be the first to point out.
Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.
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