Rufo posts screenshots of Heather Theijsmeijer, a math coordinator and teacher in Ontario, Canada, whose post reads, "There are many math education practices that we (white folk) don't see as racist or supremacist, because they are so ingrained in our background and experiences (and we have been the ones to benefit from them.)"
The graph Theijsmeijer posted breaks racist math down into two categories, "Overt White Supremacy" which includes using the n-word while doing math. The second is "Covert White Supremacy" which includes "2+2=4," along with "Assuming math is neutral," "Standardized testing," and "Dismissing alternative algorithms."
Theijsmeijer's post from her now private Twitter are part of a growing trend in education to adopt new math teaching principles that are based in Critical Race Theory (CRT). These guidelines do not instruct educators to overtly teach critical race theory, but rather use critical race theory as a guide for the formation of teaching principles.
CRT is a form of racial essentialism that defines individuals by their racial and ethnic identity groups and then assigns them a place within structures and hierarchies of power.
Teachers in Ontario claimed math normalized racism in 2021. The grade 9 curriculum for Ontario's math program depicted math as a subjective method that normalizes racism and reinforces "Eurocentric mathematical knowledge." Their mathematics teachers have to promote cross-curricular learning and teach about human rights to create anti-racist, anti-discriminatory learning environments.
Similar changes have been implemented in places like California. They began deemphasizing calculus and pulling programs for academically gifted students, while choosing to "apply social justice principles to math lessons."
In 2020, the Mathematical Association of America disparaged the "biases" that mathematics supposedly "inherently carries" and wrote in a statement: "It is time for all members of our profession to acknowledge that mathematics is created by humans and therefore inherently carries human biases. Until this occurs, our community and our students cannot reach full potential."
On her blog, Theijsmeijer addressed biases more in depth and noted she is eliminating the use of the word "equals" from her curriculum. She wrote, "to reinforce the idea of balance in an equation, I am trying to stop saying 'equals' when reading a number sentence."
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