Monday, February 22, 2021


The Bill and Melinda Gates’ gazillion dollar Foundation wants you to know that we’ve been doing it wrong lo these many years. Math that is.

bill gates math is racist

We’ve been using - and teaching - math in a racist way.

“It allows the defensiveness of Western mathematics to prevail, without addressing underlying causes of why certain groups of students are ‘underperforming,’ a characterization that should also be interrogated,” the text warns. “It also presupposes that ‘good’ math teaching is about a Eurocentric type of mathematics, devoid of cultural ways of being.”

Allow me to interpret that mouth-full-brain-empty word salad: math is hard, and racist; and we, the Social Justice Warriors, are here to inflict equity on that racist, imperialist discipline.

The lessons in Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction warn educators that “white supremacy culture” shows up in the classroom when teachers “treat mistakes as problems by equating them with wrongness” because it “reinforces the ideas of perfectionism (that students shouldn’t make mistakes) and paternalism (teachers or other experts can and should correct mistakes).”

A core belief of the toolkit is that students of color interpret and use math differently than white students. If you teach students of color the “right” way to do math, you are reinforcing white supremacy culture.

Got  that? Teaching students of color that there are “right” answers in math makes you a racist pig spreading and promoting white supremacy.

Riiiight. And plantation owners didn’t want their slaves to learn how to read and write either, I suspect for similar reasons. So let DeShawn and Kenisha exercise their cultural creativity and believe that 2 + 2 = 5, they can always go on to become journalists and politicians.

In Summary

OUT: teaching math the old fashioned way, which entails the use of white supremacist numbers, signs and symbols as well as racist concepts like “there is a right answer.”

IN: Allowing children to intuit math via “storytelling circles, incorporating dance, music, song, call and response, and other cultural ways of communicating.”

Here’s the problem: “communicating” is what language is for. Math is for building bridges, sending rocket probes to Mars and…oh, yes, coding. Which prompted me to create this QR code for our technological overlords to scan whenever they feel like reordering the universe; it will remind them of their true societal role.