Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Professor Argues Against “Truths and Knowledge”; Says Math=White Privilege

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Does 2+2=white privilege? This appears to be the case, according to a college professor who says that mathematics “operates as Whiteness” and needs to be “rehumanized.”

The academic making Euclid roll in his grave is Rochelle Gutiérrez, a professor of mathematics education and Latino/a studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Academia’s answer to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gutiérrez insists that we must “reconceptualize” mathematics as her invention, “Mathematx.” This mirrors “Latinx,” the Orwellian term social engineers would use to describe a Latino person in a “gender-neutral” way.

(Note: Gutiérrez has generally been identified, incorrectly, in the media as a “math professor”; in reality, her doctorate is in “Curriculum and Instruction,” not mathematics.)

Gutierrez has an audience, too: Often invited to speak about her effort to infuse math with relativism, she’ll be leading a discussion at Minnesota’s Carleton College this October as part of the school’s Convocation Series.

“Carleton’s convocation series, described as ‘a shared campus experience that brings students, faculty, and staff together for … a lecture or presentation from specialists in a variety of disciplines,’ have ‘a rich history’ dating back to the early 1940s,” the College Fix informs.

Gutiérrez, “gained notoriety a year ago via a presentation she gave at a mathematics conference in India,” the site continues. “The description of that talk, ‘Mathematx: Towards a Way of Being,’ states:

The relationship between humans, mathematics, and the planet has been one steeped too long in domination and destruction.… Drawing upon Indigenous worldviews to reconceptualize what mathematics is and how it is practiced, I argue for a movement against objects, truths, and knowledge towards a way of being in the world that is guided by first principles — mathematx.”

As for Gutiérrez’ upcoming October talk, a Carlton website characterizes as it as follows:

[The professor’s] scholarship focuses on equity issues in mathematics education, paying particular attention to how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning. Gutiérrez demonstrates how mathematics perpetuates white privilege, and how evaluations of math skills can perpetuate discrimination against minorities. The way our economy places a premium on mathematics skills also gives a form of unearned privilege for math professors, who are disproportionately white. The solution, Gutiérrez contends, goes beyond closing the achievement gap or recruiting more diverse students into the mathematical sciences. 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. They must become more aware of the politics that mathematics brings to society. Gutiérrez’ approach is to ‘rehumanize’ mathematics.”

Yet while “white privilege” is an effective buzz term that plays upon today’s fashionable prejudices, American Thinker editor Thomas Lifson asks, “Why doesn’t Professor Gutiérrez worry about ‘Asian privilege’ when it comes to math? It’s not merely a stereotype that Asian-Americans on average outpace European-Americans on SAT math tests and in college and graduate programs requiring math. Check out the membership of the championship US team at the 60th International Mathematical Olympiad for high school students.”


(Image: Screenshot of ad from Carnegie Mellon University)

Lifson adds, “Also note that our champs tied for first place with China.”

Realize, however, that this is a common double standard. When income gaps are cited as proof of white privilege, for instance, it’s never pointed out that Indian-descent Americans earn more than do “white” Americans. And when New York City mayor Bolshevik Bill de Blasio claimed that discrimination was the reason why blacks and Hispanics were “under-represented” in his city’s elite public high schools, he didn’t mention that it isn’t whites who are “over-represented,” but Asians. Hey, nothing sells leftist social engineering like the white boogieman.

Below is a good two-minute video summarizing and critiquing Gutiérrez’ philosophy.

Not surprisingly, Gutiérrez’ math babble has inspired mockery. One comedian, responding to the professor’s claim that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness,” agreed and added that “the Ku Klux Klan were [sic] once known to set fire to plus signs in order to intimidate their victims.”

Also not surprising is that, according to many students, Gutiérrez’ teaching adds up to zero. In fact, she “garners a somewhat dismal RateMyProfessors rating (2.5 out of 5.0) with negative remarks ranging from ‘Social Justice NIGHTMARE’ and ‘Free thinking is not encouraged’ to ‘I was quite embarrassed that I shared the same intellectual space with someone who is confused about math,’” the College Fix relates.

Unfortunately, such confusion reigns when people descend into relativism and thus cease believing in absolutes. While moral relativism/nihilism may be where this phenomenon is most notable, it starts to bleed into everything else as well. After all, if Truth didn’t exist and right and wrong were all mere “perspective,” what could be “wrong” with ignoring those little snippets of Truth known as facts?

Moreover, as I often point out, once people no longer have Truth to use as a yardstick for making decisions, all they have left to use is emotion. This is when, rather than devising curricula based on objective facts, they instead prioritize that which will make various groups — blacks, Hispanics, women, etc. — feel better about themselves. And perhaps most elevated is what makes the teachers and social engineers feel better about themselves.

Speaking of which, we could wonder about Gutiérrez' true motivations. Many of these social engineers have antipathy for high achievers — whom they label “privileged” — and for objective reality, because they lack the intellectual heft to master knowledge of objective reality the way these achievers have. They are envious.

Do note that it requires far more brain power to get a Ph.D. in mathematics then one in “Curriculum and Instruction.”

Also related to human ego, Gutiérrez very well may believe the drivel she disgorges, but not all these wacky social engineers are sincere. Some just want attention, to get published, to earn money, and “to make their mark.” And since true innovation and insight are beyond them, they instead attract attention with the mass-shooting version of academic ideas. Hey, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with balderdash.

Unfortunately, elevating such people gives us a society characterized more by bafflement than brilliance — and this doesn’t bode well for the future.

Photo: seb_ra / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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