Math, Whiteness, and the Woke

From Uncommon Descent: Nancy Pearcey: A dispatch from the Woke war on math

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The Woke are quite serious about making math a branch of identity politics:

Rochelle Gutiérrez, an education professor at the University of Illinois, writes that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.” Gutiérrez charges that algebra and geometry perpetuate white privilege because the textbook version of math history is Eurocentric: “[c]urricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

I’m not sure which history textbooks she’s talking about. We all use Arabic numerals, and in my college math class, we learned that the concept of zero as a place holder came from India; that the Babylonians gave us the 360-degree circle and the 60-minute hour; that the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Chinese all had a rough idea of the value of pi. The approximate ratio for pi even appears in the Bible: “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” (1 Kings 7:23).

Nancy Pearcey, “Does Mathematics = Western Imperialism?” at American Thinker

Pearcey is assuming that facts matter. Not to the Woke.

Critical theorists argue that mathematics is just another arbitrary human creation that has been used to privilege certain groups while excluding others. Since all worldviews are regarded as equally valid, the selection of any one worldview to teach in the classroom can only be a matter of privileging the interests of one social group over others.

Nancy Pearcey, “Does Mathematics = Western Imperialism?” at American Thinker

The war was bound to come down to math because math stands firmly in the way of the full on attack on reality that Woke Cancel Culture needs. Many of them may feel genuinely Unsafe in the presence of operations signs.

Realistically, it is also a great excuse for not really teaching math, made to order for teachers who justifiably lack confidence in their ability to do so. Some (really smart) kids will learn on their own, others will be sent to private or charter schools, and the rest will be encouraged to find some person or group to blame. It all works if you don’t mind the kids being innumerate.

See also: And then they came for 2 + 2 = 4 … One thing the self-described progressive Woke perspective will certainly do is trap disadvantaged students in poverty. They will be forever consumers, not creators, of technology and the power and prosperity are largely on the creation side.

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I assume that it will take about a decade for the Math and Physics departments at the major universities to kneel before the angry Woke, with the ignorant college student dutifully following The Community Leaders.

As any Darwinian would put it: “Truth was never the question. Only power.”

That will leave Christians, alone, to bear the entire burden of human civilization, objective reality, and both science and technology.

We had better strengthen our backs for the journey.

I don’t think it will be very long: if it took the Communists 70 years to go down, then it shouldn’t take the Woke more than 40 years to break before the rocks of reality.

But those years will be hard. And after the breaking, expect lots of anarcho-tyranny as the Old Order dissolves.

We are the ones who will have to clean up the mess.

Summary: The Christian life is a good one.

But it isn’t a particularly easy life!

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