Buddhism teaching

Teaching Mathematics According to Critical Race Theory (Part I)

Yesterday we blogged about the alleged characteristics of white supremacy according to a manual for teachers on how to integrate critical race theory into math education. Today and tomorrow, I would like us to consider how, according to the book, teachers should do this.

This book, available online, is called A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction. Read it yourself, especially if you think I’m misrepresenting what it says. Here’s his rationale (my bolding to emphasize the language I’ll discuss below):

This manual offers teachers the opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs and values ​​regarding the teaching of mathematics. The frame of deconstruct racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of anti-racist mathematics teachers and critical approaches to dismantle white supremacy in math classes by making visible toxic characteristics of white supremacist culture (Jones and Okun 2001; dismantlingRacism 2016) with respect to mathematics. Building on the framework, teachers engage with critical praxis in order to change their beliefs and their pedagogical practices towards an anti-racist mathematical education. Through centering anti-racism, we model how to be responsible anti-racist math teachers. . . .

In order to embody anti-racist math education, teachers must engage in critical practice that interrogates how they perpetuate the culture of white supremacy in their own classrooms and develop an anti-racist math education plan to address issues of equity for black, Latinx and multilingual students.

It is full of the gossip and jargon of Marxism, now applied to the race struggle, rather than the class struggle, as well as various clichés of postmodernism. Here is a guide to this post-Marxist vocabulary:

(1) deconstruct–The postmodernist assumption is that truth is not a discovery but a construction. Deconstruction reverses the process. In this context, it means claiming to show how a concept is based on oppressive power relations.

(2) critical approaches–It does not refer in this context to different approaches to literary or artistic criticism. “Critique” always means “to criticize” and refers to dismantling ideas, events and institutions to show how oppressive they are.

(3) toxic– Term adapted from radical feminism, which denounces “toxic” masculinity. This means that certain qualities are toxic.

(4) critical praxis– Marxists talked a lot about “praxis”, the Greek word for “doing”. It means taking action. It is often associated with and opposed to “theory”. As in “not just theory but practice”, not just thinking but acting.

(5) centering–A metaphor for postmodern literary criticism. Take what was “marginalised” – that is, consigned to the margins of a page, rather than the main text – and move it to the center of the discourse. (Black Americans – also women, gays, etc. – have been excluded from the American narrative; now we will tell the story with them at the center.

(6) interrogates– It’s the ugliest and most offensive term in the radical lexicon. It smacks of KGB, Gestapo and other totalitarian secret police. Prisoners are “interrogated” until they confess to their political crimes.

(seven) equity– Not to be confused with “equality” or its other meaning of “equal justice”. “Equity” here does not mean equal treatment or equal opportunities. This means identical results.

Next time: the difference between racist and non-racist math.

TH: Melinda

Photo: Enhanced Interrogation by Drewdlecam via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0