Legal Insurrection www.legalinsurrection.com posted a piece by Mike LaChance which begins with this aggressive quotation from Deborah Lowenberg Ball, a mathematics professor and former dean of the University of Michigan School of Education: “the very nature of the knowledge and who’s produced it, and what has counted as mathematics is itself dominated by whiteness and racism.” Taking the matter a step further, Ball declaims that math proficiency is white supremacy.
Ball displays a penchant for race-drenched hyperbole. The article continues: “In the latest episode of the EdFix Podcast, Ball complains that math is a “harbor for whiteness” and that the very nature of the this knowledge is dominated by whiteness and racism. Ball interprets that perceiving math proficiency to be a sign of intelligence is “raced.” Ball’s perspectives are, in some venues, treated reverentially, as if Ball were coherent. For example, in response to hearing her words, host, Michel Feuer, dean of the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, allegedly reacted as follows: “Listening to you is the greatest positive reinforcement to be in this profession.”
LaChance opines: “Unsurprisingly, Ball’s solution included a plug for her consultancy, TeachingWorks, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. TeachingWorks is no doubt ready to profit by assisting school districts to interrupt “patterns of racism.”
LaChance’s post continues: “Ball’s views and Feuer’s obeisance sound like parody. Yet, this dangerous paradigm — that getting the right answer, using the right method, or believing some students are more capable than others is white supremacy — is strongly endorsed by educators, leading mathematics organizations, and policy-makers. Include, in the latter group, the Oregon and California Departments of Education. Much of the research and the dissemination of this twaddle is funded by the Gates Foundation, which last year spent $642 million for its U.S. program, including Pathways and other initiatives that focus on eliminating white supremacy from math.”
A logical question, and not an obtuse one, thus arises: So what? If white supremacy produced math and mastery of math, does that not conclusively prove that white supremacy is a great virtue? Indeed, let us ponder how quickly Ball would scuttle over to a malpractice plaintiff’s lawyer if her people-of-color doctor failed to accurately add up and correctly interpret all her vital signs and measures during a check for cancer?
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