The Corner


Mathematics Is Not Oppressive

Think of the silliest of “progressive” notions (such as the imaginary evils of cultural appropriation, that groups must all be equal, etc.) and it’s hard to top one of the latest — that “western mathematics” somehow oppresses their pet groups. It’s simply absurd, but that never stops them.

In fact, mathematics is a liberating discipline that benefits everyone who can master it. So argue professors Jared Pincin and Phil Williams in today’s Martin Center article.  

They focus on the Seattle School District’s new math curriculum. As you might expect from that “woke” city, the standards are loaded with leftist jargon. “Instead of equipping students to understand mathematics better so they can succeed,” the authors write, ” the new framework will leave students less prepared and teaches them a new dangerous lesson: mathematics is a tool of oppression.”

Just what struggling kids need to hear.

Pincin and Williams don’t think the consequences of injecting leftist ideology into math instruction will have good results: “In our more cynical moments, we find ourselves thinking that much of our work as college mathematics and economics professors consists of trying to undo the damage done to students in their previous mathematics education. In America, many people come into college with a completely misguided idea of what mathematics is, and along with that an inability to do very basic mathematics (algebra, arithmetic, etc.).”

At least, say Pincin and Williams, this new approach to math hasn’t yet infiltrated higher education, but I’d guess it won’t be long before it does. We have already seen how fields like engineering and medicine are being infiltrated.

They conclude, “Fundamentally, mathematics is humbling. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, you can excel or be terrible in mathematics. You don’t need any special equipment, or special experiences—just a pencil, paper, and an imagination. In mathematics, if you have the skills, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can make it. And if not . . . well, no amount of privilege is going to compensate.”

The Left hates it when they can’t blame failure on “privilege.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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