Ben Shapiro’s pinned tweet applies in so many situations, but this one might be the best fit since Genesis. “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” Mathematics is fact-based. The proof of an equation of the result of a calculation is not dependent on feelings.
Yet one professor at the University of Illinois has made it her field of study to make mathematics–specifically math education–about race and feelings. And to Rochelle Gutierrez, it’s too White.
“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” Gutierrez argued.
Gutierrez also worries that algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege, fretting that “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”
Nope. Not even close.
Mathematics isn’t “developed” by anyone. It’s there because the universe is there. Whether you believe it’s just “there” by brute force, or that God in His unlimited intelligence and omniscience created it, the value of “e” was not invented by Leonhard Euler. The Swiss mathematician first described the equation depicting the natural logarithm, which is used in just about every physics, engineering, and even biological field of study. And yes, Euler is white.
So what? We don’t design buildings, build spaceships, or cure diseases because of someone’s race or color. But it seems that if the Gutierrezes of the world had their way, we’d all wait for a black person, or a non-white person at least, to “discover” something first so the universe would be in balance with their feelings. If there’s a new mathematical proof that offers a path to a cure for cancer, we will all have to wait.
Because to people like Gutierrez, it’s all about how we feel about the world, not the facts of knowing about it.
It’s rather unfortunate that feelings, and race, and Whiteness of math, don’t actually feed one family, or build one car, or do anything useful. But it does let professor Rochelle Gutierrez make a living at taxpayer expense. So there’s that.
Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform spotted the latest absurdity to make its way down from the ivory tower to the unwashed masses: A math education professor at the University of Illinois argued in a newly published book that algebraic and geometry skills perpetuate “unearned privilege” among whites. Rochelle Gutierrez, a professor at the University of Illinois, made the claim in a new anthology for math teachers, arguing that teachers must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society. “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.