- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Teaching the Pythagorean Theorem or pi in geometry class perpetuates white privilege by giving the “perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

That’s what Rochelle Gutierrez argues in her new anthology for math teachers, “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods.”

The University of Illinois professor says teachers must become more aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” to society.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness,” Ms. Gutierrez writes in the book, reported Campus Reform. “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.”

Mathematics also perpetuates white privilege because the economy places a high value on abstract reasoning.

“If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” Ms. Gutierrez argues, adding that many minorities “have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms.”

To fix the problem, the education professor advises aspiring math teachers to develop a sense of “political conocimiento,” a Spanish term for “political knowledge for teaching,” stressing that all knowledge is “relational.”

“Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively,” she says.

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