If everything is racist then nothing is racist.
See how that works?
Math is racist. Or at least the state of Oregon thinks so. Oregon is the latest state to take up the guidance of A Pathway to Equitable Math, a five part lesson for educators to counteract their own racism in math education. It is a "virtual micro-course" to help educators in "valuing and elevating student discourse in the math classroom."
In an update to the state's math educators, sent on Feb. 5, the Oregon Department of Education announced that they have "taken on work to re-imagine math experiences and statewide policies to remove systemic educational barriers in math." Private and public schools are all over this.
"The vision of the Oregon Math Project," the Oregon DOE writes, "is to transform instruction by attending to student choice, agency, and belonging in mathematics so all learners experience the joy, beauty, and wonder of mathematics."
The goal is for educators to "learn key tools for engagement, develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, and join communities of practice."
If this leaves you wondering exactly how math, that most objective and straightforward of disciplines, complete with right and wrong answers and having nothing to do with identity politics-fraught areas of study could be racist, you are not alone. Never fear, Pathways to Equitable Math Instruction has spelled it all out for us.
However, the entire course of study is based on several fallacies. The first is that educators are both so racist and so blind to their own racism that they are perpetuating racism in the classroom simply by educating students at all, the second is that math is somehow a "white" discipline, and the third is that students of color are so incapable of learning that if math isn't transformed into some kind of native pedagogy they will not be able to understand it.
NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Five-year-old Lois Copley-Jones, who is the photographer's daughter, does her Maths studies in her bedroom on January 25, 2021 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England. Under current government policy, schools in England wouldn't open before the February half-term break at the earliest, but the Prime Minister has declined to commit to reopening them before Easter. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)