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Anti-racist mathematics

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Anti-racism in mathematics teaching (2nd nomination)

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Anti-racism in mathematics teaching
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See Wikipedia:Critical pedagogy and Wikipedia:Anti-bias curriculum

The issue of anti-racism in mathematics teaching is part of a larger social constructivist movement in which traditional scientific world views are seen as products of the white-privileged Western cultures.[1] These works claim that there is a Wikipedia:sociocultural context to mathematical education and suggest that the study of mathematics in Western societies has traditionally exhibited racial or Wikipedia:cultural bias.[2] Anti-racist educators suggest that these assumptions are dominant because of superior political power. Anti-racist mathematics is a general approach to mathematics education, trying to shift a field created by "dead white men" into what proponents see as a more multicultural context. [3]

Anti-racist mathematics and Wikipedia:ethnomathematics scholars both share the assumption that any given math understanding or practice is the product of a particular culture, however the range of their scholarship differs considerably and should not be confused with one another.


Cultural ImperialismEdit

Wikipedia:C. K. Raju has published the view that imposed academic standards are a form of white imperialism.[4] With less culture-centric standards, African Americans dominate the study of progressive disciplines: African American students have been reported to perform better on progressive matrix tests than white students.[5]

Social StatusEdit

Shahid Muhammed has concluded that poor mathematics performance among African Americans is linked to higher anxiety caused by negative stereotyping: math is seen as catering to middle-class white people.[6]


The article "The Politics of Antiracist Mathematics" by George Gheverghese Joseph goes through many different assumptions made by teachers of mathematics that can have a negative effect on students of a minority race.[3] An anti-racist approach to mathematics education could include any or all of the following:

  • Discussion of the mathematical knowledge of ancient civilizations outside of Europe, and non-European contributions to mathematical knowledge and discovery.[7][8]
  • The avoidance of racial stereotypes or cultural bias in classroom materials, textbooks, coursework topics and examination questions. For example, a wide range of names could be used in Wikipedia:story problems.[9]



Proponents find evidence in the findings of Wikipedia:20th century Wikipedia:anthropology, Wikipedia:philosophy and various social science disciplines. From this, they believe that the mental paradigms of individuals have a determinative effect on the way they interpret the origin and meaning of events and objects in the world around them.

Given "the under-achievement and under-representation of certain ethnic minority groups", among the recommendations submitted by the African-Caribbean Network for Science & Technology to the Wikipedia:House of Commons of the United Kingdom Wikipedia:Select Committee on Science and Technology, was that "associations such as the Wikipedia:Association for Science Education (ASE), Association for Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) and the Wikipedia:Joint Mathematical Council (JMC) work with partners in the Science, Mathematics and Technology community to provide teaching materials and resources to aid multi-cultural and anti-racist teaching in Science, Mathematics and Technology, in the Wikipedia:National Curriculum".[10]


Former UK Prime Minister Wikipedia:Margaret Thatcher made reference to anti-racist mathematics in expressing opposition to "multicultural" and "anti-racist" educational approaches. In her address to the Conservative Party Conference in October 1987, she said inner city children's opportunities for decent education were being "snatched away from them by hard-left education authorities" and that "children who need to be able to count and multiply are learning anti-racist mathematics, whatever that may be."[11][3]

In 2005, Liza Porteus of Wikipedia:Fox News reported that an "anti-racist education" program in the Wikipedia:Newton Public Schools district of the wealthy Wikipedia:Newton, Massachusetts community angered some parents, who perceived the program to focus more on Wikipedia:political correctness than mathematics itself.[12]


  1. "Ending Academic Imperialism: a Beginning", Wikipedia:C. K. Raju
  2. "Is Science Western in Origin?", Wikipedia:C. K. Raju
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Joseph, George Gheverghese (Spring 1994). "The Politics of Anti-Racist Mathematics". 67–74. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print.,1,1;searcharticlesresults,1,2;. 
  6. Muhammad, Shahid. "Educating African American Students: Foundations, Curriculum, and Experiences". In Abul Pitre,Esrom Pitre,Ruth Ray,Twana Hilton-Pitre. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. p. 72. 
  9. Kennedy, Leonard; Tipps, Steve; Johnson, Art (2007). "Guiding Children's Learning of Mathematics". Cengage Learning. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. 
  10. Wikipedia:Select Committee on Science and Technology. Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence. Appendix 27: "Extract from memorandum submitted by the African-Caribbean Network for Science & Technology" (4. Teaching materials), January 2002. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  11. Quoted from King, Anna S.; Reiss, Michael J. (1993). "The Multicultural Dimension of the National Curriculum". Wikipedia:Abingdon, Oxfordshire, Wikipedia:England. p. 26. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print.,+whatever+that+is.%22#PPA26,M1. 
  12. Porteus, Liza (2005-02-08). "'Anti-Racist' Message in Mass. Math Class". Fox News.,2933,146684,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 

Further readingEdit

  • Woodrow, D. (1989). Multicultural and anti-racist mathematics teaching. In P. Ernest (Ed.), Mathematics teaching: The state of the art (pp. 229–235). London: Falmer.
  • Cotton, A. (1990). Anti-racist mathematics teaching and the national curriculum. Mathematics Teaching, 132, 22-26.
  • Levidow, L. (1987). Racism in scientific innovation. In D. Gill and L. Levidow (Eds.), Anti-racist science teaching (pp. 43–58). London: Free Association.
  • Vance, M. (1987). Biology teaching in a racist society. In D. Gill and L. Levidow (Eds.), Anti-racist science teaching. (pp. 107–123). London: Free Association.
  • Young, R. M. (1987). Racist society, racist science. In D. Gill and L. Levidow (Eds.), Anti-racist science teaching. (pp. 16–42). London: Free Association.
  • Mears, T. (1986). Multicultural and anti-racist approaches to the teaching of science in schools. In J. Guadara, C. Jones and K. Kimberley (Eds.), Racism, diversity and education (pp. 154–166). London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • The Politics of Anti-Racist Mathematics in Proceedings of the First International Conference on Political Dimensions of Mathematics Education, (Ed. R. Noss), Institute of Education Publications, University of London, 1990.
  • Harding, Sandra. The Science Question in Feminism. 1986.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia:Category:Afrocentrism Wikipedia:Category:Critical pedagogy Wikipedia:Category:Definition of racism controversy Wikipedia:Category:Educational psychology Wikipedia:Category:Education reform Wikipedia:Category:Mathematics education Wikipedia:Category:Philosophy of education

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