The ever-growing list of ‘muh racisms’ added another item to the list this week: algebra.
Department of Memes recently reported on black pastors suing Coca-Cola for racism, but this new allegation may be equally bizarre. Now, it’s safe to say the average student, regardless of race, is not a fan of algebra. It’s a complicated and sometimes illogical system that has little practical application to those not entering STEM fields. Many of us probably secretly wish it would be abolished.
But certainly not for the reasons that Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, postulated in an interview last week with NPR’s Robert Siegel.
After mulling over some substantive arguments about the irrelevance of algebra to practical, real-life career choices, Oakley and Seigel veered off into Afrocentrist conspiracy territory when theorizing about the reasons that minority students perform poorly in school:
Seigel: Bob Moses, the civil rights activist, started the Algebra Project, teaching concepts of algebra to black students in the South. He saw the teaching of math as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.
Rates of failure in algebra are higher for minority groups than they are for white students. Why do you think that is? Do you think a different curriculum would have less disparate results by ethnic or racial group?
Oakley responded that new curriculum would indeed be less discriminatory before affirming, “The second thing I’d say is yes, this is a civil rights issue…”
One wonders what chemicals must have tainted the drinking water, as apparently now mathematics and algebraic formulas are forms of discrimination.
Maybe algebra will be the next civil rights struggle of our time. Instead of “No Justice, No Peace”, perhaps the next big chant will be “No X! No Y! White mathematics have got to die!”
God has truly forsaken us.