Friday, August 3, 2018

No, Math Isn't Racist

In fact it's hard to get less racist than math.  No matter who works the numbers, regardless of race, age, sex, native language; regardless of anything, anyone starting with the same problem and doing the same work gets the same answer.

Let me back up for a second.  First off, Hat Tip to Zendo Deb at 357 Magnum for "Finally the Left Admits They Want to Outlaw Math".  She links to a UK article saying "Maths Textbooks Should be Banned Because They Intimidate Students", and also to a wonderful web page "You're Not Bad At Math, You're Just Lazy", which puts a bit of a point on it.  One of the links on that page is to a 2013 article on The Atlantic, "The Myth of 'I'm Bad at Math'".
We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Worse, you may be helping to perpetuate a pernicious myth that is harming underprivileged children—the myth of inborn genetic math ability.
The thing is that this isn't a new movement, but it appears to be gathering steam.  I first heard of the Radical Math, "Social Justice Math" stuff back in 2011, and it had been going for a while by then.  Now we hear that math proficiency is somehow racist, and perpetuates the dreaded White Privilege.  Is there some genetic tendency for some people to be better at math than others?  Apparently, yes!  But solving mathematical problems properly is a skill just like shooting a basketball, and if the kids who say, "I'm just not a math person" applied the same persistence to doing math as they do to pickup basketball, or shooting 3-pointers, they'd get better at math.

As an aside, I read a book called Innumeracy (this, I think) many years ago; I think it was the late '80s.  In it, the author presents something that has stuck with me forever: in our society, it appears it's acceptable for a parent to tell a child that it's OK that they can't do math at an eighth grade level, but wouldn't dream of telling their child it was OK to not be able to read at that level.  Why do we treat numeracy so differently from literacy?

The question is: why?  Why are there attacks on math?  What does math have to do with "white privilege anyway?  There are tremendous mathematicians from all races, so why are these idiots suddenly equating math with the horror of "whiteness"?  I've used the phrase "war on competency" far less than I've thought on this blog, but I see a lot of the attacks on math as that. All out war on competency and meritocracy. 

I heard an interesting viewpoint from Glenn Beck that I think bears considering.  Glenn says the left has gone past trying to sell socialism and communism to postmodernism.  His theory is that they see our society has been one of the most successful in history, and the enlightenment that sprang out of Europe giving rise to the Western world is their biggest obstacle to one world (communist) government.  Therefore, the postmodernist movement is determined to destroy the entire enlightenment and everything that flowed from that.  Math driving engineering and science is at the heart of the successes of Western society.  Since Western society must be destroyed, Math must be discredited. 

Besides, if people can't do the simplest arithmetic, they can't understand the numbers that show their socialist or communist schemes can't possibly work.   


  1. They've already perverted several other formerly hard sciences, so why not attack the basis of ALL science?

    All they have to do is convince people that 2+2= cis-trans-non-gender, and they've won.

    And it looks like they're getting started....

  2. The goal is not, one world government; the goal is the extinction of Homo sapiens. The motivation is self-loathing. You're trying to figure out how destroying Western Enlightenment becomes a success for the people doing it, and you can't. You can't because the goal isn't success, it's failure.

    Darwinism doesn't say that a species which has existed for merely two hundred thousand years must be free of all serious brain firmware flaws. There are many genetic problems which are not immediately lethal, but cause an organism to thrive less than its environment would allow it to. Human self-loathing is one example of that. It's just lousy software.

    Rule of thumb says the test instrument must have 10 times better specs than what you're trying to measure. Once we build an artificial intelligence with an IQ of 1,000, all these homo sapiens firmware problems will rapidly be figured out.

    In the meantime, organize the remnant to evade bad laws. Anyone who wants to obey those bad laws is the zombie in the movie. Might have been your friend five minutes ago, but right now it's working to do you harm.

    1. You have identified the goal of the worker bees, but the goal of their owners is indeed One World Government. And their owners have the means to appropriately deal with those worker bees once they get far enough.

    2. Agenda 21, or 30 or whatever they're calling it today, is backed by people who have publicly stated the human population should be less than 5% of what it is now. How does the world get there without mass murder on a scale never seen before? And those numbers may be just for public consumption and their real goal is extinction.

    3. And their owners have the means to appropriately deal with those worker bees once they get far enough.

      Public school has channeled you into only imagining a group of twenty people vs. federal prosecutions. One million is 10% of 3% of 350 million. If one million US libertarians decided their cars would not have license tags, the rest of the US residents couldn't stop them.

  3. It would be nice to see all of the progs (you don't need to take them all, maybe just all of them in California) and place them on an island somewhere and see how they manage, applying all of their weird principles.

    They're a bunch of parasitic losers.

    1. Wouldn't that be San Francisco? Chicago? New Orleans? All the modern day dystopian cities have been under Prog rule for a century.

    2. The island would do very well, according to their philosophy. The little system would quickly achieve their primary goal: extinction.

  4. I'm bad at math, and have always been so. The only reason I passed my required calculus class is because A) I had a great instructor, a middle-eastern gent who really wanted the class to learn, and B) my brother, who was a math major, tutored me every single day after class. Old Shotgun Bob could look at ten equations, point to three and tell me that these are all similar. To me, they had all the similarities that a ham sandwich has to a telephone pole. None the less, I passed.

    The real problem is that teaching techniques haven't really changed over the past 50 years or so, but the students have. The threat of corporal punishment doesn't exist anymore, and I think it should. The parents (or parent, singular) doesn't care about their child's education, and isn't about to change that attitude. The school teachers aren't equipped to deal with a student that comes from that environment. Each says that the other will have to do better.

    Math is a non-judgemental subject. You either know the answer and how to find it, or you don't. If the student doesn't know, it's obvious.

    Somehow, that just isn't fair - or so say the SJWs. My only thought is that I won't be around to see the end.

    1. I never really "got into" math until college, although I did take calculus in high school. At some point, the idea that you can know you're right and prove it, while the humanities can never prove anything, really made me like it. After that, I didn't mind spending as much time as it took.

      Not that I still couldn't make stupid mistakes and copy a "+" sign as "-" or something like that, but it was more fun.

      It wasn't until I took a differential equations class in college and heard the prof talking about all the proofs they had tossed out because they just couldn't work that I realized there really were not a lot of math prodigies, and professional mathematicians screwed up a lot, too.

    2. I learned, and by that I mean understood, more Math taking Physics classes than I "learned" in Math class. I was able to do the problems and find the correct solution, but it didn't "stick" very well.

      Since I actually had to use the Math in Physics to solve problems, and then use it again in Electronics, I got much more comfortable with it.

      Since Math is a cold, hard, Science, and there cam be only ONE correct answer that doesn't care about feelings, gender, or ideology, it's obviously a ripe target for SJW's.

  5. Here's a test for all the "math is evil" folks. You have to cross San Francisco Bay. You must use one of two bridges. The first designed by an engineer who has demonstrated competence in math, materials science and applied physics among others subjects. The second is designed by a math averse PHD who majored in African American studies. Choose wisely.

  6. Except you don't get to know in advance who designed the bridge, and you won't until after the failure, see also the bridge failure in Florida.