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    Ethics & Debate Center - Thread: Math = White Privilege?

    1. #1
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Math = White Privilege?

      White privilege bolstered by teaching math, university professor says

      "A math education professor at the University of Illinois says the ability to solve geometry and algebra problems and teaching such subjects perpetuates so-called white privilege."

      The article made me raise my eyebrows so high they're in the back of my head now. The comments made me laugh though!
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk

    2. #2
      JRT is offline Rookie Member
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      As a retired scientist, mathematician and educator I would differ. Young people seldom are taught about the mathematical, scientific and technological accomplishments of such peoples as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas. By not teaching this, yes there is a white cultural bias. However the problem lies not in mathematics but in history.

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    4. #3
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      Actually, MY experience with Math departments at universities and folks with Ph.D.'s in math is that it's Asians (especially those of Chinese ancestory) who seem to be over-represented. But yes, "whites" and males are, too (with notable exceptions; one of the people in my workplace is a African-American woman with a Ph.D. in math)

      I doubt (but do not know) that this has much to do with our DNA. I suspect it has a lot to do with our upbringing. Boys are just EXPECTED to be better and more interested in math (and the sciences in general) and so I think get attention and encouragement perhaps disproportional to their numbers. And in Asian culture, education appears to ME to be more valued than in our Western culture so all this is just greater there.

      I was always very good in math... but I don't think I was "gifted" at all, I just saw it as a game, as puzzles, and I thus found it fun. Science in general was always, by far, my best subject in school because I LOVED it. Virtually my entire library as a kid was books about science. Was this because of any DNA in me? I highly doubt it. Was I "gifted" in all this? I doubt that, too. I think I was just interested... and encouraged.

    5. #4
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      Well it should be renamed as Tyrone’s Theorem.

    6. #5
      ValleyGal is offline Veteran Member
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      New college subjects: the history and sociology of mathematics 101; the history of mathematics language 102; cultural identity of mathematics 103; the white privilege and racism of mathematics 104, which are all prerequisites for pure math, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and a whole host of other "-ometries."

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    8. #6
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      As a general rule any time I see an argument that makes an appeal to this mysterious concept of "privilege" I switch off, simply because so much of it is little more than whinging and/or reverse discrimination under the guise of being inclusive.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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      Pray Asuk prayed
    10. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
      As a retired scientist, mathematician and educator I would differ. Young people seldom are taught about the mathematical, scientific and technological accomplishments of such peoples as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas. By not teaching this, yes there is a white cultural bias. However the problem lies not in mathematics but in history.
      Unfortunately, what you are referring to is not history so much as it is the study of curiosities.

    11. #8
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      Hmm well studying might be a privilege of the rich or at least a lot easier. I studied cause my dad had money. My ex didnt study cause his parents werent wealthy and had 6 kids. After 16: bye go get a job.
      A kid from a hood is less likely to have the parents stimulate it to do a study. A starving kid in Africa isnt privileged either to go study math. But what it has to do w math I dont know.

    12. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
      As a retired scientist, mathematician and educator I would differ. Young people seldom are taught about the mathematical, scientific and technological accomplishments of such peoples as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas. By not teaching this, yes there is a white cultural bias. However the problem lies not in mathematics but in history.
      I think you're right about this. The professor neglected to do her research before making the absurd claim that she did! I was not privileged because I was good at math. My sister grew up in the same family and wasn't as good at it. Was she less privileged?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk

    13. #10
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      Pedrito has come across other biasses as well.

      He administered on well over 100 occasions while recruiting at different times, a particular aptitude test supposedly designed to identify people with high (or potentially high) ability with respect to computer programmimg.

      The test had five sections, all supposedly relevant. But only one of those sections had direct predictive power. It was very good. It was also bidirectional – after working with someone for a while, Pedrito could predict their score if he tested them.

      Another section identified a specific ability useful in a particular situation. Which sometimes let people in even if their primary score was below Pedrito's normal cutoff point.

      But the first of the five sections was really classic. It tested a candidate's ability to speak English. Apparently only fluent speakers of English were regarded as having computer programming ability.

      Wisely, Pedrito totally ignored the results from that section. As well as those from the remaining two. Not surprisingly, he ended up with good people.
      Seeking to understand with precision, God's holy and coherent revelation to us.

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