um, y’all must know that the idea that math is objective or neutral IS A MYTH #takebackmath
— Laurie Rubel (@Laurie_Rubel) August 3, 2020
Brooklyn College Professor of Math Laurie Rubel took to Twitter last week to argue that basic math tenets are inherently racist.
“The idea that math (or data) is culturally neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH. I’m ready to move on with that understanding. Who’s coming with me?” Rubel wrote in a tweet.
“Along with the ‘of course math is neutral because 2+2=4’ trope and the related (and creepy) ‘math is pure’ and ‘protect math.’ Reeks of white supremacist patriarchy,” Rubel added. “I’d rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals).”
Several professors and academics from across the nation voiced support for Ruble’s theories.
“People say it’s subjectivism to ask if math is Western. I don’t get that. It’s an objective fact that some groups were more involved in the creation of modern math than others,” Carr said. “They may have been *trying* to make it objective but it’s not stupid to ask if they actually succeeded!”
Other academics have pushed back.
“It’s certainly the case, and the Woke need to be held firmly to the point, that feats of engineering like space travel and rocketry utterly depend upon accepting stable meanings of mathematical statements like 2+2=4 as objectively true, not mere accidents of culture,” academic James Lindsay tweeted.
This isn’t possible unless 2+2 actually and objectively equals 4.https://t.co/o2OYL0KGCN
— James Lindsay, on the real right side of history (@ConceptualJames) August 8, 2020