Ontario decides math is racist

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Hey, can I show you something. This is Canada’s national team in the “Math Olympics”. They're smart kids:

    • Thomas Guo [Markham, ON]
    • Michael Li [Toronto, ON],
    • Eric Shen [Toronto, ON],
    • Zixiang Zhou [London, ON],
    • David Tang [Toronto, ON],
    • Edgar Wang [Westmount, QC]

Here’s a team that was specifically for girls — to get young women into math, it is more diverse:

  • Anna Krokhine
  • Elaine Liu
  • Jennifer Wang
  • Amelie Zhou

I’ve checked other years too. The demographics are about the same. Can I say it? It’s mainly Chinese kids. I mean, that’s just a fact. Why?

I have some theories, none of which are racist. A lot of these kids come from immigrant families, who take a very keen interest in their kids’ education, who came to Canada for opportunity and they’re not going to let their kids just slough off. No genders studies or vegetarian studies for them, no just playing video games and smoking pot. Study, study study.

So I think that’s part of it. I think another one, that’s related, is if you immigrate to Canada, maybe English isn’t your first language, so perhaps math is something that you can excel at, no matter what your native tongue is.

And a related answer is: math is not subjective. You either know the answer to a math question or you don’t; there’s no wiggle room, there’s no favouritism. It’s a meritocracy. Other things in life aren’t — they’re who you know, not what you know.

Does anyone believe Justin Trudeau would be prime minister now if he didn’t have the luck of being Pierre Trudeau’s son? Math doesn’t work that way — you know it or you don’t.

So those are three theories as to why Canada’s math teams are overwhelmingly Asian. Frankly, I’ll tell you that out of ethnic pride I had hoped to see a Jew on there, but I guess it wasn’t to be.

This does cause some policy issues in places that care about race-based outcomes — like universities.

So whether this is nurture or nature, it’s happening — Asian kids are great at math and science. So if you’re a school that insists on racial proportions in the name of affirmative action or whatever you’re calling it now, you’re going to have to discriminate against Asians. It happens like crazy in elite schools — California is the worst. They explicitly penalize Asian kids. You know, they used to do that to Jews, about 70 years ago — they limited the number of Jewish kids who were admitted to McGill’s med schools and law schools, you know. Now they’re doing it to Asians.

My point is: math isn’t just not racist. Math is anti-racist. Math is where you go for a refuge from racism. Because math doesn’t care if you’re black or white or Asian or Jewish or gentile or whatever. It’s a meritocracy.

So imagine saying that math is racist. Well, if that idea is new to you, you haven’t been paying attentionFocusing on the correct answer in maths ‘is racist’.

That’s the theory. It’s not just some crackpot pundit. It’s part of a massive program, bankrolled in part by Bill Gates, by the way, to racialize math instruction. Here’s how the Times-Union describes it:

Objectivity is particularly toxic, and practices that perpetuate and reinforce objectivity must be dismantled. Focusing on the right answer can lead to underdeveloped reasoning skills and a failure to grasp the complexities of math. Consistent with this, perfectionism is to be dismantled as it also places too much value on getting it right. The notion that new learning comes from the teacher is a paternalistic, power-hoarding method to perpetuate white supremacy.

You know, let me stop for a moment to remind you why math is important. Not for everyone, I acknowledge. I mean, if most people don’t know math, the worse that can happen is they don’t know how to live within a budget, or how to do their taxes, or they get bamboozled by some payment plans, or don’t understand compound interest or how much they really pay on a credit card.

But if you’re trying to be excellent in math, like the math Olympians, or not even that great, but just really good, so you get into engineering and architecture or something like that, if you get it wrong, you could have a high-rise fall down. Or a bridge fall down.

In fact, that’s the story behind the iron ring that engineers wear — it’s made from the steel of a bridge that fell down because of bad math.

It’s like an airline pilot or a brain surgeon. You want the best person, no matter if they’re male or female or whatever their race. Please don’t mess around with merit there, OK?

Which brings me to the atrocious Government of Ontario. We already know they don’t really care about schools — they are the last jurisdiction in Canada, I believe, to still ban children from going to schools, using the pandemic as the excuse. Seriously. They’re on Zoom all day. No schools. No kids sports.  And it’s not even certain that it won’t end in September. Kids, who have the lowest mortality rate for this virus, are being punished by the lockdown itself and the biggest children’s hospital in Ontario says it’s causing an epidemic of depression and suicide, but the Ontario “conservatives” don’t give a damn.

So really, what I’m about to show you shouldn’t come as a surprise.

So here’s the Ontario math curriculum for Grade 9

You know you’re in trouble when the word algebra appears just once, but human rights appears five times. I checked.

Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusive Education in Mathematics

Research indicates that there are groups of students (for example, Indigenous students, Black students, students experiencing homelessness, students living in poverty, students with LGBTQ+ identities, and students with special education needs and disabilities) who continue to experience systemic barriers to accessing high-level instruction in and support with learning mathematics.

Let me just stop for a moment. Are they saying gay people are bad at math?

Why are we talking about this?

Why are we defining entire racial and demographic groups as victims? This is math, people. Students bring abundant cultural knowledges, experiences, and competencies into mathematical learning.

OK, what’s that got to do with algebra, or the Pythagorian theorem, or long division, or fractions?

In mathematics classrooms, teachers also provide opportunities for cross-curricular learning and for teaching about human rights. To create anti-racist, anti-discriminatory learning environments, all educators must be committed to equity and inclusion and to upholding and promoting the human rights of every learner.

Hey guys? Sorry to interrupt. I think I might have found our problem here. I think I might have found out why all these “victim” groups are doing poorly it math. I think it’s because we’re not teaching them math.

Challenging Eurocentric ideas about learning mathematics is key to a CRRP approach. In an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory environment, teachers know that there is more than one way to develop a solution, and students are exposed to multiple ways of knowing and encouraged to explore multiple ways of finding answers.

I’m going to send all those Chinese kids a stern letter — for them to stop using Eurocentric ideas about math.

Put aside all the B.S. language for a moment. This is real: 

• An equitable mathematics curriculum recognizes that mathematics can be subjective.

Mathematics is often positioned as an objective and pure discipline. However, the content and the context in which it is taught, the mathematicians who are celebrated, and the importance that is placed upon mathematics by society are subjective. Mathematics has been used to normalize racism and marginalization of non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledges, and a decolonial, anti-racist approach to mathematics education makes visible its historical roots and social constructions. The Ontario Grade 9 mathematics curriculum emphasizes the need to recognize and challenge systems of power and privilege, both inside and outside the classroom, in order to eliminate systemic barriers and to serve students belonging to groups that have been historically disadvantaged and underserved in mathematics education.

I don’t know why they’re doing this. One answer — for real — is anti-Asian racism. Stop the kids who keep getting the right answers from winning.

Another reason is: it’s easier for teachers. It’s easier to teach this political B.S. than to teach calculus. And easier to grade — you just hand out marks based on feelings, not achievement.

Yeah, can you do me a favour? If any graduate from this curriculum wants to design a bridge or a high-rise, stop them.

GUEST: Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak (@JoelPollak on Twitter) joins to talk about the Biden administration claiming that anti-Communist protests in Cuba are actually about rising COVID cases and deaths in the country, not in opposition to the longstanding oppressive regime.

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  • By David Menzies

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