CUNY Professor Denounces Meritocracy and Color-Blindness In Math As “Tool of Whiteness”

faculty_pictureWe recently discussed how University of Illinois math professor Rochelle Gutierrez triggered a national controversy over her work “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods” in which she criticized math classes as a “tool of whiteness.”  Now, CUNY Professor Laurie Rubel has published a peer-reviewed article in the  Journal of Mathematics Education arguing that the concepts of meritocracy and “color-blindness” are ideological precepts that work against minorities.  It is a worrisome trend among academics to challenge even the most objective fields of advancement as requiring a more race-conscious approach.

Rubel is a former high school math teacher who published an article entitled Equity-Directed Instructional Practices: Beyond the Dominant Perspective.

She writes “Teachers who claim color-blindness . . . are, in effect, refusing to acknowledge the impact of enduring racial stratification on students and their families.”   She insists that by rewarding students on their performance — or ability to do math — math  “functions as a tool of whiteness.”

Thus, if a teacher sees all students as equal and simply grades math courses based on actual math, Rubel insists that they are little better than outright racists: “By claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that she is dismissing one of the most salient features of the child’s identity and that she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction.”

There is no debate over the need to work to overcome the barriers to minority students for opportunities in education.  However, math has always been one of the greatest equalizers, no pun intended.  As I discussed earlier, it is a shame to see math treated as a field of privilege when many of us view it as a field of pure intellectual pursuit and bias neutrality.  Either the math is there or it is not.  The race of the mathematician will not change the outcome.  Moreover, the way to fight any bias is to leave “political knowledge” outside of the classroom.

73 thoughts on “CUNY Professor Denounces Meritocracy and Color-Blindness In Math As “Tool of Whiteness””

  1. “CUNY Professor Denounces Meritocracy and Color-Blindness In Math As “Tool of Whiteness”


    “Affirmative Action Privilege” and “Generational Welfare” are “Tools of Colorness.”

    “Whiteness” are “Fools of Guilt.”

    “Affirmative Action Privilege” and “Generational Welfare” are “Proof” of the “Inferiority of Colorness”.

    “Affirmative Action Privilege” and “Generational Welfare” are unconstitutional.

    The Constitution omits, excludes and precludes any award of bias.

    “Central Planning”, “Redistribution of Wealth” and “Social Engineering” are principles of communism.

    Charity is voluntary industry conducted in the free markets of the private sector.

    CUNY “Professor” is a Nazi forcibly imposing the “Feminazi Dictatorship.”

    People must adapt to freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people…

    dictatorship does.

  2. I worked two years for a graduate school of education while I was getting my BA – in various capacities in the department. While I met some really smart and dedicated people I saw a lot of emphasis on ensuring people felt good versus results. One project I remember vividly was putting proposals for a conference into a database – some of the abstracts were so poorly written that I (an undergraduate !!) was instructed to edit them to “help” the students.

  3. Perhaps she should spend the weekend watching “Stand and Deliver.”

    If professors cannot be color blind and treat all students equally, then they should not be in the classroom. Period.

    Education is no place for intolerance or bias.

  4. Its getting more and more difficult to ignore the fact that most of these far left extremist are Jewish Liberals who make up less than 2% of America. How did they all get this way?

  5. These professors are, I hope inadvertently, equating whiteness with merit. How racist can one get? What message does this useless drivel send to young people of color? This silliness would be something at which to laugh if the consequences weren’t so awful to most who adopt this way of thinking.

    1. Go easy on them. These are professors of mathematics education, i.e., not good enough to teach actual math.

        1. That’s a fair point, but just publishing stupid articles is nothing more than mental masturbation, just a bigger waste of time that the real kind.

  6. Well, no surprise Ms. Rubel’s article is in this journal as Rochelle Gutierrez has a commentary in the same volume. Rubel’s title is “Equity-Directed Instructional Practices: Beyond the Dominant Perspective.” In postmodernist ideology, “equity” means “equality of outcome” so even though two people don’t have the same education, work experience, or knowledge base, they both “deserve” to be given the same job and the same paycheck because one is oppressed (e.g., minority) and the other is not.

    “Postmodernists, on the other hand, eschew any notion of objectivity, perceiving knowledge as a construct of power differentials rather than anything that could possibly be mutually agreed upon. Informed by such thinkers as Foucault and Derrida, science therefore becomes an instrument of Western oppression; indeed, all discourse is a power struggle between oppressors and oppressed. In this scheme, there is no Western civilization to preserve—as the more powerful force in the world, it automatically takes on the role of oppressor and therefore any form of equity must consequently then involve the overthrow of Western “hegemony.” These folks form the current Far Left, including those who would be described as communists, socialists, anarchists, Antifa, as well as social justice warriors (SJWs). These are all very different groups, but they all share a postmodernist ethos.”

    “All of this matters because, whether people are overtly aware of it or not, their beliefs and actions are implicitly guided by one of these three world-views. A person may have never attended an Ivy League gender studies class, but if they belong to and agree with the ideas of a typical urban, liberal, hipster milieu, they are very likely subscribing to a postmodernist ideology, even if they’ve never cracked open Lyotard.”

    excerpted from the following:

    BTW: read the titles of the other articles in this “peer-reviewed” journal. They’re a hoot!

    1. Thanks for the analysis. Basically, the assault is, “I reject your empirically-based reality and insert one that puts me on the gravy train.” Or, to take it to it’s logical conclusion, “we reject all Western (and Eastern, really) thought. Whatever situational perspective benefits US (we) in the immediate sense is the chosen path with no dialectic.” This all may seem like some egghead tripe, but they are trying to rewrite the core of civilization that contains no ideals. Basically, they want a world of sociopaths (a Clockwork Orange). These people are changing the minds of the children, and they are many and their arguments pervasive (“peer reviewed”).

      1. slohrss29: “This all may seem like some egghead tripe, but they are trying to rewrite the core of civilization that contains no ideals. ” Spot on. It’s a power play, pure and simple. And most centrists (or modernists) don’t even know it’s happening.

        1. That’s the scary thing, people don’t understand how this perversion undermines the time-tested working order of things. It will become real apparent soon though when a higher profile example is put forth. Forget about critical reasoning and analysis. See how well that helps with the world with the multitude of problems we attempt to solve using technology. I know it’s hard, but we’ll just skip the math when figuring this stuff out. It’s hard!

      2. It’s like people are trying to single handedly apply their own brand of affirmative action.

      3. slohrss29 re “I reject your empirically-based reality and insert one that puts me on the gravy train.”

        Yep, job security. That’s why I dropped out of pursuing an MA in ESL – I could not tolerate the PC bs. These people have no concept of reverse discrimination.

        1. It’s a shame that it’s come to this. I can imagine the frustration in having the ambition (gasp!) to further your education–and yourself–only to be derailed by this insanity.

      1. Squeeky, that is great. “Objectivity is an active evil.” That’s exactly the approach Wilfred Laurier Communications Prof Rambukkana took when he blindsided his TA, Lyndsey Shepherd, accusing her of creating a “toxic classroom environment” because she didn’t tell her students what/how to think about Jordan Peterson’s position on the consequences of Canadian hate speech bill C-16.


    2. IIRC, Foucault was a gay leather-daddy into BDSM; as far as I can tell (admittedly, not very far) his philosophy is based on how gay men behave with strangers in sex clubs. In such a milieu, a consensual fantasy replaces reality, and ‘power’ is allocated based on ones role or the costume he is wearing.

      As a practical matter most people realize that pretending isn’t real. Wearing a lab coat does not make me a doctor. However, once all of this is translated into academic jargon the flaws are much less evident.

      Pretending that one can build things because a person is dressed up like the construction worker in The Village People may be fun, but it doesn’t get building built.

      Pretending that skin color has a causal relationship with mathematical ability is just plain evil.

      1. David D, are you getting that from Miller’s bio? If that is true, man that explains a lot. Doesn’t explain why people were buying what Foucault was selling, but explains his warped philosophy.

  7. And if you disagree with the good professor, you are probably an evil, sexist, racist, homophobic, nazi who needs to be prosecuted!! Just hiding behind your white privilege, eh?

    Let’s doxx and get everyone fired who disagrees with her.

    1. Independent Bob:
      And you’d get an eye splint, a set of crutches and 6 weeks of physical therapy.

  8. Randy Newman had a song with some lyrics which follow here”

    “Doctor, Doctor, what you say?
    How bout lettin me out today?
    Ain’t no reason for me to stay.
    Cause everybody’s far away.
    Get me back on my feet again.
    Back on my feet again.
    Open the door,
    Set me free!
    Get me back on my feet again!

    The teacher here needs to be locked up until Randy says it is ok to set her free.

    1. But we have, in government, a plutocracy except that it isn’t named that.

  9. Is it even possible, in following misguided rules and principles of these professors, to not be bigoted? It seems that all corners of life are increasingly off-limits and hate lurks in all crevices to such an extent we face a constantly fleeting target to try to stay compliant with the SJW ideals and demands.

    Navin Johnson shows us an analogue:

  10. So does that mean that the math behind my radiation dose calculations at the hospital are a tool of whiteness? What about knowledge of anatomy or physiology? Or how tissues behave when exposed to ionizing radiation? Or the mathematical representations of lab test values? Or how a disease process manifests itself on a CT Scan?

    Someone needs to tell these people that there are things in this universe that are definite and not subject to re-interpretation by grifters who wish to turn everything into a grievance.

    1. Agree, but they aren’t listening and their numbers are growing. Truly frightening to hear some of the stuff coming out of my teenage grandchildren’s’ mouths and the mouths of even younger grandchildren of friends. They are the future. The future — that Orwell predicted for the last century — doesn’t look so good.

  11. I know of a very nice PhD dissertation in mathematics written by a Tunisian. Does that make him ‘white’?

    This is silly.

  12. I hope someday university officials will stop being racists and treat students as equals regardless of the color of their skin.

  13. This type of story is, to quote a toady of the horrifying travesty, a big “nothing-burger.” This is ridiculous to the highest order, and I suspect this nonsense is posted here to fire up the klan-lite wanna-bes and trump morons.

    1. ” I suspect this nonsense is posted here to fire up the klan-lite wanna-bes and trump morons.”
      Your sense of clairvoyance knows no equal.

    2. What does that make me? — a person that studied mechanical engineering in the 1970s and glad that science — including the branch of science known as math — was taught for what it is: A matter of practical reality which is not changed by social trends.
      Black Lives Matter can take over the streets, but the square root of pi will NOT be changed.

      What these professors are arguing about is their desire to dumb down the course work to meet the needs of the stupidest students in the class — which is apparently what THEY think black students are. Thank God when I learned math it was in classes that met the needs of the smartest kids in the class, and the rest of us had to work our tails off to keep up or get left behind.

      And these professors are actually insulting black people by taking action concerning what THEY believe is an inferiority issue with black students. That’s a hallmark of democrats — telling minorities they are inferior, but not to worry because the democrat party will protect them.

        1. I’m gonna ask you one more time to ignore my comments if you don’t like them or don’t have anything serious to offer. Calling me misinformed is NOT a reasonable “reply.” Please take your childish behavior elsewhere.

          1. If he is “Ken”, then he is intellectually incapable of making reasonable replies. I mean, really structurally incapable. Like a person who is developmentally disabled incapable. I suspect that he lies somewhere on the autism spectrum, but that is just a guess.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

      1. William, “What these professors are arguing about is their desire to dumb down the course work to meet the needs of the stupidest students in the class — which is apparently what THEY think black students are.”
        Yes, that is exactly it. These postmodernists are extreme racists……the soft bigotry of low expectations.

      2. There must be an equation in there somewhere to express the professor’s logic. Something like:
        If B x racist curriculum = C and W x racist curriculum = A, then the obvious solution is to eliminate racism so that B and W x curriculum = A,

        One of the things I’m not clear about is how math can be racist? Math is as color-blind as I can imagine. It expresses things but it in and of itself doesn’t change depending on the perception, color, socio-economic condition, health, etc. of the observer. It doesn’t care if you work 2 jobs, play video games, have an iPhone, beat your wife, do drugs, or study it until 2am. The answers will always be the same. The variables in this equation are B and W. I suspect the professor would argue it’s the curriculum that needs to change relative to the variable B and W. And/or change the grading structure depending on the variables B and W.

        Apparently the one thing not to be done is to work with the B and W variables so that they are equal when entering the equation. Think of teaching math from a process standpoint in a factory. Can you imagine how effective and efficient a factory would be if instead of removing the special cause variation of its input (student), it retooled to accommodate the variation?

        1. It’s clear you don’t understand identity politics. That’s actually a good thing.

          1. 🙂 It’s not that I don’t understand it, I simply reject its assumptions. And that is a good thing.

      3. WB re “That’s a hallmark of democrats — telling minorities they are inferior, but not to worry because the democrat party will protect them.”

        The old firewall tactic – get their votes

  14. When I needed advice on social policy I’d always seek out a math professor. Just like when I need math help, I’d go to the very best history prof on campus.

    1. These aren’t actual math professors. They are in math education. They weren’t smart enough to become actual mathematicians, so they go into education departments, rather than math departments. Math professors train engineers and scientists. Math Ed. profs don’t even train math teachers in teaching, they indoctrinate them in loser ideologies like identity politics. Education departments are generally useless, time-wasting enterprises and should be defunded and abolished.

      1. Jay, a friend of mine who is a former engineer and went back to school to teach high school math would agree with you. Like all teachers she has to get x amount of credits and everytime she deal with the graduate school of education she seethes for weeks at the stupidity of it all.

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