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  • Jerome Kocher

#18. 2+2=5

When I went to school decades ago and even when I taught high school just months ago I had the impression that math was the closest thing to universal objective reality. Unlike the soft social sciences where one could argue what really happened or interpret the meaning of an occurrence, in math it was black or white. It was either right or wrong. No bones about it. A refreshing shower of clarity in a world of relativity. But not anymore.

To begin with, I am talking about all of us who are not Einstein. We, who are not capable of deriving a Theory of Relativity, but instead, when we order a quantity of three products on we expect to receive three, not two. We want to get what we paid for. It’s only fair. But now, even math is under attack in a world that “cancels” the past. The very objectivity of math is considered racist.

For example, the Oregon Department of Education asks its middle school teachers to take a class called the “Pathway to Math Equity Micro Course” giving them the resources to abolish “white supremacy culture” in math class. It teaches them to become anti racist and to analyze how math “is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.” The class explains how asking a child to find the right answer and show their work demonstrates an attitude of white supremacy. Really?

The “Equitable Math” workbook teaches that “the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so” and “the belief that there is such a thing as being objective or neutral” is a characteristic of White Supremacy.

In Cupertino, California, a third grade math teacher forced eight-year olds to deconstruct their social identities and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” The students were told to create an “identity map” and list their race, class, gender, religion and family structure. The teacher emphasized that the students live in a “dominant culture” of white, middle class, cisgender, Christian, English speakers who have created and maintained this culture in order to “hold power and stay in power.” Then each student had to write a full page explanation of how they were part of this racist power struggle dripping with unjust privilege.

This might be fine for a sociology class which you’ve chosen to participate in. But third grade? Math class? And to add to the hypocrisy, 94% of the children in this class were nonwhite, the majority being Asian-Americans. But apparently they are racist and white supremacists as well. Who would have thought that?

But we should not be surprised. The intersection of Critical Race Theory with postmodern Academia considers logic, reasoning, objectivity, even punctuality, as racist.


It’s February, 2021, and yesterday NASA just landed its Perseverance Rover on Mars. At the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena the confirmation of success was made to roaring applause. “Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life.” And sitting at the control panel, it was Swati Mohan, an American Indian woman with a bindi on her forehead, who made the announcement. She is one of the many faces of the Perseverance team who has worked for years to celebrate this achievement. And this success is also the face of America.

I wonder if our engineers and physicists could have taken us to the moon or explore Mars if they had to learn Math Equity. I doubt that the new math social justice warriors would get there or worse yet, even get us back. But they are more concerned with things of this earth like a cleaner environment and development of renewable energy resources that need a technology, dare I say, based on the foundation of the hard sciences like math. Good Luck.

Getting rid of grades, right answers and not showing your work does not lead to success. This is not who we are. Try getting a job where you don’t show your work. Instead, we need perseverance to find ‘signs of life’ in our schools that foster creativity, excellence and objectivity.

The alternative does not add up!

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