In the name of social justice, many Marxists push a kind of absurd brainwashing that denies basic rationality. This month, a math professor denounced the “MYTH” that math is objective. She said the “math is neutral because 2 + 2 = 4” trope “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” Ironically, associating mathematics and basic knowledge with white men actually undermines Marxists’ ostensible goal of empowering women and people of color.
Laurie Rubel, a mathematics education professor at New York’s Brooklyn College, tweeted, “the idea that math (or data) is culturally neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH.”
Rubel added, “along with the ‘of course math is neutral because 2 + 2 = 4’ trope are the related (and creepy) ‘math is pure’ and ‘protect math.'” She claimed this kind of statement “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.”
“i’d [sic] rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals),” the professor added.
Rubel later deleted these tweets, but Campus Reform preserved them and reported on the professors who supported her assertions.
Rubel did keep up another message: “um, y’all must know that the idea that math is objective or neutral IS A MYTH.”
Spencer Bagley, a math professor at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, retweeted this statement.
Rochelle Gutierrez, who teaches “Sociopolitical Perspectives on Mathematics and Science Education” at the University of Illinois, agreed with the claim that referring to the Pythagorean Theorem with that term involves “colonization and erasure.”
“By now it is well known, for example, that other cultures were using the theorem we call Pythagorean, yet we still refer to it with this name. This is colonization and erasure,” a former educator tweeted. Gutierrez emphatically agreed. “YES! This attends to the Cultures/Histories dimension of RM (addressing Western/Eurocentric maths). And, we also want to attend to the Living Practice dimension (which is more about imagining a version that builds upon ancestral knowings, but does not yet exist).”
These professors echoed a similar statement from Rutgers Ph.D. candidate Brittany L. Marshall. “Nope the idea of 2+2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing,” Marshall wrote.
Marshall’s tweet traced back to a discussion launched by Nikole Hannah-Jones, founder of The New York Times‘s “1619 Project.” The project claims that America’s true founding came in 1619 with the arrival of the first slaves, rather than in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. According to this theory, every aspect of American society must be examined and uprooted in the interest of “racial justice.”
This mentality encourages a terrifying Marxist brainwashing that denies basic rationality. Portland activist Lilith Sinclair said, “there’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities. That’s in regards to Christianity, and in regards to all of these different types of oppressive systems that have introduced and enforced the gender binary.” Sinclair, who identifies as “non-binary,” spoke about “unlearning the harm through colonization that I’ve beeen introduced to.”
These ideas are not exactly new. In 2016, a young woman at the University of Cape Town in South Africa rejected Western science in favor of African “black magic.” That same year, a supposedly “feminist” study claimed that objective truth and the scientific method are “sexist.”
Even the Smithsonian briefly taught that various aspects of society — such as capitalism, science, the nuclear family, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and even expectations of politeness — are examples of white oppression that must be deconstructed.
These ideas have seemingly inspired the violent riots in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and elsewhere.
When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” the project’s founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots and the defamation of American Founding Fathers like George Washington.
In a November 9, 1995 op-ed, the 1619 Project founder condemned Christopher Columbus as “no different” from Adolf Hitler and demonized the “white race” as the true “savages” and “bloodsuckers.” She went on to describe “white America’s dream” as “colored America’s nightmare.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) expressed a similar sentiment when she called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Yet the “1619 riots” have arguably oppressed black people far more than the U.S. supposedly does. The riots have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
The noxious Marxist deconstruction also damages the people it intends to help in another way. People today enjoy an astounding standard of living unparalleled in the history of the world. The concepts of mathematics and objective truth have enabled a flourishing of science and technology that make modern prosperity possible.
Math and science can be beautiful and they represent astonishing achievements of the human mind, but they also just work. They make life concretely better and when women and racial minorities reject them in the pursuit of woke social justice brainwashing, they only hamper their own prospects for success.
If professors truly want women and racial minorities to succeed, they should teach math, science, and objective truth as they are, not undermine these important disciplines by claiming they are based on “white supremacist patriarchy.”
Rejecting the truth of 2 + 2 = 4 isn’t “woke.” It’s the stuff of totalitarian nightmares.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.