A Fatiguing Occurrence
Have you noticed how many individuals are labeled “racists” in our current society? This trend is frankly disturbing to me on many levels. Before I turn my attention to addressing the new hobby of many folks in telling others they are “racist” let me first give a clarification. I do believe real racism exists, in other words, there are people who act in a discriminatory way towards others strictly because of their skin color or ethnicity. I would contend these people are a minority in American society (as in most people aren’t white supremacists such as the KKK), but racists certainly are out there and do exist. Racism is a gross sin and it needs to be repented of before God. That being said, our society these days has gone off the deep-end in calling specific things and certain people “racist.” I want to examine that trend by looking at a concrete example and then show the reason why this trend is increasing and very concerning.
Racist, White-Supremacy Mathematics
The Oregon Department of Education recently released a new mathematics project to help remove “white supremacy” from math training.1 The document defended by the O.D.E. for this new project claims, “White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions.”2 But, we have to ask ourselves, what is this document referencing when it discusses white supremacy culture infiltrating the classroom?
First of all, when “The focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer” that is part of the practice of white supremacy.3 Other examples of white supremacy include encouraging students to exercise independent practice, having state standards to guide learning, urging students to show their work, and addressing mistakes.4 If you engage in any of these practices, then you are apparently promoting “white supremacy culture” and are engaging in racist activity. Not only that, but here is another statement in this document, “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”5 That is a document defended by governmental officials saying that you support white supremacy if you believe in objective mathematics. If you assert 2+2=4, then you are a racist supporting white supremacy. This example perfectly illustrates what I am talking about here when we discuss the term “racist” being thrown around like crazy. All of the sudden, a crazy definition of “white supremacy” is infiltrating our math classrooms!
Where Does This Come From?
Now, I assert this idea regarding white supremacist math is logically and historically an absurdity. I want to spend a second asking the question where does this thinking about white supremacists get its roots? What worldview ideas drive this particular belief? I find that a lot of Christians and conservatives are taken aback and confused by this line of thought. So, I want to dig in here and hopefully provide some assistance in helping you know where this idea comes from so you can then refute falsehood and proclaim the truth. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the worldview driving this notion of white supremacist math. What is CRT? Here is a definition from the UCLA School of Public Affairs which has been a leader in promoting CRT:
“CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. CRT also rejects the traditions of liberalism and meritocracy. Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal “truth” by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege. CRT also recognizes that liberalism and meritocracy are often stories heard from those with wealth, power, and privilege. These stories paint a false picture of meritocracy; everyone who works hard can attain wealth, power, and privilege while ignoring the systemic inequalities that institutional racism provides.”6
Basically, CRT teaches that racism is engrained into the very fabric of American society and that it does not matter whether or not the individual racist exists, the system of America is inherently racist. What does this mean in plain English? It means that even if there was not a single individual in America who discriminated towards others on the basis of race, America would still be “racist” under the viewpoint of CRT. It means that if you were born with “white” skin you can never not be a racist. Needless to say, if you believe in American values such as freedom for all, liberty for all, and justice for all, then you are a white supremacist promoting the racist system of America.
Breaking This All Down
Here is the million-dollar question, how does CRT relate to math being considered racist? Keep in mind CRT teaches the very fabric of America is racist. Also, anything in the liberal order (liberal as in classical liberalism not as in leftism) is considered racist. Here is a quote to prove my point and help tie this all together:
“Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.”7
Basically, CRT attacks anything which has to do with rational thought, or classical liberalism which teaches freedom for all (like the U.S. constitution). This fact is why math is considered to be racist. If you teach math as objectively true then you are supporting white supremacy because you are holding to values like logic, truth, and rational thought. In other words, you are a racist because you are thinking rationally!
The Destruction of Throwing Around Labels
Now, I hope this post has succeeded in helping you see why the term “racist” is being thrown around so much. It is because those holding to this view of “racism” foundationally want to destroy freedom, liberty, justice, logic, and any sort of rational thought. Their worldview is what is driving them to label pretty much everything and everyone “racist.” Let me be clear, I believe this practice is incredibly dangerous for a few reasons. First of all, it undermines biblical truth. Objective, absolute truth is real and we see that all over the Bible. Jesus Christ says He is “the truth (John 14:6). There is truth and there is falsehood, because I make that statement I am considered a racist by true CRT proponents. Their worldview is an attempt to undermine the truth of God and must be called out as such. We must boldly and lovingly confront those who hold this view and share biblical truth and the Gospel with them. Make no mistake, this is an outright attack on the truth of Scripture. This worldview is antithetical to biblical Christianity.
Secondly, throwing the term “racist” around everywhere cheapens real racism. Being discriminatory against someone because of their skin color is a sin, teaching objective math is not a sin. By blurring these two, CRT proponents are promoting an environment where no one knows what “racism” actually is and what it is not. This is dangerous because real racism actually does exist and needs to be called out. Labeling everything as racist means nothing is really racist because if everything is racist then even calling something racist is in itself racist! This type of confusing environment cheapens true discriminatory action and CRT is promoting a racist environment. CRT makes skin color matter and promotes real racism. As someone who stands against CRT, I don’t care if you are white, black, or whatever else, you are a human being made in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. CRT does not recognize this fact.
Finally, labeling everything and everyone as racist negates the ability to engage in a vigorous debate over real issues and have conversations focused on finding the truth. CRT proponents often label those who disagree with them as being racist and the attempt to prove you are not racist is considered in itself to be racist. Thus, this theory promotes an environment of hostility where no one engages in actual debate. Contrastingly, classical liberalism promotes debate so that people can expose weaknesses in false viewpoints and have a greater knowledge of the truth. CRT is thus contrary to Christianity, creates a hostile environment for real racism, and discourages any sort of logical conversation. It is the reason for the term “racist” being thrown around carelessly and I urge you to consider these things next time you encounter someone who labels everything as “racist.” Understand the foundations of their worldview and expose those falsehoods with the truth of biblical Christianity!
As a closing side note, I don’t believe skin color has any bearing on the objectivity of math. Two tires on the front of a car and two tires on the back of a car equals four tires on the car! It does not matter if the owner of the car is Asian, Black, White, Mexican, or whatever else. There are four tires on the car, that is objectively true at all times and at all places. CRT drives the viewpoint of skin color changing math, that is racism by definition. As someone standing against this pagan viewpoint, I assert there are 4 tires on the car regardless of the skin color of the owner. This is reality, CRT does not recognize reality and must not be accepted as a viable worldview. It stands opposed to biblical Christianity and we must point out this fact for the glory of God and the good of our fellow man.
1 Here is a report about this release: https://www.foxnews.com/us/oregon-education-math-white-supremacy
2 Here is the project document itself (see page 6 of document for this quote): https://equitablemath.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/11/1_STRIDE1.pdf
3 See page 6 of the document listed in source 2 for a list of practices deemed as the fruit of “white supremacy culture.”
4 No joke, as crazy as it sounds I promise I am not making this stuff up. If you look at the document this is all on page 6.
5 see page 65.