Anti-racist mathematics
Anti-racist mathematics is a branch of education reform
Education reform
Education reform is the process of improving public education. Small improvements in education theoretically have large social returns, in health, wealth and well-being. Historically, reforms have taken different forms because the motivations of reformers have differed.A continuing motivation has...

 theory that sees a need to form a curriculum
Anti-bias curriculum
The anti-bias curriculum is an activist approach which its proponents claim challenges prejudices such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and other -isms. Anti-bias curriculum has a strong relationship to multiculturalism curriculum and its implementation...

 to counter a perceived bias in mathematics. It claims there is a sociocultural context to mathematical education and suggests that the study of mathematics in Western societies has traditionally exhibited racial or cultural bias
Bias is an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of alternatives. Bias can come in many forms.-In judgement and decision making:...


While 'anti-racist mathematics' and 'ethnomathematics
In mathematics education, ethnomathematics is the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture . Often associated with "cultures without written expression" , it may also be defined as "'the mathematics which is practised among identifiable cultural groups'" In mathematics education,...

' scholars share the assumption that any given mathematical understanding or practice is a product of a particular culture, the forms of their scholarship differ considerably, and they should not be confused with one another.


Anti-racist mathematics is primarily concerned with the way in which mathematics is taught, although it also examines the contents of the curriculum in as much as this might reasonably differ from universally acceptable mathematical education. An anti-racist
Anti-racism includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. In general, anti-racism is intended to promote an egalitarian society in which people do not face discrimination on the basis of their race, however defined...

 approach to mathematics education could include any or all of the following:
  • Discussion of the mathematical knowledge of ancient civilizations outside of Europe, and non-European contributions to mathematical knowledge and discovery.
  • The avoidance of racial stereotyping when forming and communicating expectations of pupils' attainments in mathematics.
  • The avoidance of racial stereotypes or cultural bias in classroom materials, textbooks, coursework topics and examination questions. For example, common non-European names, such as Sanjeev (Indian), Kumar
    Kumār OR Kunwar is a title, a given name or a family name native to India.In many Indian languages, Kumar literally means prince or a young/unmarried male....

     (Indian) or C'haim (Jewish), could be used in story problems, rather than common European names, like Mary
    Mary (given name)
    Mary is a feminine given name, the English form of the name Maria, which was in turn a Latin form of the Greek names Μαριαμ, or Mariam, and Μαρια, or Maria, found in the New Testament. Both New Testament names were forms of the Hebrew name מִרְיָם or Miryam.The usual meaning given by various...

     or Emily
    Emily (given name)
    Emily is a feminine name derived from the Roman feminine name Aemilia. The Latin name Aemilia in turn may derive from the Latin word aemulus , meaning "rival", but this may be a folk etymology....

  • Effective and unprejudiced methods of distinguishing between the merits of individuals.

Proponents of anti-racist mathematics believe that anti-racist education programs have the potential to correct imbalances and to have beneficial results on test scores and examination results in some minority groups.


Former UK Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 made reference to anti-racist mathematics in expressing opposition to "multicultural" and "anti-racist" educational approaches. In her address to the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Conference in October 1987, she said how inner city children's opportunities for decent education were being "snatched away from them by hard-left education authorities" and that "children who need to be able to count and multiply are learning anti-racist mathematics, whatever that is." In 2005, Liza Porteus of Fox News reported that an "anti-racist mathematics" program in the Newton Public Schools
Newton Public Schools
Newton Public Schools is a school district in Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.A..- Schools :The Newton Public Schools are organized in an Elementary School K-5, Middle School 6-8, and High School 9-12 arrangement with a projected enrollment of 11,237 students for FY06.- Primary schools :*Angier...

 district of the wealthy Newton, Massachusetts
Newton, Massachusetts
Newton is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States bordered to the east by Boston. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Newton was 85,146, making it the eleventh largest city in the state.-Villages:...

 community angered some parents, who perceived the program to focus more on political correctness
Political correctness
Political correctness is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts,...

than mathematics itself.

External links

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