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Math Teachers: The Key to Ending Racism Max Ray December 6, 2014

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Part 1 Challenging Math Stereotypes

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Math Stereotypes Invented by Europeans Assume a spherical cow… A sign of intelligence

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Math Truths Invented and used in every culture Everyone already does math What counts as “good math” depends on context Not a marker of “intelligence” Something you can get better at

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Math Matters Algebra I is the gatekeeper Believing you are “bad at math” makes it harder to score well Believing others are “bad at math” makes it harder for you to trust their intelligence

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Changing the Equation Position students of color to be leaders whose ideas move the group forward –Seek out students of all races to interact online with your students Explicitly teach social skills for math

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Changing the Equation Learn to be “math-ropologists” –http://www.showmeyourmath.ca/

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Part 2 Using Math to Challenge Stereotypes

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“Cultural racism … is like smog. Sometimes it is so thick it is visible, other times it is less apparent, but always, day in and day out, we are breathing it in. None of us would introduce ourselves as ‘smog-breathers’ (and most of us don’t want to be described as prejudiced), but if we live in a smoggy place, how can we avoid breathing the air? ” Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race

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UnderstandingPrejudice.org

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Math Teachers Know What To Do! 3 * 7 = * 400 = people + 2 more people = 9 people

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Math Teachers Know What To Do! 3 * 7 = * 400 = people + 2 more people = 9 people Slow down, check your work, understand the concepts, practice!

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Key Math Concepts Proportional reasoning Statistical literacy

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“Police are 21 times more likely to shoot black teens than white teens, according to FBI data. ProPublica reported: ‘One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica's analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring — 185, more than one per week.’” --http://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/ /tamir-rice-police- shooting

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Key Sociology Concept When we measure “race” we are almost always measuring the effects of racism

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Key Sociology Concept Example: –some “racial” groups are more likely to score lower on the SATs –effect of racism: stereotype threat

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Train Students to Ask… Does this anecdote represent the actual data? Is this outcome disproportionate? Could this outcome be due to the effects of racism?

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