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Meritocracy is a ‘Tool of Whiteness,’ Claims Math Professor

PHOTO: Boston College

By Toni Airaksinen | 8 January 2018

  • A math education professor at Brooklyn College contends in a recent academic article that “meritocracy” in math classes is a “tool of whiteness.”
  • Laurie Rubel says that even “teaching for social justice” can be a “tool of whiteness” if teachers still believe in “the myths of meritocracy and colorblindness.”

CAMPUS REFORM — A math education professor at Brooklyn College contends in a recent academic article that “meritocracy” in math classes is a “tool of whiteness.”

Laurie Rubel implicates both meritocracy and “color-blindness” as ideological precepts that hold back racial minorities from succeeding in math classes in an article for the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Mathematics Education.

Rubel, who taught high school math for nine years before becoming a professor, argues that while meritocracy is commonly linked to hard work and talent, it also “functions as a tool of whiteness” because it “ignores systemic barriers and institutional structures that prevent opportunity and success.” […]

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