Earlier this week, Laurie Rubel, a math professor at Brooklyn College, published an essay in “the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education” titled “Equity-Directed Instructional Practices: Beyond the Dominant Perspective.” In the essay, she essentially argued, quite absurdly, that rewarding hard work is unfair.
This is because, according to her, doing so doesn’t take into account the fact that some people supposedly have “systemic barriers and institutional structures that prevent opportunity and success.” She believes that the solution is to teach social justice and adopt practices that further equity.
Before getting into detail about the solution, however, she first spoke about why meritocracies are inherently problematic. “Whiteness tacitly positions White people, their experiences, and their behaviors as superior, and it is supported by a set of corollary principles that function as ‘tools of whiteness,’” explained Rubel. “For instance, the ideological principle of…meritocracy is understood by many to be a central feature of American society, dictating that a combination of hard work and talent…yields success,” she continued in an attempt to clarify.
“Equivalently, the principle of meritocracy also dictates that lack of success is a result of a lack of effort or ability,” added Rubel, noting, “this principle functions as a tool of whiteness in how it ignores ‘systemic barriers and institutional structures that prevent opportunity and success’ as well as institutional structures that facilitate opportunities and the distribution of rewards not according to merit but instead according to race and social background.”
After criticizing meritocracies, Rubel then argued about a possible solution. According to her, the answer is to teach students from marginalized groups about social justice and provide them with “access to challenging mathematics” that incorporate what she calls “critical equity-directed practices.” These practices focus more on producing outcomes that are equal rather than outcomes that are based on merit.
Later in her ludicrous essay, Rubel also attacked the notion of “color-blindness,” writing, “teachers who claim color-blindness — that is, they claim to not notice the race of their students — are, in effect, refusing to acknowledge the impact of enduring racial stratification on students and their families. By claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that…she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction.”
Rubel’s reasoning in her essay, however, is utterly ridiculous. Being color-blind just means treating all students, regardless of their race, the same. In addition to being clearly preposterous, Rubel’s claim is also blatantly racist. This is because, by calling on teachers to account for what race their students are, she’s essentially suggesting that a person’s skin color affects the way they learn.
Sadly, Rubel isn’t the only liberal professors to recently have an absolutely absurd essay published. A similarly ridiculous essay was featured in a new anthology published by Routledge several weeks ago.
Specifically, back in December, Routledge released a new anthology, titled “Just Green Enough,” featuring contributions from a number of different professors about the harms of “environmental gentrification.” In one of the chapters of the book, two geography professors at San Diego State University (SDSU), Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco, viciously attacked farmers’ markets for being “exclusionary” places that contribute to the gentrification of a community.
To clarify, they argue, absurdly, that they’re exclusionary because some locals may not be able to afford the food. They also shockingly claim that they’re exclusionary because some people may feel excluded from them due to the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” and the “white habitus [that they can reinforce].”
And a few months prior, Stefan Bradley, a professor of African American studies and Chairman of Loyola Marymount’s African American studies department, also published an utterly ridiculous essay in support of “destructive demonstrations.” According to him, they’re useful because they help get national attention.
Stefan Bradley, a professor of African American studies and Chairman of Loyola Marymount’s African American studies department.