Professor claims 'meritocracy' in math class is a 'tool of whiteness': report

A math professor at Brooklyn College wrote an academic paper contending that meritocracy in math class holds back racial minorities and is a tool of “whiteness,” Campus Reform reported on Monday.

Professor Laurie Rubel, a former high school teacher, wrote the article in the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education. She reportedly contends that meritocracy is oftentimes associated with hard work, but it ignores “systematic barriers” that prevent the opportunity of success.

Rubel reportedly recommended that math teachers use more social justice issues during lessons. Rubel, however, warned that teaching “social justice” can also be a tool of whiteness if teachers are ignorant to the experiences of their minority students.

Campus Reform linked out to a PDF file of the article where Rubel cites another scholarly article to make the case that, “Teachers often view participation of marginalized students as off-task, unproductive, or distracting, even when it reflects students’ membership of and competence in another social context, unbeknownst to the teacher.”

Rubel wrote that math teachers who claim to be color-blind are not doing the minority students any favors.

“By claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that she is dismissing one of the most salient features of the child’s identity and that she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction,” she wrote, citing another education theorist. 

Campus Reform reported that it reached out to Rubel but did not immediately receive comment.