Quick Takes – Woke Learning: Indigenous Creationism; Critical Race Collective’s 5 Tenets; Not Really Math

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: The woke way of knowing.

     First, a little mood music:

     Science must legally be suborned to creationism… provided that it is the creationism of “noble savages”!

“In the United States, where we work, the repatriation movement took form in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a 1990 federal law that requires that remains and artifacts should be turned over to affiliated present-day American tribes, if there exists a relationship of shared group identity that can reasonably be traced historically or prehistorically between the remains and modern community members. All federally-funded institutions, such as universities and museums (even private ones that accept federal funding) are required to follow NAGPRA. This includes the requirement that they create inventory lists so that American Indian tribes can request repatriation of previously discovered and curated items.

“The most expansive interpretations of NAGPRA’s provisions now serve to place Indigenous oral traditions, which typically include religious stories, on equal footing with traditional forms of scientific evidence such as DNA analysis. And NAGPRA’s review committees often contain traditional Indian religious leaders who assist in repatriation decisions. While it is unfashionable to say so, we do not believe that this application of NAGPRA is correct. Contrary to the popular misunderstanding of NAGPRA, human remains and artifacts are not just repatriated to lineal descendants (such as a great-great grandchild), but are often repatriated to those who are deemed culturally affiliated. This kind of link can be established through orally transmitted creation myths that are analogous to what exists in the book of Genesis—tales of the origin of the universe and of people that are based on a series of miraculous events. (In 2007, the Department of the Interior went further by attempting to extend NAGPRA’s provisions to even those remains whose connections are ‘culturally unidentifiable.’)

“In arguing against the perspective that oral traditions consisting of animistic creation myths should be used to determine repatriation decisions, we had hoped for an intellectually-driven debate over the scope of NAGPRA, and in regard to the treatment of knowledge more generally in our field. Instead, even before our talk aired, repatriation activists, both within the SAA and beyond, attacked it as racist, anti-Indigenous, colonialist, and even white-supremacist.”

     The supporters of Critical Race Theory now feel bold enough to begin to be honest about what they believe and are slowly letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

“[At the University of Tennessee, t]he Critical Race Collective in the school’s Center for the Study of Social Justice of the College of Arts and Sciences, has a website. The website says members of the collective “adhere to the central tenets of Critical Race Theory …” Therefore, in the interest of “dialogue,” which these days is so often said to be elusive in matters of public policy, here are the five tenets of Critical Race Theory as they appear on the Critical Race Collective website.

  1. Centrality of Race and Racism in Society: CRT asserts that racism is a central component of American life.
  1. Challenge to Dominant Ideology: CRT challenges the claims of neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness, and meritocracy in society.
  1. Centrality of Experiential Knowledge: CRT asserts that the experiential knowledge of people of color is appropriate, legitimate, and an integral part to analyzing and understanding racial inequality.
  1. Interdisciplinary Perspective: CRT challenges ahistoricism and the unidisciplinary focuses of most analyses and insists that race and racism be placed in both a contemporary and historical context using interdisciplinary methods.
    Commitment to Social Justice: CRT is a framework that is committed to a social justice agenda to eliminate all forms of subordination of people.”

     It’s almost as if wokeness and “real-world math” doesn’t create equity since students who learn college-prep math will still be “advantaged”.

“Math teachers are asking students to analyze social-justice issues to make math relevant and compelling, reports Catherine Gewertz in Education Week. ‘Teachers are drawing on high-profile issues such as policing patterns, the spread of the pandemic, and campaign finance to explore math concepts from place value to proportionality and algebraic functions.’


“Not every math topic is a good fit for social-justice teaching, concluded Andrew Brantlinger, an associate professor of math education at the University of Maryland, after trying it with remedial geometry students in Chicago. In a 2013 paper, Brantlinger concluded that linking math to social issues didn’t help students learn, writes Gewertz.

“He warned of creating a two-tiered system with students of color learning ‘real-world math’ and advantaged students learning college-prep math.”


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