Illinois Professor Rochelle Gutierrez, Fixing ‘Bloody Chicago’ by Targeting Racist Mathematics

“Dr. Gutierrez’ scholarship focuses on equity issues in mathematics education, paying particular attention to how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning. Through in-depth analyses of effective teaching/learning communities and longitudinal studies of developing and practicing teachers, her work challenges deficit views of students who are Latin@/x, Black, and/or American Indian and suggests that mathematics teachers need to be prepared with much more than just content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, or knowledge of diverse students if they are going to be successful. Her current research projects focus upon: developing in pre-service teachers the knowledge and disposition to teach powerful mathematics to urban students; the roles of uncertainty, tensions, and “Nepantla” in teaching; and the political knowledge (and forms of creative insubordination) that mathematics teachers need to effectively teach in an era of high-stakes education.” – Professor Gutierrez Biography

by Toni Airaksinen,, Oct 23, 2017

A math education professor at the University of Illinois argued in a newly published book that algebraic and geometry skills perpetuate “unearned privilege” among whites.

Rochelle Gutierrez, a professor at the University of Illinois, made the claim in a new anthology for math teachers, arguing that teachers must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” Gutierrez argued.

Gutierrez also worries that algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege, fretting that “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

Math also helps actively perpetuate white privilege too, since the way our economy places a premium on math skills gives math a form of “unearned privilege” for math professors, who are disproportionately white.

“Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?” she asks, further wondering why math professors get more research grants than “social studies or English” professors.


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