Not Doing Math When You Should Be
I love math memes. Here is one that I recently saw:
I was amused by this meme because I knew that the result of the US Election was decided without the Nevada count: The President-Elect is Joe Biden, the Vice President-Elect is Kamala Harris, and the people of the United States voted out a failed fascist and overt racist. COVID can be stopped with masks and distancing, yet the sitting president* encourages mask-less gatherings (some of which become super-spreader events). The People of the United States deserve to vote, and voting by mail during a pandemic should not be a concern due to interference in the United States Postal Service. Families in the United States, irrespective of their citizenship status, deserve to remain together; we should not be caging children or losing track of the kids and parents separated from one another. As hard as it may have been to Cast your vote, it should have been easy to Decide your vote.
But. Over 71 million people voted for the pro-COVID, anti-USPS, cager/separator of children. donald trump has always been a loser. He aimed to enrich himself by running for president in 2016 without the goal of actually winning; it has been to the detriment of the United States, and the world, that he Lost at Losing and emerged electorally victorious. In 2020 he ran for re-election, but this time he wanted to win; as we now know, he lost like the loser he will always be. We cannot, as a nation, simply cast off those who voted for him despite these four years of intentional harm directed primarily at marginalized peoples. 71 million is simply too large a number. We also cannot “meet them halfway” on questions of fascism versus anti-fascism, or racism versus anti-racism. I don’t have game-changing advice on these voters right now. Not yet. Sorry.
What does “not doing math when you should be” mean? I have been doing math, incidentally, but it hasn’t been strictly school math.
There are a lot of current joyful happenings in the world of mathematics:
- I hope that you are following BlackInMath during this #BlackInMath week
- I was excited to see my former classmate-then-coworker Dr. Brandie Waid publish an NCTM MTLT article called “Supporting LGBTQ+ Students in K-12 Mathematics”
- There is great work happening on mathematical gerrymandering that goes way beyond the “ChartThrob” casting of some white dudes on CNN and MSNBC whose math amounted (mostly) to arithmetic:
In the tweet above, I mention that the most impressive mathematical feat of this election, from my perspective, has been the voter organization of Stacey Abrams and others. With two competitive Senate races coming up in Georgia this January, I urge you to engage with the math that you should be doing.
To that end (who are the “others” besides Abrams, you may be wondering), here is a spreadsheet entitled “Georgia BIPOC-led voter outreach organizations (created by They See Blue Georgia)” via Cathery Yeh:
I want to go back to “doing math.” I want to dedicate more of my brain space to teaching and learning and shifting school mathematics (including a longstanding battle against Calculus, as Nas discusses below). I want to do types of math that go beyond Nevada’s slow counting—no disrespect to counting. And: Now that we have lodged a major victory in the presidential race, we need to do the math on how to keep pushing the United States forward. That starts with the Blue State of Georgia, and continues with, for example, understanding that so many of today’s 16/17 year olds can vote responsibly in the 2022 midterms.
We must engage in the types of math that ensure we live the words of John Lewis, as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris quoted in her acceptance speech, when both reminded us that “democracy is not a state—it is an act.”
What is the math that you should be doing?
Benjamin Dickman [@benjamindickman]