How "decolonisation" is unpicking rationality
The Maoist "Long March" has captured not just western education but the corporate world too
Britain’s Quality Assurance Agency, which describes itself as “the independent body entrusted with monitoring and advising on standards and quality in UK higher education,” has told universities to decolonise their courses in mathematics, computing and other subjects.
The QAA says computing courses should address how “hierarchies of colonial value” are “reinforced” in the field. In geography, it thinks courses should acknowledge “racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and patriarchy”. Biomedical sciences students should “critically engage” with how the field has “contributed to and benefited from social injustice” and how influential scientists might have “benefited from and perpetuated misogyny, racism, homophobia, ableism and other prejudices”. Mathematics courses should present “a multicultural and decolonised view of mathematics, statistics and operational research, informed by the student voice”.
So how do you decolonise mathematics?
Students should be made aware of problematic issues in the development of the [maths] content they are being taught, for example some pioneers of statistics supported eugenics, or some mathematicians had connections to the slave trade, racism or Nazism.
This is about as asinine as saying there are problematic issues in the development of cookery since some cooks in previous era supported eugenics or had connections to the slave trade, racism or Nazism. And what about all the mathematicians who didn’t support eugenics, the slave trade, racism or Nazism?
All this really doesn’t bear examination: it’s lunacy wrapped up in gibberish. All you need to know is that anything taught by the western education system apparently reflects white colonialism, racism and slavery, even when it clearly doesn’t. Since the history of mathematics can be traced from China, India, Persia and the Islamic world, how can mathematics be “decolonised”?
The academic theory of decoloniality states that as well as colonising the world physically, Europeans have dominated the world by promoting the “European paradigm of rational knowledge”.
So to the decolonisers, reason itself is a colonialist construct — and must be unpicked. That indeed is precisely what we are living through.
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