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Racism and Mathematics Education in a Racial Democracy: Views from the Classroom

Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)

Abstract

Research in mathematics education has clearly evidenced the ways wherein race structures school mathematics experiences of children and youths worldwide. Nevertheless, some countries, particularly in Latin America, position themselves as racial democracies or places where exist peaceful racial relationships and as free from racial conflicts and tensions. In this paper I argue that, in such countries, racism is alive and it is a critical factor in understanding student mathematics experiences and performance at school. I draw upon Bonilla-Silva’s notion of racial ideology and its functions to approach racial dynamics within school mathematics. By using ideology critique as a method, I focus on the interchanges between a white-mestizo male teacher and an eight-grader, black female student to interpret and uncover the ideological fabric of discourses and practices within the mathematics classroom aimed to normalize racism. By bringing to light racial discrimination within school mathematics in racial democracies, my study contributes to unveil and understand racism within mathematics education from a global perspective, and to challenge the myth of these mistakenly called racial democracies.

Keywords

  • Race
  • Racism
  • Racial ideology
  • Ideology critique
  • Racial democracies

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    A department is a community forming part of the Colombian political organization. It is the equivalent of a State in the U.S.

  2. 2.

    Chocó is the Colombian department with the highest percentage of black population.

  3. 3.

    Fausta is a black soap opera character, very popular at the moment of my observations.

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Acknowledgement

I gratefully acknowledge funding from PIA-CONICYT Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence Project FB003.

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Correspondence to Luz Valoyes-Chávez .

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Valoyes-Chávez, L. (2018). Racism and Mathematics Education in a Racial Democracy: Views from the Classroom. In: Gellert, U., Knipping, C., Straehler-Pohl, H. (eds) Inside the Mathematics Class. Advances in Mathematics Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-79045-9_8

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