### Practicing Anti-Racism: Objectivity

At the Joint Math Meetings (JMM) this year, the MAA-SIAM-AMS Hrabowski-Gates-Tapia-McBay Session Lecture was a moving talk by Dr. Erica Graham at Bryn Mawr College titled "Anti-racism in mathematics: Who, what, when, where, why, and how?".

I feel like it's going to take me until the next JMM to actually process everything in that talk. There were so many important things shared, and it was a great call-to-action.

One of the slides that stuck with me right away was a list of characteristics of white supremacist culture from Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun (2001). I feel like this list is something I've been searching for in my work towards antiracism. It gives me a straight line from aspects of our culture that don't say the word "race" but do perpetuate racism.

So, I've decided to take this resource and weave it into my practice as a mathematician - and as a person in the world, for that matter. Each semester, I'm going to choose one of these characteristics and focus all semester on dismantling it. This semester, I'm focusing on **objectivity**.

Although this isn't exactly the description that Jones and Okun give, I'm going to work on dismantling the notion that mathematics is objective, separate from and unaffected by societal differences and injustices.

Okay, if I'm totally honest, I'm really just starting with a baby step: the idea that talking about social justice issues has a place in the math classroom, and mathematics students can both contribute to and benefit from these discussions. I am already thinking I'm going to want to revisit this characteristic again in a future semester when I have a better sense of how to address the idea a bit deeper.

The first way I'm going to incorporate this work into my teaching is by addressing it head-on during the first day of class. I'm going to share the four parts of my teaching philosophy with them, and the last gives me the opportunity to open up a discussion about objectivity. I don't plan on lingering on this for long, but I do have the statement "I denounce white supremacy" on that slide. I honestly have no idea how students will react to this. We will see, and I will report back.

The second way I am bringing this into my teaching is by following in the footsteps of so many other mathematicians: incorporating math for social justice activities into my run-of-the-mill math courses. Well, course.

I'll be teaching two sections of College Algebra, including one that has a co-requisite component for students that need or want extra support along the way. Flipping the class is giving me more time in class to really explore ideas (I'm going to be doing a series of posts on flipping a class soon, so watch out for those). So, I've found 5 class days that I can devote to these extra activities:

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