What Does "Decolonize Math" Mean?
"Decolonize Explained" w/Dr. Bruce Gilley
What Does "Decolonize Math" Mean? Again, we're going to come back to where this word came from originally: this was part of the European tradition. This was part of the Western liberal tradition. To "decolonize" meant to reach the final stage of being a self-governing, free and democratic people in whatever sphere of activity you're engaged in. "Decolonize" later became the opposite: a rejection of the Western tradition, a rejection of Western liberal assumptions. In the case of science, those Western liberal assumptions had to do with the need for a shared universal justification, the use of the scientific method, meritocracy, best practice, a colorblind approach to knowledge claims that judge those knowledge claims only on their inherent value, not on who was making them.
"Decolonize" now means: We're going to get rid of all that. We're going to make decisions on things like math, education, or the judicial system not based on those shared assumptions, those shared arguments; instead, we're going to look at the color of your skin and we're going to look at your cultural background. And each person is going to be held to a different standard, a different set of norms. Those old norms we used to hold to, those universal shared values, that's now going to be called European or Eurocentric. We're going to decolonize that and throw certain people to the wiles or the arbitrary rule of certain decolonial alternatives, which may be traditional approaches from indigenous traditions, people who are bringing in certain claims about black American traditions...basically, we're throwing people out of liberal society in the name of "decolonization."