Archive for September, 2018

Oxford must fall

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

The long-awaited book Rhodes must Fall, by the Rhodes Must Fall Group at Oxford has been published by Zed books, and is distributed by the University of Chicago press.
Cover image Rhodes Must Fall

It carries my censored article “To decolonise math stand up to its false history and bad philosophy” together with a supportive essay by Kevin Minors a black Bermudan doctoral student.

Recall that my article was censored by the South Africa editor of the Conversation on the false ground that it did not meet their editorial standards (though I intensively interacted with an editor for a week before publication).  Basically, the editor succumbed to the furious response of the whites, to my article. The Conversation had earlier published the foolish (and obnoxious) claim that mathematics is essentially the work of dead white males, so blacks and women should be taught to think like them. In response, I pointed out that black Egyptians knew fractions 3000 years before Greeks, Romans, or Europeans learnt about elementary fractions.

The Conversation did not mind publishing that obnoxious falsehood, but the editor had no place for any truth that was anti-West. So, she objected to my referring to my own published work. Why? What on earth is wrong with that? Why should one not refer to one’s own published work? Obviously the unstated but racist ground was her belief that what a brown man says is not reliable, therefore, she will not permit him to say anything original, even if it has been peer reviewed and published earlier. He is allowed only to repeat and quote what some white man says. (This is also the Wikipedia policy: a white man, or an article approved by white men, is the only reliable source.)

Though my censored article was initially widely reproduced, sadly it was taken down by most publications around the globe. Only one Indian newspaper, the Wire, recognized the problem of racist censorship and put it back. Another international publication retained it under the title “Was Euclid a black woman?”. This is described in my article on Mathematics and Censorship, and the censored article was published in full as part of an article in a peer-reviewed journal: Journal of Black Studies. Clearly the editor of the Conversation was using utter lies to defend racist decisions.

The important thing to emphasize now is that #OxfordMustFall.

Thus, consider what happened in the panel discussion at the University of Cape Town a year ago.

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