Repost: Larry Summers, Math, and Violence
In light of the fact that Cal State is still committed to firing its nonviolent math teachers (the state attorney general has weighed in, supporting the dismissal, and Kearney-Brown is planning to pursue legal action), I thought I’d dredge up an old quip on the relationship between mathematical talents and a propensity towards violence.
In his talk, according to several participants, Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting. Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them “daddy truck,” and one “baby truck.”
What I’m curious about is the unspoken assumption that if girls can be demonstrated to be more nurturing than boys, then they obviously can’t be expected to be as good at math. Because the ability to do math can only be developed by skewering bunnies and kittens on your pencil, and then dancing in a shower of cute-baby-animal blood while reciting your multiplication tables.