In past math classes, I found that there was little to no discrimination when it came to pure mathematical questions. When discussing word problems and using the textbook other cultures and ethnicities were represented. The textbook used incorporated pictures of students with different cultures and backgrounds. For example, Chinese new year, Hanukkah, and Indigenous peoples’ day were holidays represented in math problems to represent and respect the diversity amongst students in the classroom. Although other cultures/races were present in the textbook, it only covered their names and pictures. Eventhough the text book would incoporate these pictures and names, it is arguable that the questions asked were usually directed towards white students.
Poirier’s article discusses how the Inuit people see mathematics as a tool we use daily. This contrasts the “when will I ever use this?” question that students repeatedly asked throughout different math courses. The Inuits view math through a practical lense. Inuit children are taught math concepts through stories, which is a contrast to sheer memorization of formulas. Students taught mathematics from an Inuit perspective also have much higher spatial awareness than Eurocentrically taught students.
I have come to learn that Inuit math is much different from the Eurocentric math that I was taught from K-12. Indigenous languages are most often verb-based so when explaining math related terms they just describe what they see. This is another contrast to math taught in English because we have a whole other language in math to learn before we can practice problems. Therefore, Inuit mathematics challenge the complex language English speakers use to discuss math ideas and concepts. Another difference I noticed is that Inuit math focuses on communication and awareness in the environment, which is not the main focus in Eurocentric math. Eurocentric math more about equations and the ability to do them on a piece of paper. While Inuit math is based on the applicability to daily life.