Math is supposed to be about numbers. Race, one would think, has nothing to do with math. It has very little to do with people, after all.
Well, a middle school teacher at Cranford Burns Middle School in Mobile, Alabama, challenged that assumption. NBC News reported that language arts teacher JoAnne Bolser gave students the most blatantly racist math test you'll ever see. She was later suspended from her job as a result. Here's the test:
FOX10 News reported that a similar version of this test has circulated for decades. And Snopes noted that several teachers have gotten into trouble for using the test for years. So the Burns Middle School teacher isn't the first person to risk her job with this exam.
The parent of a student told Us Weekly that the teacher was apparently serious about the test. "[My son's] reaction and the class's reaction was the same. They all thought it was a joke," she said. "And when they asked the teacher if it was a joke, she told them that, no, it wasn't a joke and they had to complete it, so they completed it."
It's possible that the teacher really meant no harm by the test, and perhaps she is just truly tone-deaf. But at any rate, the test is a reminder that racism, subconscious or not, is still very much a part of the US — even showing up in middle school classrooms.