There used to be a joke about feminist math: it would have no subtraction or division, because women are uniters, not dividers, and they strive to be inclusive. Ha-ha, right? Then you won't want to read this from the W. Times Culture, etc. page today.

Now mathematics is being nudged into a specifically political direction by educators who call themselves 'critical theorists.' They advocate using mathematics as a tool to advance social justice. Social justice math relies on political and cultural relevance to guide math instruction. One of its precepts is 'ethnomathematics,' that is, the belief that different cultures have evolved different ways of using mathematics, and that students will learn best if taught in the ways that relate to their ancestral culture. ... The culturally attuned teacher will learn about the counting system of the ancient Mayans, ancient Africans, Papua New Guineans and other 'nonmainstream' cultures."

--Diane Ravitch, writing on "Ethnomathematics," June 20 in the Wall Street Journal

For example: Aztec Math: If the sun god requires 5000 human hearts per day to ensure a fertile growing season, how many Mayan captives must you take each month to guarantee a good harvest? (Don't forget to use the Mayan calendar).