Lack of math skills highlights discussion

As part of Grambling State’s Black History Month activities, a spokesman presided over a roundtable discussion held in the Black and Gold Room late last week. The event was opened by guest speaker and endowed professor of mathematics, Dr. Abdulalim Muhammad Shabazz. He addressed the issue of widespread distaste for mathematics. He focused on black students’ lack of basic mathematical skills. Shabazz is a graduate of Cornell University. He majored in mathematics.

The panelists included Dr. Brett Sims, head of the Mathematics Department, Sociology and Pyschology Department head Dr. Charles Humphrey, and a student representative, The Gramblinite voices page editor Imani Jackson.

The discussion was centered around the African American “Quest for Citizenship.”

Though Black students are statistically behind in mathematical skills, no one blamed students.

Shabazz stated that Africans invented math eons ago, but are now the face of poor test scores.

“There is not a will to teach all children,” Shabazz stated. “[It] won’t change without teaching.” Jackson acknowledged the need for Black students to perceive math differently. “Mathematics isn’t solely calculus or algebra. Think about the debt we incur when trying to receive an education.”

Courtney Samuel, a senior from Abbeville, agreed.

“We need to be aware of the education issues that we as Black students face.”

Sims encouraged students to network. “Reach out to conscious people.”

Dorian Harris, a junior from Washington, said she gained a broader view of the subject and that the discussion helped her understand how African American students should inquire about how they can become better students in math.