Racism Is Crippling African-American Advances in Mathematics

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In a column that quickly got him fired from his post at National Review, John Derbyshire offered some parental advice that he gives his own children when teaching them about the African-American community. This advice, he says, "may save their lives." One point he argues is that the "mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.” Much has been written about the falsity of his claims and the racist undertones of his overall argument.

But Derbyshire is correct in writing that there are "no black Fields Medal winners." The Fields Medal is much like the Nobel Prize for mathematics, awarded to the best and brightest in the field. Jonathan Farley is a professor of mathematics and recipient of the Harvard Foundation's Scientist of the Year medal in 2004. He explains why no African-Americans have yet to receive the prestigious Fields Medal.