By Jessica Logan (The Ohio State University)
As was discussed at length this year, many of the founders of statistics were proponents of the eugenics movement, and many of the analytic methods we still use today were developed expressly to demonstrate the superiority of the white race. Until recently, the approach that most statistics courses took was to ignore this issue. However, doing so reinforces the idea that numbers are free from context; that they represent some “truth”. We can only move past this by acknowledging history and learning from it. I now integrate three practices. First, I have students read and discuss the racist history of quantitative statistical methods. Second, I connect the idea that the student is the interpreter of the data to this history; this takes place for every assignment. Third, we discuss our positionality and the ways the survey questions we ask, or the statistical questions we ask, are based on those positionalities.