Finding ways in which one can leverage their background to really have a meaningful impact on the communities that they serve—started by introducing the essay by what scholar activism is and what does a scholar-activist does for their research. Following then started writing a body paragraph of the volunteer sessions I have done with the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadet. Then the positionality that connects to scholar activism by giving an example of an activist W.E.B. Du Bois and the black economic issues regarding of ‘color line.’ Then a paragraph of how scholar activism connects to the class lectures, which were the learning perspective in environment and behaviorism. Lastly, a conclusion on what I have learned from this Scholar Activism assignment.
Scholar activism is when an individual begins a set of testable assumptions, subjects these to in-depth research. Once the study is in control of research findings, it seeks to convert those results into action. As an activist, an individual has face four tasks by elaborating on the moral foundations of activism, diagnose the critique of the world as it is with guidance from those ethical concerns, provide a theory of alternatives, and lastly provide an approach of transformation.
The community service I did was volunteering and helping out the Corps of Cadet with both physical, academic, and safety. I spared my time to the freshman cadets every 0500 in the morning and weekends, to help them become a better cadet in many ways. In general, being in the corps of cadets made me help out a lot of minority freshman trainees who are trying to go in the military field and how to become a great leader. As being an Asian cadet in the corps of cadets, I felt that my peers judged and watched me every time. Because we upperclassmen are being observed by our peers and cadres, we had to demonstrate that while being fit in physically related training, academics were prominent. I remember in my freshman year when my only focus was physical exercises that I had to push the studies behind. As being a Junior and an incoming Senior, I regret pushing academics to the side because now the only thing I do is trying to raise G.P.A… By the end of the day, one might get medically disqualified by breaking bones, depression, or being a heat casualty from the hard training we tend to force freshman and newly initiating sophomores to do. I wanted to tell the incoming cadets always to have back up plans and be smart about it. After we get out of the military life, what will we do be doing? We all do not know the correct answers, so focusing on academics will also be beneficial for cadets with their O.M.L. points. Overall, I learned that the top three main characters of scholar activism from this community service would be gaining common knowledge, encouraging subordinates to keep having a positive mindset and to keep on doing what one thinks is right for oneself. Assata Zerai once said, ‘This alternative model of the intellectual who sacrifices self in service of humanity exists in opposition to the model of the intellectual who attempts to pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake.’ Going into and having a career as a United States Army officer might be significantly tricky at first because I am just a young minority female. She just graduated from university to my future enlisted soldiers.
In positionality, it connects with race, class, power, and gender because black scholar activism comes with a substantial burden. By guaranteeing racial uplift while securing and developing one’s career. A scholar and an activist W.E.B. Du Bois would be a great example, and he was the first African American student to graduate from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in 1855. Du Bois was critical of scholars and activists, and he believed that black economic success in white America would remove the color line. Du Bois claimed that this emphasis on financial success was the reason why the importance of black education, leadership, and ethics are dismissed. Early in his career, Du Bois was an active member of black development organizations, for example, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). He eventually began to support a Marxian revolution of the economic system, believing that it would be the only chance for black citizens to be able to achieve equality in America.
In the early 1960s, DuBois became an associate of the Communist Party and began to support a Pan-African Socialist program of action. DuBois’s theory of color line might be understood to modern Americans, but there are still places in the world where inequality and separation are still being continued. African Americans strive to get an education so that they can be treated equally and have a career like all the other Americans or civilians in the United States. Being able to work in a safe job for your family is all American Dream that everyone wishes for. Another reason why I agree with DuBois is that he presented African Americans that if you want to do or achieve somethings, you will have to put your mind to it and do your best. The result will be answered by how much effort and time you put yourself into. People didn’t know who W.E.B. Du Bois was, but as time developed, his notions of the color line came to life. Dubois theory of color line was to inform that there is a division between whites and the colored, and one of the reason is the roles in the division of labor. The color line displayed the deep social divisions between Europeans and Africans that were solicited by the slave trade and colonization. Early in his career, DuBois appealed that the ‘race idea’ was the main thought of all history and that the primary ‘problem of the twentieth century was the problem of the color line’ (Du Bois, 178-181). DuBois noticed that the goal of African Americans was not being one of the integration or absorption into white people, but one of advancing ‘Pan-Negroism’ (Du Bois 178-181). Later in his career, Du Bois viewed the capitalist model of production as a concept of racism. People started to listen and be mindful of how people on the western side has been taking advantage of Africans and used Africa for its natural resources. Even today, we still see this situation happening in different ways. For example, black women are still making less pay when it comes to their occupations. Minorities will continue to have difficulties because that is what society is, history will never change unless we develop out of it.
When relating the scholar activism with class lectures and community service, I decided to connect with the learning perspective. It is an approach that emphasizes how the behavior and experiences affect the individual’s action. Because we, as an upperclassman, tries to better the incoming freshman by knowledge and practice, we had trained for three years. We happen to try to change the training that we didn’t like personally at our training days. By fixing and bettering the corps by using the ideas, we had learned in the past. While in the hard training being an academic officer was interesting because I and my N.C.O. have put so much effort into raising the freshmen cadet’s G.P.A. for them to achieve scholarships in the ROTC.
Lastly, the learning form of this assignment was that I had a better understanding of what scholar activism is. By putting other activists and my community service together was impressive. I learned that most of the activist were Black Americans or an athlete. Knowing how much people put their efforts into the universe to be diverse, caught my attention. I believe all the activists should have a chance to be recognized by the hard works they have put into by finding, researching, arguing, and many more.
- Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. The Problem of the Color Line at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Essential Early Essays. Fordham Univ Press, 2014.
- Ferrante, J. (2014). The Early Sociologist. In Seeing Sociology: Core Modules (p. 18). Belmont, California: Wadesworth, Cengage Learning.
- Katz-Fishman, Walda, et al. ‘Scholar Activism: Popular Education and Social Transformation.’ Humanity & Society30.2 (2006): 193-216.
- Routledge, Paul, and Kate Driscoll Derickson. ‘Situated solidarities and the practice of scholar-activism.’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33.3 (2015): 391-407.
- Suzuki, Daiyu, and Edwin Mayorga. ‘Scholar-activism: A twice told tale.’ Multicultural Perspectives 16.1 (2014): 16-20.