1. Summarize Prescod-Weinstein’s essay.
2. According to Prescod-Weinstein, football and academia are “a culture of hierarchy” (1). What does she mean by this statement?
3. What “significant cultural rule” (1) did Colin Kaepernick break, according to Prescod-Weinstein? 4. How was Colin Kaepernick punished for challenging people in “positions of superiority” and for defying “cultural conformity” (1)? 5. How does Kaepernick use the act of taking a knee as a form of cultural resistance?
6. Explain what Prescod-Weinstein means when she states, “Once it became apparent that taking a knee could be ‘just another protest against Trump’ suddenly lots of folks were doing it” (2).
7. Why does Prescod-Weinstein “empathize with the situation he [Kaepernick] found himself in” (2)?
8. What are some reasons why Prescod-Weinstein believes that “#ScientistsTakeAKnee will not have the same impact on science that Kaepernick had on football” (2)?
9. Why does Prescod-Weinstein describe taking a knee as “performative” act rather than as a “substantive” (2) one?
10. According to Prescod-Weinstein, black scientists must put themselves “at risk” in order “to combat racism in the scientific community and to sanctify all black lives” (2). In what ways might activism on the job affect career advancement and opportunities?
11. Prescod-Weinstein argues that “scientists need to disrupt their own lab spaces the way Kaepernick disrupted football’s” (2). Explain what she means by this statement.
12. Explain the conclusion of Prescod-Weinstein’s article and what it may mean for protest movements.
The Challenge Faced by Black Academics and Football Players
1.The given essay by Chanda Prescod- Weinstein states that the path to becoming an academic is a difficult one. Football is just like academia and people who are in important positions deserve and expect to receive respect and cultural compliance. Colin Kaepernick broke cultural rules when he decided to sit down during the national anthem in August 2016, for which the National Football League of America (NFL) punished him and his career was destroyed. However, Kaepernick was successful in putting forward his point that more people should pay attention to the police brutality and anti-black trend faced by the black people in America. Many players joined him in the trend of taking a knee and even people who previously supported Donald Trump (Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft), openly expressed their dissatisfaction and disappointment in Trump. The act of taking a knee soon became a form of protest against trump and even scientists took this opportunity to let their opinion on Trump be known. The scientists may not experience the same level of impact on the field of science as was in the case of Kaepernick for football. Nonetheless, it would still be enough to raise awareness for the participation and training of black scientists in science. The author states that fighting against injustices like racism and anti-native colonialism are important to encourage black scientists to participate more in research work, as science affects humanity as a whole and every individual’s contribution is necessary.
2.The author states that football like academia is ‘a culture of hierarchy’. According to this statement, the author is trying to explain that in the fields of science and football, the power is distributed in a pyramid structure, where people who are at a superior (or higher/powerful) position would demand respect and cultural compliance.
3.According to the author Prescod-Weinstein, Colin Kaepernick broke a significant cultural rule by taking a knee during the national anthem. By doing so, he went against what the rest of the team was doing and disobeyed what the league told him to do, leading to the violation of ‘a significant cultural rule’.
4.As Colin Kaepernick challenged people in ‘positions of superiority’ and defied ‘cultural conformity’, the National Football League (NFL) destroyed his career as a form of punishment (Prescod-Weinstein).
5.Colin Kaepernick was for his position as an internationally televised quarterback of the NFL. He wanted to use his position in a way that makes it possible to gain the attention of the white American viewers to get to know of the reality and problems faced by him for being a black American man. Instead of celebrating America, Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem, demanding more attention from the viewers to tackle problems relating to the police brutality and anti-black sentiments faced by black Americans. Thus, Kaepernick uses the act of taking a knee as a form of cultural resistance by this way.
The Culture of Hierarchy in Academia and Football
6.According to the statement ‘Once it became apparent that taking a knee could be just another protest against Trump, suddenly lots of folks were doing it’, the author says that when people got to know that ‘taking a knee’ was a form of protest against Donald Trump, a lot of people started doing it. It is due to this reason, the scientists too wanted to make their opposition against Trump be known and took this opportunity of taking a knee to portray their disapproval of Trump’s agenda.
7.In the given essay, the author empathizes with the situation Colin Kaepernick found himself in. This is because the author is aware that Kaepernick was ready to risk everything he had worked hard for since the issue of ‘Black Lives Matter’ was that much important to him. In a similar way, the author too faced lots of resistance when she tried to bring about a change in science. This even required the author to be straightforward while addressing the public in ways that put her own career and development at risk. Thus, the author emphasizes with Kaepernick’s situation because she knows that the only way meaningful change could take place was by taking risks.
8.The author, Prescod-Weinstein believes that #ScientistsTakeAKnee would not have the same impact on science that Kaepernick had on football. According to the author, this is due to the reason that no deeply embedded beliefs regarding the status quo are being challenged by the scientists. Unlike Kaepernick disrupting the usual business of the NFL, the scientists taking a knee do not disrupt the business at all. The scientists taking a knee is a show of unity, however, no meaningful step had been taken to actually ensure that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Although participating in the performance of taking a knee may provide comfort to people, the scientists need to contribute more instead of taking pictures during their coffee breaks at work. The act of taking a knee is not just a performance, but needs to send a message regarding its cause and only doing so may allow the scientists to have an impact on academia regarding this issue.
9.The author in her essay states that taking a knee is a performative act rather than a substantive one. This is due to the reason that taking a knee had become a popular trend which united and brought forward many individuals, players, owners of clubs and others to take part in the act. However, no substantial measures were taken to ensure the cause of ‘Black Lives Matter’, and the people were treating the act of taking a knee as a trend or performance.
Kaepernick's Act of Taking a Knee and Cultural Resistance
10.The author Prescod-Weinstein, through the given essay states that black scientists are more than scientists and they are barrier breakers. In order to gain a respectful position in the world, they must take risks and oppose racism in the scientific community. The author states that when she demands that the professional societies to assist her in speaking up about the injustices of anti-native colonialism and racism, she is ignored by others and is labeled an organizational enemy for voicing out her opinion. It is due to this reason the author states that as she sends out faculty applications, she expects the job committees would look at her role of an activist as a weakness instead of strength, assuming that it would not have a positive impact on her research or their department. This is the way in which activism on job may affect the career advancements and opportunities of the author.
11.According to the given statement, the author states that just as Kaepernick did in case of football, the black scientists too need to put themselves at risk if they wish to gain a favorable position in the world. Black scientists are more than scientists and are considered as ‘barrier breakers’ by the author, and they need to speak up about racism, anti native colonialism and all other forms of harassment/brutality faced by the black people in order to gain success in the campaign of ‘Black Lives Matter’ (Hoffman, et al.).
12.The author, Prescod-Weinstein concludes her article stating that #ScientistsTakeAKnee would have an actual impact if it were to start a movement against the present condition of the state of affairs and would have a positive impact in the fight against racism (Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta).
The author states that the act of taking a knee may be able to offend the white supremacist president and please the allies, however, it would have no positive impact on her and others like her, who are risking their careers for this purpose. According to the author, the act of taking a knee was a symbol for Kaepernick, but the scientific community requires something more than symbolism, as it is not enough for the cause.
Hoffman, Louis, et al. "An existential–humanistic perspective on black lives matter and contemporary protest movements." Journal of humanistic psychology 56.6 (2016): 595-611.
Matter, Black Lives. "Black Lives Matter." URL: https://blacklivesmatter. com/about/[10 April 2016] (2016).
Prescod-Weinstein, C. (2018). Taking a Knee Needs to Be About Black Lives, Not Protesting Trump. [online] Slate Magazine. Available at: https://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/09/taking_a_knee_is_about_black_lives_not_donald_trump.html [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From# BlackLivesMatter to black liberation. Haymarket Books, (2016).
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