There’s two approaches to this:
- The ‘Spook Who Sat By the Door’ Method: This involves keeping your views to yourself, getting the grades, extracting all the skills, resources, information, and insight you can from the institution; then bringing those skills, information, resources, and insights back to the Black community and the Liberation Struggle. This is often seen as Selling-Out, but it’s not (Selling-Out is something totally different), in fact it’s the more difficult method to employ and takes great internal strength and disciple to pull off. Some of our most Radical Scholars and Revolutionaries advocated this method. Dr. Bobby E. Wright instructed Black students to “never argue with your professors,” to accept their information, and understand their bullshit. He stated that we only receive “training” from White institutions, but not education; “education must come from your community,” Wright stated.
- The Academic Insurgent Method: This involves speaking up, taking a stand, and fighting academic battles and ideological battles throughout your academic career. This method essentially turns your formal education into an intellectual boot-camp or training ground, where you will develop not only your formal education, but skills for a life in protracted struggle against White Domination, and Pan-African Liberation. People who take this route shun the potential for any permanent status within Academic, Government Jobs, or the Corporate world, and they intend to sustain themselves independently, so they don’t need to “hide,” their views and hostility towards the Systems of Oppression. Many great African Scholars also embraced this method, from Kwame Ture, Del Jones, and even the great Dr. Ben.
Even though there are two basic approaches, within them are many ways to go about employing these methods; and even merging them is certain instances.
During my formal schooling I took the Academic Insurgent Method; that’s just me, but I don’t think it’s better or worse than the Spook Method. We need both methods, and we need people who can employ both. I didn’t cuss out my professors, I’d simply employ their own academic practices to show them that they were full of shit. I did receive a technical certification from a university, and there wasn’t really many opportunities for Academic Insurgency because the information and teaching was very technical and objective; so I was more of a Spook in those two years, but in securing my BA and MAs I was an Academic Insurgent.