Quest Early College High School. Senior Exhibition Project: Journal Entry # 2
Thursday, January 26, 2012.
This Thursday was one of the rare days of school that I felt I learned something profound and meaningful. Kap McWhorter stood before my class and requested each student draw a four scene children’s book about a social action project we might want to do in the future. After my class finished our drawings of hungry villages being given food and orphans being given homes, we were asked to reflect.
â€śWho is the hero in your story?â€ť Mr. McWhorter wanted to know.
In our stories, the answer was clear. Most of my classmates and I had drawn ourselves as the heroes of our stories. We had envisioned ourselves as beacons of light bringing books to impoverished communities and â€ścatalysts of justiceâ€ť (to quote a classmate of mine) who brought disaster relief to Japan. We had drawn ourselves, as Mr. McWhorter pointed out, as supermen.
At first, I was unsure where he was going with this. Of course we were supermen, we were asked to draw ourselves taking action to help, right? Just like superman! â€śWhat does a story have to have if there is a hero?â€ť Mr. McWhorter wanted to know. A second of silence passed before we realized, â€śa victim.â€ť It was with this simple activity that Mr. McWhorter was able to illustrate for my classmates and I how we could unwittingly deprive people of their dignity by seeking to bring glory to ourselves through service learning and social action. By having the â€śsuperhero mindsetâ€ť when approaching service, we were victimizing the people we sought to help, and creating another problem altogether.
This â€śsuperhero mentalityâ€ť I realize, is social action’s kryptonite. Social action should not seek to help victims, but instead to empower friends; to empower people to find their own strengths within themselves. Because this concept is abstract, Mr. McWhorter provided many examples of victims versus triumphing people.
Rather than share those examples here, I invite you guys to share examples you have below! I extend a special invitation to the senior class at Quest Early College High School to share any stories they remember from McWhorter