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I think I'm mostly disturbed that apparently trying to have a tournament which was focused on traditional policy debate was decried as racist and forced to cancel.  Because apparently we can't even have an event where we require people to actually debate the topic.  

 

Kind of weird that people who champion alternative debate as valuable are the ones who won't allow alternatives to their alternative to even happen.

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Seems more than a little biased; particularly ending the first paragraph by basically calling "regular" policy lame.

 

I've never had an "alternative" style debate, but what stable neg ground are you able to generate against narratives if framework is labelled racist?

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how is it weird that people who say that there should be alternatives to an exclusionary model of debate get angry when they are completely excluded from debate?

 

-They aren't.  Anyone who wants to show up and debate the resolution is presumably invited.

-They have their alternative - they've taken over CEDA and have had success at NDT.  

-What they are doing is stopping any alternative to their alternative.  Even wanting to have regular policy rounds is racist, apparently, because having a single tournament which requires it is taboo.

 

Seriously, they're excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the rules, and just wants to debate the topic.

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It's hyperbolic to say that everyone who's not a white male is excluded from "traditional debate." The color of your skin doesn't preclude people from being good at policy, and plenty of non-white people win debate tournaments even "traditional" ones. If you don't believe me there are people you could ask on CX who aren't white and have won "traditional" debate tournaments.

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-They aren't.  Anyone who wants to show up and debate the resolution is presumably invited.

-They have their alternative - they've taken over CEDA and have had success at NDT.  

-What they are doing is stopping any alternative to their alternative.  Even wanting to have regular policy rounds is racist, apparently, because having a single tournament which requires it is taboo.

 

Seriously, they're excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the rules, and just wants to debate the topic.

 

 

 

You use "They" like non-traditional debate is some weird form of dialogue. It's fairly common at this point...the argument goes both ways. Traditional debate is excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the topic, and just wants to debate the rules.

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You use "They" like non-traditional debate is some weird form of dialogue. It's fairly common at this point...the argument goes both ways. Traditional debate is excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the topic, and just wants to debate the rules.

 

 

I refuse to identify non-traditional debate as 'minority' or 'black'.  I coach underprivileged black minority debaters, and they prefer traditional debate.  Non-traditional debate just confuses and excludes them.

 

WTF with K'ing my grammatically appropriate use of the pro-noun 'they', anyway.  "They" references the subject of the previous comment to which I was responding.  Use of a pronoun is not some sort of ontological oppression, its just a pronoun, and I didn't feel like typing out "people who say that there should be alternatives to an exclusionary model of debate" as the subject of every sentence.

 

Having a separate tournament does not stop non-traditional debaters from debating as they want to.  There's plenty of tournaments which cater to their desires and reward them on the ballot.  No one has said those tournaments should stop.

 

On the other hand, preventing a tournament which focuses on the resolution prevents debaters who want to do traditional debate from debating the way they want to, because it holds them hostage to teams that want to debate the rules.  If they can't hold their own tournaments, these people are just going to quit debate, because it isn't worth their time and doesn't let them do what they enjoy.  

 

If you show up to play football, and everyone else compels you to play 'soccer' (football to everyone but Americans), but you hate soccer, are you really going to stick around?  You'll start your own league where you can play football, or you'll just stop playing.

Edited by Squirrelloid
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-They aren't.  Anyone who wants to show up and debate the resolution is presumably invited.

they are if they don't affirm the rez. they debate about the rez almost every round, but because most of these affs don't affirm the rez in a traditional manner, the policy only tournament the article talked about was proposed. 

-They have their alternative - they've taken over CEDA and have had success at NDT.  

i don't think you can say that non traditional debate has "taken over" considering it's still not as common at those tournaments as regular policy is, especially the performance aspect. 

-What they are doing is stopping any alternative to their alternative.  Even wanting to have regular policy rounds is racist, apparently, because having a single tournament which requires it is taboo.

no they aren't. no one said you can't affirm the rez in a traditional manner at the NDT/CEDA. it's to be debated. what was proposed was a tournament where you CAN NOT talk about the debate they do. the difference is that the non policy oriented teams will say that framework is bad, then have a debate about it in round whereas the proposed policy only tournament would not allow that debate to take place. 

 

Seriously, they're excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the rules, and just wants to debate the topic.

no they are not. those debates ACTUALLY HAPPEN. and a fair amount of the time the teams going for framework loose because they lost the arguments, and there are also times where the team going for framework wins. if you know of ANYONE who has said that someone should not be allowed to read framework i'd like to know of them because i A. haven't heard of them and B. think they are wrong and in no way represent the majority, or even any significant number of debaters who say framework is bad.

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-They aren't.  Anyone who wants to show up and debate the resolution is presumably invited.

they are if they don't affirm the rez. they debate about the rez almost every round, but because most of these affs don't affirm the rez in a traditional manner, the policy only tournament the article talked about was proposed. 

-They have their alternative - they've taken over CEDA and have had success at NDT.  

i don't think you can say that non traditional debate has "taken over" considering it's still not as common at those tournaments as regular policy is, especially the performance aspect. 

-What they are doing is stopping any alternative to their alternative.  Even wanting to have regular policy rounds is racist, apparently, because having a single tournament which requires it is taboo.

no they aren't. no one said you can't affirm the rez in a traditional manner at the NDT/CEDA. it's to be debated. what was proposed was a tournament where you CAN NOT talk about the debate they do. the difference is that the non policy oriented teams will say that framework is bad, then have a debate about it in round whereas the proposed policy only tournament would not allow that debate to take place. 

 

Seriously, they're excluding everyone who wants to stop having debates about the rules, and just wants to debate the topic.

no they are not. those debates ACTUALLY HAPPEN. and a fair amount of the time the teams going for framework loose because they lost the arguments, and there are also times where the team going for framework wins. if you know of ANYONE who has said that someone should not be allowed to read framework i'd like to know of them because i A. haven't heard of them and B. think they are wrong and in no way represent the majority, or even any significant number of debaters who say framework is bad.

 

 

I can't believe I have to say this, but having a debate about framework is not *debating the resolution*.  That's why policy schools are frustrated, because they're tired of debating framework, they just want to have good case/DA/CP/K debate against Plans which represent the resolution.

 

The moment 'Framework' is a legitimate strategy, the round has already stopped engaging these people.

 

It's not about them being able to run a traditional policy case.  They want to go neg against traditional policy cases.  They want to talk about the resolution in the context of a plan that affirms it *every single round*.

So when you compel them to only attend events where people can run 'non-traditional' affirmatives, ie, affirmatives that reject the resolution or don't propose a plan or etc..., you're excluding them from the activity they actually want to do.

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I can't believe I have to say this, but having a debate about framework is not *debating the resolution*.  That's why policy schools are frustrated, because they're tired of debating framework, they just want to have good case/DA/CP/K debate against Plans which represent the resolution.

and they can do that a lot, but when they hit a team that doesn't do what they do, instead of doing what many other teams do and research their case and prep strats, they often just default to the you can't say that here framework (this is of course not nearly all debaters who read policy affs, but generally the people who call for policy only tournaments.

 

The moment 'Framework' is a legitimate strategy, the round has already stopped engaging these people.

okay. maybe they should be engaged in a way that isn't being told to stop what they're doing. i don't think it's unreasonable to say that you can't engage these affs, finals of CEDA and every round where someone has gone for an argument other than framework against K affs proves this.

 

It's not about them being able to run a traditional policy case.  They want to go neg against traditional policy cases.  They want to talk about the resolution in the context of a plan that affirms it *every single round*.

So when you compel them to only attend events where people can run 'non-traditional' affirmatives, ie, affirmatives that reject the resolution or don't propose a plan or etc..., you're excluding them from the activity they actually want to do.

i don't think this is true. i don't think it's exclusion when you, every once in a while, have to debate an aff that doesn't bow down and say yes to a resolution that many students think can't be ethically affirmed in the traditional manner (saying the government should do X). what i think is exclusionary is saying you cannot even talk, speak the words that you believe and read your aff. the activity is still there, it's just not fitted exactly to the paradigm they designed, which ignores nearly 100% of what debaters talk about when they read their K and performance affs, and is built to ignore questions of personal experience over questions of what an entity which we have no control over should do. 

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I can't believe I have to say this, but having a debate about framework is not *debating the resolution*.  That's why policy schools are frustrated, because they're tired of debating framework, they just want to have good case/DA/CP/K debate against Plans which represent the resolution.

and they can do that a lot, but when they hit a team that doesn't do what they do, instead of doing what many other teams do and research their case and prep strats, they often just default to the you can't say that here framework (this is of course not nearly all debaters who read policy affs, but generally the people who call for policy only tournaments.

 

The moment 'Framework' is a legitimate strategy, the round has already stopped engaging these people.

okay. maybe they should be engaged in a way that isn't being told to stop what they're doing. i don't think it's unreasonable to say that you can't engage these affs, finals of CEDA and every round where someone has gone for an argument other than framework against K affs proves this.

 

It's not about them being able to run a traditional policy case.  They want to go neg against traditional policy cases.  They want to talk about the resolution in the context of a plan that affirms it *every single round*.

So when you compel them to only attend events where people can run 'non-traditional' affirmatives, ie, affirmatives that reject the resolution or don't propose a plan or etc..., you're excluding them from the activity they actually want to do.

i don't think this is true. i don't think it's exclusion when you, every once in a while, have to debate an aff that doesn't bow down and say yes to a resolution that many students think can't be ethically affirmed in the traditional manner (saying the government should do X). what i think is exclusionary is saying you cannot even talk, speak the words that you believe and read your aff. the activity is still there, it's just not fitted exactly to the paradigm they designed, which ignores nearly 100% of what debaters talk about when they read their K and performance affs, and is built to ignore questions of personal experience over questions of what an entity which we have no control over should do. 

 

 

The football team practices playing football.  They create and practice strategies that work in football.  One day, another team comes along who successfully convinces the refs that 'football' means european football - soccer in US terms.  The football team isn't prepared to play soccer.  They had no reason to expect to play soccer.  They don't want to play soccer.  They want to play football.  If this happens even a noticeable fraction of the time, they're going to want to stop playing against the team that insists on playing soccer. 

 

If the right solution is to have separate leagues, one for traditional debate and one for more freeform non-traditional debate, that doesn't exclude non-traditional debate, but it does provide a place where people who want to do traditional debate can do so without being forced to do something different that they have no interest or desire to do.

 

And the time factor is a big thing.  Preparing good policy answers for topical and traditional affirmatives takes a lot of time.  Limits are key.

 

Non-traditional debaters of course just argue basically the same thing, aff or neg, so they never experience the time impact.  But of course its perfectly reasonable for the policy negatives to have specific and appropriate responses to all these non-topical non-traditional approaches which have no basis in the resolution and no limits.  Its not like finding appropriate answers to all these positions takes time - i mean, the team running quareism as affirmative every round didn't need to spend much time converting that into a negative position that linked to pretty much everything, so they didn't feel the time impact.  Why should the policy teams complain about how much time it would cost to be prepared against anything imaginable.

 

The resolution is a social contract.  Policy teams have accepted the social contract.  If their opponents stop accepting the social contract, they're going to stop playing.  And if you forbid them from arranging their own games where playing by the rules is expected, you've completely excluded them from the activity, because the activity they want doesn't exist anymore.

 

I'd seriously argue that policy teams should just start conceding to all non-traditional affirmatives as an act of civil disobedience, but at that point they might as well stop showing up altogether.

 

It's not that they can't engage these affs, its that they don't want to engage these affs, and spent their research time on the thing that interests them: the resolution.  Just like the football team could play soccer, but they spent their practice time working on football.

Edited by Squirrelloid
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So, first I would say I think it's great we are having this conversation in the community, and that everyone should calm down and realize everyone here is having this conversation because they *care* about policy debate and its future. What would be even more worrying is if the question were not addressed.

I think it also raises some important questions about the future of debate: what is the value of debate? what is fair for debaters? what is the educational benefit? and, how does that translate to policy?  

To segway into the 'alternative/nontraditional' (a term that in itself is somewhat homogenizing and offensive, but I apologize for the sake of clarity) side of the case, I believe Shanara Reid-Brinkley's Panel on Ghetto Kids Gone Good that was posted here a while back was fun and informative to watch. She makes some telling points about exclusion and the 'anti-harassment' policy that was mentioned, in that it seems suspect how these rules are being introduced as black students are starting to become successful in the largely white policy debate community. I think it is also telling that people are associating "a lack of civility and decorum at recent competitions" and "profanity-laced tirades, thrown furniture, and...racial slurs,", quite frankly, with the inclusion of black students in debate. Think of that what you will. I also read her paper Ghetto Kids Gone Good and it makes quite cogent points about how UDL organizers (mostly middle class white men) impose their ideal of 'at risk/model minorities' on what kinds of arguments are made and the way these debaters are represented in the media and to the administration. I think that's very harmful to everyone involved, especially considering the vested financial interests in the education of young students who are conventionally disadvantaged from the very beginning. I also get the distinct feeling of annoyance and even anger among a lot of the traditional teams who are losing to these nontraditional teams that I find unproductive considering where the nontraditional debaters are coming from. Personally, I find a lot of the arguments about social location coming from these 'nontraditional' teams quite compelling, and a lot of the hyperbole lodged at Oklahoma CL and Towson JR (just to name two) seem to play on overhyped fears of debates in which two ships sail by each other without actually connecting. That's not unique to teams that make arguments about race, and happens in all sorts of bad debates. If anything, there is more literature than ever to address race teams and beat them on their own terms. As a person who cannot connect on a personal level with most of these non-traditional teams, listening to what they had to say was both an eye opening and very positive experience. I think also that contrary to the statements of 'traditional' coaches, the 'resistance' movement in debate has been more than willing to engage in conversations about race, exclusion and debate, and that conversation seems to simply be dismissed in fears that the activity will have to substantively address the influx of diverse participants. I don't think that there cannot be a compromise between both sides in debate, and part of the strategies of these non-traditional debaters is to bring that conversation to the forefront instead of outside where the power is decisively placed in the hands of administrators. In addition, it is important to note that regardless of the value of a three-tier framework, it isn't simply 'destructive' change coming from the other side, I think it's important to note they are engaging constructively with the framework of most traditional teams. Now, all that doesn't mean that we should have debates where the topic is not discussed, or even where the desirability of topical USFG action is discussed, but I don't think the response of a lot of traditional teams is measured, constructive or even helpful. I think that a lot of the lack of empathy is concerning as well as the lack of a wider vision of inclusion is present, and that particularly harmful is dogmatism concerning the very debaters that many 'pro-alternative' and 'anti-alternative' debaters purport to help or address. 

On the other side of the spectrum, we of course have the traditional debates in which affirmatives must provide reasonably topical (eg. substantial USFG action on the resolution) cases and negatives should defend the status quo or a competitive alternative. This is, of course, best suited to an activity and environment that is conducted largely by mutual consensus, as it provides a depth of education on the topic, portable skills, fairness in that everyone is reasonably prepared to engage everyone else on their arguments, and a reasonable area upon which to gain advantages and to provide alternatives. I think it is naive to think that everyone will assent to this because what is happening in debate right shows that not everyone feels that they are in a position to conduct such debates or that conducting such debates offends and harms them on a personal level. Despite that, in the past, there is obviously quite a lineage of such debates and it seems to have produced good citizens, critical thinkers, and morally upright people. However, it is also important to note how demographically similar these debaters were, and it begs the question of whether people from a different social location ought to be allowed/encourage to participate even if they do not want to assent to these debates. I think it has been hashed out well how this framework of debate is beneficial on numerous levels, but I think missing is a lack of addressing the question of who is necessarily harmed and excluded by this framework of debate is, and who is benefiting? I think it is coarse to say that if people have personal objections to this framework, then they should not participate in the activity, or even create separate leagues for certain arguments. Of course, being quite cynical, you could accuse nontraditional debaters of using their disadvantaged social position as a easy way to make judges vote for them and make them win over and over again without having to research the topic and engage their opponents. I don't think that's what the situation is, and I think such accusations are offensive and should be avoided. I think instead debate ought to change to be more safe and welcoming to people who aren't traditional privileged bodies. What is that change? I don't know. But it could involve something as radical as a departure from traditional framework altogether to something more palatable like an acceptance of a three-tier framework in addition to the traditional framework arguments. I think the very fact of exclusion is compelling enough to consider a change in the structure of debate, and one could make the argument that debate must do that or lose out to more progressive activities. 

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Please space out your paragraphs. I'm sure there are good points, but for those of us on phones or with low resolution or small screens it's almost painful to read walls of text.

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There's a lot in here that annoys me, so line by line:

 

So, first I would say I think it's great we are having this conversation in the community, and that everyone should calm down and realize everyone here is having this conversation because they *care* about policy debate and its future. What would be even more worrying is if the question were not addressed.

I think it also raises some important questions about the future of debate: what is the value of debate? what is fair for debaters? what is the educational benefit? and, how does that translate to policy?  

 

To segway into the 'alternative/nontraditional' (a term that in itself is somewhat homogenizing and offensive, but I apologize for the sake of clarity) side of the case, I believe Shanara Reid-Brinkley's Panel on Ghetto Kids Gone Good that was posted here a while back was fun and informative to watch. She makes some telling points about exclusion and the 'anti-harassment' policy that was mentioned, in that it seems suspect how these rules are being introduced as black students are starting to become successful in the largely white policy debate community. I think it is also telling that people are associating "a lack of civility and decorum at recent competitions" and "profanity-laced tirades, thrown furniture, and...racial slurs,", quite frankly, with the inclusion of black students in debate. Think of that what you will.

 

I don't think anyone's associating a lack of civility with the inclusion of black students, but with the advance of project teams.  I've judged CDL rounds with black student debaters all year, and they've been unfailingly civil in every round I've seen (the same goes for other CDL minority students).  The Atlantic article that's biased in favor of project teams discusses a final round featuring a lack of civility ("fuck the time!"), and profanity and racial slur-laced tirades ("nigga authenticity.")  If project teams want to defend their behavior, that's one thing, but don't argue that it's racist to point out that project teams are introducing behavior into debate rounds that isn't acceptable in most of society.

 

I also read her paper Ghetto Kids Gone Good and it makes quite cogent points about how UDL organizers (mostly middle class white men) impose their ideal of 'at risk/model minorities' on what kinds of arguments are made and the way these debaters are represented in the media and to the administration. I think that's very harmful to everyone involved, especially considering the vested financial interests in the education of young students who are conventionally disadvantaged from the very beginning.

 

"Vested financial interests"?  Bull****.  The law firms and UDL organizers sponsoring these events have no vested financial interests; they're contributing charity to support their communities.  And they don't have a clue what goes on in these project rounds.  Look at the NAUDL site; does it mention what, exactly, the champion UDL teams are arguing?  The finalists this year were:

 

University Prep DK - I don't know what they argued at NAUDL.  According to the NDCA wiki, at Glenbrooks they ran the pro-Black Panther "free Assata Shakur" Aff slamming America as fascist.

St. Paul Central BN - Their NDCA wiki page lists "black female rage" and "free Assata Shakur" Affs.

 

In the semifinals, add Whitney Young DS (anti-capitalist Maquiladoras) and East Side MW (Dia de los Muertos)

 

Now, do you think the boards of the banks and law firms that make up most of the NAUDL's supporters want to support that kind of rhetoric?  I work for a national law firm and have the support of my firm in coaching a CDL team; I guarantee I wouldn't have that support if I was teaching the kids how to argue in favor of, to describe it most accurately, Afro-Nazism (probably the most accurate description of Black Panther philosophy).

 

I also get the distinct feeling of annoyance and even anger among a lot of the traditional teams who are losing to these nontraditional teams that I find unproductive considering where the nontraditional debaters are coming from. Personally, I find a lot of the arguments about social location coming from these 'nontraditional' teams quite compelling, and a lot of the hyperbole lodged at Oklahoma CL and Towson JR (just to name two) seem to play on overhyped fears of debates in which two ships sail by each other without actually connecting. 

 

Possibly true in college-land, not true in high school-land.  The schools dominating NAUDL with performance Affs may be in poor locations, but they have the funding and support to travel nationally.  In CDL, the teams without that kind of support can't compete with the much whiter performance teams from National Circuit-traveling schools like Whitney Young, Walter Payton, and Northside.

 

That's not unique to teams that make arguments about race, and happens in all sorts of bad debates.

 

Except that these bad debates happen in final rounds!  It's one thing when I watch teams not clash in a novice policy round in CDL; it's another thing when it happens in the out-rounds of college tournaments.

 

If anything, there is more literature than ever to address race teams and beat them on their own terms.

 

Perhaps you can beat them on their own terms, but the dominant debate culture wont let you beat them on substantive terms by attacking their premises.  The judges who will happily vote on Wilderson will never vote for the Neg team that refutes with conservative authority like Sowell or Posner.

 

As a person who cannot connect on a personal level with most of these non-traditional teams, listening to what they had to say was both an eye opening and very positive experience. I think also that contrary to the statements of 'traditional' coaches, the 'resistance' movement in debate has been more than willing to engage in conversations about race, exclusion and debate, and that conversation seems to simply be dismissed in fears that the activity will have to substantively address the influx of diverse participants.

 

No one has a problem with diverse participants!  What we have a problem with is with an ideology taking over the debate community and forcing it to play an entirely different game.  We're all very welcoming of diverse participants in chess tournaments, but not if they're going to throw the pieces on the floor and insist we play mancala or go instead.

 

I don't think that there cannot be a compromise between both sides in debate, and part of the strategies of these non-traditional debaters is to bring that conversation to the forefront instead of outside where the power is decisively placed in the hands of administrators. In addition, it is important to note that regardless of the value of a three-tier framework, it isn't simply 'destructive' change coming from the other side, I think it's important to note they are engaging constructively with the framework of most traditional teams.

 

How exactly are they doing this?

 

Now, all that doesn't mean that we should have debates where the topic is not discussed, or even where the desirability of topical USFG action is discussed, but I don't think the response of a lot of traditional teams is measured, constructive or even helpful. I think that a lot of the lack of empathy is concerning as well as the lack of a wider vision of inclusion is present, and that particularly harmful is dogmatism concerning the very debaters that many 'pro-alternative' and 'anti-alternative' debaters purport to help or address. 

 

An organized activity can't be anarchic; there are always some limits.  The problem is that the alternative debaters don't seem to be calling for a debate without limits, where their opponents can say anything; they're demanding a debate format where the only thing a team can do in responding to their performance is engage the performance on the exact same level.

 

On the other side of the spectrum, we of course have the traditional debates in which affirmatives must provide reasonably topical (eg. substantial USFG action on the resolution) cases and negatives should defend the status quo or a competitive alternative. This is, of course, best suited to an activity and environment that is conducted largely by mutual consensus, as it provides a depth of education on the topic, portable skills, fairness in that everyone is reasonably prepared to engage everyone else on their arguments, and a reasonable area upon which to gain advantages and to provide alternatives. I think it is naive to think that everyone will assent to this because what is happening in debate right shows that not everyone feels that they are in a position to conduct such debates or that conducting such debates offends and harms them on a personal level. Despite that, in the past, there is obviously quite a lineage of such debates and it seems to have produced good citizens, critical thinkers, and morally upright people. However, it is also important to note how demographically similar these debaters were, and it begs the question of whether people from a different social location ought to be allowed/encourage to participate even if they do not want to assent to these debates.

 

What does it mean to encourage people from a different social location to participate even if they do not want to assent to these debates?  Can the kids from Marshall go to the Illinois state chess championships, refuse to play chess because of their "social location", and then insist on participating by playing a different game?

 

Aside from that, for the same reasons Squirreloid addressed above (and a lot of commenters on the Atlantic have pointed out), it should be grossly offensive to suggest that minority students can't debate policy at the same level as white students.

 

I think it has been hashed out well how this framework of debate is beneficial on numerous levels, but I think missing is a lack of addressing the question of who is necessarily harmed and excluded by this framework of debate is, and who is benefiting? I think it is coarse to say that if people have personal objections to this framework, then they should not participate in the activity, or even create separate leagues for certain arguments. Of course, being quite cynical, you could accuse nontraditional debaters of using their disadvantaged social position as a easy way to make judges vote for them and make them win over and over again without having to research the topic and engage their opponents. I don't think that's what the situation is, and I think such accusations are offensive and should be avoided.

 

Well, isn't that what the situation is?  The argument for project teams is that they can't debate policy on the same level as richer, whiter programs (an argument that should be offensive to minorities).  This is an admission that they can't debate as well in a traditional format.  Their arguments depend on their having disadvantaged social positions.  By logical extension, they are using their disadvantaged social positions to win rounds that they would not have otherwise won.

 

I think instead debate ought to change to be more safe and welcoming to people who aren't traditional privileged bodies. What is that change? I don't know. But it could involve something as radical as a departure from traditional framework altogether to something more palatable like an acceptance of a three-tier framework in addition to the traditional framework arguments. I think the very fact of exclusion is compelling enough to consider a change in the structure of debate, and one could make the argument that debate must do that or lose out to more progressive activities.

 

The current trends in college and high school debate suggest otherwise.  As college debate becomes an increasingly marginal activity relative to the rest of the world, high school debate is trending towards more publicly accessible formats.  Public Forum and Student Congress are growing; my old high school's policy and LD teams have almost entirely disappeared relative to its PF and SC teams.  The comments on the Atlantic, odious as some of them are, reflect the general public's opinion when they hear what policy debate has become--incredulity and disgust.

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I don't really want to be a part of any further conversation on this, I don't think we align enough to agree on much. I'd prefer to leave my thoughts like this and then not respond any further, to avoid heat coming into this. It was just my 2 cents, and I know very well most people don't and won't agree with me. Thanks for keeping it respectful and civil.

 

I don't think anyone's associating a lack of civility with the inclusion of black students, but with the advance of project teams.  I've judged CDL rounds with black student debaters all year, and they've been unfailingly civil in every round I've seen (the same goes for other CDL minority students).  The Atlantic article that's biased in favor of project teams discusses a final round featuring a lack of civility ("fuck the time!"), and profanity and racial slur-laced tirades ("nigga authenticity.")  If project teams want to defend their behavior, that's one thing, but don't argue that it's racist to point out that project teams are introducing behavior into debate rounds that isn't acceptable in most of society.

Well, I don't defend bad language and uncivil behavior. What is think is misplaced is the assumption that we suddenly have a need for 'anti-harassment' policies which stem from performance debates, and I think that sets a poor example because it delegitimizes people's identities and also is intrinsically racially biased. That's also what SRB is criticizing. "Oh look, a Negro! How dare he criticize our institution and use racist language! Let's put him in his place by protecting our students from his performance." Of course, that's a bit of an overdramatization, but I think it does capture the underlying sentiment here. If administrators were so concerned about civility in debates, why was that policy not put in place earlier? In addition, I question the inappropriateness of the behavior and the language. This is his second CEDA final round, obviously a very emotional experience, and people are going to hate on him because he went a bit over the time limit and said "fuck the time"? It's not like he does this every round, nor is it like he's actually intimating violence against anyone, but the response almost feels like he is just because he is black. Also, think we need to distinguish between language meant to offend and language that's being reclaimed, eg. the word "nigga" does not mean one thing in every context. In the round, nobody was offended, nor was anyone meant to be offended.

"Vested financial interests"?  Bull****.  The law firms and UDL organizers sponsoring these events have no vested financial interests; they're contributing charity to support their communities.  And they don't have a clue what goes on in these project rounds.  Look at the NAUDL site; does it mention what, exactly, the champion UDL teams are arguing?  The finalists this year were:

University Prep DK - I don't know what they argued at NAUDL.  According to the NDCA wiki, at Glenbrooks they ran the pro-Black Panther "free Assata Shakur" Aff slamming America as fascist.

St. Paul Central BN - Their NDCA wiki page lists "black female rage" and "free Assata Shakur" Affs.

In the semifinals, add Whitney Young DS (anti-capitalist Maquiladoras) and East Side MW (Dia de los Muertos)

Now, do you think the boards of the banks and law firms that make up most of the NAUDL's supporters want to support that kind of rhetoric?  I work for a national law firm and have the support of my firm in coaching a CDL team; I guarantee I wouldn't have that support if I was teaching the kids how to argue in favor of, to describe it most accurately, Afro-Nazism (probably the most accurate description of Black Panther philosophy).

That changes my mind on that point. Obviously I was wrong. However, I was also criticizing the "ghetto kids gone good" narrative more broadly, not just the freedoms of UDL debaters.

Possibly true in college-land, not true in high school-land.  The schools dominating NAUDL with performance Affs may be in poor locations, but they have the funding and support to travel nationally.  In CDL, the teams without that kind of support can't compete with the much whiter performance teams from National Circuit-traveling schools like Whitney Young, Walter Payton, and Northside.

Well, I'm not sure how successful performance Affs are in high school land, but I am sure there is continuing controversy when Towson, Emporia and Oklahoma are beginning to dominate the college circuit. Fact, in the Atlantic article where Hardy from Northwestern talks about how they should have a policy circuit only is just further evidence for my claim.

Except that these bad debates happen in final rounds!  It's one thing when I watch teams not clash in a novice policy round in CDL; it's another thing when it happens in the out-rounds of college tournaments.

Well I'm sure there will always be bad teams but singling critical race teams out as unique smells funny to me. Sure, I don't agree with all of their strategy (cough cough Emporia NDT '13 finals 2AR), but clearly they are persuading judges to vote for them, and I don't think judges pick them up simply because they happen to be a nontraditional team. 

Perhaps you can beat them on their own terms, but the dominant debate culture wont let you beat them on substantive terms by attacking their premises.  The judges who will happily vote on Wilderson will never vote for the Neg team that refutes with conservative authority like Sowell or Posner.

Well, I ask: whose "substantive terms"? There will always be biased judges, but just because one strategy against Wilderson isn't working doesn't mean that say everyone runs that strategy and that it is the only way to answer Wilderson. Isn't the point of debate to adapt our strategy? No one is making anyone read Sowell or Posner, and I am sad that many arguments do not cut it in policy debate, but I recognize that some arguments are stronger than others and are simply more persuasive. 

No one has a problem with diverse participants!  What we have a problem with is with an ideology taking over the debate community and forcing it to play an entirely different game.  We're all very welcoming of diverse participants in chess tournaments, but not if they're going to throw the pieces on the floor and insist we play mancala or go instead.

What the problem here is is taking a "diverse" team that is very clearly making a statement that they don't feel comfortable switching subjectivities and constructing them as an 'ideology' that is 'taking over the debate community' and 'forcing it to play an entirely different game' where everyone must perform and the poor traditional teams are excluded. That's obviously not the aim here. 

How exactly are they doing this?

I mentioned the three tier framework of SRB: (Organic Intellectuals, Personal Experiences and Academia) But I don't claim to speak for anyone except myself and I think that listening is the first step to working towards substantive change. If you want I can refer you to some scholarship.

An organized activity can't be anarchic; there are always some limits.  The problem is that the alternative debaters don't seem to be calling for a debate without limits, where their opponents can say anything; they're demanding a debate format where the only thing a team can do in responding to their performance is engage the performance on the exact same level.

In debate methodological arguments are made all the time. I don't see why this is different. My argument acknowledges that some limits are good, and others are exclusionary, and it's my opinion that compromise between the two is necessary.

What does it mean to encourage people from a different social location to participate even if they do not want to assent to these debates?  Can the kids from Marshall go to the Illinois state chess championships, refuse to play chess because of their "social location", and then insist on participating by playing a different game?

Aside from that, for the same reasons Squirreloid addressed above (and a lot of commenters on the Atlantic have pointed out), it should be grossly offensive to suggest that minority students can't debate policy at the same level as white students.

Who said we are forcing people to do anything? The chess motto falls flat when you realize chess isn't a political statement, while debate most certainly is. And no, I'm not suggesting inferiority, and I never would. I am pointing out that there are minority debaters that feel traditional debate is exclusive and harmful to themselves and while they would like to participate, they would like to do so in a way that doesn't betray themselves. 

Well, isn't that what the situation is?  The argument for project teams is that they can't debate policy on the same level as richer, whiter programs (an argument that should be offensive to minorities).  This is an admission that they can't debate as well in a traditional format.  Their arguments depend on their having disadvantaged social positions.  By logical extension, they are using their disadvantaged social positions to win rounds that they would not have otherwise won.

No, some debaters have a sense of self and identity that is strong and ought to be treated equally. That means that we should respect their choice to debate in a way they feel comfortable. What I said earlier is a gross mischaracterization of what is going on here.

The current trends in college and high school debate suggest otherwise.  As college debate becomes an increasingly marginal activity relative to the rest of the world, high school debate is trending towards more publicly accessible formats.  Public Forum and Student Congress are growing; my old high school's policy and LD teams have almost entirely disappeared relative to its PF and SC teams.  The comments on the Atlantic, odious as some of them are, reflect the general public's opinion when they hear what policy debate has become--incredulity and disgust.

What precisely does this mean? What has debate "become"? Why should we be incredulous and disgusted (I assume because it wasn't specified) that there are nontraditional teams (if that was the question)? And --> ? I don't think that performance is any less publicly accessible than straight policy. 

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By the way, if anyone was wondering why the comments were so vicious, it's because this article was posted on the Subreddit tumblrinaction.

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The chess motto falls flat when you realize chess isn't a political statement, 

 

What.

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-01-18-1764841315_x.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship_1972

 

More political than policy debate has ever been.

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I'm just going to address one thing here, because it strikes me as a falsehood that gets at the core of this debate:

 

What the problem here is is taking a "diverse" team that is very clearly making a statement that they don't feel comfortable switching subjectivities and constructing them as an 'ideology' that is 'taking over the debate community' and 'forcing it to play an entirely different game' where everyone must perform and the poor traditional teams are excluded. That's obviously not the aim here. 

 

and

 

Who said we are forcing people to do anything? The chess motto falls flat when you realize chess isn't a political statement, while debate most certainly is. And no, I'm not suggesting inferiority, and I never would. I am pointing out that there are minority debaters that feel traditional debate is exclusive and harmful to themselves and while they would like to participate, they would like to do so in a way that doesn't betray themselves. 

 

and

 

No, some debaters have a sense of self and identity that is strong and ought to be treated equally. That means that we should respect their choice to debate in a way they feel comfortable. What I said earlier is a gross mischaracterization of what is going on here.

 

All of this, and it does seem to be the dominant theme in pro-performance arguments, vastly overvalues the effectiveness of debate as a political statement and the "harm" of arguing a position you disagree with.

 

First, debate isn't an effective political statement. It's a highly educational competitive activity done (in college) in the margins of academia. Among high schoolers, it's not an effective political statement because no one really cares what high schoolers think. Even in publicly accessible formats, the reaction from an audience is "these kids are impressive," not "I should really think about how America is becoming fascist."

 

Second, "not feeling comfortable switching subjectivities" is not a reason to demand everyone change the rules for you, it's a reason to go do something else. I don't feel comfortable playing quiet positional games jockeying for a slightly better endgame position in chess; that doesn't give me the right to knock over the board if my opponent plays a Queen's Gambit Declined. A quarterback that doesn't feel comfortable going against a pass rush can't demand that the other side only do zone coverage. Policy debate, unlike most other forms of debate, already is incredibly open-ended with respect to the arguments available on Aff and Neg. Whatever your ideology, you can probably come up with a reasonably topical Aff that doesn't violate your personal beliefs, and a generic Neg strategy that doesn't violate your personal beliefs. And it's generally a good thing to be able to defend both sides of a topic; it encourages intellectual flexibility and empathy.

 

This idea that one betrays him/herself by taking a position for the sake of argument s/he disagrees with is problematic. We're not asking minority debaters to argue in favor of white supremacy here. Or even to exclude racial justice arguments from their Affs! We're just saying that teams should follow the rules.

 

Sadly, I don't think I have the kind of students who would appreciate Broadway music enough to structure a performance framework argument around "Don't Break the Rules" from Catch Me If You Can, but it would be entertaining:

 

I guess the Constitution, boys, to some is too complex!

They think our Founding Fathers died so they can forge some checks!

They see themselves as Robin Hood, stealin' from the rich.

Paying back the things they take well payback is a bitch!

'Cause the world ain't Sherwood Forest, you can't give away those jewels

And the game ain't worth winning if you're breaking all the rules!

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And at more the same level as debate involving race/class issues, check out the success of Brooklyn's I.S. 318. Chess is far more dominated by white males (and increasingly Asians in the U.S. scholastic chess world) than debate; just go to any scholastic tournament and look around. Didn't stop I.S. 318, a lower class mostly black public school, from dominating the scholastic chess world and winning the National High School Championship as a middle school (thanks in large part to 3 amazingly talented 12-13 year old black expert- and master-level players). They made a movie about it, "Brooklyn Castle." Oddly, no one in the chess world ever suggests that black kids just can't compete with white kids. Because that would be ridiculous, and it should be equally ridiculous in debate.

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By the way, if anyone was wondering why the comments were so vicious, it's because this article was posted on the Subreddit tumblrinaction.

Lol, that's how I found this article

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By the way, if anyone was wondering why the comments were so vicious, it's because this article was posted on the Subreddit tumblrinaction.

 

that thread is filled with some of the slimiest shit i've ever read. Seriously, if you are having a good day, just don't go there, it'll ruin it. Worse than the comments on the Atlantic article itself.

 

Everyone in this thread should read Adam Jackson's response to the Atlantic article, "Do Articles About 'Alternative Debate' Reinforce White Privilege?"

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