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BRAND NEW Identity Politics Article

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I've been trying to find a way to argue against teams running identity politics. My old coach told me about a new article that's on fire and DESTROYS identity politics in debate.


It's brand new evidence from Ritter 2016, he kritiks identity politics under competition rules and gives five detailed reasons why teams engaging in identity politics for the ballot are actually disempowering minority and disenfranchised communities. 


The article is available at: http://theforensicsfiles.com/national-journal-of-speech-amp-debate.html


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Idk how to feel about this; will update after reading the article 




"And, anyone else in the audience is ordinarily given no opportunity to contribute their ideas and experiences to the discussion, as is demonstrated by the typical mass exodus of an audience after a judge finishes explaining the reason for decision." lol this made me laugh because its true xD


Alright well Ritter seems to be basing most of his arguments off of this claim that debate is "one of the most inclusive and diverse" communities in the United States; as such, talking about identity politics within the debate space is counter-productive since introducing affirmations (or negations) that have a purpose of making debate more inclusive and diverse are, in a sense, non-unique as debate is already the space people are looking to find. My main problem with this is that Ritter seems to be contradicting himself from a previous article he published last year; last year Ritter made the case that debate - as a result of its win/loss paradigm - has been infiltrated by capitalist forces, where debaters compete for prestige and go as far as to transfer or attends specific schools in order to have access to the best education. Is this not an example of economic stratification; obviously Ritter is focused specifically on identity politics in this article, but one can argue that the issues with debate he highlighted in last years article are a result of racial stratification within the United States (privileged debaters having access to expensive debate camps or traveling all around the United States to attend tournaments that have a hefty entry fee; whereas other debaters, for instance debaters from the NAUDL, do not have the same opportunities) and as such direct towards a meaningful discussion about privilege (a racial categorization) within the debate space and how it relates to the debate activity. 


To me, this seems like an extensive analysis of the typical "ballot commodification" argument most debaters make whenever they're confronted with affirmatives that deal with identity politics (i.e "You're reading of X in the debate space is only used to get the ballot). Although this may be true, it doesn't mean that the reading of identity politics within the debate space must necessarily ONLY mean that they're doing it to win the ballot. Did Emporia SW, Oklahoma CL, Towson JR, etc. read identity politics in debate to win? Yeah; but is that the only reason they read it? No. I'll admit that the pervasive spread of identity politics in debate have led to some debaters reading identity politics exclusively to win, but there are some debaters who read it because they genuinely think that there is a problem with the way in which debate currently operates. For example, last year when I was up at UC Berkeley, I was watching Rowland Hall KoLe debate and they were giving the judge concrete example of how coaches were telling them that they didn't deserve to win with their gender arguments because they weren't queer, or in some cases because they were "fags."


If they read it solely to win is beyond the point; what matters in this example, and as Ritter points out in point 3 and 4 of his argument, is that the reading of identity politics in debate results in hostile responses to those debaters because a group of debaters becoming angry that they're no longer winning. Is this not an example of how noninclusive and constrained debater is in terms of argumentation and participation? Ritter himself points out that, "...some teams and administrators have attempted to defeat diverse race-conscious debate teams by sending letters to administrators to prompt the administration to prohibit further participation in debate." 


How then can Ritter still believe that the debate space is "inclusive and diverse" when he himself highlights examples of backlash directed towards those debaters that read identity politics within the debate space. 


On points 3, 4, and 5 Ritter explains how debaters are dislocated from the meaning of identity politics when they read it in debate; going so far as to say that debaters have no idea about the repercussions of the reading of identity politics in debate - does he believe debaters to be stupid? He himself concedes at the start of the article that, "...academic literature on identity politics is a bit dense and verbally preclusive to the vast majority of non-academicians...[.]" Is this not a testament to the, albeit sometimes not as developed, understanding of the deployment of identity politics within the debate space by the debaters themselves? 


I will give some of point 5 to Ritter; debaters that make holistic statements about the lived experience of, for example, the black body are ignorant to the dynamics of race in the United States. Furthermore, his explanation of how teams that read arguments on behalf of other identity groups (for instance, a white kid reading antiblackness because he wants to represent them) is problematic both to the literature being read and the performative aspect of the reading of X's suffering within the debate space. I do believe that it is at this point that "commodification of suffering" becomes sort of real as debaters are literally using the suffering of other for their gain. 


Edit 2: Sick article m8 


Edit 3: Here's the article I referenced where Ritter argues about the infiltration of capitalism into the debate space: http://site.theforensicsfiles.com/NJSD.3-2.Final.pdf

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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