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NickDB8

Was The Rutgers Strategy Justified? (NDT Finals 2016-2017)

  

126 members have voted

  1. 1. In your opinion, was what Rutgers did an effective strategy of liberation?

    • Yes
      37
    • No
      54
    • Maybe / I can't determine that / other
      35
  2. 2. In your opinion, was what Rutgers did justified, or ethically correct?

    • Yes
      32
    • No
      76
    • Maybe / I can't determine that / other
      18
  3. 3. Assuming you watched, who do you think deserved to win the round?

    • Rutgers
      50
    • GTown
      60
    • I did not watch
      16


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Essentially, Rutgers attempted to make the white people in the panel, the gtown team, the audience, and the community, uncomfortable, and argued that they need to experience this, as it happens to black debaters all the time. Furthermore, apparently gtown said some messed up stuff in round 8, which I have not watched. Many in the debate community have found this round, finishing less than 12 hours ago from the time of this post, extremely controversial, as many perceive it as Rutgers going too far, including personal attacks on gtown.

 

 

 

My issue with it was, how do I vote for either team? I can vote aff, and endorse what may have potentially been racism (I say "may" because I have not watched it), or I can vote neg, and endorse bullying in the debate space, which should be welcoming to everyone. After all, isn't that what Emporia WS wanted? To make debate a home? I definitely think Rutgers had a good message, but I think their method was bad. But I don't know, I'm not black, and it's probably anti-black for me to decide what is and is not an effective liberation strategy for people of color in debate. I think that this model of debate has the potential to ruin coalitions, and, effectively, "link turn" the methodology itself. Furthermore, I think this may give k and "performance" debate a bad name.

 

 

 

 

More of my thoughts, from a later post:

 

 

Building some more on my own thoughts. Yes, I am white. No, I cannot determine an effective strategy for black liberation. Are black bodies made uncomfortable in the debate space? Very definitely, based on what I am hearing, and I cannot speak from experience. 

 

I'm also in the Policy Debate Discord (https://discord.gg/hjZ7D32), and I'm also passing on a few opinions from there as well. Was the Rutgers strategy effective for black liberation? Maybe. I can't make that decision, as it is not my place to. Did Rutgers also go over the top? I very definitely think so. I really bought the 2ACs claims of splitting debate even further, and the argument that people have some aspects that, when made fun of, really hurt. I don't know if GTown made any racist claims that I missed, etc., all I know is that FW was read. As the 1NC started, I laughed a little. But as it continued, I felt that not only 1. The jokes got more and more stale, and 2. They became closer to personal attacks, which, at that point, I'm not sure could be considered jokes. "The Roast" soon changed from typical, friendly banter, to straight up verbal bullying. Now, I'm not gonna lie, but I've never heard the term "black humor" used before this round happened, so I am not sure what that necessarily entails. I know that this "humor" was, at one point humorous. At the point in time in which CX ends and the 2N says "Ezra, you're bad at cross-ex", this is being excessive. This is violence against other debaters.

 

I'm reminded of a round I watched at the Emporia State tournament earlier in the season, where I was watching cross examination between UCO CC and another team. The other team asks a question, CC replies snarkily, and the other team says "You can stop being such as dick now", and one of the UCO debaters replies, "Sorry, it's who I am. Maybe you should get good at debate". At this point in the round, the judges audibly sigh, and are visibly disappointed, shaking their heads, rolling their eyes, etc. Why was this not the reaction of the panel in finals?

 

Roasts are fun. I'll admit. But it's only fun as long as no one cares, which I guess was the point of the 1NC - To make people care. I would have much rather seen a cooperative roast. Of anything. The NDT/CEDA (Policy/K) divide. The panel. Friendly, light hearted roasts of each other (although, this would not have achieved the goal of making people uncomfortable, tbh). At the point in time in which GTown doesnt do anything in retaliation, this is straight up verbal abuse. When, I think her name is Nicole?, offered Ezra the mic, what would have happened if he took it? If he roasted them back, then that would probably be pretty messed up. If he roasted himself, the neg would lose solvency, because the aff wasn't being made uncomfortable enough. If he roasted the norms of debate - hell, the aff probably could have earned perm solvency.

 

This can be disastrous for debate programs everywhere. Note articles like this one, written about CEDA: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/how-to-speak-gibberish-win-a-national-debate-title/, if the media picks this up, it could spread like wildfire. I can see the headlines now: "Two College Debaters Lose National Tournament for Being White", and so forth. When HS administration catches a whiff of what happens at the college level, and wins 4/5 ballots at a national tournament, there is no way they would allow those programs to continue, especially if what they're seeing is tinted with oversimplifications, ie, GTown lost bc they were white.

 

The youtube video has since been taken down, likely because of "The Roast".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That aside, I would like all of the community's opinion on the issue. Please, avoid the fact that yes, Rutgers did, in fact, win, this is meant to be more of an in-depth discussion of their means of winning. Moreover, I would like this to not be an echo-chamber of Rutgers hating - If anyone has a defense of their method, please provide it - I would encourage everyone to approach this thread with an open mind. Lastly, if anyone contributes to this thread, please keep discussions civil and non-aggressive.

 

 

Edit: The youtube video has since been removed, according to Hartman, at one of the teams' request.

Edited by NickDB8
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1. I think all the comments against Rutgers displayed on cross-x in other threads so far kinda act as proof of the white fragility and comfortability that the Rutgers debaters were trying to expose. If you're uncomfortable, that's the point. Several of you were talking about how Rutgers further divides the community by pointing out these issues, but the community is already divided and that divide is propagated for a litany of reasons that have nothing to do with Rutgers/black teams/performance teams. Black debaters feel uncomfortable in this space all the time, but now posters are upset to see the script flipped the other way around. 

 

2. Black humor (or "the land of petty") is an effective strategy. What Rutgers employed in that round literally is black humor. Do I think they went too far with it at times? Yes (specifically the rearticulation of the roast during the 1NR). Would I have told them to lighten up? Yes, but what they displayed was an accurate depiction of black humor. Also, yes it really isnt the place of non-black posters to comment on that specific liberation strategy. 

 

3. Rutgers was definitely winning on the flow, and controlled most of the debate absent maybe the final rebuttals. I understand if you don't like what Rutgers did or the precedent it sets, but that doesn't mean that Georgetown deserved to win the round. Certain posters talked about not wanting to vote for Rutgers because they found their behavior "rude" or dividing the community", but those sound more like personal issues than actual issues with the debate. 

 

 

 

Now, the main problem for me with winning on white uncomfortability is this: if a white team wins, they're told it's because of their privelege and advantage. If they lose, it's because of who they are and not how they argued.

I disliked that the audience would cheer during some parts of the Rutgers speeches (I'd hate it if they did that for georgetown, too) because it puts pressure on the judges.

I don't think that's the accurate articulation of white uncomfortability 

 

Georgetown got cheers after the 1AR iirc

Edited by AtlanticCoast
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I largely disagree with what Rutgers did in the final. I respect performance debate as a whole, and I respect Rutgers MN for being good, passionate debaters. But, I also respect Georgetown LK and the work that they had to put in to get to the final.

 

The round overall was just rude and hostile, which I think is the opposite of what teams like Emporia wanted when they advocated to make debate a home space. White discomfort is a fine argument to make, I just think how Rutgers deployed it was wrong. Doing things like calling Natalie "boo" and "lil mama" seem like targeted attacks that do nothing to actually make the debate space better and no matter how you look at it, someone is getting excluded from the debate space in either world. This isn't what we should be advocating for.

 

The 1NC was just a really bad method of debating that I think will end up driving people away from the activity if the media picks up on it. I would be willing to bet that no one in their right mind is going to willingly subject themselves to the way that Rutgers treated Georgetown. This makes it look like the whole method is a double-turn, Rutgers is basically saying "Yeah we should make debate more inclusive, but if you're white then you're shit out of luck" which isn't what anyone in the space wants. I don't think inclusion at the cost of exclusion is a good idea, and that seems like the thesis of what Rutgers is presenting.

 

Just as a side-note, the entire round was really tense and generally rude, especially coming from Rutgers. This was prominent in CX, and I don't think telling Ezra he's "bad at cross" is doing anything to further any sides point, so Rutgers just seemed over the top rude to Georgetown for the entire round. Being toxic doesn't help anyone. I don't know what happened in Round 8 or if Rutgers was justified, this was just my take on it. 

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 Rutgers is basically saying "Yeah we should make debate more inclusive, but if you're white then you're shit out of luck

 

When was that argument made? This seems like pretty reductionist and unfair framing of the round. I'm not gonna endorse specific comments made by Rutgers in that round, but this posts reads more as an example of why white uncomfortability is necessary in a space that has a problem legitimizing feelings of black uncomfortability. I thought it was made pretty clear in the beginning of the round that this wasn't about screwing over white people. 

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1. I think all the comments against Rutgers displayed on cross-x in other threads so far kinda act as proof of the white fragility and comfortability that the Rutgers debaters were trying to expose. If you're uncomfortable, that's the point. Several of you were talking about how Rutgers further divides the community by pointing out these issues, but the community is already divided and that divide is propagated for a litany of reasons that have nothing to do with Rutgers/black teams/performance teams. Black debaters feel uncomfortable in this space all the time, but now posters are upset to see the script flipped the other way around.

I want to acknowledge a couple things:

-If Rutgers hadn't performed that way, wouldn't be talking about it right now, so it did open up room to address community issues.

-I'm aware that Black people feel ontologically uncomfortable.

 

That said, I'd like to mention the diffference between implicit and explicit exclusion. Ongoing racism is usually implicit and structural. In that sense, one gets used to it. Normalizing violence can be dangerous.

The 1NC, is some sense, was explicit exclusion, or at least mockery, of Georgetown justified by the implicit uncomfortability of Black people.

I think, regardless of one's position on Rutgers, that we could agree that it's easier to find explicit exclusion problematic than implicit even if it's symptomatic of an underlying ideology which is equally problematic.

Edited by TheSnowball
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I feel as though both teams made fair truth claims (the community is definitely divided and white victimization is a prominent answer to afro-pessimism, but debate is also net good for portable skills and research while maintaining competitive equity) I agree that Rutgers won the round, they had some of the best judges in debate. My personal feelings is that reciprocal violence is bad, and I'm well aware that is privileged of me to say that, but I've never been one to try and map my feelings of exclusion as a debater with disabilities on to others. I think the thesis claim of the negative was absolutely true, I'm just not sure about the method. Rutgers won and I respect that, but I do feel like Natalie's 1AR made some good points and if Ezra extended them instead of playing the victim card they could have possibly won the round.

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I want to acknowledge a couple things:

-If Rutgers hadn't performed that way, wouldn't be talking about it right now, so it did open up room to address community issues.

-I'm certain and aware that Black people feel ontologically uncomfortable.

 

That said, I'd like to mention the diffference between implicit and explicit exclusion. Ongoing racism is usually implicit and structural. In that sense, one gets used to it. Normalizing violence can be dangerous.

The 1NC, is some sense, was explicit exclusion, or at least mockery, of Georgetown justified by the implicit uncomfortability of Black people.

I think, regardless of one's position on Rutgers, that we could agree that it's easier to find explicit exclusion problematic than implicit even if it's symptomatic of an underlying ideology which is equally problematic.

1. That's fine, the community should address these issues. 

2. I wasn't really getting at the idea that people deny these feelings exist, but many if not most people dont take an active role at doing anything about it (and in some cases...take an active step in making things worse, but that's a conversation for a different time). 

 

 

Yes the aff and the neg were different methods of violence. The neg's was definitely more explicit, but I didn't think that made it inherently more problematic (which is why i considered the strategy justifiable even though the execution was flawed). I'd probably agree with everything you're saying here. 

Edited by AtlanticCoast
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I'd like to hear from more poc on this subject considering many of us that voted aff seem to be in positions of privilege.

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1. That's fine, the community should address these issues. 

2. I wasn't really getting at the idea that people deny these feelings exist, but many if not most people dont take an active role at doing anything about it (and in some cases...take an active step in making things worse, but that's a conversation for a different time). 

 

 

Yes the aff and the neg were different methods of violence. The neg's was definitely more explicit, but I didn't think that made it inherently more problematic (which is why i considered the strategy justifiable even though the execution was flawed). I'd probably agree with everything you're saying here.

 

How did you feel about the "you have to actuate your plan" argument?

 

I've read Affirmatives about: desalinating California water, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, drone surveillance, public health surveillance, public health in China, and disease in China. In none of these cases did I have a personal connection or do anything outside debate to change them, but I still feel like debate has helped me in a lot of ways.

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I'd like to hear from more poc on this subject considering many of us that voted aff seem to be in positions of privilege.

I second this.
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This situation raises an interesting series of questions: Where should we draw the line for, "unacceptable," argumentation and presentation in debate - and should we even draw that line at all? Outside of explicitly enshrined structural constructs (speech times, speaking order, don't bite each other, etc.), should we project any of our own sensibilities into the debate space before the round has even begun?

 

Let's play a game. I am going to list some commonly-held beliefs about debate - ask and answer yourself honestly if any of these statements are applicable to you.

  • "There exists an argument that I will never vote on regardless of its status on the flow."
  • "Whether it be for objective or subjective reasons, some matters are simply not debatable."
  • "Stylistically speaking, debate should model itself primarily in a particular and consistent manner."

In my opinion, these presumptions are antithetical to pure and unfiltered debate.

 

I personally view debate as a game in which the debaters establish both the content and the rules of play. Furthermore, if the teams disagree on the terms of the latter point, they are free to argue them just as they would the former. This outlines the principle of strict non-interventionism upon which I found my judging paradigm, under which none of the above assertions are compatible - "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted," a la Assassin's Creed. While my paradigm is not perfect, and a perfectly balanced game is practically impossible, it seems to do less damage to the integrity of the event than to force debaters to clash with me in addition to each other. I cannot in good conscience restrict the potential education and value of the activity for teams that may view and experience it differently than myself. (For example, I've had more than enough, "Kritiks are illegitimate," judges to last a lifetime.)

 

Accordingly, as for the round in question, I would have voted Negative on a severely low-point win (if applicable) on the grounds that they were winning on the flow. Although I personally detest both, "identity politics," and inflammatory rhetoric as a methodology, I can't export my own beliefs into the round without committing the very same infraction that I claim to indict - that being arbitrary censorship. If the Affirmative had both clearly articulated and won the argument that I should drop the Negative for their in-round behavior (essentially transcending the Framework debate), I would have voted on it, but I cannot make that determination in absence of those conditions.

Edited by CynicClinic
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How did you feel about the "you have to actuate your plan" argument?

 

I've read Affirmatives about: desalinating California water, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, drone surveillance, public health surveillance, public health in China, and disease in China. In none of these cases did I have a personal connection or do anything outside debate to change them, but I still feel like debate has helped me in a lot of ways.

 

Like how do I personally feel about the args in real life, or how did I feel about them in the round?

 

 

In the context of the round I really liked the argument and thought they were doing really well on it. It kinda made me rethink how I approach debate and if I wanted to frame my affs in that way in the future.  

 

In real life, where I am a policy debater who 80-90% of the time is doing general Carbon Tax stuff and 10-20% of the time doing Antiblackness, I agree with the arguments Georgetown makes about why their approach to debate is still good even if they don't directly actuate their plans. 

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Like how do I personally feel about the args in real life, or how did I feel about them in the round?

 

 

In the context of the round I really liked the argument and thought they were doing really well on it. It kinda made me rethink how I approach debate and if I wanted to frame my affs in that way in the future.  

 

In real life, where I am a policy debater who 80-90% of the time is doing general Carbon Tax stuff and 10-20% of the time doing Antiblackness, I agree with the arguments Georgetown makes about why their approach to debate is still good even if they don't directly actuate their plans.

 

Yeah, I agree on both. Another thing I'd add that my personal subjecivity is impued in (the way I read information), (the way I cut that information into a card), (the way I use those cards to build a case), (my performance of that case in front of a judge), (my defense of that argument to the other team's arguments), and (the way I reflect about those arguments afterwards).

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When was that argument made? This seems like pretty reductionist and unfair framing of the round. I'm not gonna endorse specific comments made by Rutgers in that round, but this posts reads more as an example of why white uncomfortability is necessary in a space that has a problem legitimizing feelings of black uncomfortability. I thought it was made pretty clear in the beginning of the round that this wasn't about screwing over white people. 

At the point where Rutgers attacked Ezra and Natalie on a personal level it became that way. The way they framed white uncomfort was that since POC are always uncomfortable during debate tournaments then white people should be too, which is exclusion for inclusions sake. This isn't how we should be attempting to create inclusion in the debate space, hateful rhetoric doesn't get anyone anywhere.

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This situation raises an interesting series of questions: Where should we draw the line for, "unacceptable," argumentation and presentation in debate - and should we even draw that line at all? Outside of explicitly enshrined structural constructs (speech times, speaking order, don't bite each other, etc.), should we project any of our own sensibilities into the debate space before the round has even begun?

 

Let's play a game. I am going to list some commonly-held beliefs about debate - ask and answer yourself honestly if any of these statements are applicable to you.

  • "There exists an argument that I will never vote on regardless of its status on the flow."
  • "Whether it be for objective or subjective reasons, some matters are simply not debatable."
  • "Stylistically speaking, debate should model itself primarily in a particular and consistent manner."

In my opinion, these presumptions are antithetical to pure and unfiltered debate.

 

I personally view debate as a game in which the debaters establish both the content and the rules of play. Furthermore, if the teams disagree on the terms of the latter point, they are free to argue them just as they would the former. This outlines the principle of strict non-interventionism upon which I found my judging paradigm, under which none of the above assertions are compatible - "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted," a la Assassin's Creed. While my paradigm is not perfect, and a perfectly balanced game is practically impossible, it seems to do less damage to the integrity of the event than to force debaters to clash with me in addition to each other. I cannot in good conscience restrict the potential education and value of the activity for teams that may view and experience it differently than myself. (For example, I've had more than enough, "Kritiks are illegitimate," judges to last a lifetime.)

 

Accordingly, as for the round in question, I would have voted Negative on a severely low-point win (if applicable) on the grounds that they were winning on the flow. Although I personally detest both, "identity politics," and inflammatory rhetoric as a methodology, I can't export my own beliefs into the round without committing the very same infraction that I claim to indict - that being arbitrary censorship. If the Affirmative had both clearly articulated and won the argument that I should drop the Negative for their in-round behavior (essentially transcending the Framework debate), I would have voted on it, but I cannot make that determination in absence of those conditions.

 I like a lot of what you said here, but I think I disagree. There are plenty of things that people could say in a debate round which I would drop them for, regardless of whether the other team made an issue of it on the flow. I don't think we should pursue pure, unfiltered debate at the cost of permitting violence. Now, obviously there's a huge difference between what Rutgers did and, say, a white person using racial slurs, but it's the principle. I don't think it's valuable to preserve the integrity of the game at any and all costs.

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At the point where Rutgers attacked Ezra and Natalie on a personal level it became that way. The way they framed white uncomfort was that since POC are always uncomfortable during debate tournaments then white people should be too, which is exclusion for inclusions sake. This isn't how we should be attempting to create inclusion in the debate space, hateful rhetoric doesn't get anyone anywhere.

White uncomfortability =/= "if you're white then you're SOL" 

In fact, the claims made during the cross-x of the 1NC was the exact opposite. 

The neg was an interrogation and attack on the way debate operates, it wasn't predicated on excluding white people from the space.

I'm not saying it wasn't hostile/violent, but I don't think the argument was an attempt to exclude white people from the debate space, and I think the only people that would articulate it that way would be the people that suffer from the kind of white fragility Rutgers is critiquing, considering the black debaters deal with a different form of the same uncomfortability. 

Edited by AtlanticCoast

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So, here's what I think. First and foremost, it is not my role as a white person to decide how a black person should respond to their oppression, so I will not address that part of the issue. Instead I want to focus on the speech act itself rather than its ability or inability to act as a tool for liberation.

 

On that note, I really did not like Rutgers's neg strat. At all. Here are the main reasons why:

 

1) It's disrespectful to Natalie and Ezra, and to their families.

 

I hated the line in the 1NR where Nicole said she was happy that Georgetown's families would be watching the recording of the round and seeing their children getting harassed. To me, that is just cruel. I don't think anyone deserves to be talked to like that in an academic space. When that kind of taunting happens in a school, authorities step in and put an end to it, because it's violent and has real consequences. That kind of rhetoric can drive people to self-harm. Yet when it happens in a debate round, the people who are doing the taunting win the national championship for it? That doesn't seem right.

 

2) It's going to have repercussions for the community and the activity.

 

A lot of people are going to look at this and decide that policy debate isn't for them. Insecure teens won't want their flaws exposed and magnified in front of hundreds of people, and then to top it all off, validated with a ballot (or 4). Parents and coaches won't want to send their kids into that kind of environment, either. Also, people who were bent on excluding K teams before are going to be even more staunch about it because of this. And it gives them ammunition to say that the debates created by open interpretations of the resolution are interpersonal, nonacademic, and "ruin the activity". Rutgers correctly pointed out that the community is divided, there is real stigma against performance teams, and I can appreciate that it must suck to lose on framework when you're arguing a deeply personal identity-related aff. But I cannot see how a room full of K debaters cheering on Rutgers while they verbally cut down their opponents essentially for being a successful policy team will change any part of the situation for the better. 

 

3) It created a toxic atmosphere in the round.

 

I think there's a difference between necessary uncomfortably and what Rutgers did. The first time I hit an identity-based performance aff, I was hella uncomfortable. And that was good because it made me reflect on my privilege as a white person, and my ability to come into this space and leave my lived experience at the door. And the aff team in that round was absolutely savage, especially during the 2AR after I went for framework. They embarrassed us in cross x, and made us look really stupid. But they never attacked us, insulted our appearances, or anything like that. All of our discomfort stemmed from our inability to grapple with their narrative, which was seriously a good thing. But watching Rutgers vs Georgetown, I only felt the hostility, with things like "We should reject it just like Natalie ass" and "Ezra, you're a really bad cross x-er", to the point where the comedy roast was long over and Nicole was just hurling insults at Natalie in the 1NR. It was just over the top, and I don't think it's in the spirit of making debate inclusive or "a home". 

 

 

A few disclaimers:

1) I wasn't flowing so I don't know who I think should have won

2) Everything I said here comes from a position of privilege, so I know it could all be wrong

 

edit: typo

Pretty much perfectly articulates what I was saying. HUGE difference in making someone uncomfortable by taking down their arguments/practices that are problematic, and personal harassment. Not much more to say than what Rutgers did was cruel. They had a legit shot of winning just on the no disclosure/policy bad where they were winning - that would make Georgetown uncomfortable but not be verbal harassment. 

 

I don't see any political praxis of harassing people in the name of community.

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Most importantly, this round offers important, substantive, and critical dialogue that is important to conversations of the Collegiate policy debate space. We should all collectively agree that these were two competitively strong teams, and both teams had argumentation that was engaging. Congratulations to Rutgers on a well deserved win!

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I'm conflicted by the round.....on one hand I really disapprove of the practices rutgers conducted in round- i.e. making personal insults against g-town; on the other hand, I don't think the 2AR is making the right arguments to beat the combo procedural K.....

 

If I judged this round, I would've refused to give the ballot to either side out of frustration

 

if debate wants to be really inclusionary, then the strategy presented in the round won't do it because it will only cause more division, exclusion, and create more group division/polarization.....as a POC i'm really scared for what the fallout/effects of this round are going to be

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Edit - The small text below was my immediate reaction, but as time passes my opinion is radically changing and Im not sure I agree with a lot of this anymore. This round has probably "done" more in changing this community then any other round i have ever watched, and this community is in need of changing. I personally felt bad for Gtown but haven't completely formed my opinion yet - 

 

First of all, regardless if what happened was good or bad, I think at the minimum it has gotten a lot of us to think about our relationship to debate and what we expect out of the activity.

 

Secondly, I may not be black, but am a person of color. So although I don't understand what it means to be black or the violence black people experience, as a minority who loves debate, this debate did greatly effect me.

 

A lot of people are talking about who won the round but I honestly don't think it matters as much as the content of the round. In this post I will be inserting my own thoughts into the debate and not just view the debate holistically.  

 

Now, I have only been part of this community for a few years and have not personally experienced many forms of oppression (I guess I am fortunate) but, I do agree that the divide between CEDA and the NDT, Judge prefs, and so on are all ways in which debate is exclusionary and broken. However, I do not think debate is completely bad or always going to be bad. As someone who had no idea how to make friends or what to do in high school, debate has made my recent years 10 times better. From making friends at camp to the awesome things and knowledge I've gained about the world has made debate worth it for me. This Is just My experience and my connection to debate which I thought I should share because it implicated how I viewed the content of the round.

 

I understand the frustration of policy teams as there are some K affs that are just seem impossible to answer and often not being able to predict its content makes it even worse. On the other hand, without critiques I would never have known about a lot of harm that minority groups face from specific instances of anti blackness to the myth of the model minority to settler colonialism. Maybe because I was just an ignorant freshmen, or because these forms of violence are really invisibilized I don't really know. 

 

(Edit - Yes I understand Rutger's strategy was not afropessimism) I might face a lot of backlash for saying this but, I don't believe in afropessimism. I don't think all white people are bad and I honestly believe that some white people actively support black liberation. I think that the idea of a libidinal economy is falsifiable and I feel like it abandons all hope. I feel like in order for ME to FEEL that their strategy was ethically correct, I would have to believe in afropessimism in context outside the round. I would have to truly believe all white people are the reason why black people can never be comfortable in their own bodies and are always racist. Admittedly I have not a lot of literature about blackness but i am pretty sure that afropessimism is less than a quarter of all literature about blackness. This might be silly for me to say but I really cannot rap my head around the possibility of afropessimism as true when I see my black friends completely enjoying life and I see stories online on Facebook about how black and white kids are best friends and think getting the same haircut will make them look alike because skin color does not matter to them. I think there probably is  stigma against black people - but I don't think its A. universal or B. ontological.  As a debate community we care so much about how to win and beat arguments that  the most successful and common arguments are the ones that make totalizing claims about the world that are hard to answer and that is part of the problem in my opinion. 

 

As for the round in finals, I have never met Georgetown or Rutgers but my assumption tells me that they are all good people. I agree with the negative when they say that white uncomfortability is a good thing. White people should have to feel uncomfortable the same way people of color are discriminated against in the real world. They should know what it feels like. Problem is, I think I think there is a line between making people uncomfortability and harassment and I believe Rutgers crossed that line. Throwing insults from name-calling to  "you are bad at cross x" and "Im glad your parents are watching this" is terrible. I firmly agree with Ezra when he says that some people are very self-conscious about their bodies and that making fun of them could cause serious psychological harm. 

 

I agree that if debate was focused around actually doing things, that might be better, but I don't think rutgers utilization of that was good. (especially in the 1nr I think was not necessary) Yes we can have a community roast, but I didn't see georgetown agree to it and therefore it makes me think its no longer a community roast. The hostile nature of the round is much more likely to cause people who hate the K to hate it even more and create an even bigger divide in the community.  

 

Part of debates problem is that many debaters do get complacent with their imaginary fiat and do not actually do anything about the many people suffering they talk about in their various affirmative positions. But to me I don't understand why not knowing about something and not doing something is worse than knowing about something and not doing something. It might be morally wrong but the suffering stays the same, and I feel like at the minimum debate teaches us about problems in the world which at least creates a small chance someone might do something about it. 

 

I am persuaded by georgetown when they say things like we read new affs against everyone not just you, because then it becomes part of the game and not part of an exclusion strategy. Sure the way we do research is flawed in debate but I do agree that new affs give people an incentive to explore new areas of the topic that would have otherwise gone unresearched. These research skills are probably one of the few portable skills we get from debate and can help us succeed in other areas of our life. My hope is that if debate can teach us about the inequalities of the world and people are motivated to imagine solutions to those problems, (even if not immediately doing anything about it) their research skills would help them become A. more successful in life and B. more ethical individuals. This would mean that someday some life might be saved because for example someone's research skills helped them succeed in getting through med school and decided to provide free medical care to people in poverty. 

 

I also do agree that this is something I would never show my novices, regardless of their identity. The line in the 2AR about the antagonization between white and black people really spoke to me, and I realize that is not what I want my novices to expect out of debate. Debate changed my life because it gave me a place to go from all the supportive varsity debaters who gave me advice after crushing me in round to my Coach who would always tell me I am one of the most talented people he has ever met.

 

Regardless, do not let this take away from the fact that both of these teams worked tremendously hard and that it was a very competitive debate. I can't tell you who I would have voted for because I did not flow the round, based on the fact that it was a 4-1 I can only imagine Rutgers gave a more technical 2NR (it sounded that way) which would mean that I would vote for them and feel justified in doing so because they won the round and accomplished what they wanted. Although I would ideologically align myself with georgetown because I believe that debates about hypothetical strategies CAN be good things especially when their interpretation would allow for many critical strategies. I do believe that I would have enjoyed this debate a lot more, if the mode of performance was less hostile toward georgetown, a discussion of the anti blackness in order to make white people feel uncomfortable 

 

I am truly sorry If what I said was Irrelevant, Offensive, or even Incorrect - I tried my best and I felt the need to speak out - which I usually don't

Edited by kainai
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I might face a lot of backlash for saying this but, I don't believe in afropessimism. I don't think all white people are bad and I honestly believe that some white people actively support black liberation. I think that the idea of a libidinal economy is falsifiable and I feel like it abandons all hope. I feel like in order for ME to FEEL that their strategy was ethically correct, I would have to believe in afropessimism in context outside the round. I would have to truly believe all white people are the reason why black people can never be comfortable in their own bodies and are always racist. Admittedly I have not read much literature about blackness but i am pretty sure that afropessimism is less than a quarter of all literature about blackness. This might be silly for me to say but I really cannot rap my head around the possibility of afropessimism as true when I see my black friends completely enjoying life and I see stories online on Facebook about how black and white kids are best friends and think getting the same haircut will make them look alike because skin color does not matter to them. I think there probably is  stigma against black people - but I don't think its A. universal or B. ontological.  As a debate community we care so much about how to win and beat arguments that  the most successful and common arguments are the ones that make totalizing claims about the world that are hard to answer and that is part of the problem in my opinion. 

 

 

Where are the neg's arguments predicated on a belief in afropessimism? They neg is talking about the aff's approach to policymaking. The neg thinks politics can 

be exported and used to solve, just not in the way that the affirmative positions itself. I think the neg's conversation about antiblackness =/= an endorsement of afropessimism 

 

I'm not going to get into your personal views of racism, which I think also conflate afropessimism/antiblackness, but will let you hold those opinions. 

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