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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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I wish the roast had been more of a roast, honestly. It consisted of nothing but pop culture references and assertions that "X looks like Y". 

Yeah no the roasting could've been better. The Keebler elf line got me though not gonna lie.

 

Also I don't get why people are saying the jokes were ableist like not really it was just saying "you're ugly" that's not ableist thats just mean stop trying to label everything.

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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.

Yee Benny know's whats up

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Yo we should start having Cross-X roasts

I get roasted on every forum I comment on dude, it gets old @durbait

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Sometimes, when you're just fed up with the system, you just kinda have to say "fuck it" and quit trying to work with the system, start making the system have to work with you. I can get behind that.

 I can get behind that too, but isn't that what k debate and especially performance debate is all about? I don't understand why Rutgers's mean-spirited approach was necessary to (and I'm sorry for phrasing it like this) access that impact.

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 I can get behind that too, but isn't that what k debate and especially performance debate is all about? I don't understand why Rutgers's mean-spirited approach was necessary to (and I'm sorry for phrasing it like this) access that impact.

I mean I think it's less about K debate and performance debate in the traditional sense, I think you're still thinking of it with the presuppositions of a debate framework. I think what Rutgers was saying was more along the lines of "this is all we have left, and by god we're gonna fucking take it as far as we have to until you realize just how pissed we are." It's a survival strategy of sorts. So I think that yeah, being mean is kind of necessary, because debate has kind of been mean to them.

 

However cede the political doesn't just apply to the state I cannot stress enough that the one reason I would not have done what Rutgers did is because ceding the political probably means you can't ever get anything done.

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Comments from a friend of mine (although I 100% agree with the following):

Watching the round multiple times made me more uncomfortable. On one level, I understand the reciprocity arguments of debate but the strategy of personal attacks could have been a lot better. There was a way to induce discomfort (which I believe was one of the neg’s goals), and a more productive discussion probably could and should have started with the already fractured community. The Rutgers strategy would have been more productive in terms of the community as a whole had they used the discomfort to further issues such as the policy/K divide (which was touched on in the 2NC) instead of delving into personal attacks, which only seemed to hurt Georgetown and incite controversy rather than bring attention to black humor as a legitimate strategy.  I don’t see how mocking certain people sets a good precedent for what we value and what we teach in a debate space. There’s certainly a risk of some backlash here, especially from administrations and outsiders of debate—is this the picture that we want debate to look like?


That being said, it certainly was an effective strategy insofar as it first, got them the win, and second, got  people talking about “The Roast” and what it meant for them to shatter what it means to debate. We won’t be able to tell whether it was successful until we give it some time; certainly we’ve talked about it much more than if they had done something “standard”. As a person of color, but as a non-black debater, I think that the strategy employed worked to shock our community into realizing all of the things we have to fix, but could overall be very detrimental to community building and fracturing it further, threatening important coalitions.
 
Overall, it worked, but do not believe the personal attacks were justified ethically, even if the broader message of their argument is.
Edited by Piedude
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So here are some of my thoughts. As a non-black debater of color, I really appreciate this round and what we can potentially learn from it.

 

I think it's easy to brush off Rutgers' demonstration as illegitimate and bad form of debate on face simply because it's seems mean-spirited, harsh, and over the line at times. This isn't to say that it wasn't; however, this also isn't to say Rutgers' demonstration didn't have a valid point. A lot of people are probably going to say something along the lines of "it was good in theory, bad in practice" and subsequently reject the idea altogether.

 

At the end of the day, I will still have hella mad respect for Rutgers, because they are undoubtedly one of the best teams to have ever done college policy. I think they do genuinely care about creating a space for the black community in debate, and I think they genuinely attempted to do something about it in that round (which is more than I can say for most debaters).

 

Were they successful? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. Many people will immediately respond no; others will disagree. It hasn’t even been less than a day, but I think this round will be remembered and analyzed and pored over for years to come. At least I hope it will.

 

It would have been so much easier to just have a nice K v policy round, right? Maybe black rage or some form of afro-pessimism- just a nice, simple argument form that we could comprehend and evaluate from a well-known team from which it was to be expected. Something the kids could look up to.

 

The Roast, as we’ll call it, would be a deviation from this expectation. That’s easy to see.

 

“Great," you might say. "So they're just doing this to be contrary? Because no one would see it coming and being complete assholes wouldn't be expected? That'll set a fantastic norm for debate."

 

That’s certainly a valid point. Change for the sake of change seems just a bit counter-intuitive.

 

But I don’t think The Roast is simply a disruption of propriety. "Disruption" is a safer and softer term, used to indicate that something is being done to bring attention to something that deviates from the squo. I think it was meant to be a shattering of propriety- an annihilation, destruction of some of the normative practices of debate.

 

“Edgy™,” you might reply.

 

And you flinch away from it, because it wasn’t just mean; it was violent.

 

It was angry and vicious and violent and uncalled for, right?

 

Maybe.

 

I’m of course not saying that Georgetown deserved such attacks, that they were somehow personally oppressive to Rutgers and deserved to be beaten so personally because they were white or ran framework or didn’t disclose or whatever. I am saying, however, that some of Georgetown's tactics, as part of normative debate, are hella anti-black (as normative debate is hella anti-black).

 

The blatant violence and aggression Rutgers displays and utilizes is perhaps the hardest part of their position to understand. It’s hard because we aren’t black (this aimed @non-black debaters obv). It’s hard because we don’t have to experience that kind of violence in the debate community. It’s hard because we cannot fathom-- cannot even begin to understand.

 

So yeah that makes it a little hard. It makes it difficult to see past adhom attacks and blatant bullying. Any and all responses along the lines of “okay but that doesn’t justify x, y, and z” are just demonstrations of that lack of understanding.

 

The point of Rutgers’ demonstration was to shatter debate by utilizing black humor. Parts of debate, at least. It’s a violent methodology to the current state of debate, because debate is currently unwelcoming to black humor-- which means most would deem it unappealing, uncouth, improper, not nice (read: according to white standards).

 

“There are better ways- peaceful ways”

Maybe. Probably. There are plenty of other rounds in which Rutgers and other AB/AP teams have made white people uncomfortable without this particular methodology, but it's been less than 24 hours and we've had so much to say about this particular round. We currently have so much more attention dedicated to the anti-blackness issue in debate than we'd have had if Rutgers had run some AB/AP K. Of course, this could be because this is NDT finals, but I think it's more than that.

 

Speaking of.

 

 

“NDT finals is not the place”

 

NDT finals is the place. Come on. Unless you think identity politics just doesn't have a place in debate at all, in which case that's an entirely separate conversation.

 

 

“They need to set a precedent”

 

They are setting a precedence. Maybe not one everyone likes or one everyone agrees with, but it’s certainly revolutionary. And with revolutions come opposition. All I can say is that a maintenance of the status quo (having a nice K v policy round, reading framework preempts against an expected identity k, maintaining propriety) isn’t likely to make debate a better space.

 

 

“They’re being exclusive when trying to be inclusive”

 

I think there's a mixing of roles here. They’re being excluded by the very virtue of being black in debate. Debate and its current normative practices certainly weren’t created with them in mind. This wasn’t just an act and call for resistance and equality; it was an act of self-defense in the face of violence against the black debate community. It was an act of retaliation.

 

.....

 

At the end of the day, though, it's also important to note that Georgetown gets to walk out of the round with their whiteness intact. They don't run the risk of their arguments losing credibility and don't have to worry about magnetizing bullets and are allowed to be safe once again in the space that is made comfortable for white people. 

 

...

 

Ah, there's a lot to say and a lot to think about. More than anything I urge people to listen and learn and engage. I apologize for any incoherencies in my thoughts, but I'd love to hear what others think.

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So here are some of my thoughts. As a non-black debater of color, I really appreciate this round and what we can potentially learn from it.

 

I think it's easy to brush off Rutgers' demonstration as illegitimate and bad form of debate on face simply because it's seems mean-spirited, harsh, and over the line at times. This isn't to say that it wasn't; however, this also isn't to say Rutgers' demonstration didn't have a valid point. A lot of people are probably going to say something along the lines of "it was good in theory, bad in practice" and subsequently reject the idea altogether.

 

At the end of the day, I will still have hella mad respect for Rutgers, because they are undoubtedly one of the best teams to have ever done college policy. I think they do genuinely care about creating a space for the black community in debate, and I think they genuinely attempted to do something about it in that round (which is more than I can say for most debaters).

 

Were they successful? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. Many people will immediately respond no; others will disagree. It hasn’t even been less than a day, but I think this round will be remembered and analyzed and pored over for years to come. At least I hope it will.

 

It would have been so much easier to just have a nice K v policy round, right? Maybe black rage or some form of afro-pessimism- just a nice, simple argument form that we could comprehend and evaluate from a well-known team from which it was to be expected. Something the kids could look up to.

 

The Roast, as we’ll call it, would be a deviation from this expectation. That’s easy to see.

 

“Great," you might say. "So they're just doing this to be contrary? Because no one would see it coming and being complete assholes wouldn't be expected? That'll set a fantastic norm for debate."

 

That’s certainly a valid point. Change for the sake of change seems just a bit counter-intuitive.

 

But I don’t think The Roast is simply a disruption of propriety. "Disruption" is a safer and softer term, used to indicate that something is being done to bring attention to something that deviates from the squo. I think it was meant to be a shattering of propriety- an annihilation, destruction of some of the normative practices of debate.

 

“Edgy™,” you might reply.

 

And you flinch away from it, because it wasn’t just mean; it was violent.

 

It was angry and vicious and violent and uncalled for, right?

 

Maybe.

 

I’m of course not saying that Georgetown deserved such attacks, that they were somehow personally oppressive to Rutgers and deserved to be beaten so personally because they were white or ran framework or didn’t disclose or whatever. I am saying, however, that some of Georgetown's tactics, as part of normative debate, are hella anti-black (as normative debate is hella anti-black).

 

The blatant violence and aggression Rutgers displays and utilizes is perhaps the hardest part of their position to understand. It’s hard because we aren’t black (this aimed @non-black debaters obv). It’s hard because we don’t have to experience that kind of violence in the debate community. It’s hard because we cannot fathom-- cannot even begin to understand.

 

So yeah that makes it a little hard. It makes it difficult to see past adhom attacks and blatant bullying. Any and all responses along the lines of “okay but that doesn’t justify x, y, and z” are just demonstrations of that lack of understanding.

 

The point of Rutgers’ demonstration was to shatter debate by utilizing black humor. Parts of debate, at least. It’s a violent methodology to the current state of debate, because debate is currently unwelcoming to black humor-- which means most would deem it unappealing, uncouth, improper, not nice (read: according to white standards).

 

“There are better ways- peaceful ways”

Maybe. Probably. There are plenty of other rounds in which Rutgers and other AB/AP teams have made white people uncomfortable without this particular methodology, but it's been less than 24 hours and we've had so much to say about this particular round. We currently have so much more attention dedicated to the anti-blackness issue in debate than we'd have had if Rutgers had run some AB/AP K. Of course, this could be because this is NDT finals, but I think it's more than that.

 

Speaking of.

 

 

“NDT finals is not the place”

 

NDT finals is the place. Come on. Unless you think identity politics just doesn't have a place in debate at all, in which case that's an entirely separate conversation.

 

 

“They need to set a precedent”

 

They are setting a precedence. Maybe not one everyone likes or one everyone agrees with, but it’s certainly revolutionary. And with revolutions come opposition. All I can say is that a maintenance of the status quo (having a nice K v policy round, reading framework preempts against an expected identity k, maintaining propriety) isn’t likely to make debate a better space.

 

 

“They’re being exclusive when trying to be inclusive”

 

I think there's a mixing of roles here. They’re being excluded by the very virtue of being black in debate. Debate and its current normative practices certainly weren’t created with them in mind. This wasn’t just an act and call for resistance and equality; it was an act of self-defense in the face of violence against the black debate community. It was an act of retaliation.

 

.....

 

At the end of the day, though, it's also important to note that Georgetown gets to walk out of the round with their whiteness intact. They don't run the risk of their arguments losing credibility and don't have to worry about magnetizing bullets and are allowed to be safe once again in the space that is made comfortable for white people. 

 

...

 

Ah, there's a lot to say and a lot to think about. More than anything I urge people to listen and learn and engage. I apologize for any incoherencies in my thoughts, but I'd love to hear what others think.

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So here are some of my thoughts. As a non-black debater of color, I really appreciate this round and what we can potentially learn from it.

 

I think it's easy to brush off Rutgers' demonstration as illegitimate and bad form of debate on face simply because it's seems mean-spirited, harsh, and over the line at times. This isn't to say that it wasn't; however, this also isn't to say Rutgers' demonstration didn't have a valid point. A lot of people are probably going to say something along the lines of "it was good in theory, bad in practice" and subsequently reject the idea altogether.

 

At the end of the day, I will still have hella mad respect for Rutgers, because they are undoubtedly one of the best teams to have ever done college policy. I think they do genuinely care about creating a space for the black community in debate, and I think they genuinely attempted to do something about it in that round (which is more than I can say for most debaters).

 

Were they successful? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. Many people will immediately respond no; others will disagree. It hasn’t even been less than a day, but I think this round will be remembered and analyzed and pored over for years to come. At least I hope it will.

 

It would have been so much easier to just have a nice K v policy round, right? Maybe black rage or some form of afro-pessimism- just a nice, simple argument form that we could comprehend and evaluate from a well-known team from which it was to be expected. Something the kids could look up to.

 

The Roast, as we’ll call it, would be a deviation from this expectation. That’s easy to see.

 

“Great," you might say. "So they're just doing this to be contrary? Because no one would see it coming and being complete assholes wouldn't be expected? That'll set a fantastic norm for debate."

 

That’s certainly a valid point. Change for the sake of change seems just a bit counter-intuitive.

 

But I don’t think The Roast is simply a disruption of propriety. "Disruption" is a safer and softer term, used to indicate that something is being done to bring attention to something that deviates from the squo. I think it was meant to be a shattering of propriety- an annihilation, destruction of some of the normative practices of debate.

 

“Edgy™,” you might reply.

 

And you flinch away from it, because it wasn’t just mean; it was violent.

 

It was angry and vicious and violent and uncalled for, right?

 

Maybe.

 

I’m of course not saying that Georgetown deserved such attacks, that they were somehow personally oppressive to Rutgers and deserved to be beaten so personally because they were white or ran framework or didn’t disclose or whatever. I am saying, however, that some of Georgetown's tactics, as part of normative debate, are hella anti-black (as normative debate is hella anti-black).

 

The blatant violence and aggression Rutgers displays and utilizes is perhaps the hardest part of their position to understand. It’s hard because we aren’t black (this aimed @non-black debaters obv). It’s hard because we don’t have to experience that kind of violence in the debate community. It’s hard because we cannot fathom-- cannot even begin to understand.

 

So yeah that makes it a little hard. It makes it difficult to see past adhom attacks and blatant bullying. Any and all responses along the lines of “okay but that doesn’t justify x, y, and z” are just demonstrations of that lack of understanding.

 

The point of Rutgers’ demonstration was to shatter debate by utilizing black humor. Parts of debate, at least. It’s a violent methodology to the current state of debate, because debate is currently unwelcoming to black humor-- which means most would deem it unappealing, uncouth, improper, not nice (read: according to white standards).

 

“There are better ways- peaceful ways”

Maybe. Probably. There are plenty of other rounds in which Rutgers and other AB/AP teams have made white people uncomfortable without this particular methodology, but it's been less than 24 hours and we've had so much to say about this particular round. We currently have so much more attention dedicated to the anti-blackness issue in debate than we'd have had if Rutgers had run some AB/AP K. Of course, this could be because this is NDT finals, but I think it's more than that.

 

Speaking of.

 

 

“NDT finals is not the place”

 

NDT finals is the place. Come on. Unless you think identity politics just doesn't have a place in debate at all, in which case that's an entirely separate conversation.

 

 

“They need to set a precedent”

 

They are setting a precedence. Maybe not one everyone likes or one everyone agrees with, but it’s certainly revolutionary. And with revolutions come opposition. All I can say is that a maintenance of the status quo (having a nice K v policy round, reading framework preempts against an expected identity k, maintaining propriety) isn’t likely to make debate a better space.

 

 

“They’re being exclusive when trying to be inclusive”

 

I think there's a mixing of roles here. They’re being excluded by the very virtue of being black in debate. Debate and its current normative practices certainly weren’t created with them in mind. This wasn’t just an act and call for resistance and equality; it was an act of self-defense in the face of violence against the black debate community. It was an act of retaliation.

 

.....

 

At the end of the day, though, it's also important to note that Georgetown gets to walk out of the round with their whiteness intact. They don't run the risk of their arguments losing credibility and don't have to worry about magnetizing bullets and are allowed to be safe once again in the space that is made comfortable for white people. 

 

...

 

Ah, there's a lot to say and a lot to think about. More than anything I urge people to listen and learn and engage. I apologize for any incoherencies in my thoughts, but I'd love to hear what others think.

Hi there, so I wanted to respond to a couple of the points that you made. You said that having a nice K v. policy round won't make debate safer... Ok then what will. This debate certainly did not. The Roast quickly devolved and the "making white people uncomfortable" argument is not new and is a testament to the fact that it is still not working.

Also you said normative debate is pretty anti-black. Rather than take this as a given I would like to ask how? I have thought this over considerably and would like to hear your reasoning. It seems to me that regardless of who invented policy debate, discussions of the whether the govermnet ought to do something are not inherently anti black in the same way that soccer is not inherently anti black because a person in england created it. What specific practices are anti black in policy debate?  

You also said that Rutgers was being excluded by the very fact of being black in debate but once again I'm going to press you on specifics. How is debate different than any other place with lots of white guys. why is debate uniquely exclusive and how does excluding traditional policy debate, which is separate from person to person interatctions, change any of the that. You see the neg falls into the very same trap which so many liberation affs set for policy teams. A policy can not fix everything. Excluding one form of debate won't change the way people of color are viewed. that is an issue separate to argumentative styles.

You said there was violence against the black debate community. If so that is terrible but why should that involve this round. Making the argument of fairness for whom because i have a structural inequality is like saying that a sprinter shouldn't have to start at the same line as everyone else because they have suffered in their life.n No athlete would want that, including the sprinter, for it destroys the purpose of a competition, game, or activity, and does not allow us to do our best to achieve things, hardship is not a reason to win a game and the ballot only has meaning because you worked for it, just winning a sports competition only has value because you worked for it. Also, where is this violence? I am sure violence exists but you can't just say something is true and applies to the entirety of a group.

Finally you say that georgetown gets to keep their whiteness intact. So what? They were white before during and after the debate round. You said they don't run the risk of their arguments losing crediblity! Did you not just watch the debate round! It was about their arguments losing credibility...

Finally I agree that police brutality is terrible but how is that at all something "important to note." I don't think that the ballot should be given out according to whether police brutality is a thing... What's the point of winning a debate if you win it for reasons outside of your control, let alone winning because the police commit murder.

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You said there was violence against the black debate community. If so that is terrible but why should that involve this round. Making the argument of fairness for whom because i have a structural inequality is like saying that a sprinter shouldn't have to start at the same line as everyone else because they have suffered in their life.n No athlete would want that, including the sprinter, for it destroys the purpose of a competition, game, or activity, and does not allow us to do our best to achieve things, hardship is not a reason to win a game and the ballot only has meaning because you worked for it, just winning a sports competition only has value because you worked for it. Also, where is this violence? I am sure violence exists but you can't just say something is true and applies to the entirety of a group.

this is a forum about the merits of NDT finals - not a framework debate so hop off those blocks for a sec.

 

that being said, this argument has some pretty bad implications. If not in a round, then where? Where is there space to talk about debate if not in debate? Do you really think the same amount of discussion produced by that round would have been produced had they not implicated social location in a controversial way, in an important round?

 

"Where is this violence?" I think a cogent example is Kansas HW's "list" of unacceptable affs that were pretty much only blackness teams. They essentially gave a case list of things another team's model justified when they were going for FW, and the affs they mentioned were only race teams, implying that those types of debaters don't deserve a place in the resolution, or debate. If you don't understand why that's anti-black, then you've got some learning to do.

 

To address your fairness claims - what happens when sprinters structurally, rather than procedurally can't begin from the same position? The assumption that the topic enables a neutral approach to it paves over differences inherent to identity which create different ways of relating or accessing the topic. It is impossible to begin from the same point, and the belief that everyone can is absurd and probably anti-black.

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Hi there, so I wanted to respond to a couple of the points that you made. You said that having a nice K v. policy round won't make debate safer... Ok then what will. This debate certainly did not. The Roast quickly devolved and  (1) the "making white people uncomfortable" argument is not new and is a testament to the fact that it is still not working.

(2) Also you said normative debate is pretty anti-black. Rather than take this as a given I would like to ask how? I have thought this over considerably and would like to hear your reasoning. It seems to me that regardless of who invented policy debate, discussions of the whether the govermnet ought to do something are not inherently anti black in the same way that soccer is not inherently anti black because a person in england created it. What specific practices are anti black in policy debate?  

(3) You also said that Rutgers was being excluded by the very fact of being black in debate but once again I'm going to press you on specifics. How is debate different than any other place with lots of white guys. why is debate uniquely exclusive and how does excluding traditional policy debate, which is separate from person to person interatctions, change any of the that. (4) You see the neg falls into the very same trap which so many liberation affs set for policy teams. A policy can not fix everything. (5) Excluding one form of debate won't change the way people of color are viewed. that is an issue separate to argumentative styles.

 (6) You said there was violence against the black debate community. If so that is terrible but why should that involve this round.  (7) Making the argument of fairness for whom because i have a structural inequality is like saying that a sprinter shouldn't have to start at the same line as everyone else because they have suffered in their life.n No athlete would want that, including the sprinter, for it destroys the purpose of a competition, game, or activity, and does not allow us to do our best to achieve things, hardship is not a reason to win a game and the ballot only has meaning because you worked for it, just winning a sports competition only has value because you worked for it. Also, where is this violence?  (8) I am sure violence exists but you can't just say something is true and applies to the entirety of a group.

(9) Finally you say that georgetown gets to keep their whiteness intact. So what? They were white before during and after the debate round. You said they don't run the risk of their arguments losing crediblity! Did you not just watch the debate round! It was about their arguments losing credibility...

Finally I agree that police brutality is terrible but how is that at all something "important to note." (10)I don't think that the ballot should be given out according to whether police brutality is a thing... What's the point of winning a debate if you win it for reasons outside of your control, let alone winning because the police commit murder.

1- the fact that this debate is happening right now across cross-x and with other coaches proves that it is working

 

2- As a structure and organization, debate is pretty antiblack on a few fronts. A- there's hella implicit biases against black speakers or black people in general that judges and other students haven't or can't correct for that plays out during rounds. B- In high school circuits you concentrate black debaters into UDL and argue that it's better than nothing, but once black debaters try to reintegrate into the system, they're accused of dividing the community that was already divided against them. C- Black debaters that aren't in the UDL feel isolated and like stand-ins for their entire communities. This is especially true in other debate fields like PF where black people have to listen to mostly white kids debate about whether black people should get reparations or whether the VRA should be overturned while furthering a litany of racist arguments and insults that get veiled under the name of scholarship. These comments also exist in CX, but aren't oriented around the topic. D- There are explicitly racist people in debate. I have been the direct target of racial slurs and a physical threat that centered around me being black. I have seen/heard comments made by judges/teams that should not fly anywhere. 

 

3- "Antiblackness is nonunique" is a dumb argument. Nobody said it was specific to policy debate, but that doesn't mean it should be allowed to persist in policy debate. Antiblackness permeates through society, that's the whole premise...If you think we should ignore antiblackness in debate because it happens everywhere, that's antiblack in itself. 

 

4- The neg never asked the aff to solve everything. I think you need to rewatch the round, because you're making a bunch of random assertions that don't hold up. The neg argued the aff propagated violence. The neg didn't fall into a trap, if anything the aff did. You also shouldn't make these sweeping generalizatons of black liberation teams considering it doesn't seem like you were watching the round very closely. 

 

5- Nobody said it would...

 

6- Because it can. 

 

7- This analogy is bad...and kinda offensive. Black debaters arent asking for special treatment because of antiblackness. That was never the articulation, and you incorrectly reducing the argument to this level is very unprofessional. The argument is that you need to interrogate your place in the debate space and how that impacts how it functions. Nobody was saying "give us a leg up because we're black", we're saying you need to know how it feels to be uncomfortable in this space like we do.

 

8- Refer to my points under (2), or refer to the arguments about black uncomfortability in the space made during the round or made during a litany of debates on antiblackness.

 

9- Georgetown will still get the benefit of being white in an antiblack society, as evident that people are more concerned with criticizing the explicit violence of Rutgers' kritik rather than the implicit violence that permeates through the community. Their arguments didn't "lose credibility" because they are white. The arguments made in the round were sometimes centered on their whiteness though. 

 

10- I literally don't know what you're talking about here.

Edited by AtlanticCoast
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It's been a while since I've posted on here but I came back because I was very interested in hearing about what the community had to say about this round. I think there are a number of important talking points in regards to this round. 

 

I agree with what several people have already said that the idea is good, but the execution was poor.

 

I believe it was NoNegFiat that said that their first encounter with performance debate made them uncomfortable in a productive way. I can distinctly remember the first time I hit a K Aff. At the time I was a typical policy oriented debater with only a rough understanding of what a kritik was, let alone that an aff could not affirm a policy by the federal government. During this round, my partner and I were confused, uncomfortable, and even a little bit afraid. We totally butchered the 1NC because, having no idea what a K aff even was, we didn't even know what framework was or how to argue against this aff. The judge, seeing that we were totally lost, didn't know what to say, and as a result were being vaguely offensive, stopped the debate, gave the aff the win, and then initiated a discussion about the subject. That was the event that initiated my fascination with kritiks, and within a couple years kritiks and K affs became a staple for me and my partner.

 

This is the type of uncomfortableness that is productive. It's productive because it reveals a lack of understanding about what the other side is talking about. Being uncomfortable can be an illuminating, educating experience because it makes you realize that you don't have all the answers, that there's something more to know. In that sense, being uncomfortable is literally productive in the sense of generating learning, and can be an incredibly useful method for combatting systemic violence, as it was for me. 

 

Rutgers failed. They certainly created uncomfortableness, but it wasn't generative. What came away from Rutger's method was vindictiveness, spite, and cruelty. It seemed to me that Rutgers was out for blood, and the sight of it only further incensed them. Rutgers' performance was fundamentally violent, and I don't believe that fighting violence with violence can ever lead to peace. I believe that one of the supposed merits of their performance was to flip the script of violence, forcing Georgetown to experience the sense of displacement that people of color constantly feel, thus empowering Rutgers. But the power they gain is that of the bully, not a power that can lead to equality. And I think it's unfortunate that the power of the bully can so easily be conflated with the power necessary to challenge systemic inequality, but I believe that that happened here. 

 

I also think that Georgetown made a very valid point in saying that Rutgers' method is only going to fracture the community more. I think that for the most part this has been discussed sufficiently in this thread, but I would like to add something else related to this which I feel has gone largely ignored. As Chaos mentioned earlier, a good roast has a subtlety that Rutgers' roast lacked. What they did instead was settle for ad hominem roasts that centered on appearance and personality. I think that this focus is what made it so easy for Rutgers to slip from funny and productive to mean. The issue that I immediately thought of is that there is a certain arrogance in this line of attack that presumes that the roaster knows the person getting roasted. Because fundamentally the solvency of the neg lies in the effect that the roast has on the aff. And if the roast hits home with Georgetown in a way that that first K aff did with me, then it is effective. But it is also so easy to make a mistake, and roast an aspect about a debater or their families that hits home in a way that is in fact very serious. I thought about this because I have certain personal issues in my life that people don't know about, and that I certainly won't broadcast on a public thread like this. But certain comments in this debate directed towards Georgetown affected me in a way that would have been cruel, not uncomfortable, had they been directed towards me. People should be very careful not to assume that they know everyone in the room well enough to say some of the things that Rutgers decided to say.

 

And I ultimately didn't think that the neg's method was liberating. I'm Hispanic, not black, but I don't feel that their method is a way to create the productive discomfort that I think is so helpful for people to experience. I do think that they won the debate, although while I was paying attention I wasn't flowing the round. But Rutgers should know as well as anyone that tech isn't necessarily truth.

 

EDIT: 

 

Just one more thought--one of the important aspects of performance debate is performance as argument. Just as Rutgers argued that it is absurd for Georgetown to make an argument that isn't tied to the flesh, it is equally absurd to try to separate the argument Rutgers was trying to make from their performance of it when trying to evaluate the round. Yes, I think the argument that Rutgers was trying to make was good, but if their performance of it was bad then they should lose. To think otherwise would be the same as to say that if Georgetown read a really really good plan they should win regardless of their articulation of it. This isn't a framework argument that was made in round, but I think it's an important one for thinking about.

Edited by MartyP
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@frenchwa tbh I don't really think those were any of their arguments.

 

I had the same initial gut reaction to the round, but I think the thesis of their argument is correct. It also is probably too soon to determine the solvency of their strat. But that everyone is talking about it is probably proof that it raises awareness of the issues in debate.

 

To be fair, many performance teams have been asking for some time to not have their argument separated from their performance (see Emporia in 2013). Rutgers should honestly have higher standards for their own performance but that's besides the point. However, both issues should probably be considered, and I think we're seeing that consideration now. Maybe Rutgers' solvency isn't in the round.

 

I don't really see why debate should have to be uniquely racist or white for that aspect to be criticized. As for how it is racist, you know you can just ask Rashid about this, right? He's probably better able to answer this that most people.

 

Debate about debate is probably good. I don't understand why you think this is analogous to track. Part of why debate is cool is that the rules are negotiable. Also, Rutgers' argument is a *little* different from "we're discriminated against, give us the ballot and/or handicap." They're making a claim about how their performance can affect other rounds in the debate space, this was their uniting the crowns argument. Usually I don't think any one round can have that much influence, but it's different when Rutgers is only the second team to unite the crown.

 

The thing about Georgetown is that chances are nobody is going to think policy debate isn't an allowable or credible form of debate but people will still run framework against K affs.

 

Rutgers didn't make an claim about police brutality to my knowledge. Also, their argument about plan focus bad wasn't that the state is anti black, it was spectator mentality.

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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 uncomfortability 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

 

Most of my thoughts as a critical debater have already been stated so I'm happy for that but just some of my personal thoughts as I do agree with Benny that multiple people should weigh in on the questions offered in the poll.

 

All these things that nonegfiat said should have been the 2AC. I don't think Ezra adequately argued this from a race-based perspective/ realized as Natalie did that the Framework argument functioned as an Anti-Blackness K. I'm sure he's ten times as qualified as I am, but I'm wondering why he chose to answer it from a very victimized standpoint, basically walking into the 2NC's arguments about how the community he is describing IS basically civil society as critiqued from a Wildersonian perspective and how him being uncomfortable is the goal of the strategy.

 

I think the media argument is especially damning and I would have voted on it instantly (Note: Definitely not qualified to be a NDT/ college debate judge, but I think I can make a stand) without an extremely compelling 2NC argument. The Finals of the NDT is a huge event, and I think that the negative winning this claim ends up hurting them a lot more in junction with the performance/ "roast."

 

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. 

 

 

 

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

 

This is why the 2NC sells the debate for me. The performance's inherent notion of explicit/ implicit violence and their dichotomy arguments however definitely win if the debate is viewed in a vacuum with qualified, knowledgeable judges. I do think that they could have done the performance in a less over-the-top, maybe more friendly manner (Note: I am white, cis, etc. so it's not really my position to judge what should be considered adequate but I'm using the media argument as a basis here).

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Hey there cross-x,

I initially didn't want to weigh in, because I wanted more time to study the round and read through y'alls opinions (which in my view are really quite excellent by the way) before I came to a firm stance on this topic. Let me begin with a primer, I am a black man, debating for a high school with a really small policy debate program, so I understand at least some degree of the struggles described by Rutgers. With that in mind let me give you my honest opinion.

1) Was What Rutgers did an effective strategy of liberation?

For this I would first like to ask, Why the hell should it matter? If Rutgers deems this as an applicable strategy to liberate and open up a space for black debaters in our community, who are we to say what is "good" or "effective", on a personal level I don't understand the significance of the question. But secondly, of course it is, the idea of making white people uncomfortable (at least from the perspective of the negative) is instrinsicly a good method of liberation, because it lets white people catch a glimpse at what it's like to be in a constant space where you don't feel at home day after day. I think that maybe a few of the jokes about Ezra were a little mean, and probably unbecoming of a debate round in the "traditional" sense. And I think there is a definite case that the treatment of Natalie is obviously problematic, but  I don't think the so-called roast comes close to the violence black folks have to deal with on a day by day basis 

2) Was what Rutgers did ethical? Probably not. But it mirrors the treatment of black folks in the debate space and civil society, so that leads into the further question of is debate itself ethical to debaters of color? If your answer is yes, than the "violence" in the round affects Rutgers significantly more, and thus is non-unique.

3) I think Rutgers deserved to win the round. 

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1) Was What Rutgers did an effective strategy of liberation?

For this I would first like to ask, Why the hell should it matter? If Rutgers deems this as an applicable strategy to liberate and open up a space for black debaters in our community, who are we to say what is "good" or "effective", on a personal level I don't understand the significance of the question. But secondly, of course it is, the idea of making white people uncomfortable (at least from the perspective of the negative) is instrinsicly a good method of liberation, because it lets white people catch a glimpse at what it's like to be in a constant space where you don't feel at home day after day. I think that maybe a few of the jokes about Ezra were a little mean, and probably unbecoming of a debate round in the "traditional" sense. And I think there is a definite case that the treatment of Natalie is obviously problematic, but  I don't think the so-called roast comes close to the violence black folks have to deal with on a day by day basis 

 

The way you think of white people seems odd to me. Do you think that white people have never felt discomfort before? Or never felt uncomfortable in a debate round before? Maybe if I imagined white people as some alien race with totally different emotions from normal human emotions, this idea would make sense. But that's not an accurate picture. I'm completely confident that Ezra and Natalie have experienced embarrassment in public before, and that they've heard mean things said about them publicly before, given that those are universal human experiences. If it's something more specific that's supposed to matter, then the other half of the comparison falls flat, in that I'm confident no black people have gone through the experience of watching as people at a debate tournament made offensive jokes targeting them personally for several minutes in-round only to receive public applause and a big trophy.  A one time public roasting session does not do a good job mirroring the day to day discomfort that black people experience, the only similarity is the general emotion of discomfort, the manifestation is completely different. I really don't see the sense in acting like this was a unique and transformative experience and opportunity for growth for those involved. It was a juvenile bullying session, right down to the quality of the insults, not some sort of interesting reciprocal social experiment that will change everyone's lives forever.

 

I agree that it shouldn't matter whether this was an effective strategy in the sense that I agree people should be allowed to read whatever arguments they want to read. However, discussions of effectiveness are important for people who care about improving debate. For what it's worth, I voted that Rutgers was justified to try this strategy, and that they deserved to win. But I think they failed regardless, and were unethical.

Edited by Chaos
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@ydavid

In my mind, the next logical step of their alternative is to make debate as a whole an uncomfortable space for white people. Is this the ideal version of the alternative? To me, it seems that one round (even the NDT) is unlikely to change anything and that making every round like this would just make debate an even more hostile space.

 

Another question: why is it necessary to make white people uncomfortable in the competitive space of a debate round as opposed to casual social interactions?

 

I ask these questions with respect, although the tone of them sounds critical.

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Does anyone know where one could get the ballots?

They usually write them at a later date since the Final round is so late. Usually they post them on Ceda debate forums in a few weeks.

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@ydavid

In my mind, the next logical step of their alternative is to make debate as a whole an uncomfortable space for white people. Is this the ideal version of the alternative? To me, it seems that one round (even the NDT) is unlikely to change anything and that making every round like this would just make debate an even more hostile space.

 

Another question: why is it necessary to make white people uncomfortable in the competitive space of a debate round as opposed to casual social interactions?

 

I ask these questions with respect, although the tone of them sounds critical.

 

What does black uncomfortability do for the debate space as you see it? Is it hostile?

 

I'll answer your questions as far as I see them (speaking for me as a black debater, not all black debaters), but I kinda wanna understand how you currently view the debate space first so that I get a better understanding of what you're asking. 

 

As a preliminary response, I'll say that white uncomfortability is needed in a multitude of spaces. The fact that debate isn't the only space where it could be beneficial doesn't mean that it isn't necessary. 

Edited by AtlanticCoast

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What does black uncomfortability do for the debate space as you see it? Is it hostile?

 

I'll answer your questions as far as I see them (speaking for me as a black debater, not all black debaters), but I kinda wanna understand how you currently view the debate space first.

 

I don't think Black uncomfortability is good in the slightest. Yet, I don't think it justifies white uncomfortability. I think violence is bad no matter on whom it is inflicted.

 

I do think the debate space is divided and exclusionary. Not only that, but I think the teams that try to challenge it get a stigma as "the anti-Blackness debaters." A lot of other debaters hide behind framework and capitalism Ks because it offers a sense of safety.

 

But as I said before, I don't see the debate space as explicitly hostile, but rather implicitly exclusionary through things like exclusionary framework arguments, or the casual silencing of Black voices, or - as Rutgers mentioned in the round - "not having anything to say to us in the hallway."

 

So it is bad, and built into the social structure of debate.

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