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What's the argument you're trying to make? Apology is good in what context?

Edited by NickDB8

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What's the argument you're trying to make? Apology is good in what context?

So two years ago at NSDA nat quals one of our debaters accidentally misgendered someone (wrong pronoun) and got hit with a language K. I've heard of certain arguments from a senior but nothing really fleshed out. I think he said it was "interp: debaters can apologize" or something like that. I'm just trying to prepare that in case I get hit with a language K and what not.

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just... don't misgender someone?

To this end, I would recommend asking for pronouns before the round of both the opposing team and your opponents.  Something like "Hi, I'm Jimothy, I use he/him, what're your names and pronouns" is very simple and can go a long way.  Apology is typically a far worse solution than proactively preventing whatever you're apologizing for.

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a. try to avoid that all together - don't be problematic

b. you probably don't need a theory block for it

c. here's cards

 

 

 

Rejecting us via the ballot is the worst way to create lasting change

Kinzel ‘11 (Lesley Kinzel, blogger and social justice writer, has written for Newsweek and Marie Claire, was named one of the Feminist Press’s “40 Feminists Under 40,” 2011 (“On our difficult language, and the calling-out of,” Two Whole Cakes—a blog about body politics, social justice activism, and pop-cultural criticism from a feminist perspective, March 30th, Available Online at http://blog.twowholecakes.com/2011/03/on-our-difficult-language-and-the-calling-out-of-same)//gingE

We throw “that’s ableist” or “that’s racist” or “that’s fatphobic” around, I suspect, in the hope that such heavy judgement-bearing words will shock and embarrass the speaker out of using the offending language. And sometimes, it can work, at least in the short term, when we are merely thinking of our own self-preservation. But beyond that instant, this is not constructive activism. Using surprise, guilt, or humiliation as negative reinforcement to change behavior does nothing to instruct the person in question on why their behavior is causing problems; they stop simply because they don’t want to get in trouble. While the power shift this approach employs may feel awfully satisfying to those of us who have labored under some degree of oppression for much our lives—we get to dictate the terms of engagement, for once—merely shifting the power from one hand to another does nothing to change the destructive use of said power against us. This practice of shaming people into behaving a certain way or using certain language does not truly address the underlying inclination; it does not unpack the thinking that allowed that speaker to feel entitled to say those things in the first place. Fear can be an effective motivator, but it’s not often a productive one, if our goal is broad and lasting cultural change. It is, after all, fear that motivates folks of all sizes to diet, that keeps queer folks in the closet, that makes women afraid to walk alone at night, that compels people of color to keep their heads down even in the face of overt discrimination and just get by. It is fear and shame that locks the systems that marginalize us in place, and as Audre Lorde has explained, in one of the most brilliant pieces of writing on social justice ever put to paper, there is little we can do while still holding on to the master’s tools. Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support. Ideally, people should stop using certain language because they have developed an understanding of why that language is oppressive, and how their use of it contributes to inequality and marginalization, and not because they are afraid or ashamed of confusing social repercussions they do not understand. What we need is a commitment to giving people clear explanations—be they angry, or impassioned, or blunt—of why their words or behavior are problematic, or upsetting, or damaging. We need to resist relying on comfortable jargon to call people out, and to ditch the erroneous presumption that making someone feel stupid will encourage them to read more about a subject. It doesn’t work. Fear and shame don’t help people to understand how the language we use and the actions we undertake, even in our own small individual spheres, all conspire to create a social environment that oppresses us. Fear breeds resentment and, sometimes, hatred. These are not things we need more of. These are the things that put us here in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

<apologize> Apology solves

Tavuchis, senior scholar – Dept of Sociology @ U Manitoba, ‘91

(Nicholas, Mea Culpa: A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation pg. 8)

 

In these admittedly general terms, then, apology expresses itself as the exigency of a painful re- membering, literally of being mindful again, of what we were and had as members and, at the same time, what we have jeopardized or lost by virtue of our offensive speech or action. And it is only by personally acknowledging ultimate responsibility, expressing genuine sorrow and regret, and pledging henceforth (implicitly or explicitly) to abide by the rules, that the offender simultaneously recalls and is re-called to that which binds. As shared mementos, apologies require much more than admission or confession of the unadorned facts of wrongdoing or deviance. They constitute--in their most responsible, authentic, and, hence, vulnerable expression---a form of self-punishment that cuts deeply because we are obliged to retell, relive, and seek forgiveness for sorrowful events that have rendered our claims to membership in a moral community suspect or defeasible. So it is that the call for an apology always demands and promises more than it seems to. As anyone who has ever apologized in these circumstances well knows, the act is always arduous and painful, whether done voluntarily or at the urging of others. And yet, when this secular rite of expiation is punctiliously performed, and the remorseful admission of wrongdoing is converted into a gift that is accepted and reciprocated by forgiveness, our world is transformed in a way that can only be described as miraculous. All the more so because the gesture itself reiterates the reality of the offense while superseding it.

 

Edited by NickDB8
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Its not much of a theory. Its when you/your partner did something in the debate that you both regretfully did. (slip up on pro-nouns, when your partner says something stupid, etc.) It is not much of a theory but more about being a good person

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This may just be me, but I feel like using cards to argue that you shouldn't be voted down for messed up things you've said in round kinda undercut the genuine nature of the apology. It seems weird for a team to read evidence saying "voting us down won't change our behavior", and then admit their behavior was bad. 

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We apologize, solves the net-benefit 

Latiff 1 (81 B.U.L. Rev. 289, p lexis)

A coerced apology can mitigate anger even if it is perceived as insincere, and regardless of the offender's level of responsibility. Two studies support this assertion. In a study by psychologists Mark Bennett and Christopher Dewberry, subjects were asked to indicate how they would respond in a hypothetical situation in which they received an unconvincing apology for a moderately serious transgression. n159 Though Bennett and Dewberry drafted the apology to be disingenuous, all of the subjects nonetheless indicated that they would accept it. n160 In another, related study, Bennett and Deborah Earwaker sought to fill the gaps to Bennett and Dewberry's study by identifying the conditions under which an apology is accepted or rejected. n161  [*312]  The experimenters found that the degree to which the apology would dissipate anger had no relation to the offender's degree of responsibility for the offense —though it was significantly related to the severity of the offense. n162 In both the high and the low responsibility conditions, subjects indicated that an apology would substantially mitigate their anger. n163 Furthermore, though the degree of responsibility did have an effect on whether the subjects would ultimately accept the apology, the "likelihood that an apology [would] be rejected is remarkably small, even when there is considerable provocation." n164  Indeed, coerced or ordered apologies can be valuable in their capacity to mitigate anger and move the victim and community closer to the resolution of a crime. As part of the remedy for the arson of a church in Kentucky founded by freed slaves, the district judge in the case ordered the offenders (all white) to apologize to the church's current congregation. n165 Bill Sircy, one of the arsonists, bowed his head in front of the congregation and exclaimed, "We're sorry, but I know that's not enough." n166 The congregation responded, "Amen!" n167 After each of the four persons involved gave an apology, the congregation responded with a round of applause. One member remarked, "I think what they did was a fantastic gesture." n168  Additionally, a court-ordered or insincere apology can be effective as a shaming sanction. "Say your boss wrongfully accused you in front of the whole office. A fair reparation would require an apology —in front of the whole office. His questionable sincerity might be of secondary importance." n169 A punitive atmosphere surrounding an apology may force an exchange of shame and power between offender and victim, thus achieving what is at the heart of a successful apologetic ritual. n170 To be sure, several judges who have ordered apologies have done so in order to shame the offenders in front of their victims or their community. n171[*313]  Apology as a shaming sanction can have both retributive and deterrent value. First, a coerced apology can heal the community by "saying the right thing" in its expression of moral condemnation for the offender's conduct. Alternative sanctions, like community service, often fail to satisfy the public thirst for retribution because they fail to reaffirm the moral order. n172 On the other hand, as Professor David Karp argues, shaming sanctions, like apology, often satisfy this "retributive" thirst by communicating and enforcing normative, as opposed to legal, standards. n173 An apology as a shaming sanction communicates that the offense has not only a legal nature, but a moral and social nature as well. n174 The ordered apology requires the offender to demonstrate knowledge of the moral order that he transgressed, and culpability for having transgressed it. n175  Additionally, an ordered apology can deter future transgressions. n176 An ordered public apology can deter wrongdoing by 1) imposing some limitation on the offender's freedom, 2) creating an unpleasant emotional experience for the offender, and 3) harming the offender's social attachments and esteem. n177 For example, some offenders might feel that an apology is a sign of weakness, and others may just not want to admit that what they did was wrong. Thus, an ordered apology will force such offenders to swallow their pride and go through a potentially embarrassing, uncomfortable experience. Further, public apologies submit the offender to the judgment of the community. Some members of the community may not wish to associate with the offender again. Accordingly, the offender's social esteem and communal attachments may suffer. n178 

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1) Prevent the situation in the first place - if you don't ask for pronouns then don't use particularly gendered terms including s/he.

 

2) Problematic situations can occur outside of misgendering and if there is a problem then you should genuinely apologize and say that it won't happen again.  Don't read some card; some things are more important than winning the debate.  People can leave the activity after abrasive/traumatic experiences.  If you accidentally trigger someone or do something offensive then you need to resolve the situation as soon as possible, because it is far more serious than many people understand.  Everyone makes mistakes, but reading some card that "rejecting us doesn't solve" is not the proper way to handle that situation.

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If you do think that it will be a big thing in the debate, you might want to read a card saying that Apologies work or something in that sort of line but not a card saying "rejecting us doesn't solve".

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1) Prevent the situation in the first place - if you don't ask for pronouns then don't use particularly gendered terms including s/he.

 

2) Problematic situations can occur outside of misgendering and if there is a problem then you should genuinely apologize and say that it won't happen again.  Don't read some card; some things are more important than winning the debate.  People can leave the activity after abrasive/traumatic experiences.  If you accidentally trigger someone or do something offensive then you need to resolve the situation as soon as possible, because it is far more serious than many people understand.  Everyone makes mistakes, but reading some card that "rejecting us doesn't solve" is not the proper way to handle that situation.

what do you mean by that? isn't leaving the activity inevitable if you can't handle someone misgendering you? won't a novice say, what do you guys want to do? and then its over? im not really sure how an instance of you said he is going to do anything. also, if a word triggers you, shouldn't you say something? isn't it as much of a responsibility for the other person to say something too? what even is "more serious than understood"? what about debate makes it that i must ensure the other person is happy to an extreme degree? why don't they say, my pronoun is x. 

can i get an answer? 

Edited by pomo1234
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what do you mean by that? isn't leaving the activity inevitable if you can't handle someone misgendering you? won't a novice say, what do you guys want to do? and then its over? im not really sure how an instance of you said he is going to do anything. also, if a word triggers you, shouldn't you say something? isn't it as much of a responsibility for the other person to say something too? what even is "more serious than understood"? what about debate makes it that i must ensure the other person is happy to an extreme degree? why don't they say, my pronoun is x. 

can i get an answer? 

 

The point is that you shouldn't misgender someone on purpose, and if it happens on accident, you should sincerely apologize. 

 

 

For college cx, we get an email with everyone's pronouns with pairings, and if they aren't listed it's general practice to ask once the round starts. It's just a good practice to adopt, and it takes 10 seconds of your time.

 

Yes novices make mistakes, but those are mistakes. If you know better (and you now do because we're talking about it) you should do better. This is solved by either 1) using gender-neutral language or 2) asking for pronouns

 

You never know how someone may respond to being misgendered or hearing ableist language or any other form of language that could be considered offensive. If you know something will rub someone the wrong way, and you have the ability to avoid doing it, you should avoid it. It's just common courtesy. 

 

Yes, both teams should make an effort to disclose any specific triggers or issues they have with certain terminology. But also, for your own benefit, you should take proactive steps to making sure these things don't occur. 

 

Personal issues matter more than the round. Good debates require a good space with good people. The reason why you don't want to read a "rejecting us doesn't solve" argument is because it makes it sound like you're more concerned with not losing than making a genuine apology. 

 

Also, arguing that using correct pronouns is "extreme" is kinda insensitive. Some teams do say "my pronouns are X" and they still get (accidentally) misgendered. 

 

I have had racist interactions with people in debate that have made me want to quit (however, they were not in-round). I don't consider myself someone that's oversensitive or reactionary, or even someone with specific requirements, but I do know that people need to be checked on bad behavior when it happens. Debaters pride themselves on creating an open space for people to be heard, that requires the members of that space to be respectful of each other. Toxicity exists in-round, out of round, and it needs to be dealt with when possible. 

Edited by AtlanticCoast
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what do you mean by that?

tldr don't be a dick

 

isn't leaving the activity inevitable if you can't handle someone misgendering you?

not really

 

won't a novice say, what do you guys want to do?

not if you teach them that gendered language is bad

 

and then its over?

probably not, it likely wouldn't come from one isolated instance

 

im not really sure how an instance of you said he is going to do anything.

because not everyone is a "he" and being referred to as one could be offensive

 

also, if a word triggers you, shouldn't you say something?

isn't it as much of a responsibility for the other person to say something too?

most people do, that doesn't always change anything. plus, if this is in the context of trans individuals, coming out is usually a violent, traumatic experience

 

what even is "more serious than understood"?

being a dick is bad and people get offended

 

what about debate makes it that i must ensure the other person is happy to an extreme degree?

common decency, ie, respect

 

why don't they say, my pronoun is x. 

see above

 

can i get an answer? 

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The point is that you shouldn't misgender someone on purpose, and if it happens on accident, you should sincerely apologize.

 

 

For college cx, we get an email with everyone's pronouns with pairings, and if they aren't listed it's general practice to ask once the round starts. It's just a good practice to adopt, and it takes 10 seconds of your time.

 

Yes novices make mistakes, but those are mistakes. If you know better (and you now do because we're talking about it) you should do better. This is solved by either 1) using gender-neutral language or 2) asking for pronouns

 

You never know how someone may respond to being misgendered or hearing ableist language or any other form of language that could be considered offensive. If you know something will rub someone the wrong way, and you have the ability to avoid doing it, you should avoid it. It's just common courtesy.

 

Yes, both teams should make an effort to disclose any specific triggers or issues they have with certain terminology. But also, for your own benefit, you should take proactive steps to making sure these things don't occur.

 

Personal issues matter more than the round. Good debates require a good space with good people. The reason why you don't want to read a "rejecting us doesn't solve" argument is because it makes it sound like you're more concerned with not losing than making a genuine apology.

 

Also, arguing that using correct pronouns is "extreme" is kinda insensitive. Some teams do say "my pronouns are X" and they still get (accidentally) misgendered.

 

I have had racist interactions with people in debate that have made me want to quit (however, they were not in-round). I don't consider myself someone that's oversensitive or reactionary, or even someone with specific requirements, but I do know that people need to be checked on bad behavior when it happens. Debaters pride themselves on creating an open space for people to be heard, that requires the members of that space to be respectful of each other. Toxicity exists in-round, out of round, and it needs to be dealt with when possible.

 

oh certainly racist / sexist / ableist language in a blatantly derogatory way is bad. there's no way that's ok. but, if it is an accident and it's clearly just a mistake, why do I loose? Can't we just take a minute to apologize and move on outside of speeches? That's what makes me think that it's a bit much...like, if I say he, accidentally, does it ruin the round? Truly? Is that a, make you quit, debate sucks, moment? Can't I just say sorry before a speech and you not throw down a k?

I ask for pronouns but it does seem excessive.

Edited by pomo1234

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what do you mean by that?

tldr don't be a dick

 

isn't leaving the activity inevitable if you can't handle someone misgendering you?

not really

 

won't a novice say, what do you guys want to do?

not if you teach them that gendered language is bad

 

and then its over?

probably not, it likely wouldn't come from one isolated instance

 

im not really sure how an instance of you said he is going to do anything.

because not everyone is a "he" and being referred to as one could be offensive

 

also, if a word triggers you, shouldn't you say something?

isn't it as much of a responsibility for the other person to say something too?

most people do, that doesn't always change anything. plus, if this is in the context of trans individuals, coming out is usually a violent, traumatic experience

 

what even is "more serious than understood"?

being a dick is bad and people get offended

 

what about debate makes it that i must ensure the other person is happy to an extreme degree?

common decency, ie, respect

 

why don't they say, my pronoun is x. 

see above

 

can i get an answer?

 

yeah i guess my real question was more about the ballot side of it, I certainly don't want to upset anyone but, if it's actually a mistake and i said they said x most of the round or the rest of my cards are stricken, why is that a loss? I get stuff like racist in round = L or reading ev that says women are inferior is bad. That's obvious. Why I can't apologise before a speech and no one says you should loose, isn't.

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The point is that you shouldn't misgender someone on purpose, and if it happens on accident, you should sincerely apologize. 

 

 

For college cx, we get an email with everyone's pronouns with pairings, and if they aren't listed it's general practice to ask once the round starts. It's just a good practice to adopt, and it takes 10 seconds of your time.

 

Yes novices make mistakes, but those are mistakes. If you know better (and you now do because we're talking about it) you should do better. This is solved by either 1) using gender-neutral language or 2) asking for pronouns

 

You never know how someone may respond to being misgendered or hearing ableist language or any other form of language that could be considered offensive. If you know something will rub someone the wrong way, and you have the ability to avoid doing it, you should avoid it. It's just common courtesy. 

 

Yes, both teams should make an effort to disclose any specific triggers or issues they have with certain terminology. But also, for your own benefit, you should take proactive steps to making sure these things don't occur. 

 

Personal issues matter more than the round. Good debates require a good space with good people. The reason why you don't want to read a "rejecting us doesn't solve" argument is because it makes it sound like you're more concerned with not losing than making a genuine apology. 

 

Also, arguing that using correct pronouns is "extreme" is kinda insensitive. Some teams do say "my pronouns are X" and they still get (accidentally) misgendered. 

 

I have had racist interactions with people in debate that have made me want to quit (however, they were not in-round). I don't consider myself someone that's oversensitive or reactionary, or even someone with specific requirements, but I do know that people need to be checked on bad behavior when it happens. Debaters pride themselves on creating an open space for people to be heard, that requires the members of that space to be respectful of each other. Toxicity exists in-round, out of round, and it needs to be dealt with when possible.

 

Sorry meant to upvote

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yeah i guess my real question was more about the ballot side of it, I certainly don't want to upset anyone but, if it's actually a mistake and i said they said x most of the round or the rest of my cards are stricken, why is that a loss? I get stuff like racist in round = L or reading ev that says women are inferior is bad. That's obvious. Why I can't apologise before a speech and no one says you should loose, isn't.

 

Ohh ok. So remember above I said that the apology is more important than the round, the same is true for the inappropriate action. Most debaters want to win, so teams making a complaint will say that if a team loses a round due to inappropriate language, that team will be less likely to use that language in the future. 

 

Depending on the situation, the apology should solve, the point of this discussion is about trying to figure out how to go about making sure that apology does solve.

 

Also, just remember that you never wanna get in the business of saying "racism and sexism are bad, but misgendering is more of a minor offense" or something like that. That's not really your place (or my place, or anyone's place) to say. Some teams won't demand you be dropped even when you say blatantly disrespectful things in round, some teams will demand you be dropped for things you consider innocuous.   

Sorry meant to upvote

 

No problemo

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Ohh ok. So remember above I said that the apology is more important than the round, the same is true for the inappropriate action. Most debaters want to win, so teams making a complaint will say that if a team loses a round due to inappropriate language, that team will be less likely to use that language in the future. 

 

Depending on the situation, the apology should solve, the point of this discussion is about trying to figure out how to go about making sure that apology does solve.

 

Also, just remember that you never wanna get in the business of saying "racism and sexism are bad, but misgendering is more of a minor offense" or something like that. That's not really your place (or my place, or anyone's place) to say. Some teams won't demand you be dropped even when you say blatantly disrespectful things in round, some teams will demand you be dropped for things you consider innocuous.   

 

 

No problemo

sure, but doesn't the ballot require you to prove that apologizing doesnt solve, and rejection is net better? and doesn't that also require you to prove what debaters will do in each round? There is probably a threshold where it's so bad that just saying sorry doesn't solve, because you probably should have known better, but misgendering really is a mistake 95% of the time, racism really can't be.
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