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debategirl52

Modified Mission: Operation Genuine

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Hi @JSamuel - In response to your last post on my second culture post ("I'm Sorry"), I am actually not maintaining my original standpoint. I am now in a different camp under the echo-chamber umbrella. I am no longer fighting Ks so much as what the debate space has become. It has gone too far. 

After my first thread which unexpectedly went viral, I did some soul searching. When David shut down my post, I started to wonder if my mission was possible. Then, I began to modify it.

I have never doubted the importance of Ks. Part of the beauty of debate is that it is a safe-space for identity expression. I have witnessed that. I don't think I articulated this well enough in my first post. Debate has always been an activity that empowers

My modified mission is as follows: To inject the debate space with genuineness. - Let me explain: I believe that people have taken advantage of the empowering and accepting art that debate is. Because debate so clearly celebrates difference, I have witnessed many people pose (for lack of better words) in an effort to appear like they are part of a marginalized group. I don't want to go into specifics, but this included altering their appearances before tournaments and running Ks which corresponded with their temporarily altered appearance. This happens in many forms and at many schools. Needless to say, this harms the minorities that are actually using the debate space to express their identities. 

I think witnessing these made me resent Ks in general. I now see clearly. Ks aren't the problem. The problem is what some debaters are doing to manipulate the literature and the system. 

If there is some advantage to this or critical reason for it, please comment. I don't see it as of now. Thanks.

Has debate gone so far left that the community has blinders on? 

Has anyone else noticed the issue outlined above?

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I'm glad to hear your opinion has developed, however I see a few problems with this new outlook as described in your post.

1) Your point seems to rest on a set of observations which you haven't described in detail or proven can be generalized. This may be a "problem" wherever you are, but I haven't seen an inordinate amount of abuse based on a lack of genuineness where I debated, and I debated in a circuit where Ks were often more common than policy arguments.

2) This sounds a lot like authenticity-testing. This is to say, you probably have in your mind some idea of what a "genuinely" marginalized or expressed identity would look like, the abuses you believe you have witness do not hold up to this standard. The trouble is other people have different experiences, different perspectives, etc., which all make it difficult to say that there is a single genuine mode of expressing marginality. "Genuineness" is really not a standard by which you should judge someone or the way they argue, in or out of debate rounds. 

Of course, sometimes there are clear abuses. If I - as someone who is basically comfortable with the label cisgender - were to say "I'm trans and I want to express my rage" for the duration of a single debate round only to assume all the privileges, behaviors, etc. I had before that round, that would be clearly problematic. I would be commodifying or misappropriating the label "transgender" in order to win a debate round. This would be bad, and I think you would agree. However, I've never seen anything like this firsthand, and the only time I've heard about it was in reference to a policy team who used a similar argument to get out of a single link.

Here's another example: a team of two black men would wear dashikis at tournaments, even though they usually would just wear ordinary clothes in most other settings I saw them. That could be what you are referring to, but I wouldn't be able to tell based on your description. They'd be changing their clothes and might make an argument about it, but that wouldn't necessarily be wrong.

3) None of these problems are unique to Ks, K teams, minorities, or any other group. I already mentioned that a couple of white guys who read policy arguments temporarily jettisoned their gender to get out of a link. Furthermore, literally every segment of the debate community distorts literature. It's virtually impossible to make competitive arguments that clash with one another if you adhere strictly to the text and context of your cards. This applies to policy proposals, scenario-planning, critical theory, performance, and virtually every debate round. Lastly, "altering their appearances" is something plenty of debaters do; surely you've seen people put on suits or makeup for tournaments? The same principle would apply to the example I gave about dashikis. 

Look, overall I'm glad you've decided Ks aren't the problem. But it's next to impossible to comment on your post in a positive manner without specifics. All of the points I've listed are inference based your previous interactions with this forum. You seem to be attributing your grievances to people "abusing" Ks, and not to people "abusing" policy, and you seem to think this is because debate is "far left." It's not, and the appropriation of identity is not leftist in any case.; I've given you several leftist critiques of both what you have described and your position.

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There is no reason to change the status quo.  The uniqueness and freedom of argumentation is what makes the activity of debate the "art" that it is.  I, among many others, appreciate this, as you admit in your post.  Why then, would we change it?

The real problem is this:

On 6/12/2019 at 10:02 PM, debategirl52 said:

My modified mission is as follows: To inject the debate space with genuineness.

How do you propose this genuineness is enforced?  Because enforcing genuineness - something which is determined by extremely subjective standards - would in itself be more harmful to debate than allowing this "non-genuineness" to continue, just as it always has.

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