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About jesss

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  1. The advice I'm trying to give you is to only read arguments like identity politics critiques if you believe the argument is true and important. I can't provide some normative definition of what a good understanding of a certain issue looks like, only that if you come from a privileged viewpoint with regards to a liberation movement or something like it, a prerequisite to any kind of understanding is that you read the lit/listen to what those people are really saying and recognize your own role in causing that kind of violence, and ask yourself the necessary question: how can I break down these structures? If you're reading the argument just for ballots that defeats the whole point entirely. You paper over others' oppression with your own privilege when you turn their voices into just another way to win the round. I'm not implying that that's what you intend to do, I really hope you don't. If you benefit from patriarchy without actively rejecting it, you're complicit in upholding/greenlighting patriarchal violence. It's a fairly simplistic way to put things, but I think it's pretty applicable in this instance, where most of the people (in the community) that's I'm talking about are people who have only really benefited from the patriarchy - "guys" was more a reference to masculine-presenting, cisgender males who tend to dominate the debate scene. What's the distinction between benefiting from something and upholding it? It's more nuanced, but there isn't a substantive difference. A man who benefits from the patriarchy and then refuses to understand his own privilege and work against these structures is what legitimizes and perpetuates these systems. Back to the point - if two guys asked me if it was okay to read a Fem K, especially against me (I ID as female), I would in most instances say no. Authenticity is especially important when 1) issues of sexism and patriarchy are prevalent both in and out of round and very obvious if you only look, and 2) it's so easy for the privileged to entrench oppression by coopting other voices. I think it's difficult for a privileged team to grasp the complexity of certain identity politics movements when they are often complicit in the very forms of violence they speak out against. Like, if you think you understand the issue and are doing justice to the argument (i.e. taking action outside of round to break down patriarchal structures), go for it. But please realize that the consequences of artificially reading identity politics arguments have a personal impact on many debaters in the community. Sidenote: If four males are debating in a room and one team calls the other out for sexism, I'm all for it - but if someone male were to read the fem K against me, or if someone straight were to read Q Theory, I would be very deeply uncomfortable for a plethora of reasons that are probably too complex to get into here.
  2. If you're trying to advocate for a liberation movement or a group that you don't belong to, I think it requires a real commitment to the argument and an understanding of the issue that's more than surface level deep. Cooption of the ballot is a problem that's far too prevalent in debate, and while it's to some degree inevitable, there's a pretty big difference between advocating for a trade agreement or investment that you don't think actually solves anything, and advocating a certain identity politics movement without actually caring about it (and how discussion in a debate round impacts the way the community sees it). Even if you *do* consider yourself part of the movement, it's important to recognize the way privilege limits your understanding and implicates your ability to effectively advocate for it. Ex: what does it mean when straight white cisgender males pick up a Fem K or Q Theory or some critical Race K and win round after round on it, especially against women/queer people/people of color? When they say that they need the ballot because discussing these structures of oppression is an a priori issue, and there's an ethical obligation to vote for the kritik? Even if they genuinely believe the arguments they're running, using the voices of those they claim to speak for to win rounds is suspect at the very least, especially when it doesn't do much for the exclusion/invisibility that these voices actually face in debate. It takes a hell of a lot more courage to speak up in the face of oppression that continues to silence you, and being able to read identity politics arguments without being accused of exploiting your own identity/experience as "unfair" is a pretty privileged situation to be in, and one that continues to disturb me. tl;dr Realize that your discourse has real and very tangible impacts. If you're a guy and you want to read fem arguments, question yourself why - if it's to be strategic, just don't, there are a million other arguments you could run. If you genuinely think it's an important issue, realize that as someone who benefits from the system (even though the patriarchy is sometimes violent to men), you should take responsibility for the violence you have upheld in the past. Ask yourself if the solution is really for you to be asking for a ballot.
  3. In re: K answers, it's useful to have a generic K block consisting of a framework shell - how you weigh/frame the round, so something like "look to the policy option first" a cede the political card - basically, rejecting the plan will strengthen those currently in power a perm - usually plan + noncompetitive parts of the alt, or the plan and then the alt. You should be able to find all three in Open Evidence K Answer files, and they're really useful to have on hand, especially if you're going up against a less popular kritik. The best way to learn about the kritik in general is to read files (start with Cap and Security) and figure out how the answers interact with the argument. As a first-year debater, I got thrown into open my second tournament ever, and trying to even understand the K debate was pretty painful. But debating and watching rounds that are kritik-heavy is really useful. It'll be difficult at first, but if you ask clarifying questions in CX, know your blocks, and talk with judges after rounds, it gets better.
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