[eDebate] Gender and Debate

tom payne totalbs3000
Mon Sep 30 20:54:36 CDT 2002


  Maybe it is because I have been in debate for a little too long and my 
timeframe perspective gets skewed a bit, but I have a honest question about 
the claims made about discrimination in this activity.  On DOZENS of 
occassions I have heard the claim of silence on important issues made 
against topic selections.  Invariably these claims equate lack of a overt 
inclusion of an issue in a topic to discrimination.  This was the case in 
92, 96, 98, 2000, and 2002.  In 4 of these cases the topic reflected a move 
TO include discussion of these issues.
   Thus the college topic of either CEDA or the NDT has included race and/or 
gender DIRECTLY in at least 4 resolutions in the 12 years I have been 
involved in the activity.  In 1991 NDT debated privacy, of which abortion 
and homophobia were major issues.  In 93 CEDA debated race and/or gender 
policies in Colleges and Universities, in 1998 NDT and CEDA debate race or 
gender in employment.  At that time, probably correctly, Ed Warner pointed 
out race was largely ignored for gender issues.  He claimed it was subtle 
racism that made this the case.  I KNOW this was A reason my wife wrote the 
Africa paper.  Thus, it was selected as a topic in 2000.  This means in ten 
years the debate community has twice DIRECTLY included gender and twice 
focused primarily on gender and race issues.
   So this is the question.  Without casting aspirtions, but only trying to 
ask questions, how often does the topic have to FOCUS on gender issues, to 
address the issue?  Why are topics that access (to use Hoe's word) gender 
issues, but not dedicate an entire topic to them not indicative of the 
sincere effort the community tries to make to incorporate diversity and 
diverse interests?
   Do I realize the distress I do to the cause?  Yes.  Do I inderstand the 
way such questions can "feed" the oppressors desire to bury discussion 
altogether, yes I do.  So, yes, my questions are in part in jest.  I do not 
expect answers to the questions anymore then any critical authors do.  They 
are truly food for thought.  I will ponder your questions (all that cast 
charges against the community) and think about the way my practices create 
and sustain isms.  I ask you also ponder MY questions and think about 
whether CEDAW's exclusion from the list was in part because of latent 
sexism, and in part because of what Ross, and Josh, and Bob, and half a 
dozen others have said.  Is sexism as rampant as you portray, or is it 
because, like racial profiling, you look for sexism, and then amaze yourself 
when you find it, whether it pervades the issue or not?  Although I will 
maintain a possibility that since you label it latent sexism, you were not 
trying to identify a structural deeply embedded sexism, but one that exists 
at the margins.  But if that is true, then how can the latent sexism, CAUSE 
CEDAW to be excluded.  I.E.  but for latent sexism in the community does 
CEDAW still miss the cut?  For that matter, but for latent sexism, does 
CEDAW have to make the cut?  And then, like others have said, if I open the 
door for CEDAW why not animal rights treaties, and race treaties, and the 
children's treaty, and etc. etc. etc.?



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