[eDebate] The poor examples we set for debaters.

Steven D'Amico stevendamico
Mon Apr 10 14:53:40 CDT 2006

I'm not sure how such a topic will effect female participation. Perhaps some
women in the activity would feel alienated and oppressed in certain debate
circumstances if roe v wade is part of the topic. In case you didn't know,
I'm not a woman, so i really am not sure if this is true or not. I am,
however, willing to recognize there may be a point here. What I do know for
sure is that there are numerous times on EVERY debate topic where women in
debate feel alienated for whatever reason. (we can all think of the laundry
list of examples, insert whatever war story you like) Why is the discussion
of roe unique?

I'm sure roe debates would lead to some very intense and confrontational
debates.I'm sure some of these debates will upset both women and men in the
debates round. I'm sure that some younger debaters (and even older ones) may
take these debates very very personally. Again no different from any debate
topic (anyone see GWU during CEDA nats quarters?). The key point  is that it
is our job as debate educators to also teach conflict resolution. (anyone
see the hugs at the end of the GWU/Idaho debate?) Debates get intense, there
is clash, the rebuttals are to resolve this clash, but think of how many
times you need to sit down with a younger debater and say "hey, don't freak
out on the other team/judge; we are a community here, we can resolve our
differences calmly." Provided we as judges and educators prepare our
debaters to act responsibly and diffuse conflict maturely there won't be
many serious problems--I hope. People can talk through disagreement--that's
what this activity is about (I think--again the irony of this coming from

I love you all, but, so far this edebate thread has provided a very poor
example for our students to follow. I don't like the tone of many of these
e-mails, including my original post. Disorganized aggressive style debate. I
apologize in advance if I mischaracterize any emails. The way this whole
thing started today was an angry post with expletives threatening to quit. I
then posted a response asking "please explain to me your argument, I want to
understand but I don't, and I recognize there may be gendered reasons why I
don't" I then received a reply which basically had an intonation of "Why
don't you understand! It's obvious that you are a jerk because you don't

>From there the debauchery got worse. My good friend Paul Strait got
involved and let his personal opinions say some unkind things. People are
circling and starring Rubino (isn't that kind of violent? :)) Andy, who I
also love, goes on one of his usual, "what is debate about tangents."
Hester, who is a role model for me, replies "Debate is about nothing,"
someone goes "this is undemocratic" at which point the entire topic
committee gets offended and going "We tried to include you, you lazy
hippie." Neil Berch then calls the topic committee whitey (paraphrasing,
sorry). Look, I love you all. But CALM DOWN. WE ARE SETTING A POOR EXAMPLE
FOR OUR DEBATERS. I blame myself. I shouldn't have gotten involved in these
threads. I apologize to the debaters.

Lets resolve to do a few things. Lets a) all calm down. b) demonstrate to
our debaters we can talk through issues with maturity and understanding c)
listen to each other d) affirm our personal responsibility to be involved in
the topic process regardless of the structures e)get someone who teaches
conflict resolution to come do a session with your debate team and coaching
staff. Debaters and coaches have some of the most intense personality traits
in the world. We all could use it.  Talk to you debaters, your peers, etc
and communicate these views to someone you trust who will be at the topic

Just checked edebate before posting. Kearney seems to have the right idea
and he's the outgoing student rep. Eber seems to be right too. Telling
novices they get to argue roe--could be a hook.

the first year out
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