[eDebate] Women's issues discussed in Debate! Heaven forbid.

nrichter at umsis.miami.edu nrichter
Mon Apr 10 13:06:28 CDT 2006

Quoting scottelliott at grandecom.net:

> Heaven forbid the discussion of key women's issues in an academic debate
> round.
> I mean, its not like abortion is not a key societal issue. Its not like
> North
> Dakota just decided to ban abortion. Its not like teams would have real
> links
> to politics disads if they debated abortion. Its not like this is an
> issue that
> students who are not already debaters would actually want to debate. No,
> I
> prefer that policy debate stick witht he more salient debates such as
> federalism and whether China can be hermenuetically post-modernist with
> a
> slight hint of vanilla-nihlism.

We can debate womyn's issues in debate. Obviously, I am for this. Nicole has 
already listed the possibility of approaching this debate through pornography 
or employment practices, or how about sexual harrassment, etc. Of course 
abortion is a key societal issue, but you have conceeded that there are also 
other societal issues that we are overlooking, and that everyear we overlook 
key societal issues. Why didn't we debate the war in Iraq or Afghanistan if our 
committee is so committed to "key societal issues"? Moreover, you create a 
false doublebind: the alternative is not federalism, I am not arguing for 
traditional "policy debate" topics. In fact at NCA the last couple years I have 
presented papers on feminist epistemology and debate. How about a resolution 
that says Resolved: NDT and Ceda should substantially increase the 
participation of minorities in debate? Isn't this a key societal issue? Doesn't 
this make debate personal, while creating a progressive kernal in the topic.  I 
am also fine with the overule topic, without Roe v. Wade attached. There are 
plenty of other pressing issues to debate. 

> I wonder what has become of debate coaches and academic advisors who are
> so set
> in their personal beliefs that they would yank their squad from
> particiaption
> if a REAL topic of of controversy were chosen for debate.

Debate coaches and advisors should definately be considered. With the lack of 
retention of womyn in this community, again I ask how will this topic make 
womyn feel more included?

> Perhaps those so opposed to such debates should rethink your philosophy
> toward
> academic debate---namely, you can make arguments that you do not
> personally
> believe in. No, really. You can do it. Try to seperate yourself from
> the
> arguments you make. This may sound old school, but I was taught that the
> best
> way to strengthen your personal beliefs is to argue against them, to
> test them.
> Try to find the flaws in your own logic. Is the problem that people are
> so
> entrenched in their uncontested beliefs, they are afraid to question
> them? That
> to me is a very dangerous mindset.

Again this isn't only about the personal, it is a statement about how we as a 
community deal with the lack of womyn present. And if you are right, again I 
draw the analogy to the fact that we aren't debating overturning Brown v. Board 
of education. If you arg's are true, we should in order to argue against our 
personal beliefs in order to strengthen our anti-racist stances. It is not a 
matter of seperating yourself from the arguments you make, it is a matter of 
dealing with sexism in THIS COMMUNITY. 
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