[eDebate] Considering Brown vs Board of Education

Ede Warner ewarner
Tue May 23 22:40:55 CDT 2006

Dear Topic Committee and NDT/CEDA Community,
I'm not sure what to make of the silence on this listserv since my post
of last evening.  It was not my intent to silence discussion, but rather
create some.  But since no one is using the airwaves, I will do what I
promised Malcolm I would do:  discuss my views on race and the
possibilities on a Supreme Court topic.
Several folks have offered different ways of accessing the race debate.
 Affirmative action seems the most direct route, although there are
others.  Affirmative action in higher education via the Michigan cases
is one route.  But I'll argue that it is a more indirect route.
2 years ago, there were celebrations across the country celebrating the
*landmark decision Brown versus Board".  There is much healthy debate
about this decision.  Just a quick google search:  "Brown versus Board
of Education debate" brings up a host of interesting dialogues on the
This is an NPR dialogue led by Tavis Smiley:
The critical race law literature has a healthy, healthy discussion of
Brown from many sides.  And Brown is cited as a landmark throughout the
legal research.
Here is the beauty of this case to engage race:  this discussion/debate
has occurred primarily within the Black community.  The concern cited
earlier on this list that we would "never consider" overturning Brown is
a very white, liberal privileged community and I agree that this
community would likely not consider it.  The topic paper discusses
education but ignores Brown.  I suspect this is the reading of most in
America, outside of the academic discussions to the contrary.  Exactly
the reason for including this case.  It would be a unique case where the
best evidence would be found in Black journals and Black authors, a
great experience for our students.  I'll hypothesize that nor of the
other race cases would find as much quality evidence located in a
different literature base.
Brown should be given serious, serious consideration.  Nothing has cut
against it's uniqueness.  It's cited everywhere, creating a great
possibility of advantages while keeping a stable mechanism, and it opens
students up to some literature and perspectives that they might not
normally access.
Ede Warner, Jr.
Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
University of Louisville
308E Strickler Hall
e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu
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