[eDebate] Challenge to the Community

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Wed Apr 4 20:12:03 CDT 2007


if you want a leftist revolution--then, yes, there are better uses of the millions spent on debate each year.

if you want students who become successful, contributing members of our community--then debate is one of the most fantastic activities I am aware of.

three alums of our program joined me at the ndt and went on and on and on about how much debate had transformed their lives, made them successful, and gave them self-fufillment unmatched by any other thing they do.

many of our alumni consider debate hands down the most educational "course" they took while at whitman college. several say that they learned more from debate than in all their other courses.

and these folks are making changes in the world including directly reducing sexual and racial harassment at companies, including gay/lesbian perspectives in company planning, outreach to disadvantaged youth, environmental planning and activism, etc. and NO they are not all white, straight males. they represent a multitude of differing ethnic, sexual, gender, income characteristics.

they are not revolutionizing the world by ending defacto segregration.

but they are making quiet, steady changes that MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Beth Skinner 
To: Steven D'Amico 
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com 
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 5:43 PM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Challenge to the Community


To me, the larger point is that when we select law-focused, USFG-focused resolutions one of the reasons people give is that it will help us to be better advocates if we understand the intricacies of government action.  If this is a good reason then we SHOULD ask how people are going to use a season's worth of education in practical ways.  If the reaction is 'well, we really can't accomplish change this way' then why do we keep selecting these topics?  How many years does it take to learn the futility of activism through state channels?  If the reaction is 'we're too lazy to do actually do anything with the knowledge we gain' or 'I just like sounding good in rounds when I read cool cards' then that is sad.  Millions of dollars are spent each year on college debate.  Maybe there are better uses for that money. 

Beth

p.s. congratulations to Omri on making Andy seem like the reasonable one - not a lot of people are capable of that




On 4/4/07, Steven D'Amico <stevendamico at gmail.com> wrote: 
  does anyone else find this similar to Stalin arguing with Hitler? As an Italian I'll just side with whoever wins. 


  On 4/4/07, Andy Ellis < andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote: 
    Thank you Omri, i do indeed feel more informed. But really this is the last time...so sad... 



    On 4/4/07, Omri Ceren <ceren at usc.edu > wrote: 
      OK. Now we're going to discuss "tone".

      When I said "seriously", it worked because I made your position seem 
      obviously absurd and kind of stupid. I accomplished that by juxtaposing
      and re-characterizing your positions in such a way as to make you seem
      nonsensical.

      When you said "seriously", you followed it up by whining that "the 
      debates you see are more ideologically determined and constrained than
      the ones i see." This, to put it mildly, failed to really provide the
      rhetorical umpff that you were looking for.

      Let's try this again (but, honestly, this is going to have to be the 
      last time): the conceit by which you take it upon yourself to challenge
      the debate community to attack itself emerges from a combination of
      ignorance, smugness, and pretension that makes me almost feel bad about 
      publicly mocking you. You need the debate community to be as dull and
      unnuanced as you are so that you can continue in this pathetic moral
      exhibitionism, where your desperate need to convince yourself of your
      own superiority comes together with an inchoate sense of what counts as
      political activism.

      You really should stop pretending that you have either the authority or
      credibility to challenge anybody to do anything. It's getting to be kind 
      of sad.

      Omri.



      On 4/4/2007 3:26 PM Andy Ellis wrote:
      > Seriously? are you really saying people dont make that answer and win a
      > lot of debates on it? The debates you see are more ideologically 
      > determined and constrained than the ones i see. And yes at least those
      > folks who debated milliken have a great legal knowledge to provide to
      > their campuses...
      >
      > On 4/4/07, *Omri Ceren* < ceren at usc.edu <mailto: ceren at usc.edu>> wrote:
      >
      >     Seriously? This year's Milliken affirmatives advocated using the USSC to
      >     address de facto segregation in school districts. You think that this
      >     means that they said that the "the law is the best way to end racial 
      >     discrimination in education", and in response you petulantly chellenged 
      >     the community to sue... itself. And you can't understand why this is an
      >     example of how you don't get nuance? 
      >
      >     Seriously?
      >
      >     Omri.
      >
      >     On 4/4/2007 3:17 PM Andy Ellis wrote: 
      >      > Also, what is it exactly that i am doing that you are elaborating a
      >      > community critique of?...like is this a criticism that goes andy 
      >     ellis
      >      > is a wacko  or does it actualy engage the work being done on the 
      >     ground
      >      > in baltimore to further this goal,if its the former i know that
      >     stuff if 
      >      > its the latter, id like to hear your version of that criticism....
      >      > 
      >      > On 4/4/07, *Andy Ellis* < andy.edebate at gmail.com
      >     <mailto:andy.edebate at gmail.com>
      >      > <mailto: andy.edebate at gmail.com <mailto: andy.edebate at gmail.com>>>
      >     wrote:
      >      >
      >      >     So tell me omri (and i dont ask this with the lazy revolutionary 
      >      >     bombast i often espouse) what have you learned from a year of 
      >      >     milliken debates that you are now using and working with your
      >      >     debaters on to address racial discrimination in education? 
      >      >
      >      >
      >      >     On 4/4/07, *Omri Ceren* < ceren at usc.edu
      >     <mailto: ceren at usc.edu> <mailto: ceren at usc.edu
      >     <mailto: ceren at usc.edu>>> wrote:
      >      >
      >      >         No. You just don't get it.
      >      > 
      >      >         There's actually a relatively robust criticism to be made
      >     of you,
      >      >         tracing how risk-free revolutionary posturing can hold
      >     the good
      >      >         hostage 
      >      >         to the perfect while using aggressive smugness to insulate 
      >      >         intellectual
      >      >         laziness. So for instance, no one of any intellectual
      >     care would 
      >      >         claim
      >      >         to have seen the best debaters in the country claiming 
      >     that "law
      >      >         is [the
      >      >         best method]... of pursuing racial justice in education". 
      >     First
      >      >         of all,
      >      >         outside of a very precise use in pyschoanalytic critical 
      >     literature,
      >      >         "the Law" isn't a meaningful category. There are multiple 
      >      >         branches and
      >      >         levels of government empowered to enforce legislative and 
      >     judicial
      >      >         decisions - and while I know that most of the debates 
      >     that you
      >      >         saw this
      >      >         year didn't really think that those distinctions mattered, 
      >      >         that's kind
      >      >         of my point too. 
      >      >
      >      >         Anyway, like I said - there's a relatively robust
      >     criticism of your
      >      >         personal sensibility, political ideology, and interpersonal 
      >      >         community. 
      >      >         But I doubt you'd get it.
      >      >
      >      >         Omri.
      >      >
      >      >
      >      >         On 4/4/2007 3:00 PM Andy Ellis wrote: 
      >      >         >  Uh right, i will continue to do the work outside of 
      >     the legal
      >      >         structure
      >      >         >  and in it when necessary to increase minority access 
      >     to and
      >      >         completion
      >      >         >  of college. I dont doubt the  efficacy of my methods, 
      >     and sure
      >      >         i didnt
      >      >         >  see the same debates you saw but my term heard and i 
      >     saw many
      >      >         teams
      >      >         >  adamently defending the necessity of using the law to 
      >      >         challenege racial
      >      >         >  discrimination and i am simply asking those that made the 
      >      >         claims to
      >      >         >  follow up on them. 
      >      >         >
      >      >         >  Furthermore i understand debaters cant sue for other
      >     peoples 
      >      >         >  inclusion(in a basic sense of the term i think there 
      >     could be
      >      >         a claimant
      >      >         >  who suggested that they where damaged by the lack of 
      >     minority
      >      >         inclusion
      >      >         >  in the community, but im probably wrong like you said 
      >     im not
      >      >         in the
      >      >         >  highly technical debates) but there are legal cases and 
      >      >         movements that
      >      >         >  debaters can contribute their skills and dedication to 
      >     and
      >      >         furthermore
      >      >         >  if through those super high end debates you saw 
      >     provide the
      >      >         training
      >      >         >  they promise then it seems as if you can figure out how to 
      >      >         uses cases on
      >      >         >  your campus as entree points to legal justice movements. 
      >      >         >
      >      >         >  or maybe all those things i heard in debates where 
      >     just lies
      >      >         and nods to
      >      >         >  racial inclusion? 
      >      >         >
      >      >         >  On 4/4/07, *Omri Ceren* < ceren at usc.edu
      >     <mailto: ceren at usc.edu> <mailto: ceren at usc.edu <mailto:ceren at usc.edu>> 
      >      >         <mailto: ceren at usc.edu <mailto:ceren at usc.edu>
      >     <mailto: ceren at usc.edu <mailto:ceren at usc.edu>>>> wrote:
      >      >         >
      >      >         >     Andy, 
      >      >         >
      >      >         >     Surely you should be leading this effort, what with 
      >     all of the
      >      >         >     topic-specific research that I'm sure you did this 
      >     year.
      >      >         And with all
      >      >         >     the high-tech policy rounds that you judged and 
      >     scouted.
      >      >         >
      >      >         >     Omri. 
      >      >         >
      >      >         >     On 4/4/2007 9:55 AM Andy Ellis wrote:
      >      >         >      > So after a year of hearing debates about how the 
      >     law is
      >      >         not only 
      >      >         >     a good
      >      >         >      > means of pursuing racial justice in education,
      >     but the
      >      >         best method, i 
      >      >         >      > have a challenge to offer. Use the skills that 
      >     you have
      >      >         acquired in
      >      >         >      > debating about the law to craft a strategy that 
      >     uses the
      >      >         law to
      >      >         >     increase 
      >      >         >      > meaningful minority participation in the
      >     community. The
      >      >         NCAA has been 
      >      >         >      > sued for admissions requirements that preference 
      >     test
      >      >         scores and
      >      >         >     gpa, if
      >      >         >      > there is precedent in that or other cases there 
      >     should
      >      >         be a case 
      >      >         >     to sue
      >      >         >      > your university or your debate team or ceda or
      >     the ndt,
      >      >         if they have 
      >      >         >      > those standards. But dont let my suggestions 
      >     limit you,
      >      >         many many
      >      >         >     many
      >      >         >      > of you have researched and learned a whole lot about 
      >      >         using the 
      >      >         >     law to
      >      >         >      > fight for racial justice in education, you im
      >     sure can
      >      >         come up with 
      >      >         >      > something on your own. 
      >      >         >      >
      >      >         >      >
      >      >         >      >
      >      >         >
      >      >
      >     ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
      >
      >      >         >      >
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      >      >         >     --------------
      >      >         >     PhD Student, USC Annenberg School for Communication
      >      >         >     Email: ceren at usc.edu <mailto: ceren at usc.edu>
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      -------------- 
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      Email: ceren at usc.edu
      Mobile: 412-512-7256
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