[eDebate] [CEDA-L] The costs of a game, part 1: An unethical, amoral center

Duane Hyland privethedge
Sat Nov 17 19:32:03 CST 2007

Dr. Warner:
  Thank you for taking the time to engage me. I find these interactions to be helpful in the expansion of my world-view. And for that I am grateful.
  << My first question:  given that fast technical debate began during segregation, and that created an unjust privilege for the group creating the game, why should we not examine that history before discussing the "fairness" you believe exists today? >>
  It would seem, based on your thoughtful reply, that I am being a bit narrow in the scope of my analysis of your argument - something, I'll readily admit that I have been guilty of in my coaching career..as much as life. If your conention is that fast, technical debate was invented during segregation to purposlely exclude African Americans from debate - then I would say that there two possible approaches to the problem of fairness within the community:
  1) We should critically rethink the way we play our game and examine if the game is truly fair to all. All of the examples I cited - could be held to questions pertaining to the physical structure of the acitivty and how it has somehow wronged you - let's call them 15 yard personal fouls (charging you more, giving you less time - stuff like that.) HOWEVER...I will concede, and I'm not an expert, as I'm sure you've gathered that, that if the game is desinged to be fundamentally unfair to people at it's root level - that policy debate is game played by people which involves reading massive amounts of evidence, very quickly, in front of experts who are trained, if not programmed, to decipher this discourse - then I agree totally that we should rethink the game and take a long look at how we can preserve the academic value of the activity, while at the same time keeping it competitive - but fair for all.
  2) Focus only on the surface levels of the problem - the things I cited, for instance - and keep going the way we are going - with the belief that it's a fair game for all, because everything is "even" given that everyone has to abide by the same notions of the "rules."
  However, there is one thing I forgot - which I was actually reminded of at a tournament today - Debate isn't about rules, it's about people. IF people are trained to think a certain way, they will act the way they are trained - even if those actions horrify others. AND it is that element that changes our activity - and makes it decidely less "fair." People find themselves in the situation of either going along with what people expect, or doing something they believe in. You are obivously the second type of person, and I think the world is better for it.
  I used to reject your interpretation of debate - I'm still not sure that your interpretation that traditional policy debate is racist (now) (I accept the history of the event as starting out racist - I didn't realize that it started like that - and I will admit that my whiteness, if you will, serves a big stumbling block when trying to envision the world I live in as racist -  but I think your approach might be true to what debate should be - a contest of arguments, and the best one should win.
  Now, that I've said all that - I think you are absolutely right we should examine the history of the event to determine its fairness. I think it was your analogy on the school kids that cleared that up for me.
  I'm white, I wasn't raised in a period of time where we spent a lot of time reflecting on that, or reflecting on our privledge...I'm learing..give me time.
  I'll write more later.

"You may be whatever you resolve to be." Thomas J. Jackson"

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind
 If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by  its collision with error." John S. Mill


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