[eDebate] Going home

Ede Warner ewarner
Sun Apr 13 23:07:31 CDT 2008


Dear Community,
 
Not going to address the XYDebater, since he poorly hides as Shalmon, writes like Elliott, but probably isn't either.  I could see Burch writing it just for the hell of it.  I'll let Tiffany address questions about her coin flip at the NDT if she chooses.  Your ability to predict that I would write a race conscious remedy post is amazing, on a par with Carnak the Great and Ms. Cleo. Congrats.
 
Josh, thanks for accepting my apology and translating my thoughts.  I didn't know they were so veiled that they needed translation, but who knew?  Just wanted to address the "take my toys and go home comment" before I go home.
 
Tomorrow, the Department of Pan African Studies will vote to decide whether I can switch my faculty appointment from Communication, where they hired two Black faculty in 1993, one left in 1998, and I've been the only other out of at least 15 new faculty hires since.  In 2002, I had the Debate program moved out of the Department, and hopefully my appointment is next.  That will be a step towards home.  
 
When living in Old Louisville, amidst the Klan's declaration that they were taking over "the downtown", I decided to cut to the chase and move into their neighborhood.  We moved to Okolona, a section of Louisville known for poor whites, confederate flags, and white supremacy.  So far, the folks in my son's new all white baseball league have been some of the coolest (although not the most progressive on a few things) folks I've ever met.  As long as we keep our relationship about baseball, and as long as I know what streets not to accidentally get lost on at night, we should be okay here.  So I guess that's a step home.
 
As far as debate, I'm not sure I know where home is yet.  Where I'd like it to be and where it is, or isn't, is hard to say.  But I look forward to finding home there too, whether that happens in CEDA, NDT, or perhaps one day I will decide to start my own league, I'm cool with that.  I know that even Jonah's kind, well-balanced post left me worried.  The responsibilities he left for Blacks: continue to identify norms of institutional racism left me feeling a guest in someone else's house.  For how would we know when the arguments where specific enough and what happens if we invest our advocacy, only to be told, "it's not enough".  And for Jonah to ask Dayvon to engage is to really not understand why he can't, the risk of failed expectations hurts too much.  Isolation is a self-defense mechanism, not a choice.  I also wonder what is the white responsibility towards figuring out institutional racism: to just sit back and wait to be persuaded, on their timetable and only if they decide it's time to act?  But Jonah's heart is in the right place and you gotta respect that, don't you.  Perhaps it depends on whether you own a house or if you are renting.  Someday I'll find the right step to go home in debate, but surely it's not anytime soon.
 
Tomorrow, I'm not even opening my email, I'm going to resume my writing to get the books done I promised my wife I would by August 1, 2008.  I'll take a break and come to the CEDA meetings to see if folks want to engage in conversation about the educational goals of CEDA.  If not, I'll enjoy some good eats before I have my lap band surgery.  Both are yet more steps towards home.
 
XYDebate is right about one thing:  we all got problems, the question is how are we going to solve them.  I'm going to affect change where I can, walk away from unproductive situations and moments, and continue to think about where I can best make a difference.  I keep taking the view that edebate could be that transformative spot, in spite of the number of rebukes I hear from friends and colleagues about it's dysfunctional nature.  I've learned time and time again, I'm part of the reason it's dysfunction and I can accept that.  Just one more step towards home.
 
But Josh, I'll leave the toys for others to play with. I'll leave the stories, the ideas, the theories for others to build into their curriculums and perhaps they will decide to add it to the agenda or make decisions to act without waiting for Black pressure or advocacy to lead the charge.  I spent quite of bit of time trying to communicate who I am, the choices I make, and how it perhaps can inform this community I try to love unconditionally (but I always find myself tying conditions on them anyway). I'll leave those my many toy posts for the community to do as they feel.   So take care and perhaps we will see you in Dallas and thanks for the props about the insights I tried to offer.  As generous as your offer to continue to engage is, the reality is that if not you, someone else will want more than I'm willing to give, and that will become yet another diversion from where "we" need to go, if we want to head home.  I, like you have spoken enough.  It's time to let some other voices fill the air.
 
I hope that Josh can understand that for many Blacks they never find home.  Not at their house, not at their job, and not in their social life.  And that's sad.  So taking our toys and going home is easier said than done.
 
With love,
 
Ede
 
 
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