[eDebate] Debating Race

Ede Warner ewarner
Sun Apr 6 17:02:49 CDT 2008

Perhaps reparations is too narrow.  Several thoughts: 1) debate "substantially change Urban Policy."  Could include reparations directly or indirectly with proposals like the Urban League's Marshall Plan for Urban America or big education reform, housing, tax reform, etc.; 2) debate "reduce racial disparities in one or more of the following areas", likely to include education, housing, wealth, prisons, just to name a few.
I have promised my good friend Gordon that I would write one of these papers on and off for the last five years.  Given the instability of our program given the budget, that's not an option right now for me personally.  
Even if I had the time, my concern would be the "goodwill".  The same folks that fight vigorously for more foreign policy are likely the same folks that will find a reason that an urban or race topic aren't good enough, making it unlikely that one can win.  If policy debate is truly good and equitable, a strong policy topic should be able to get written for any policy problem.  What is fun and interesting is relative and subjective, but also controlled by the majority.  A goodwill commitment beyond "proof of a good wording" is likely needed for such a topic to win.  But I might just be jilted.
One other thought for a topic:  debate the argument culture.  Ten years ago, Deborah Tannen wrote a book called "The Argument Culture: Moving from debate to dialogue" criticizing how America engages in argument: in the media, in the political forum, and in education.   It would be fascinating to see how the debate community engages such an issue in light of the ideology wars in CEDA/NDT...just a thought.
Ede Warner, Jr.
Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
University of Louisville
308E Strickler Hall
ewarner at louisville.edu 
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