[eDebate] A Message to the Debate Community

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon Apr 7 23:59:19 CDT 2008

>   So the question has been asked, "What now?"---in the debate public
> imagination, where do we go from here?
> Well now that the game is over i will answer this. In 1966 in the national
championship basketball game a small state school started 5 black players
and beat the kentucky team of five white players to win the championship.
Texas Western had a good season, but kentucky was heavily favored.
Basketball had started to take off in cities and a "black aesthetic" if you
will was beginning to tug at the edges of the game, but for the most part at
the highest levels it was still a mostly white game. Texas western won a
national championship with 5 black starters and the game began to change.
Within two generations basketball was in a process of becoming black.
Schools that had long recognized the effort to build basketball in the
cities where able to legitimize and model their recruiting strategies and
budgets based on texas westerns success. Big time schools often tried to
begin recruiting the best players from cities but found that the practices
they had engageed in prior left them at a disadvantage. I don't offer a
theory about black success in basketball, but over the last 40 years black
people have played basketball better than white people, there are
exceptions, i would never be so silly as to deny that, but as a general
historical observation its at least a discernible trend. Texas western did
not break the white somatic norm by themselves, many black players had come
before them, but when a small state school in texas beat a heavily favored
all white team to win the national championship in college park md what dave
zinn calls a tipping point in sports was reached.

So whats next?

A First Round, maybe two? Maybe consistent bids?
A copleand? if people dont read some race literature this summer id say its
pretty possible?
How bout winning the NDT?
maybe a debate community where other schools copy our model, maybe our
arguments but thats less relevant?
a rexamination of how we make assumptions about capability as it relates to
race, class, gender, and social location?
udl's recognized as the best debate organizations in america?
a reparations topic?

A debate community that looks like big time college basketball in say 20
a list of famous people who have gone on to the "pros" that looks like the
HBCU's coming back to the activity?
High school students watching the championship round convinced they can win
a national championship?

Of course there are obvious differences between towson and texas western,
and basketball is not debate...though i will just straight up laugh at
anybody who deosnt think there was a black aesthetic movement within
basketball that denied the conventional rules of the white game, and of
course just because more people of color are participating in debate doesn't
mean their politics will be per se liberator y, and thats why there will
continue to be debates, because different people will always see different
institutions as liberatory in different ways. Basketball was not overwhelmed
by a black wave as some sports commentators at the time pleaded, it required
the people in positions of power (white folks) to make concious decisons)
competitive possibility put pressure on those decisions as did an increased
legalistic focus on "diversity" but black people earned the right to play
and white folks loosened their grip (slightly more on that in a second), and
in some sense for debate to move past its current racial divides and
privileges white people need to loosen their grip. Again this process has
long been underway and those of you who dont loosen your grip on what the
game can be will have your hands pried open eventually.

Now one way white folks have kept control of basketball is by keeping
management and coaching positions, here is a place white folks in debate can
out pace basketball. Whats next? Lets have a higher per centage of people of
color coaching debate teams than does ncaa basketball by 2018? Up for the
challenege? I can think of 1000 good debate coaches...how does college
debate coaching become a viable career option for them?

Just because basket ball was primarily a black white question at the time
does not at all mean debate needs to be nothing i have said other than the
histroial example operates out of or CREATES a binary(this of course will be
the part that people fixate on)
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