[eDebate] Answering Adam's Question
Tue Apr 8 04:32:28 CDT 2008
Adam Jackson: "OK...then answer it."
in the industry, that's what we call 'a loaded question', adam. it's a
little like, 'how could you celebrate the acquittal of a guilty man
like o.j. simpson?'. ...well to answer that question, i'd implicitly have
to obliterate the presumption of his innocence - that is, i'd have to
consider o.j. a guilty man. if i don't - or if i wish to abstain from
taking a stance on his guilt for some reason (e.g., that an adequate knowledge of the particulars of the case are
denied me), then it might be impossible to answer that question
within the parameters of the question itself. this should induce most
people to either critique the question (as i've just done) or ignore it
on the grounds that it's purely rhetorical.
so when you ask, "what have
black people done to deserve the treatment we get in this activity?",
you presume that blacks get mistreated in this activity. we can agree,
i believe, that this is not a presumption which garners universal assent.
following tristan's helpful post (http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2008-April/074593.html), a more fertile question may be: is
any of the post-tournament hostility generated by the success of towson motivated by race?
for me this brings up two distinct possibilities: (1), that those who
side with towson are strategically accusing those who
disagree with them for legitimate reasons of racism, and (2), that those
who side against them are unwilling to admit
(perhaps, even to themselves) the degree to which racism influences
which side they're on.
what i find fascinating about racial dynamics is that (1) and (2) have
counter-intuitive ways of overlapping. it can be true both that 'the race card'
is being unfairly played by proponents of change *and* that the racism
of opponents of change remains 'covert' yet pervasive. a medicine for (1) is civility, which may mean we don't ask loaded questions of our fellows. a medicine for (2) is humility, which may mean we don't pretend we're all too enlightened to be racist... but neither civility or humility seem in sufficient supply
given current debate practice.
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