[eDebate] Answering Adam's Question

Josh jbhdb8
Tue Apr 8 13:51:29 CDT 2008


Hello all,

I think its important to take how people of color experience their "race"
socially at face value (in other words accept and try to understand etc).  I
have a couple reasons for this which are pretty controversial (so I
understand if most people disagree with me about these):

1) Racism is always present in all interactions between white people and
people of color.  Yes, extremely controversial and probably in the time of
supposed "post-racial politics" unpopular.  But, I believe even the terms
"of color" or "black" place a person in a historical context that has
implications for communication.  Can people see past this - of course.  If
you have read much Derek Bell you probably know the rest of why I think
this.

2) America is not post-racial - I got in a huge argument in this forum about
if "structural racism" was still present in the USA like five years ago.  I
mostly used the book "American Aparthied" in defense of my position.  I have
no problem talking more about this if you have questions but not really
important to this post.

Now, what does that mean....Well, in all honesty, I didnt say too much to
the guys from Towson at the NDT.  I said a ton to Andy...and said congrats
to them....why? Because every time I have tried to talk with them over the
last two years they mostly said nothing and looked at me like I was speaking
in Greek.  None of that bothered me because of the two things I just
mentioned.  From their perspective, I assumed whatever I said went through a
ton of filters that were beyond both of our controls...No biggie.  In fact,
I suspect that what they experience in interactions with me is different
than what I intended.  I guess I am glad that there was a post so I could
listen to what was said.

In a larger sense:

A) I will try to reflect on what is being said and do better....Is there the
potential for this to be a two-way conversation?

B) I hope the entire Towson squad can enjoy what they accomplished at the
end of the season.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Josh



On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 1:02 PM, Dayvon Love <dplove05 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I am usually extremely inclined not to write on this list serv, or any
> list serv or blog because it rarely every leads to productive dialogue, only
> a string of loosely connected monologues, but I feel compelled to say
> something since a large part of this conversation is about me.
>
> I am not very social, or sociable at tournaments with people outside the
> towson team (with a few exceptions).  Even when people try to be social with
> me I am often not very interested in hanging out with people.  This stems
> from years of debate experiences with white people that have made me have
> very low expectations of them in regards to them dealing effectively with
> their whiteness.  I start with highschool....
>
> I am a baltimore urban debate league alum, we often competed with the
> local CFL schools (county and private schools) at tournaments.  My very
> first tournament at a CFL I was debating a private school team who was
> thought to be really good, round 3 and it was a flip for sides, the kid (a
> white kid) says to me "it doesn't matter what side your on, we'll probably
> win anyway".  This was amazing not only because he made it clear that he
> didn't think very much of us, but that he felt we didn't think very much of
> ourselves which is even more strange because we had just told him that we
> won 1st place varsity team the week before at a BUDL.  We won that debate
> and ever since the two boys would talk to us very differently.  They treated
> us with the kind of respect that they treated their fellow CFL competition.
> This speaks to what many white students think when they know they are
> debating a UDL team.
>
> Same year, next tourney, my partner and I debated two white girls from a
> county high school in the area.  They must have thought that they were going
> to have an easy time with us, but my partner and I (Chris Randall for those
> who may know him) were having a ball in this debate, we were beating the
> hell out of these girls in this debate.  It was so bad that after the round
> one of the girls wouldn't shake our hands after the debate.  Chris and I
> thought that we did really well that day, but we didn't win any awards.
> Come to find out one of the white girls told their coach that Chris had
> mouthed the word "bitch" during her speech and the coach told the tab room,
> and so they decided to void all of our rounds for that day. Chris did not
> mouth any words to this girl during her speech, there was no reason to, we
> were having fun in that debate, I suspect she felt embarrased to have lost
> to us. Another example of white people reacting to me in ways that cause me
> to have very little faith in white people that they are effectivly dealing
> with whitness and white privilege.
>
> Last example that i'll give and then i'll make my point because i could
> really go on with many more examples.  Emory debate camp my senior year in
> high school.  I was in scholars lab (the advanced lab of the camp).  One of
> two black boys in the lab and probably seen as the least skilled debater in
> the lab (i am pretty sure because people told me so directly and
> indirectly).  For starters, no one really talked to me (except the black
> people) until the beginning of the second week of camp.  I had people say to
> me "I thought u were just a thug from baltimore until you opened ur mouth".
> Other students would ignore me when i would ask debate questions.  I would
> try to be friendly and people just seemed intimidated by me (not making this
> up either because people told me this eventually as well).  I didn't start
> feeling comfortable until the second week when i found out that half the
> girls in the camp had crushes on me (which is interesting that people
> starting being my friend, and wanted to talk to me not because they learned
> that I read and understood dense theoretical literature, or that I had a
> really good knack for K's, and im also pretty sure of this because people
> told me directly and indirectly, but thats a whole different convo) and I
> was very conflicted because my goal at camp was to become a better debater,
> and I tried very hard to ignore the social aspect of the camp.  But what was
> important about my experience was that many of the white people who
> interacted with me didn't talk to me because I was a good debater to their
> standards, but because i was "cool".  I still resent that to this day and
> have gotten that feeling sometimes in the college debate community.
>
> Here's my point, I love debate because it has given me the tools
> intellectually, to advocate for the people of this world who have been the
> most severe victums of whitesupremacy, imperialism, patriarchy, etc...  I
> have read stuff and talked about stuff that has helped me to do what I have
> been put on this earth to do.  As a man from baltimore city I see suffering,
> and it hurts, I have spent my life trying to figure out how to change the
> conditions that have caused the people who i've grown up with to live the
> bleek and hopeless lives that this society has forced on to us.  The
> arguments I make in debates are an invitation for the community to begin to
> reflect on how all of us can participate in eliminating the conditions that
> create massive suffering.  Im talking about systemic suffering, im talking
> about the girl who is sexual abused by her step father and doesn't say
> anything to her mom because she knows that the mom can't support the family
> without their step dad (capitalism), or the woman who has a child when she's
> 16 and ends up marrying an abusive and womanizing husband and who stays
> married to him because she has no way of supporting herself, and thinks too
> little of herself to do anything about it (patriarchy), or the black kid who
> never learns to love themselves because most of the people who could teach
> black people to love themselves were killed by the counterintellgence
> program of the US, and those of us who are left are either too young, or
> demonized, and so they look to white produced and controlled images for a
> sense of self that only leads to perpetual self destruction
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5as5S6eyZhg (white supremacy).
>
> In closing, really think about what YOU are doing to fight oppression and
> suffering.  I do all I can to advocate for those people who I feel
> comfortable advocating for, and to support those are are advocating for
> other oppressed people.  This isn't about individuals being racist, but an
> institution that is complicit in the oppression and suffering that is
> rampant through this society.  I do what I do out of love.  If you are not
> interested in finding out what happened to black people, and other aggrieved
> communities to put us where we are in this country, then you should exclude
> yourself from being considered a person who is interested in justice.  I
> always tell people that there are only two conclusions that can be drawn
> about the condition of black people in america.  Either u believe deep down
> that black people are just inferior (collectively) or there are some social
> phenomenon that is impeding the livlyhood of black people.  If you believe
> the latter, then u should be asking yourself, what those are and how they
> manifest themselves.  If you believe the former, then I deserve all the
> antagonism that I have recieved recently.
>
> "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who are silent in times
> of injustice" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
>
> -Dayvon
>
>  ------------------------------
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>
>
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