[eDebate] Knowing when NOT to debate

Duane Hyland privethedge
Wed Apr 9 07:32:38 CDT 2008


Hi, Dayvon. Thanks for writing back. I appreciate that you're taking  the time to do this. I will attempt to make an effort to keep up.
  
  I guess in my mind I'm not trying to dissprove that you have been  treated in a racist manner. Indeed, this latest example sounds like  blatent racism - and that pisses me off. The purpose of a tournament is  to the send the best team to nationals, not the team that dresses in a  fashion acceptable to the judges. My concern, from reading your post,  is that you may be defaulting to race based perceptions without looking  at all the angles. If you say you are not doing this, then I accept  that and no longer have that concern.
  
  I don't think that white people are evasive in dealing with racial  issues. FIrst, I don't identify people as white, black, whatever -  we're just people. And since racism is such a powerful word - I think  it makes people nervous when it's used, and uncomfortable and because  of that, people don't look at situations very closely. But let me ask  you this question - when you say that people don't deal well with their  whiteness..aren't you otherizing yourself because, presumably, we  aren't acting well to your blackness? My concern was that I perceived  that you weren't making an effort to break out of the line of thinking  that consinged white people to a category that you can't deal with -  I'm happy that you are making this effort, and I feel sad that others  are, in your eyes, acting in ways to make you think the effort isn't  worth it. I can only ask you to keep trying, and them to knock it off  and come to your senses - stop engaging in behavior that repels others. 
 Be aware of your actions, and consider how they make people feel before  acting.
  
  What do I do to challenge the norms of the community? This is a good  question - and I'm not sure I have a suitable answer. I will give you  the best answer I can, and some examples: I try to judge every round as  it is presented to me without concern for the skin type, or dress, of  the debaters in front of me. 
  
  I know at NCFL nationals last year there was a team from New York (I  think it was New York, I'd have to go back to look at the results  sheet) that was engaging in project style debating - attacking the  roots of debate rather than the topic, and I know that in the 15 judges  that judged them I was the only judge to pick them up. That round was  emblamatic of everything you've talked about here - they were debating  white females from Kansas...the judging panel was all white...the other  team was actually laughing at them during the round....all that was  missing was pointy hats and white robes - but I thought that team from  New York was stomping the other team - becasue the other team wouldn't  engage, wouldn't argue back against their arguments...and in debate I  try to vote for the team that did a better job of advancing their  arguments - it was a crush - my flow had so many uncontested Negative  extensions (the New York team was Neg) that I thought for sure it was
 a  3-0 - no...at the end of the tournament, in 5 rounds, 15 judges, they  were 1-14..and it was my one. That's probably not much of a  challenge..but I'd like to think that it was something. In my judging  philopsophy I make careful note of the fact that when confronting a  team running a project or other non-traditional style of debate that I  will expect teams to engage that team, and to argue them out on that  ground - I warn teams that simply engaging in traditional policy  arguments against these strategies will not be well received And, over  the years, I think I've voted for the non-traditional teams more than  the traditional. Again, not much of a guesture...but I am making an  honest effort to try to be fair and inclusive. Over the years, after  initially opposing it I've become a fan of "Classic Debate" as we have  here in Virginia - where we have a division that strictly enforces a  conversational delivery mode with close-crossexamination..because some 
 debaters, of all races, feel more comfortable when the debate isn't  going 300mph - again, not much of a challenge to the dominant hiearchy,  but it's something.  
  
  I know th single most frustrated, angry, and ashamed  I have ever  felt in a debate tournamnet, to the point where I seriously considered  engaging in behavior against a coach that would have terminated my  debate coaching career and about 10 years of my freedom, came in 2001  at the NCFL tourney. IN round 5, we were debating privacy that year, I  ended up  judging a team that was all white against a team of all  African-Americans (is the term still African Americans or black - I  dont mean to be stupid, I just don't want to use a term that is hurtful  or out-moded) and the all white team used cards tagged "Black People do  Drugs" "Black People Commit Crime more than Whites" etc..etc...it was a  blatant display of racism. Sadly, the racist team won the round - and I  was dumb and still voting the pure flow in those days. I went to the  tournament people and reported what went on, and asked if I could  disqualify the white team..I was told that no such rule existed. I 
 asked if I could give a LPW to the other team (they were very ill  prepared..but nice kids) I was told I couldn't I asked what I could do  - they said vote the way the round went down. I did...and I've felt  ashamed about that ballot ever since. I know now, well..I knew a few  years ago..that what I should have done was given the other team the  win just on principle. As it was, I wrote the most strident critique  I've ever written, bawled out their coach, told the debaters how  disgusted I was with them as representatives of my race, and then went  away and cried because of the way I felt - powerless. IT took me a  couple of years to realize I wasn't....that may have been growth, but  it didn't help those kids then. I don't know if you will accept these  examples as legitimate or not, or if you think this means I'm trying to  challenge the system. I don't actually care what you think about my  efforts...same was as I'm sure you might not care about what I think of  yours.
 I try my best....
  
  As for the gentleman in question  - I'm sure it's him, he's been  running that League for a long time now....And you've described him in  completely different terms than I know him. I guess I'll keep my eyes  open wider from now on, and not be so assured of things.
  
  Thank you for taking the time to engage me. I know my answers probably suck - but they are honest.
  
  Duane
  
  
  

        "You may be whatever you resolve to be." Thomas J. Jackson"
 "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind
 If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by  its collision with error." John S. Mill
  Who said Dr. Who isn't Funny: "Rose: You Didn't Have to Kill him! Dalek: "Neither did we need him to live."
Dalek to Cyberman: :"You are Superior to us in one respect." Cyberman: "What is that?" Dalek: "Dying!"

 








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