[eDebate] Knowing when NOT to debate

Ede Warner ewarner
Wed Apr 9 09:10:39 CDT 2008

I took the time to engage you to Duane...many of my questions I asked
lie at the heart of the evidence to support the answers you provide
below...Why won't you answer them Duane?  And why would you continue to
push these arguments below without addressing them?   You still are
defining racism in ways that work for you, ignoring our definitions of
institutional racism?  Does that make yours superior, and if so, why?
Since you ignored the last set of questions, here is a new one...How
does Andy's well thought out list of how "whiteness operates in debate"
factor into your colorblind existence?  Or  does it?


From: Duane Hyland <privethedge at yahoo.com>
To:Dayvon Love <dplove05 at yahoo.com>, <edebate at ndtceda.com>
Date: 4/9/2008 09:03 AM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Knowing when NOT to debate
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 j
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

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.


"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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