[eDebate] Knowing when NOT to debate

Ede Warner ewarner
Wed Apr 9 23:10:44 CDT 2008

That was so much clearer and clean than my ramblings on racism versus
institutional racism.  Thanks JP.  Legal definitions, what a novel
idea...if I only cut a few more cards these days...

From: Jean-Paul Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu>
To:Duane Hyland <privethedge at yahoo.com>, Ede Warner
<e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu>, "Steven D'Amico"
<stevendamico at gmail.com>
CC:Dayvon Love <dplove05 at yahoo.com>, <edebate at ndtceda.com>
Date: 4/9/2008 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Knowing when NOT to debate


I've been watching this exchange for a while, and I hope I can help.

Two words may help you grasp the controversy you are debating:

Institutions that have a disparate impact on minorities (See Rashad's 
figures on Death Penalty sentences,) despite their objective fairness,
"institutionally racist."

"Institutional racism" *can* refer to "whites only" water fountains. 
Usually, most people refer to that as plain old "racism."

In currant parlance, it refers to the *disparate impact* of supposedly

"race neutral" rules that make certain water fountains effectively

The issue is *not* intentional discrimination. The issue is neutral
that have a disproportionate impact on minorities. Nobody thinks their
neutral ruleshave an unfair impact. The only way to evaluate them is by

looking at numbers and by listening to those they've impacted.

One easily available example of "disparate impact" is participation of

minorities in NDT/CEDA debate. Its fairly easy to see, even if you use
"eyeball test." As for the stories of their impact, many have
their perspectives. I hope they continue to share.

How to change that disparity is the current topic of controversy, not 
whether a "disparate impact" exists.


ps-I have my own radical views on how to "speak to power," but I'll
you a hint: Assimilate only to the extent necessary to win.

At 09:40 PM 4/9/2008, Duane Hyland wrote:
>Dear Dr. Warner:
>As promised. Now that I'm home from work and practice, I will attempt
>answer your questions. It's been a while since I've taken an essay
test - so...
>1) I would call that racism. Any circumstance which impacts a person 
>BECAUSE of their race is racism. If there's a sign on a water fountain

>that says "whites only." That's racism. If you go to the mortgage
>and he or she refuses you a mortgage because you don't "belong" in a 
>certain part of town - racism. Where the line gets cloudy for me is if
>are debating  white team and that team wins - is it racism? Is it that
>other team was better? I don't know what to call that.
>2) The examples above could be called institutional racism - obviously
>the Jim Crowe south the governments of the states mandated racism as a

>matter of course. And, restrictive covenants etc are examples of
>So, there I would say there is no difference. I guess the big
>here is that I don't perceive the NDT or CEDA or the debate community
>be racist. If any thing - I think on matters of race and acceptance
>are some of the most forward thinking people I've ever known. I don't

>consider the way the debate world has evolved into speed and
>to be racist - I think African American debaters can and do adapt and

>suceed in the way the game is played today. I'll confess that where as
>will never be able to change your view on some things, I can't change
>view on this - I understand it's not attractive to some (the speed,
>technical nature of the activity) but I don't view that as racist.
>way as if I went out to play football - I wouldn't consider the guy 
>tackling me to be racist simply because he was knocking me on my ass
>down - Id' say that's the way it is.
>3) Sure..giving a black team a loss and having to really think about
>to have them lose - that's covert racism in action - I can just
ify the

>decision anyway I want, I don't have to come out and say "you're black

>(again, confused on black or African American - nobody has given me 
>guidance here) you lose." But I could justify it in other ways.
>if I pick the black team up because I feel that blacks have been 
>opprressed, etc and I want to "even" the score..am I then guilty of 
>reverse racism?
>4) Of course scientists draw conclusions from the evidence. And Dayvon
>done his research and reached his conclusions. NOW..let me ask you in

>1981, in 6th grade, a black student beat the crap out of me in the 
>classroom - he had been held back 3 times, was much larger and a lot
>violent than me - the teacher didn't even intervene out of fear. I got
>chipped tooth, a concussion, and some wounded pride. Now...should I 
>conclude that all black males are violent? Out to beat down people?
>many experiences do I get before I can make the similiar far reaching

>conclusions that Dayvon has?
>5) I'm not sure that Dayvon is an expert on race anymore than I am. If
>has 100 instances of racism to my one instance....I would say he's 
>suffered more than I have, but I'm not sure that confers expert
status. I 
>will say that he is probably more able to judge his life choices, made

>from his experience, than I am able to judge his life choices.
>6) Yes..That I see. Thank you for pointing that out to me. It was
wrong me 
>to assume that he hadn't. But, Dr. Warner - what if, based on my 
>experience in 1981 - I decided that all Blacks were to be avoided. 
>Wouldn't you call out my assumptions? And offer reasons why I might be

>wrong to take that view? I would like to think that you would
challenge my 
>assumptions (if I had made that particular set of assumptions) and try
>change my mind - rather than let me go on thinking that way. at least
>hope you would.
>7) Again, thank you for reminding me that I'm not the sole arbiter. I

>sometimes tend to view the world in absolutes..it's a habit I'm
working on 
>I meant no ill will in what I posted. I just hate to see students cut

>themselves off, for whatever reason, from the world - a bit part of
>is getting to know other people, to get to see other lifestyles (one
>the reasons I'm passionate, for instance, about gay rights is because
>of my debate partners was gay, and through him I learned about the
>that gay men and women face and it was  cause that interested me), 
>etc....And, I just didn't want him to be cut off.
>I think you are very right to say that only discussion and
>of this subject is a way to provoke changed minds. I re-read my post
and I 
>can see that it was sanctimonious (sic) and your criticisms have made
>think.  I think the college debate community has changed a lot since I
>a part of it in the 80's and 90's. I think, perhaps, I should come to
>couple of tourneys next year (if nobody will beat on me for walking
>door) and really observe what goes on..I think it might be
>1) What do you call situations that create disproportional
consequences on 
>a racial group?
>2) What, if any, difference do you see between your definitions of 
>"racism" and "racist" versus definitions of institutional racism?
>3) Can you name an example of covert racism that couldn't be also
>to be something other than racism?  Given that your definition
>expressed intent, is not everything that doesn't have that express
>4) In debate Duane, we can factor in quantity of evidence.  What
>of experiences can Dayvon look at for evidence before he can convince
>that he has seen enough to draw conclusions.  Scientists certainly
>conclusions based on correlations, don't they?
>5) If Davyon has hundreds of experiences about race and you
>less, does he get credit in your mind of being more qualified on the
han you are?  Or do you think that both of your voices are equally
>6)  Duane, can you not understand how your attempts to get Davyon to
>other possibilities, assumes that he hasn't already considered them
>rejected them?  And your choice to assume he hasn't forces him to 
>constantly have to be interrogated by you.  Given that you and he
>disagree about the first three questions, when does he have the right
>stop considering your alternatives and conclude that he is right about

>what he believes?
>7) Finally, your definitions of "racism" are just that, your 
>definitions.  They completely ignore his discussion of "institutional

>racism" so much so that you seem to treat them the same?  Does Dayvon
>the right to define things differently then you do?  And if he does,
>should we just accept your definitions as the "correct ones" and why 
>should he be given the burden of proof to justifying using yours
>of his?
>Most importantly, none of this gets at the central question of whether

>your attempts at forcing him to think differently, functions to 
>marginalize and minimize his feelings and his experiences.  You seem
>dismissive of that reality.  Duane would you engage some of the
examples I 
>have used in previous posts, making analogies of the emotional toll of

>racism, whether real or perceived, and why critcism is a productive 
>response to those feelings?
>You seem stuck in your box based on your experiences Duane and that 
>justifies for you not listening to the full context of what is being
>at so many levels, that even I'm not sure this is productive.
>"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
>the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing
>person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind? If
>opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging
>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!
> "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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