[eDebate] Race, Debate & Tow

Josh jbhdb8
Thu Apr 10 19:45:06 CDT 2008


Oh, one other thing, I forgive you for not knowing that I grew up poor
etc....I know my snazzy clothes and high fashion ways make it confusing,



On Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 6:20 PM, RW <blackslaw06 at yahoo.com> wrote:

>  Josh,
> My apologies for not responding sooner.  I didn't know any of these things
> about you or your experience and I appreciate that you shared them.  It
> reminds me of those who say "I did it, why can't you?"  I understand that
> perspective.  As someone who has pulled himself up from the bootstraps I
> often have similar feelings towards other black people who complain about
> the system.  I am someone who thinks the system can work if you work it,
> and if you work hard.  However, when I have those thoughts I think back to
> my life in Newark where there was a sense of hopelessness that was so
> pervasive and so deep.  I couldn't understand it and I couldn't explain it,
> but I could feel it.  It was so depressing I had to get out!  I saw
> this recently when I went to West Philadelphia a few weekends ago to try to
> get people registered to vote.  Again I saw that sense of hopelessness.  I
> just wanted to shake them and say shut up, pull yourself together, and fill
> out this here form... but I didn't.  I said I know you are right, the system
> sucks, and I would deliver a rant and then I would try to get them to hope
> with me.  It rarely worked, but when it did I was overjoyed.
> The only way I can reconcile my two experiences (system working for me and
> not for others) is to realize that I was blessed and lucky in so many ways.
> I also realize that it will be harder for some people.  I know how hard it
> was for me growing up and I know how easy it would have been to give up, so
> I have compassion for those who find the world to be harsh.  I still hold
> out hope for them and I still try to help them.  It's like the kid in your
> debate lab who just needs a bit more help.  I remember these faces well
> because they were the faces of kids who were struggling to get it.  They
> need it explained differently.  They might need an analogy, a story, or a
> drawing to help them.  And, sometimes they need to be taught a new strategy
> all together that will work for them.  When I taught at debate camp I
> thought it was my responsibility to help them find their way.  In some
> instances, the best you can do over three weeks is teach a kid how to flow.
> But if they couldn't flow before they got there the congratulations and
> praise that you give them is equally as important as those you give to
> the kid who cut the most cards, made the best arguments, and achieved the
> most success at the camp tournament.
> I guess I am saying two things in response to your post.  First, think
> back to those days of frustration and live in it for a moment.  Out of that
> will come some compassion.  Out of that is a world of possibilities.
> Second, explore the possibility that some people would prefer a different
> strategy.  Your way isn't the only way and be happy for people when they
> find a way.  I admire your persistence.  I do, and I find your post
> inspiring.  I think it should be shared with others.  But, I think it should
> be used to lift people up and not to tear people down.
> -RW
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Josh <jbhdb8 at gmail.com>
> To: RW <blackslaw06 at yahoo.com>
> Cc: edebate at www.ndtceda.com
> Sent: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 5:30:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Race, Debate & Tows
> Rashad,
> I am bit saddened by your response.   I think you worked very hard to
> package my story in unflattering terms. I will admit, some of what you said
> is true...especially that educators are patenalistic....sometimes me in
> particular.
> That said, I will "quickly" address one part of your post because it
> personally had an effect on me.  The rest we can talk about later:
> RE: Research is easier now.  But you have to have a computer to access
> google.  Can you imagine a world in which not everyone has a computer Josh?
> JBH: Yes Rashad.  Actually I can, I used to hand type cards before there
> were available and affordable copy machines.  I used to hand type all of my
> 1ACs in high school.  I used to spend 100s of hours in the libraries in
> Oklahoma monthly (we would go to OU and OCU weekly many times) using the
> card catalog.  I have NEVER owned my own personal computer (that is to this
> day - I know people think debate coaches make tons of money and all but
> thats a bit of an exaggeration)....I have always had to use a University lap
> top.
> Now, part two...I grew up poor, my parents had no money until I was 18-20
> (lived in an apartment over a dry cleaners that was interesting to say the
> least) then they went broke because of taxes and havent had money again
> until I was about 37.  Luckily, they are doing well again now (in their
> 60s).
> You say "can poor people turn that into 5 tubs of topic specific
> evidence." Well, last time I visited the UCO squad room there was one of
> those monster safeway tubs down in the cabinet area with my senior year
> affirmative in it....I cut pretty much every card myself...I believe it was
> over 300 file folders finished...and I had to use an index at the first two
> tournaments.  Rememember, I had no computer....I had no coaches cutting
> evidence (although we had a very supportive assistant coach).  Also
> remember, this was my affirmative for the SECOND SEMESTER because we had two
> topics.
> Now you are right, I attended UCO on a full scholarship because I was a
> good debater....Not everyone gets that.  Totally true.  I do know I used all
> of my "allowance" every month on copying and got one credit card that I used
> for every single non-debate expense....Took me five years after college
> ended to pay it back...even though, after college, when I was a graduate
> assistant at UCO I made less than $500 a month.
> Maybe everyone who is poor isnt motivated toward that kind of
> insanity....But some people are....Dont assume because you know poor you
> know everyone's poor.  Dont assume because some Marxists are academics means
> poverty didnt effect them.
> Perhaps I get so angry during these discussions because people assume
> "lots of cards" means "wealthy and privleged."  Sometimes its true that
> debate work is only possible for the white leisure class...However, there
> are a TON of exceptions to that rule...I am sick and tired of people
> ignoring the many poor debaters who have worked their ass literally off to
> get to bids or elims or late elims or even just to clear once in a while.  I
> remember sitting in a library, having no idea how to research and trying to
> teach myself which indexes would be the best (readers guide - green,
> sociolgy - yellow, books in print - red),,,,I remember trying to figure out
> how they would classify the "jargony" names the good teams used for their
> affirmatives.  I remember trying to figure out how to write a disadvantage
> sitting in a library by myself.  I remember sitting by myself and getting
> the crap kicked out of my ego time after time after time but going back to
> the damn library until I found the card that would save me.  I suspect
> (actually I know) I am not the only one.
> Josh
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