[eDebate] Apology

xydebate at hushmail.com xydebate
Sun Apr 13 21:11:02 CDT 2008


[Preamble: I wrote this before Doctor Warner?s latest post. I 
wasn?t sure whether and why I was being ignored, but now that he 
has apologized to all sundry? and I didn?t make the list, I think 
my frustration is a bit more justified.]

Dr. Warner ?

First, let me tell you how thrilled I am that you stopped Loving 
Everyone. It makes it much easier to explicitly question the 
(obvious) Friend/Enemy distinctions in your politics without 
questioning your authenticity and enraging you (further). 

Second, if you don?t know who this is and it matters, you should 
check my previous post or the bottom of this one. People are 
listening, Doctor Warner. ?I?m rapidly becoming a big underground 
success in this town.?

Third, I need to ask you a question. Let?s say, hypothetically, you 
ignored some explicit and implicit criticisms of your rhetoric, the 
substance of your arguments, and the community?s perceptions of 
your squad?s performance. If, hypothetically, you refuse to address 
the obvious fury and pain in something a Elite White-Looking 
Debater and Coach writes, is that because: a) you can?t answer b) 
think you don?t have to answer c) you aren?t answering because I 
called you Doc instead of Doctor Warner and you think being 
impolite (if the speaker is white) makes arguments insignificant d) 
there is something I don?t understand about How Black People Argue 
that should make the hypothetical critic feel better about your 
silence? 

Or, as seems more likely, did you ignore it because you are too 
intellectually lazy to read anything not directly aimed at you 
(and/or your ethnicity and/or squad?). I think you didn?t click the 
link to my post because I titled it Something-to-do-With-a-Bald-
White-Gay-Guy-who-is-Giving-up-an-Amazing-Coaching-Career-to-Help-
Bring-Competitive-Debate-to-Underserved-Communities. Some debaters 
I have taught find books or articles and then neglect to look at 
the ones next to them, just to see ? they lack curiosity and are 
lazy. You didn?t even read it after RW responded to it. 

Speaking of? I just called a black man lazy? again. The first time, 
you didn?t even tear yourself away from your no doubt scintillating 
?engagements? with Korcok to call me a Sheet-Wearing-White-
Supremacist-Jerk. 

In Affirmative Action in Every Day Life world, can I not call a 
black man lazy? If that?s how I feel about you, or RW, or a student 
of mine, do I have to bite my tongue? How do I get my student to 
work harder without letting him/her I am disappointed? Do I have to 
stay silent if I think RW is trumpeting laziness as a strategy of 
liberation and proselytizing lazy debating to the disempowered like 
God?s Own Salvation? How are we supposed to communicate about our 
differences if a man?s most deeply held convictions about debate 
are rendered politically incorrect and therefore censored (but only 
when applied to black men)?

I told the debate community that I was a long-time participant and 
coach with a distinguished record (as if that matters). I said that 
I might be dying from a life threatening illness, and that I had 
some things I needed to get off my tumor-filled chest. Some 
perceptive people might infer that my willingness to get emotional 
in public has something to do with my desire to get closure on 
issues that have been festering inside me? in case I run out of 
time. I also made it clear that I don?t believe my illness means I 
am entitled to a Health Care topic, or health-oriented debates or 
that it insulates me from (even personal) criticism. I did that so 
that you and others would feel free to attack me in response. 
Instead, I got a few days of deafening silence from everyone but 
RW, who defended his work ethic and ignored most of my substantive 
arguments. That was reasonable, since a lot of it wasn?t aimed at 
him and he?s not a full-time debate person. 

I don?t even think I want an apology from you, since I know nothing 
I say will change your mind or your practices. Say what you like, I 
don't trust you to do anything other than cover your ass in public 
so you can keep winning converts. 

I have three messages I want to convey separate from the above

First ? and this may blow your mind: many of us knew this ?race 
conscious remedy? speech was coming, and we?ve been waiting for it. 
Plenty of intelligent debate people have quietly paid close 
attention to what you and your teams argue. They did so not only 
for human, emotional, and political reasons but because they had a 
competitive incentive. Call it professional respect? They realized 
years ago (in my case, half a decade ago) that this ?different 
standards?/?affirmative remedy?/?affirmative action? argument was 
really implicit in everything you were saying ? or it was the 
inevitable conclusion. They either weren?t 100% sure or didn?t want 
to jump the gun, offend everyone, or lose debates, so they just 
waited for you to lay out in some concrete way what the affirmative 
remedies would look like ? beyond the stylistic. This is as good a 
time as any:

Do you think black debaters should be judged be different 
standards? If so, what are they? Give us details, Doctor Warner - 
people are listening, and not just the 890.  

Here are examples of burning questions: What, exactly are the 
criteria that non-black judges should use to judge all-black teams? 
Do they apply even if the black team uses a ?white aesthetic?? Do 
you think teams with one black debater and one non-black debater 
should be judged by a third set of standards? If a black debater 
chooses to ?debate like a white person? (RW?s words), then how 
should he/she be judged (careful with this one, it impacts Rashad)? 
What should happen when a black debater is vicious, cruel, or rude 
to a competitor? Sometimes non-black debaters are penalized, 
censured or disciplined when they go over the line? So does 
respecting ?Black styles of communication? mean a white judge can 
never dock a black person?s points? What happens to non-black 
debaters who feel their identity is too private (closeted?) or too 
painful to discuss in a competitive format (e.g. will be judged and 
evaluated by a stranger)? What happens if a black debater feels 
that way about identity, even after you have made the community 
hospitable to their ways of being, speaking, etc. How are judges 
supposed to know the identities (racial, class or otherwise) of the 
debaters and the appropriate standards for evaluation prior to the 
start of a debate? Does everyone have to hand in a dossier? Or does 
each individual debate have to be about identities every single 
time, even the pairing has recurred a dozen times that season? If a 
group of debaters and coaches simply cannot abide the solutions you 
propose, can they debate at the same tournaments as people who 
agree? You once tried to segregate CEDA by speed categories ? is 
this the same thing all over again but more nuanced? How can a 
white judge tell a black debater ?I would have voted for you on 
that argument the Other Black Debater failed to answer, but he/she 
is Black and by the standards applied to Black debaters, that 
doesn?t matter? without being both condescending and incompetent?

And? this may be the most important question: if non-black coaches 
and DOFs think the standards that the black community comes up with 
in response to these questions are unfair, condescending, asinine, 
discriminatory, or unworkable in practice, how can they communicate 
that disagreement?

I think this last question is so important because I brushed up 
against it briefly. At my last NDT, there was a discussion about 
whether to take Louisville judges. We decided to take one judge in 
particular and rank him/her fairly high. This individual judged us 
in an early prelim (round 2 I think). The debate was against a  
good team ? a white woman and a white man (if that matters). Their 
affirmative was about the impact of agricultural subsidies on the 
global underclass (surprise! they get priced out of the market and 
starve to death). We argued that getting rid of the subsidies 
wholesale was like creating equality of opportunity without regard 
for existing structures of (market) power, and had a policy 
strategy designed to create class-conscious remedies for small 
farmers. Given the (obvious) relevance of equality of 
opportunity/equality of result for Louisville, we thought that this 
strategy would resonate. Both teams articulated arguments without 
being overly conscious of the flowsheet, spoke persuasively and 
focused the debate on inequality. A white woman and a black man 
voted for the negative. 

The Louisville judge voted for the Affirmative. She told us that 
she felt the debate had nothing to do with her, that she was not 
engaged in the discussion, that she had no way to understand the 
issues and had flipped a coin to resolve the debate. I might not be 
personally so upset about this even now if he/she had not ALSO 
deviated from the well-known norms and procedures that govern coin 
flips in debate. She did not let the competitors pick a side of the 
coin, and did not flip the coin in our presence. She did not even 
bother to defend these deviations from norm and procedure as a part 
of the liberation struggle. I do not recall the same norms and 
procedures being applied before our (flip) elimination debate 
against Louisville. She seemed to think our silence was acceptance 
and not Shock and Awe. I am confident that the fact that I was from 
the Debate Elite and the other team was (probably) not had nothing 
to do with the outcome of the Invisible Coin Flip. 

Frankly, I think that short of defecating in my NDT mug, this was 
about the most disrespectful, anti-educational, hideously mean 
thing that this person could have done under the circumstances. It 
affected our seeding, it had a dramatic impact on my mental state, 
and it cheapened the value of the 1-2 ballot for the other team as 
well. 

About the only thing that could make me angrier about this is if 
you told me that I was Judged Differently Because I am White. If 
this the kind of identity-specific judging that you have in mind 
for the community, based on My Personal Experience, I think it is a 
terrible idea.

You may be concerned to know that whenever I have been asked by my 
debaters about ranking this particular judge, I have told them this 
story. I have also told them that it might have been a one-time 
thing, or that the judge might be a different critic today. But 
some were horrified and struck him/her outright. In other words, 
they were not exposed to his/her unique  perspective solely because 
of how disrespectful and mean he/she was to an Elite Team at Their 
Last Tournament Ever. 

But I digress: the last question I asked (communicative norms for 
interracial disagreement about race conscious remedies) is so 
important because you said that for black folks, politeness is not 
found in tone, but in content. I thought this was a cheap excuse 
for rudeness, but I?m wiling to admit that I might be wrong. If 
this is how you (all) feel, then content that you disagree with is, 
per se, offensive. People who like you, or don?t want to offend you 
are afraid that they have to pretend to agree with you ? even when 
they don?t.  They think that in our community, that might be the 
least respectful way to handle another human being. Also, some 
might even think you are using powerful language (slavery, 
genocide, rape) coupled with this content-over-form argument to 
intimidate your opponents. Personally, I think you?re being an 
emotional bully, which is consistent with your behavior at my last 
NDT. 

When I taught high school debaters about the ?Ville?s Movement at 
institute, some were smart enough to ask these questions about race-
conscious remedies (and more)? and I told young debaters we had no 
idea how to answer. They were sometimes upset. Mostly, they 
concluded (I asked) that we didn?t know and you didn?t say because 
your answers would be too upsetting to the judging community (e.g. 
it would cost your students debates). I?m not saying that this is 
true ? you have shown remarkable willingness to sacrifice 
competitive success in the name of your goals (which I applaud, 
incidentally). But since you were silent on the subject, that was 
the conclusion these young minds reached. Other than to say ?we 
doubt Doctor Warner would be so unprepared or so mercenary? we had 
nothing to say in response.

Second ? you might think you are entitled to offend people because 
of the history of race in America, but you should realize that 
hurting people?s feelings makes them less likely to agree to work 
with you on constructive solutions. Even if you apologize 
afterwards, it makes people reluctant to engage for fear that you 
will turn on them in the same way. Some person on this list argued 
about the issues you?ve raised, and did so after disclosing a bit 
of his privilege/identity. Specifically: that he is lucky 
(privileged) to be alive right now, and may lose that privilege in 
relatively short order. 

The fundamental irony is that the person in question agrees with a 
lot of what you have to say about debate pedagogy, inequality in 
debate, the use of flow sheets, and the use of music and experience 
to shape argument. He disagrees (vehemently) with both certain 
rhetorical choices, and about 15-20% of what you have to say. In 
other words, he is a fence-sitter and you have, at every turn, 
ignored, hurt and marginalized him, with obvious relish.

Then, after all of that, you threw out this rhetorical gem:
?white expectations today for equal treatment and sameness don't 
logically make sense. His example was that both cancer and 
chemotherapy hurt the body, but no one would say that we shouldn't 
use chemotherapy to counter the effects of cancer. Instead of 
holding tightly to utopian theories of identity construction that 
when deployed serve to eliminate my ability to fix the problems 
that have been created, why not try to understand that after 
literally hundreds of years of using identity to destroy people, it 
will require LENGTHY chemotherapy to counteract that, and part of 
that chemo is to understand why unequal treatment and double 
standards are needed to unravel the consequences of identity, 
before we can start enforcing a world that stops constructing 
identity.?

Obviously you give not one (tiny piece of) shit that someone who 
reads edebate might find this metaphor? oh, I don?t know? 
upsetting, since it analogizes (your perceptions of) his thoughts 
and his participation in an activity he dearly loves to a disease 
that is trying to kill him. Not only that, it posits his identity 
and expectations as a deadly living disease, and puts Doctor Warner-
with-God-in-his-Belly in the role of the chemical fire that will 
purify and save his life by killing him a little bit - a little 
bit, over and over and over again. That you had the audacity to do 
this after ignoring what this man said when he poured his emotions 
out in public adds insult to injury (after injury? after injury?).  
  

But hey, if you say ?judge me by the sum total of my participation, 
not one or two incidents,? I?m sure everyone (other than me) will 
forgive you this trespass. In fact, I bet you could throw out a(n 
anti-white) racial slur (or six) in ?one or two incidents? and 
people would forgive that too - but only because you?re a black man 
and That?s Just How You People Argue.

Allow me to elucidate the nature of chemotherapy Based on My 
Personal Experience. My very nice Jewish doctor made my argument 
for me the day they first shot me full of toxic chemicals that hurt 
like hell and make me want to die sometimes:

Doc: ?There?s good news and bad news about chemo, X?
XY: ?Tell me the good news first?
Doc: ?It always kills the cancer. 100% of the time.?
XY: ?Bad??
Doc: ?Sometimes it kills the patient too.?

How does chemo kill people? It can make it so hard to eat that you 
starve and they stop treating you ? then the cancer comes back. The 
collateral damage to healthy, well-meaning tissues can be so 
excessive that it causes organ failure. It can weaken the body?s 
defenses to a hostile outside world to the point where you die of a 
secondary infection (like an AIDS patient). Finally, and most 
disturbingly, chemo disrupts the process of producing new young 
cells. In the process, it can cause other, more virulent cancers. 
In my case, I may survive what I have now only to get another, 
worse cancer (leukemia). I try not to think about that because it 
makes me think bad thoughts like ?given the choice, I?d like the 
first cancer to kill me instead of the second or third.?

I think it?s easy to understand how each of these analogies applies 
to the context of the debate-about-debate. If you want it spelled 
out, ask others to do it for you. I?ve talked enough about this for 
one day.

Third and finally ? offending people that you believe are white is 
not confined to this one post. It is a systemic pattern of abuse, 
and it has a very specific and unpleasant impact on Jews in debate. 
You saying that you are doing it because you are hurting, that you 
Hate Because People Hate You, does not make your victims feel any 
better. Not even a little. This is especially true for me, because 
My People (family) are attacked daily by folks who believe their 
oppression justifies advocating a second Holocaust. 

I am going to use an example from my backchannel conversation with 
RW. Incidentally, my conversation with him made me lose my temper. 
If I come across as smug instead of indignant, hurt and upset, then 
I owe him a big apology. A lot of my writing to him attempted to 
convey that I disagreed with the way he framed the issue of white 
hegemony, and the examples he chose ? I intentionally ?dropped? a 
lot of what he said about his experience because I knew he was 
treated badly, and I thought silence was respectful/accepting, not 
dismissive. To summarize my letter to him, I agree with a lot of 
the arguments he was making, I just thought he made them in a 
totalizing, disrespectful manner, and I fundamentally disagree with 
him about the work/bad arguments issue. The last, I won?t budge on. 
Anyway, my writing:

To address the concern that my criticisms, explicit and otherwise, 
apply only to the "personalized" version of debate-about-race-in-
debate, and misses the "aesthetics" and "institutions" angle, I 
will re-explain something I tried to say already. Institutions are 
inter-subjective. Our particular institution is founded on a 
rhetorical, performance-related activity. Therefore, it is an 
aesthetically-focused social institution that expresses its 
approval or condemnation symbolically [aesthetically] with 
meaningless baubles. All institutions, including governments and 
debate, and even the Debate Elite, are comprised of people (and 
Jews, Alien Hybrids and robots). The institution of debate is made 
up of... well, us. When you say that you're making a point about 
debate as an institution, people who dedicate themselves to 
building, maintaining and improving that institution may take 
offense. They do so (partly) because in order to attack the edifice 
of the building, you single out particular bricks as examples. [In 
RW?s case, he by sheer dumb luck managed to attack my debate 
mentor, my debate coach, my first lab leader, my debate mom, and my 
roommate and debate partner all at once]. The brick makers, and 
those who love them will defend them. 

This is why I made that extended triple-bind-in-question-form 
argument [in my previous post]. You can't have it both ways - if 
institutions are people and people can choose to act differently, 
question their roles in oppression, etc. then when they don't, they 
are, ipso facto, doing something wrong. To put it differently, one 
cannot logically and coherently argue that:

"Identity, including race shapes how we speak and how individuals 
experience life
Individuals inhabit, produce, and support institutions
Individuals choose to inhabit particular identities, which they can 
question if they produce violence or other unpleasantness
The [identity-based] institutions inhabited by nearly everyone are 
very, very bad
BUT: when individuals perform violent institutional roles 
[identities], and I criticize them for it, I am not criticizing 
them, their choices, or who they are - my hateful rhetoric targets 
only the institution - which magically becomes an institution only 
and not something lived-in when I target it"

One of the core arguments above has to be abandoned for the 
position to be logically coherent. You can admit that you hate a 
bunch of people, or that you hate the institutions, and want to 
viciously demonize and attack them - and you have to be willing to 
accept the consequences of the inevitable collateral damage to the 
identities and subjects who choose to inhabit them... or you can 
try a little empathy and forgiveness:

No identity is free of trauma - I highlighted this in my jokes 
about the Irish, the Jews, Koreans, China-persons, Arabs and 
Indians. For precisely this reason, we need to be respectful, 
careful and forgiving when we discuss them. If we don't feel we can 
be respectful at a particular time, we should at least try to joke 
about the pain. Every Jewish debater feels something when anyone 
says the word Holocaust. Every Arab (that I've ever talked to about 
this) has a complex response to debates about fundamentalism, 
terrorism and the Middle East. Powerful the emotions swirl in 
slavery and stolen land debates. The Irish... well, you saw how 
much ARy cares about drinking-induced provocations. 

The core reason I was so snide in my post is that you [RW] were not 
respectful, careful or forgiving when you discussed the identities 
of people I care about. To the contrary, with gleeful aplomb, you 
rhetorically forcibly assimilated distinct life experiences and 
identities into a Whiteness that you clearly hate. For example, you 
describe a Good White K Debater Aesthetic: "...about my ontological 
being (stuffwhitedebaterslike # 7) (See, e.g. Goof Garen, Alex 
Berger, Andy Ryan)" I made many Jewish jokes [in my previous post] 
because this was clearly, albeit unintentionally, offensive to 
lived Jewish experience. To put it mildly, this is not the first 
time someone intelligent and articulate interested in black 
empowerment enjoyed a bit of public Jew-related impoliteness. And 
let me tell you, nothing builds coalitions of like-minded 
progressive individuals like a little implicit divide-and-conquer. 

My link argument: the two debaters who you correctly identified as 
embodying the intellectual and stylistic leading edge of K debating 
(especially Aff-side K debating) during the early 2000's are not, 
strictly speaking, white folks. They are Jews. The third debater 
(ARy) wallowed in the octofinals for a semester when he ran an Aff 
with the word ontology in it - a word I happen to have on good 
authority he has trouble spelling and is fairly sure you can't mix 
with whiskey or use to buy whiskey and thus does not care about. 
And, to top it off, that ontology Aff was focused on the statement 
"we are all [lower-case j] jews [thus we have an ethical obligation 
to deal with the Rwandan genocide]." You left out one other debater 
who was instrumental in the genesis of the K Aff with a Plan (which 
his Jew coach calls "the straddle") - Randy Luskey. Wait for it.... 
another Jew! 

Also, there's some guy I coached at NU also had something to do 
with the K Aff, but [RW] left him off the list even though he's 
pretty white-looking. 

Let me put what RW said in historical context. Being Jewish in 
debate isn't just about winning a lot and having a strange mental 
relationship with Holocaust claims: We've been around about 6,000 
years. For a thousand or two, we kicked a lot of butt. Killed each 
other, killed people who were on the land God said we could have, 
fought some wars with some nearby people, most of them, by all 
accounts, brown-colored (like us). Then a family argument 
precipitated by a spoiled and arrogant child-king who couldn't 
understand the politics of leadership split our nation apart and we 
were conquered. (Rehoboam: "my father also chastised you with 
whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."  1 Kings 12:1-14) 
For the next, oh say... 3,000 years we had no home. We lived in 
polities governed by others. Often hated, frequently killed, 
sometimes assimilating, but rarely with sustained non-violent 
success. The terms "beyond the pale" (used to be capital-P) and 
"ghettoized" have something (not quite sure what) to do with this. 
For 3,000 years we were hounded from place to place by brown and 
white-colored Inquisitors, Arab armies, white-colored (but also, at 
the time, not really white) Russians and their brownish Cossack 
(Kazakh) henchmen, and the Poles the Russians enjoyed messing with 
from time to time as well. Our people were scattered (and still 
are) to the four corners of the world. In some places they found 
refuge, in most they managed to eek out a meager existence. In 
places where they succeeded economically (often because other 
religions gave them jobs they viewed as sinful or unclean) they 
were demonized for their prosperity, and their wealth was 
redistributed from time to time - by force. Jewish intellectuals 
were responsible for many of the Western (white?) world's most 
impressive achievements. Many were in the vanguard of egalitarian 
(socialist-Communist) movements at the turn of the last century. 
When the goals of those "liberation movements" were achieved, Jews 
were systematically purged, persecuted and killed en masse. No 
doubt, many Jews lived happy lives, but on balance, our history was 
not a pleasant story even before the Germans applied their genius 
for efficiency to turning us into soap. After roughly half of us 
died in what I like to call the MittelEuropan Late Unpleasantness, 
some rich Christians (white folks, you might even say) felt bad 
enough about not even bombing the death camps that they gave us 
back we fought for because God said so. Except... (surprise!) those 
white folks had been ruling a place full of brown people, including 
a number of hold-out Jews, and a much larger number of Arabs and 
Turks. Then, some wars you [RW] (explicitly) say black people don't 
care about happened, and a bunch of Jews, including quite a few 
dark-colored ones (like my ex-Iraqi-Kurd relatives and those 
Ethiopians and Tunisians I mentioned [in my previous post]) came to 
live in the Holy Land. Many black folks in America have the dubious 
distinction of being descended from humans "imported" for forced 
labor. Less than 50 years ago, my family was liberated from anti-
Semitic tyranny when one nation-state sold them to another one in 
the largest state-to-state purchase of human life ever. Since it 
happened Far Away and Your People are Victimized Here, I can see 
how that might not be relevant to ya'll [black folks]... At least, 
it wasn't until I eliminated some 'Ville debaters from an NDT after 
mentioning it.... 

Now, a bunch of Jews are locked in what many perceive as a life-or-
death struggle with Arabs, who think (surprise-that-has-something-
to-do-with-whitey #2!) they are the rightful owners of the land a 
ton of Jews returned to. Last season, other Jews, living far away 
in a country that for some reason feels more strongly about the 
MittelEuropan Late Unpleasantness than almost anyone else, got to 
debate a topic about the Middle East. Some people in their 
community who trumpeted their concern for liberating the oppressed 
proceeded to repeatedly liberate the oppressed by establishing 
moral equivalence between the Jewish State and South African 
apartheid. All this bothers me not a bit. And I have no moral 
qualms about the fate of Arabs. That's why I do what I do, and none 
of it has anything to do with why I helped coach my alma mater this 
year while exceedingly ill. Seriously.

If you read this far you may be wondering about my point. I'm not 
an Israeli. I'm just related to some. Neither are any of the people 
RW called "white" while lambasting whiteness. None of us are dark-
colored, either. Well, Luskey is. Sometimes. We're American Jews, 
the luckiest Jews in history. We've never been systematically 
persecuted here. We've been able to succeed in all fields of life 
with only a modicum of violence (some guys in sheets... can't 
remember what they are called but Doc thinks they are terrorists so 
ask him). We live free from war, and are free to practice our 
religion. A lot of us are very liberal (not me, don't worry), and 
feel strongly about issues of inequality and discrimination, even 
when it most directly affects communities other than our own. Our 
religion has something to do with this. There's some holiday coming 
up that has a bit to do with empathizing with the victims of 
slavery [Happy Passover, all]. The author who wrote the system of 
ethics ARy [and some other nice white guy] couldn't win with was a 
Jew. His ethics were a response to the Late Unpleasantness. The 
best solvency advocate for the NU Goof/Tristan Aff [RW] hated so 
much (metaphors... so confusing) was a Jew. A lot of his work had 
to do with the Torah, er... Bible (that's what Christians call it 
when they use our book - especially when they use it to justify 
killing us). Inexplicably, many of the debaters who brought these 
arguments to prominence on the side of debate that typically 
advocates for change were Tribe members. 

All of this raises an interesting question: when, where and why, 
exactly, did Jews become white? Is it sheer dumb luck that Jewish 
debaters led the way in developing a form of argument that allowed 
them to discuss issues that resonated with their history? Why did 
they do this without ever saying explicitly ?this is about 
Jewishness?? Why is this kind of argument, which seems to have our 
cloven-hoofed Jew-prints all over it, part of the White Aesthetic? 
Given how many of us white folks have killed over the years, this 
seems like an odd turn of events. 

I'll gesture in the direction of an answer, but (like that Race K 
cite I mentioned before, I bet this is a surprise!) race theorists 
have written about this at length. 

America and Americans made us white. About 50 years ago. Had 
something to do with the Unpleasantness, the shifting politics of 
race, and the perceived (color-based) whiteness of the Jewish 
populations that tended to congregate here (as opposed to staying 
in the Old World). Lucky us. Cosmically, shockingly, blessedly 
lucky. The fact that after 5,700 or so years or so we found a place 
where we can be a minority and live pleasantly has something to do 
with what seems to be a widely held belief amongst successful 
Jewish debaters: we think that America and its Law, whose flaws we 
know pretty well, is worth preserving, if only so that it can 
become more than it is. 

Here's another nasty secret: there are WAY more Jews in the Debate 
Elite you disdain so much than there should be - relative to 
population size. My "personal experience" suggests this is true - 
but since anecdotal evidence needs large-scale validation, I can 
only speculate on the math. That said, I bet it is true even if you 
adjust statistically by comparing the number of Jews in the Elite 
to the percentage of the Jews in institutions of higher education, 
or in elite institutions of education, or if you controlled for 
perceived skin color or gender disparities. In fact, I bet that if 
you compare the number of Jews in elimination rounds of the NDT to 
the total number of Jews in the activity and compare that to other 
ethnic or racial groups, you will find that Jews are 
overrepresented amongst the Elite. I bet this is true because 
modern American Jewish culture emphasizes: hard work, respect for 
one's elders and the Law (both moral and juridical), the value of 
education, and derives joy from both spirited argument (usually 
around a dinner table - but this began in the Synagogue and 
religious schools) and humor. People raised in this culture and who 
benefit from the economic resources accrued by American Jewry tend, 
perhaps unsurprisingly, to be very good debaters and get into good 
schools. I bet this is true. How much do I bet? Um... $1.50. High 
stakes for my people.

Not only did the Tribe help build (transform? change? broaden?) 
what you call a White Aesthetic/Style, it all-but-universalized and 
globalized its sense of humor (some darkish people with a different 
form of ethno-comedy exist but I don't recall who, exactly). Ethno-
comedo-historians confirm that Jewish comics in America helped 
revolutionize the American sense of humor during the 20th century. 
A core philosophy of Jewish humor is that painful things are less 
threatening if laughed at. Laugh-if-the-alternative-is-cry, right? 
Dark, biting humor about what seem like serious or even depressing 
subjects is a trans-millennial Jewish tradition. My post, you 
see... was very, very Aesthetically Jewish. If it you didn't like 
it, Rashad... you hate Jews. Kidding. Kind of. But if you were me, 
(I'm afraid) you might not be. 

[Concerned and compassionate individuals should be attentive to the 
Jewish Question in debate, because it might meaningfully inform the 
strategies of other groups seeking debate success, transformative 
politics, etc. This might be true even though most Jews in America 
are white-colored and the groups in question are not.] 


XY

PS - I'll give that $1.50 to anyone who can explain why the absence 
of a response to my Duck-titled e-mail, despite the existence of 
other responses to other, conceptually related posts, proves a 
couple of arguments I advanced in it
PPS - I'll buy a beer for anyone who can explain why the Duck-
related arguments about how there's a special kind of disdain 
reserved for those who consistently win have something to do with 
my "personal experience" 
PPPS - Beer is too expensive

[end of RW e-mail ? followed by]:

PPPPS ? I?m not responding to anything anyone says on edebate. I 
have to get (real) chemotherapy on Wednesday and I need to rest up 
and calm down. I?ve said what I had to say. Others who agree with 
me, especially those who like me have no professional or 
competitive stake in the debate community and cannot be intimidated 
should continue to make these arguments. Every once in a while, you 
should speak if you are outraged. People are listening. 

PPPPPS ? I promised RW I would further out my own identity ? 
without naming myself in plain text ? which, to reiterate, because 
of Google and my job, literally puts my life in jeopardy. If you 
really need to know who I am check out: 
http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2004-May/056455.html



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