[eDebate] Future of Debate

Ede Warner ewarner
Mon Apr 14 07:58:28 CDT 2008


Mr. Brady,
 
I wasn't criticizing you for not including me.  I was criticizing your actions, that they did not seem informed by the legacy of Black Movements you say that you understand and respect.  I wasn't looking for acknowledgment of your elders via a list, but strategy that had a chance to be effective, because it demonstrated an understanding of how they succeeded and why they failed.
 
As far as me, I've made choices that earn the right to be respected.  I earned a Phd, I earned the right to be acknowledged for what I've accomplished.  That's all.  Just because some of the training of this community is to rebuke authority and to equalize that student-teacher relationship in unprecedented ways, doesn't mean I have to accept making my accomplishments invisible, nor will I.
 
My confrontations are attempts to be educational and constructive. I spent a lot of time affirming the actions of the young folks out her on the ground, but I guess that wasn't enough to engage.  I attempted to apply the study of Black social movements to your strategies for calling out whites.  But I'm more than willing to concede that few respect and/or are willing to build coalitions with me.  So, I will shut up, get out the way, and let the Crunk revolution figure it out. 
 
As far as too coach-centric, I don't know what you know about responsibilities of a coach or director, but here at Louisville, I have to answer for the decisions made by my students, at least when Black students talk about race.  I have to answer for how much we win, and I have to answer when our students make arguments that the broader institution or the media don't like.  They don't call my students about funding priorities when they are upset that students are making racism arguments in debate, or smoking joints on tournaments, or getting in the news for going to jail.  
 
When my debaters end up in the news for having a rally to reject the Klan coming to the campus, I take responsibility for 1) their safety (especially if I've recruited that student from another place like a UDL and their family expects me to take responsibility for their lives); 2) the program.  
 
I felt that our program was moving in a direction where debaters standing up calling the community institutionally racist was moving in a direction that I couldn't administratively manage.  In your world, I'm suppose to let them do or say whatever they want, even though you can't name a class that this would be true.  This coach-centric bad attitude you have is a product of the lie of white liberalism in debate, and clearly you don't see it.  You have been told that you can do things in debate that you can't do anywhere else, but I hope you keep this in mind:
 
1) when whites in debate argued Malthus, that we should let people die, to stop future overpopulation, no one called the media and no one complained;
2) when whites in debate argued nuclear war good, and said that we should have a nuclear war to start over, letting billions die, there was no conservative backlash on blogs;
3) when whites in debate said life bad, so let people die, or West is Best, who even blinked other than Rashad;
 
Everyone one of those arguments have been run by championship caliber teams in CEDA/NDT debate.  
 
Two teams have made serious championship runs making arguments about debate being institutionally racist.  Both made the newspapers, the listserv, and the blog.  When it happened to us in 2004, I have had to repeatedly defend our arguments to administrators, not one student.  Have you?
 
Directors have to answer to the fallout created from that, not students.  Many programs have their funding tied to student government.  All it takes is one complaint in the student newspaper, and the consequences can be serious.  And if directors keep letting students do whatever they want, Black arguments will destroy programs using them while Malthus, nuclear war good; a-life and others will keep right on trucking.  And that fallout will affect a lot of students that aren't Black and don't debate race too.
 
You can let whites keep fooling you to believe that the earth revolves around the student.  But I'd be very careful if I were you.  If Towson's unique backlash isn't a wake up call, I don't know what is.  
 
But hey, I'm just the paranoid fool who is prone to hyperbole because I characterized my neighborhood in ways that Mike Bryant doesn't see.  
 
I believe the smartest debate movement is something that both the director and the student feels comfortable going forward on, not something solely created by one or the other.  That way the risks are shared and not forced on either side.  But perhaps I'm wrong.
 
Good luck next year Mr. Brady.  
 


>>> 

From: "nicholas brady" <nicholas.brady89 at gmail.com>
To:<edebate at ndtceda.com>, <edebate at www.ndtceda.com>
Date: 4/14/2008 03:22 AM
Subject: [eDebate] Future of Debate
I will not answer all of your claims in a line-by-line fashion if for no other reason than to reject the white aesthetic :). 
But quite honestly i don't have the time to answer everything you said, but i do have a large problem with the jist of your whole argument. 
To say that I do not give credit to my elders is an ignorant assumption to make of me, for if you truly knew me you would know that i have backing. I take influence from perhaps the greatest Black thinker of all time in W.E.B. DuBois, from the New Negro movement from Alain Locke to Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks made my favorite poem of all time and the poem that helped me articulate this argument, King , Baker, and X are perhaps my favorite activists of the sixties with Carmichael being my largest influence for this argument, i take influence from Hip Hop, the strongest for this particular argument being Public Enemy, 2pac, and Lil Jon. I don't know what you know about the crunk revolution, but if you think i know nothing of those who came before me than you know very little indeed. Simply because i do not name you as an influence does not mean I am ignorant to your effect on this community, it simply means that i have found something that is beyond your influence. (no insult meant... but you choose to attack me first.... perhaps if you would stop being NEEDLESSLY confrontational you would find more allies and more coalitions)

The second thing i have a problem is your coach-centric style. In high school my partner and I were the coaches for our team starting in our sophmore year and going on from there. I am all for student self-reliance and I think we are just as capable as those who came before us to craft revolutionary arguments. Do we need coaches to help craft and better our positions? yes. Do we need the coaches to "lead the revolution"? not so much. Lay off dude, at the end of the day we need not be so confrontational to change debate. This is why students must be the leaders, because we are the ones tied to the activity as it currently is. We are the ones in the battlefield fighting, and we are the ones making coalitions for change for the future. Many coaches (not all but a lot) are bigots in their beliefs and are very much stuck in their ways. Even you who self-reflects and changes have shown all throughout this discussion to be too aggressive in your opinions to ever lead a movement. The biggest difference between a movement and an opinion is an opinion is led by one person while a movement is many voices coming together to make change. 

An opinion is one voice and a movement are many different voices. 

KEY DIFFERENCE. 

You spend a paragraph essentially taking credit for leading a movement. That is not leading a movement, that is simply selfishly attempting to take credit for things that have developed. Those who are truly confident in their power of their voice feel no need to brag and boast, they simply speak and are heard and respected. If you believe in a movement you would do that: speak and be heard, but would not feel the need to bully and prod those who essentially agree with you. 

A movement is made up of DIFFERENT voices who gather for the same cause. Stokeley Carmichael is different from Martin Luther King who is different from DuBois who is different from Randuolph who is different from Malcolm X, but they ALL played a role in the events of the sixties that led to monumental changes. 
So if you refuse to form a coalition with me and others simply because we don't agree on all points, it is YOU who is not paying attn to our elders and to the movement that came before us. 

So do you have a place in this movement? Yes. But learn how to stop fighting to be at the forefront and simply learn to be a PART of this movement for equality in Debate. You are not the only person that personally is tied to this, so learn how to play nice and form coalitions with people that are fighting for the same thing. 

I still am hoping for a discussion on practical things we can do to foster discussion on race in debate. As for the crunk revolution, you will see it start next year. I am a student debater and i do my fighting on the battlefield of debates, see you in the trenches. 

-Nick
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