[eDebate] false racism

Paul Leader leaderdb8
Fri Aug 22 13:55:51 CDT 2008


To my old friend Bill Shanahan:  I am SO sorry.  I understand how this hurts.  I think we need to "re-think" what we are arguing about racism (yes, that include Towson, et al.) and I don't care if you blast me for it.  WE ALL KNOW that Bill and Fort Hays are no more racist than, dare I say, AT LEAST 99 % of our entire community (and I certainly hope it is 100%).
However, it has become a tactical ploy, used to win debates--and I am not so convinced that it is always really more "project" than strategy.  I wish Bill had not become so upset by what happened, but I understand why he did.  None of us good people should be called racist because of what we decide on what we probably thought was a private strike card--and no one in our community deserves to be accused of being racist if the sole purpose is to win a debate round.  This is probably why I have been so fond of the "wrong forum" argument in response to project arguments---perhaps we should now consider whether or not the EXECUTIVE level of debate is not indeed a better forum than the level of the individual debate round, with all its strategic-competitive aspects.
To the "project" teams I hope you will ask yourselves one heart-felt question.....does accusing other members of the debate community of furthering racism (especially when you know it is false) really further the goal of increasing diversity and inclusion?  I am no longer sure.
This is a sad day for college academic debate, and I fear the fallout may not be complete.  We have much to think about:  including at least codes  of conduct when at tournaments.... and whether forcefully accusing our fellow debaters of any "isms" is really productive and fair.
My heart goes out to Bill, his family, and the Ft. Hays team.
Paul Leader
(former Jayhawk debater, coaching alum from:  Wake, Cornell, and ENMU)

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