[eDebate] Some Questions

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Wed Aug 6 11:27:22 CDT 2008


thanks for your reply, and i'll respond from the bottom up.

james doe: "If in the CX one of the fort debaters says. "She gave us 27s"
Is that necessarily proof of some veiled racism?"

no, because almost nothing could prove veiled racism. that we live in an
era of unconscious racism is an uniqueness argument, and that racial
microaggressions abound is an impact argument. the link has nothing to
do with accusations of veiled racism; the link is striking a black judge, and
the internal link story is racial homogenizaiton of the judging pool, no
matter the intent.

doe: "If I saw a judge who had given my kids a 27 on a strike sheet, They
would be the first to go. You do mention this, I just want some clarification
on where you stand."

well, you're citing common practice. towson's argument is that sometimes
the typical way of doing things entrenches white privilege, and that race
consciousness is a necessary remedy. this means rethinking the normal,
business-as-usual practices of exclusion.

that said, i'm not sure where i stand, other than judges, coaches, and
other participants should be open to these arguments, should give them
fair weight, and understand them in some detail before reacting to them
in a knee-jerk manner. i hope i've at least demonstrated that 'we're not
racist' is non-responsive.

d: "Is it not sufficient reasoning for ft hays to strike someone
if that judge
gave them 27s?"

let's stipulate a fact i'm not convinced of, but that may help to clarify what's
at issue: let's stipulate that the striking of reid-brinkley increased fort hays'
odds of advancing farther in the tournament. now the question is clear-cut:
should fort hays have to shoulder the burden of decreased success in order
to keep a black judge in the pool?

to most competitors, the answer must seem like a no-brainer: they should
not be expected to take such a competitive hit. (and that's why towson and
others shouldn't let them get away with an argument like this, and should be
able to defend a reid-brinkley as a fair judge with no more risk of dropping
them than any other judge: there's no speaks in out-rounds, and unless they
contribute more to a showing of irrevocable bias than some vague feeling of
discomfort, all they have to do is do a better job to pick up her ballot, etc.)

but here we've reached the peculiar realm of social conventions. why not
clip cards, for example? it's difficult to enforce formally because it's difficult
to hear whether someone is reading all of the card if they're spreading at a
break-neck speed. yet not clipping cards may decrease one's chances of
competitive success.

ok, you say, 'but that's playing dirty'. and i'd agree. i believe the advice a
coach should give their debaters here is to simply ask, do you really want
to win that way? no one else may find out, but you'll know, and that may
leave you wondering whether you could've won without clipping. so, why
risk a hollow victory?

what i'm getting is this: how do we decide what's dirty and what's not? why
is clipping cards cheating but hoarding evidence not (cross-apply the debate
commons argument)? and how do we go about instituting new conventions,
so that things we thought legitimate yesterday are now discouraged and/or

i really don't want to single out fort hays here because that's scapegoating
a single team for what's effectively the debate consensus; the question i'd
hope more squads would ask themselves when striking judges is, do you
really want to be the team that makes the pool less diverse? do you really
want to win that way? why risk a hollow victory?

for example, had towson not won c.e.d.a., and lost on a close decision, we
might've been left to wonder whether a more ethnically diverse judging pool
would've led to a different result. ...and i wouldn't want the kansas team to
be left wondering that - not even for a second.

this is what i meant by forum-preserving practices. they may seem anti-
competitive at first, until you realize they're exactly the conventions which
give meaning to competition. and because we know that next to nothing will
change in this activity unless it affects the distribution of ballots, i've got no
problem with teams such as towson pressing their opponents on the issue. i
mean, if you run a squirrelly, non-topical case, then debaters have a tool to
deal with you called topicality. i'm only trying to help refine some new tools
that've already proven themselves effective.

...fair enough?

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