[eDebate] Stopping the Snowball

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Fri Aug 15 15:02:56 CDT 2008

on hester's behalf...

on my behalf...



what darren surch proposes - a 2-year ban from c.e.d.a.-sanctioned events -
isn't "damage control" : it's hanging participants out to dry.

first, does "folks involved" include the fort hays and towson teams, who
both debated civilly? does it include shanara reid-brinkley? what did she
do wrong?

following on josh hoe's distinction between "internal review" and "getting
exorcised in the press", there's a big difference between when i call my
brother a jerk and when someone outside the family does. likewise (and
despite my criticisms on debate media), only we should be allowed to call
shanahan a "bearded hillbilly lunatic" (...one of the youtube comments).

in my opinion, the position should be this: what happened was a heated
exchange - not a physical altercation - that occurred after - not during - an
academic debate round. it got slightly out-of-hand, as arguments sometimes
do between people who care about what they're saying. but one minute of
videotaped bombast doesn't invalidate a career dedicated to education. it's
comical to most arm-chair viewers, and morally outrageous to a minority,
yet the facts remain: no laws were broken; bill has since publicly copped
to making a mistake; and most have newly acknowledged the importance
of civility to frank discussions of racism.

james roland already said what needed to be said, and he said it on the
scene: "this is not the way in which we do our activity a service" (3:05s). 

now it's time to acknowledge the importance of solidarity: no firings, no
bans, no one left behind. we also don't serve the activity by capitulating
to external threats on its academic freedom. if there's no legal issue, you
all should claim the right of self-government, of judging what is and isn't
beyond the pale, and what will or won't be done about it. those decisions
had been made to everyone's apparent satisfaction when this video turned
up; to give in to the pressure of bad publicity now wouldn't punish the act
- it'd punish the controversy, and solely to 'keep up appearances'. that's a
real slippery slope: that participants will begin to censor themselves since
those in charge are more interested in public appearances than defending
a forum where it's still permissible to call b.s. bullshit.

in reply to those who say the professors were 'acting like children', i say,
grow up.

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