[eDebate] Pie Throwing

Megan Jean Harlow mharlow
Tue Mar 18 23:42:49 CDT 2008

I think the context of this situation is incredibly important
Diante a black student and Derek a white student were running an  
argument about how debate is full of white privilege.  During cross ex  
of the 1ac a pie is thrown in Diante's face.  The audience besides for  
sure me and Diante and I think one or two judges, starts laughing.   
Diante says Megan I need to change my shirt we walk outside.  Diante  
was filled with rage and felt incredibly insulted.  I also was  
incredibly angry and upset I couldn't even speak I have never felt  
that way about any incident I have seen in debate.  We walk to the car  
to get D a new shirt and the energy between me and D was full of  
shock.  I was scared my debater who took it upon himself to talk about  
issues of racism within debate despite the current opposition of  
critique debate especially affirmative that aren't topical and address  
racism WITHIN the debate community.  The lack of the other teams  
consideration of a history of the minstrel show shocked me.  I am not  
blaming debaters but the attitude and comments I have seen in response  
to this situation do make me mad.  I come to a debate tournament, an  
educational activity, a classroom where I think the main priority  
should be creating an environment open to debate.  Diante says in his  
words " I think it is bullshit for a debate community to laugh in the  
face of my dehumanization in a debate round when I am arguing that  
racism is real and it happens in a debate round and at the same time  
it disrespects my feelings and beliefs, and my personal heroes of  
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and those who made a change in the  
civil rights era by saying you should laugh at the seriousness of  
arguments".  If we want to continue to have debate tournaments where  
there is an open environment and we can discuss a variety of issues it  
is important that we have some sort of ethical responsibility, we must  
make a classroom environment where students are not at risk of  
physical violence should they violate topicality, or discuss issues of  
importance within their life.  What happened in that round has made me  
more shocked and upset and more passionate about arguments such as  
Diantes affirmative.  We do need to discuss the issues of racism  
WITHIN debate rounds, issues of our educational methods.  If this  
happened in a college classroom, a high school classroom the response  
would be overwhelmingly against the incident.  The student would  
likely be expelled and it would be all over the media.
Also pie throwing is a form of activism that challenges the state,  
throw the pie in the face of power.  In this room the argument was not  
an accurate representation of the form of activism the negative team  
was hoping for.  In the face of racism I do not think laughing and  
making the student who openly admits that the debate community has  
created an environment that is similar to a prison.  This is not  
funny.  And to whoever said you should run a topical aff, that is  
horrible.  To endorse violence against any team that is untopical is  
unethical at the least.  The context of the West Georgia round is  
incredibly different.  Kansas's arg was that West Georgia was too much  
of a clown, so they threw the pie at West Georgia.  That pie would and  
should not have been thrown at Louisville.

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