[eDebate] Bad publicity for policy debate
Wed Oct 1 14:35:03 CDT 2008
in reply to the report embedded here,
to say that a team from towson university "accused their opponents from
fort hays state of racist tactics" is misleading. such a characterization gives
one the impression that the towson team accused their opponents of racism
- they did not. they accused their opponents of employing *racially-neutral*
methods which fail to adequately address entrenched racial privilege. the
towson team made a point of not imputing any racist motives, correcting
this mischaracterization of their position at least a couple times during the
debate. so, it's not that the tactics were racist; it's that the tactics weren't
anti-racist (or racially-conscious) enough to confront racism in the activity.
to say that "the charge of racism led to an argument" is both inaccurate and
misleading. first, towson didn't put forward a "charge of racism" (see above),
but also that description neglects to mention the argument happened *after
the round* - not during. the choice of the word 'led' there suggests that the
students - who behaved and performed well throughout the real debate -
in some sense caused or were in some way responsible for the actions of
their crazed elders. (if two members of the audience watching a presidential
debate fall into an argument about the financial crisis long after the debate
ends, and those members subsequently come to blows of their free volition,
would we say that the presidential debate over the financial crisis "led to
violence"? if so, would we ask 'what's happened to the state of presidential
debates today?'? ...i think not.)
to say that the coach from fort hays state "got into a shouting match with
the judge" is factually incorrect. she was not "the judge". she'd been struck
from the pool before the round ...and, of course, that's what most of the
shouting was about.
so, finally, to say this caused college officials to ask 'what is going on in one
of the oldest forms of academic competition?' is unfair. first because this did
not occur during an actual competition (the round had already been decided
and discussed by the real judges), but also because if officials are indeed
asking that question, it's in no small part due to the misleading, inaccurate
coverage of the incident itself, which the chronicle of higher education's
report above offers us another in a long line of fine examples.
if you're truly looking for an example of how to debate a controversial subject
in a civil manner (e.g., without calling your opposition 'assholes' or exposing
your backside), then look no farther than the actual round, cut free from the
adultish antics which occurred afterward.
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