These days, an increasingly diverse group of participants has transformed debate competitions, mounting challenges to traditional form and content by incorporating personal experience, performance, and radical politics. These “alternative-style” debaters have achieved success, too, taking top honors at national collegiate tournaments over the past few years.
Well, if your judges share the same idiotic philosophy, of course you'll score well.
Two black women won a recent debate on whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted; however, instead of actually addressing the topic, they changed it: "The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities."
Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled.
This year wasn't the first time this had happened. In the 2013 championship, two men from Emporia State University, Ryan Walsh and Elijah Smith, employed a similar style and became the first African-Americans to win two national debate tournaments. Many of their arguments, based on personal memoir and rap music, completely ignored the stated resolution, and instead asserted that the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students.
Aaron Hardy, who coaches debate at Northwestern University, tells of instances where "... judges have been very angry, coaches have screamed and yelled. People have given profanity-laced tirades, thrown furniture, and both sides of the ideological divide have used racial slurs."
Truly unbelievable. I wonder how these folks would feel. What's even more unbelievable is that this actually has to be said in 2014: “I think it is wildly reductionist to say that black people can’t understand debate unless there is rap in it—it sells short their potential.”
Uh yeah, 'ya think?Posted by Hube at April 21, 2014 08:44 PM | TrackBack