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Re: Tiny U - Arctic Landscape
I don't recall the message you posted that involved the incident with
two of your debaters so I'll make an attempt to reply generically...
> When I said racism occurs in CEDA, I did not mean to imply
> that I thought the organization was made up of a bunch of overt
> racists. I do not think that when a team of two white males
> debates some people of color, they burn a small cross on the
> podium and whip out some white sheets to wear. And although
> overt examples of racism do occur in this organization (at least
> two to my team members), it is the subtle racism that we need
> to worry about even more. The overt racism can be pointed to
> and censured, it is much easier to spot and work against.
I personally do not recall witnessing any instances of racism while I
have been in the activity. Of course the possibility exists that I am
entrenched in some form of rhetorical script that prevented me from
observing instances that were present.
Secondly, the majority of debaters, coaches, and judges I have known
appear to be of the more intellectually enlightened persuasion. My
assumption is that these individuals who appear to me to be open minded,
intelligent, fair and honest individuals are not engaged in racist
Third, when you say "Warning Will Rogers : There is racism in CEDA"
without specifying where this racism is occurring (although like I said,
I do not remember your previous message, I am replying strictly to this
message) or in what capacity individuals or groups are perpetuating
racism than I am incapable of analyzing any specific situation or
commenting on the factors/conditions/events of an event. There's also
alcoholism, drug abuse, obesity, sexism, and excessive hair spray usage
in CEDA - but general warnings that the sky is falling do very little to
prompt action when there are a host of specific ills people are familiar
with that individuals feel compelled to devote their discussion time to.
I certainly don't intend for this to be taken as a JUSTIFICATION for
ignoring this issue, however it MAY be one REASON individuals are not
> The subtle racism is the type that is worrisome. Racism is not
> a black and white issue (no pun intended), there are many
> shades of grey. We are ALL racist to some degree. Part of the
> problem with subtle racism is that we may not even be aware
> we are doing it. We may feel that we are not individually racist,
> but if one of our actions is taken as racist (even if innocent on
> our part), then racism has occurred.
I'm concerned about trivializing or overbroading the use of the word
'racism'. I'm not necessarily asserting that this is occurring here,
however your claim that "if one of our actions is taken as racist...then
racism has occurred" doesn't produce a positive 'gut level' reaction
with me. If the issue of racism is important, and if instances of
observable racism are occurring, than (in my opinion) we are better off
discussing those instances rather than casting out a net to capture
everyone and telling them to 'face-up'. Claims that "whether you know
it or not, you're being racist" turn me off from discussing the subject.
It may turn others off from the subject as well. My interpretation may
not be correct, but it is my observation.
> I am very curious as to WHY few of you posted to my last
> message. Can you tell me? I literally got on and said that this
> team had experienced racism in this organization and did not
> want to come back. And no one responds. The main response,
> tacitly, has been that if they just worked harder it would have
> been ok. I am afraid that I do not agree with this assessment.
If you'd repost the incident I'd be happy to respond.
> I raised another issue as to why some don
> t want to stay in
> this organization, that of lack of relevancy. I certainly do not
> deny that many issues can realistically be linked to a nuclear war
> (Lord knows, I destroyed the world my fair share when I was
> debating). That is not what the point was. Next time one of
> you is going to your President (or whomever) to try and get one
> of those microscopic twenty-five thousand dollar budgets that
> have been mentioned, give him/her an example of one of the
> real arguments we run.
Sure, let's talk about environmental racism, normativity, feminism, the
deficit, congressional politics, all manner of communication philosophy,
and international affairs.
> How about the one that said aliens were
> going to come down and raise us like cattle for a food supply,
> they will love that one. You and I know that there are responses
> to that position, and that it is an exercise in logic and thinking
> and all. But that is absolutely irrelevant to the point I am trying
> to make. MANY do not see it that way. They see it as getting
> up and arguing a position that any average idiot would not
So don't tell your president about it. But don't belittle argumentative
freedom in the activity. And at least one of those 'aliens come down'
arguments involves a narrative which is a critique of RACISM.
Additionally, there are many important issues which people blow off as
'unrealistic' and 'irrelevant' when the arguments have substantive
merit. Skip Eno told me a story of when he debated 'back in the day'
and ran a Soviet Union break-up position and a military judge wrote on
the ballot something like "This is laughable, that would NEVER happen!
How irrelevant!" The bottom line is, what-the-fuck-ever. If it's a bad
argument than beat it, if you can't beat it then lose to it, if you get
tired of losing to it and can't beat it then maybe it's not a bad
argument. If you can't beat the 'riddiculous' arguments you might have
a hard time beating the 'true' arguments too.
> However this divisions thread got started, it has turned into a
> thread prefaced on trying to keep teams from leaving CEDA. I
> truly do not feel that divisions, even if hammered out, will have
> much, if any, impact on this problem. Things like tackling
> racism might. And that is part of the problem I have had with
> this thread. This thread generally works as a metaphor for
> CEDA today. Everyone wants to discuss the policy, the
> solution to the problem, the salvation - BEFORE WE HAVE
> FIGURED OUT WHAT THE ORIGINAL CAUSES OF THE
> PROBLEM ARE TO BEGIN WITH. Simple causation tells us
> we need to know the causes of the problem before we can
> determine an adequate solution.
Simple life tells me that's not true. We don't need to always go 'to
the source'. We don't always need to critique the infinite level of
abstraction, we don't need to all sit around like Descartes and
meditate. We can pick a starting point and go from there. Why is that
logically invalid? Your assertion also assumes a true 'source' could
ever be discovered, how might one do this? As soon as you're ready to
point to something as 'the source' I'm sure any number of people would
be glad to point out that there is another level or another assumption
behind "the source" which needs to be examined, meaning what you've
identified as 'the source' isn't 'the source', it's just another
> Some of the responses to the
> racism line said that since we could not mandate a solution to it
> (racism), it is not worthwhile discussing it on the L. I certainly
> hope you people do not really feel this way. If so, we are in for
> some bigtime trouble. They are right, you can not mandate
> away racism. But that does not mean it can not be addressed,
> worked against, and maybe solved. It is certainly worth trying,
> given the stakes.
Ok, I'm typing. This is also addressed above.
> So I will try once more. Here I go. I believe that two of the
> many reasons schools are leaving CEDA for some other type
> are racism, and lack of relevancy.
Why? Things like divisions, breaking
> more teams at Nats, MPJ and the like will be fairly cosmetic and
> superficial if we do not answer the bigger questions also.
> Thanks for listening...
And the warrant for this is... what? Why can't those issues be
addressed without tackling racism? I'm not saying they necessarily
SHOULD be, I'm just wondering what PREVENTS this from occurring. I
haven't heard a whole slew of compelling arguments against normativity
yet but most people are still running on the normative hamster wheel
(which means they are moving, I'm just not ready to admit the movement
is taking them anywhere :-) ).
Fort Hays State University
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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