The Debate is Over – This is Stupid!

This article from The Atlantic is so cringe-worthy stupid it wouldn’t even be good satire:

Does Traditional College Debate Reinforce White Privilege?

It used to be that if you went to a college-level debate tournament, the students you’d see would be bookish future lawyers from elite universities, most of them white. In matching navy blazers, they’d recite academic arguments for and against various government policies. It was tame, predictable, and, frankly, boring.

No more.

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.

But this transformation has also sparked a difficult, often painful controversy for a community that prides itself on handling volatile topics.

On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.

In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. 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. His partner Campbell, who won the top speaker award at the National Debate Tournament two weeks later, had been unfairly targeted by the police at the debate venue just days before, and cited this personal trauma as evidence for his case against the government’s treatment of poor African-Americans.

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.

Tournament participants from all backgrounds say they have found some of these debate strategies offensive. Even so, the new style has received mainstream acceptance, sympathy, and awards.

Joe Leeson Schatz, Director of Speech and Debate at Binghamton University, is encouraged by the changes in debate style and community. “Finally, there’s a recognition in the academic space that the way argument has taken place in the past privileges certain types of people over others,” he said. “Arguments don’t necessarily have to be backed up by professors or written papers. They can come from lived experience.”

There is a bunch more, but it doesn’t get any better.

Debate – oral argument – is a skill. Like all skills it can be taught, although some people have an aptness and others do not. Debate skill is essential for a trial attorney, along with some other jobs. It is useful in many others. That is why they teach it in college and high school.

Or should I say, they used to teach it. What they teach now is the worst kind of idiocy imaginable.

Imagine if black students in math and science classes suddenly asserted that those disciplines reinforce white privilege and wrote totally unrelated things on their homework and tests and still received passing grades. What good would their diplomas be?

Now imagine only some black students received these dubious diplomas. Wouldn’t all black graduates now be suspect in the eyes of employers?

This may be the dumbest shit I ever heard of.

About Myiq2xu

If I had known this was the end of the world I would have brought refreshments.
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104 Responses to The Debate is Over – This is Stupid!

  1. 1539days says:

    “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

    I did mock trial in high school and I was infamous for my debates. I argued for slavery and won. I had a debate in college once on the death penalty and the instructor took points off because I was too “sarcastic.”

    The Atlantic is actually revealing the emergence of black privilege in academia. Somehow it is good that a black female team wins a debate contest rather than white or male students. I have no idea if the black students are acting more angry and militant to intimidate a white audience or if the association allows this because they think black students can’t win a debate by following the rules and format.

    This is the new Media Matters / OFA strategy for winning a debate. Pajama boy wrote about that fact that he argues issues only as much as it takes to shut the other person up.

    There are few professional debaters, but there are lots of lawyers. 20 years ago, Johnnie Chocran injected race and sloganeering into the OJ Simpson trial to get a not guilty verdict. In the real world, judges are dictators and lawyers who play by their own rules can be found in contempt. It sounds like this new group of debaters are heading for Al Sharpton’s street corners rather than the courthouse.

  2. Lulu says:

    This one is fairly obvious. The non-deserving (and self appointed) elites are failing and the public has noticed and tuned them out. Their lawyers are failing in court cases and public arguments. Not only are opposition lawyers winning the debates against the not very bright elites so is the dummy non-educated properly public. If you can’t win an argument you shout SHU TUP! if you have nothing to back it up. If that starts failing you accuse RACIST! If that doesn’t do it you dumb them down or make arguing a social or legal crime against the motherland (Lois Lerner and the WH counsel). And if that doesn’t stamp dissent and reason out you start cutting out tongues.

    I think this is a trial balloon for why no one should trust a scary golden tongued debater named Cruz or a fiery little dissector of human onions named Gowdy.The shut up brigade doesn’t have any good arguers and they know it. And of course no one should examine the self appointed oligarch’s failures. The IRS shut up operation, the Benghazi coverup of shut up, and the massively destructive Obamacare disaster because it is time to move on, we won, you will like when you know what’s in it, look at our jigged statistics!, and shut up. You CAN make people shut up. But you can’t make them stop thinking and being resentful as hell that you told them to shut up. This as so many others are the arguments and rationalizations of juveniles who have no arguments that are not foolish and self serving. They even a invented a type of “journalism” called explanatory shut up journalism. So if you are told to shut up just reply that they are stupid. Which they are.

    • votermom says:

      I am going to start a debate technique to counter the SHUT UP! contingent.
      It will be the THROW UP! debate technique.
      You vomit all over the other guy.

  3. Lulu says:

    Sorry to be OT so fast but half, that is FIFTY fucking percent, of Obamacare’s sign ups in Georgia haven’t paid their premium. H/T to AoS. That is appallingly bad. And they had to make a swipe at Georgians of course. Being poor and compelled to buy shit insurance is not an excuse even for smug asshole conservatives. Hey the Democrats said signup. They didn’t say anything about doing without food or writing hot checks to pay for the crap.

  4. DandyTIger says:

    I’ve decided all of this rot throughout academia and government is funny. When things get so stupid you don’t even know how to react, you have to laugh or cry. I’ve decide to laugh. And something tells me it’s not going to get better from here. Openly mocking the stupid is the only thing to do. Best part, they’re too stupid to understand they’re being mocked.

  5. The Klown says:
  6. DeniseVB says:

    I’ve always noticed that for ivy league trained lawyers, the Obamas are really poor speakers. Did they skate through Harvard Law by using the “shut up racist” card in mock trials ?

    On the other hand, Ted Cruz is also a Harvard lawyer. What a difference. Remember this?….

    Prominent Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz offered words of praise for former student Ted Cruz in a new interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas): “Off-the-charts brilliant. And you know, liberals make the terrible mistake, including some of my friends and colleagues, of thinking that all conservatives are dumb. And I think one of the reasons that conservatives have been beating liberals in the courts and in public debates is because we underestimate them. Never underestimate Ted Cruz. He is off-the-chart brilliant. I don’t agree with his politics.”

    But the retiring Dershowitz couldn’t similarly evaluate another Harvard Law alumnus:

    There was also the Harvard Law student who couldn’t get into a Dershowitz class despite multiple attempts: Barack Obama.

    “Twice because the computer kept him out,” Dershowitz said. “It wasn’t my fault.”

    • Lulu says:

      The computer did grade rankings that kept him out probably or professor recommendations for best students based upon class participation that scotched him getting into the most sought after courses. Poor Bammy discriminated against by math.

      • DeniseVB says:

        You’d think Obama would use more creativity getting into a sought after class like Dershowitz’s. Larry Sabato selects students for his class at UVA from essays. I remember the Jim Webb volunteer who got in with just writing “I am Macaca”. 🙂

        • Lulu says:

          He wasn’t willing to do the work to get in a class. When has he done the work to be good at anything except being a whining asshole? And I think he learned the whining asshole part at home as a young child by osmosis which didn’t take any effort then either.

      • insanelysane says:

        If that’s true then…math is racist.

  7. fernschild says:

    Ever read “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers”? By Tom Wolfe, who I’m sure was racist as I am racist for referencing said work. However, like, you know, everything old is new again. It’s all so 1970.

    • swanspirit says:


      • swanspirit says:

        If we follow the logic of The National Debate Tournament to a plausible conclusion , we, as citizens of the USA and other western countries , should just dismantle western civilization entirely, in order to put an end to “white privilege” . There is no plan for replacing it with anything better , but I am sure some variation of a third world alternative would make some people very happy /snark

        • helenk3 says:

          didn’t some country in Africa take the land away from white farmers and now they have about $240 in their national treasury ?

      • fernschild says:

        Quite welcome. But I’m at the perfect age – 60 – to have gone through stuff before but still young enough to remember it having happened.

      • swanspirit says:

        Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers is a 1970 book by Tom Wolfe. The book, Wolfe’s fourth, is composed of two articles by Wolfe, “These Radical Chic Evenings,” first published in June 1970 in New York magazine, about a gathering Leonard Bernstein held for the Black Panther Party and “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,” about the response of many minorities to San Francisco’s poverty programs. Both essays looked at the conflict between black rage and white gu”Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers”[edit]
        The second part of Wolfe’s book is set at the Office of Economic Opportunity in San Francisco which was in charge of administering many of the anti-poverty programs of the time. Wolfe presents the office as corrupt, continually gamed by hustlers diverting cash into their own pockets. The essay centers on the irony of these failed programs fortifying not the diets but the resentment and contempt of the Black, Chicano, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, and Samoan communities of San Francisco.[2]

        Wolfe describes hapless bureaucrats (the Flak Catchers) whose function was reduced to taking abuse, or “mau-mauing” (in reference to the intimidation tactics employed in Kenya’s anti-colonial Mau Mau Uprising) from intimidating young Blacks and Samoans, who are seen as reveling in the newfound vulnerability of “the Man”. The flak-catchers smile pathetically, allowing their tormentors to indulge themselves in abuse; the process is seen as a farcical but useful expedient, condescending toward the resentment of these communities. He described one mau-mauer who would show up at the offices and hand over ice-picks, switch-blades and straight-razors that he said were taken from gangs, in exchange for payments from the program. As a result, much of the money of these programs was not reaching its intended recipients, rendering the programs largely ineffective.[1]ilt.[1]

  8. swanspirit says:

    Also, my granddaughter wanted to go to Towson University . I think I might discourage her . I know I will .

  9. helenk3 says:

    times really have changed. Political Correctness is one of the biggest enemies of this country and her future

  10. The Klown says:
  11. helenk3 says:

    In today’s America, Bundy gets guns pointed at him supposedly over taxes owed. Al Sharpton gets a tv show and invited to the white house while owing even more in back taxes.

  12. SHV says:

    Meb Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon…first American since 1985

    My wife has a few more hours to go before crossing the finish line

    • helenk3 says:

      good luck to her. you must be so proud of her

    • elliesmom says:

      My son and his wife, too. I expect them to cross about 3:30. He’s usually a little faster than that, and she’s usually a little slower. I expect the pace this time to be somewhere in between. They’ve both run the marathon before, but this is the first time running it together. They run as part of the Dana Farber Cancer Research team. Usually one trains for the run while the other does the fundraising. After last year they were determined to both run this year. I saw them at mile 2, but getting into the finish line is difficult in the best of times. Her mom went in and stayed in the city last night. So she’ll keep me posted.

  13. The Klown says:

    Ron Fournier, via Hot Air:

    That last paragraph reminds me of Democrats who privately gripe about Obama’s lack of engagement with Congress, his unwillingness to build meaningful relationships, his allegiance to polls and focus groups, and his cautious nature that, in their minds, holds him back from greatness. “He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Democrat added, “He just is not a natural leader.”

  14. helenk3 says:

    stolen from a commenter at No Quarter.

    this is a very interesting article, some great insight

  15. The Klown says:
  16. The Klown says:
  17. The Klown says:
    • The Klown says:

      Buried lede:

      “Other demographic factors matter as well. Hispanics hold the highest birth rates among teens, with blacks second, American Indians and Alaska natives third, whites fourth, and Asians last.”

  18. mothy67 says:

    Ot. Has anyone ever tried one those home DNA tests(23andme or I was thinking about getting one for Mother’s Day. She’d never drop 99 on something like that but she always talks about tracing her roots. Wondering which is the better value.

  19. The Klown says:
  20. The Klown says:

    David Brooks Obama ‘has a manhood problem in the Middle East’:

    Bobo is the same guy who know that Obama was qualified to be POTUS by the sharp crease in his pants.

  21. The Klown says:
  22. The Klown says:


    When I tweet links to articles I sometimes add a preface – “MUST READ” or “WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP.”

    I think both are self explanatory.

  23. foxyladi14 says:

    And appreciated thanks. 🙂

  24. sleepyhead says:

    Somewhat OT – I heard them discussing this on the radio this morning:

    It seems that the military’s ban on “unkempt” and “messy” hair is now to be considered racist. (that was not in the link above but was stated on the radio this morning). And the regulations on length/width of cornrows and dreadlocks are way too difficult to follow and are “disrespectful of black culture”. Um, ok. I am as white as they come and I have unruly hair, and have lots of trouble making even a ponytail look neat. Could I join the army and then sue them because I don’t have the coordination to put my hair in a bun? Or because I feel that my identity depends on having long, unfettered locks? Sheesh. What about food service workers? Or medical personnel? There are all kinds of reasons to regulate hairstyles. I suppose the next big thing will be refusal to wear uniforms because it stifles creativity or some such.

  25. The Klown says:
  26. The Klown says:
  27. helenk3 says:

    it is not just color that shuts down freedom of thought

  28. helenk3 says:

    must watch Kelly tonight. she will have a segment on this.
    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that returning veterans get a lot of disrespect from liberals and this administration?

    • helenk3 says:

      the 60s have not left the building

    • 1539days says:

      They’re all spitting at veterans in their imaginations.

      • Lulu says:

        They have to find the “other” to denigrate. If they don’t have monsters and boogeymen they don’t feel good about themselves. They feel bad and inferior and worthless. There is a reason they feel inferior which may be in their brain chemistry or depression or personality issues. Without doing anything positive or productive they go after others. It is the laziest brain and mood stimulator there is. It is self medication for assholes.

    • helenk3 says:

      maybe because like millions of other kids, I watched my dad and other soldiers that we knew go off to war and stood at a train station to say goodbye, but grew up knowing how much was given up by military and their families. I did not like the disrespect in the 60s and I do not like it now. The one difference I see now is that it is also being shown by the government that sends them into harms way. That makes me sick

  29. helenk3 says:

    off topic
    I had to share this. I was laughing so hard I had tears

  30. helenk3 says:

    now isn’t this just so special. California one of the highest taxed but still broke states

  31. DeniseVB says:

    I’m in awe of the Boston Strong family here and the runners you’re related too. Love you all and happy, safe finishes. ❤

  32. The Klown says:

    Ho Lee Chit:

  33. mothy67 says:

    Today’s post pretty much spells out everything that is wrong with academia. School debates should teach/hone critical thinking skills not reward knee jerk emotional responses. Like every time I. bring up an o bama short coming I get Bush, Bush, Bush. When I was in high school and we had to debate or write a persuasive paper we were always made to assume the opposite position of what our feelings were. Education is a learning process.

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