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August 30, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

My terrible rant about Race/Whiteness/Priviledge performance debates

I think the analogies between breaking silences on exclusions in debate versus
the civil rights, slavery, etc.. to be generally uncompelling. Its hyperbole.

Don’t kid yourself…you probably aren’t MLK or Abraham Lincoln…’re probably like a punk band with an audience of 4.

I think when they are agent centered (i..e speaker centered) they are a bit more compelling.

Even when they are compelling they amount to an ugly form of aff action or reparations (generally).

Also, why not learn how to generate actual capital for 10 to 100 minorities rather than self serving “cultural capital” of the ballot….
which in the range of cultural capital is fairly overrate (excluding outround ballots and even outround ballots aren’t “valuable” in the same way that increasing actual employment would be).

I hope I will get critical readings of this work by debaters and others versed in Critical Race Theory and that those will turn into discussio and dialogue that furthers that liberatory work.

Hyjacking the ballot isn’t a discussion. Saying whites don’t matter isn’t a discussion. Turning whites (and even non-blacks) into second third, and fourth class citizens is not a discussion. Its a monologue.

Critical race theory in the classroom is different from it in the context of the debate. Critical race in the classroom would allow people who didn’t want to play that game to opt out. Plus I don’t imagine his integration of CRT in the classroom is more in lines with MLK than ones along nationalist/race-based lines (aka Malcomb X).
Also this–its not unique to peformance debate–but its aimplified and multiplied by performance debate (source link here):

“Bad performance debate looks like ships passing in the night, as debate judges frequently lament about a round with no clash, meaning direct engagement with the other team’s arguments. Bad performance debate, my participants said, often seemed related to a superficial understanding of the arguments and theoreticians involved. Understanding that there are many scholars and intellectuals writing about race, for example, and understanding the array of thought makes for a rich debate even when both sides are debating about race. Not understanding makes for a frustrating debate in which students cling to cards that seem to agree with each other, at a superficial level. In order to move past this kind of superficiality, the team would often be encouraged to “pick up a book” and look for interesting points related to the topic, from any of a number of bookshelves filled with often sociologically inflected titles.”

Better debate is a rising ship that raises all ships and peoples. This method of debate evaluation erases truth in the same way in claims that Whiteness does it. It leverages power in the same way that Whitness does it. And it essentializes the experience of White people and inter-rational relationships (ie excluding rich or powerful black folks versus poor white folks).

The DA to this aff is EVERY intelligent thing every non-black has said in the activity. Because this is a massive centralization of power around reverse discrimination and those who can master identity politics & philosophical rhetoric versus reason. Its methods are fundamentally anti-thetical to reason or even its integration with emotional and identity issues. Thats the tell-tale signs of this kind of frou frou coffee shop sophistication…..sold on the backs of actual argument and clash and learning about our political process. The message that the system is broken and we’re screwed or that we should overturn the system–is simply over-hyperbolic.


Oh….and google “narratives of west virginia poverty” or “narratives of white poverty”….…ngs/duncan.html
These narratives serve as a counter-example.

And that narrative is just not true–its fractured–its no universal:

Whiteness is both homogeneous and fractured. Unlike Latino identity, which is understood to be mixed, and unlike African American identity under the strictures of the one-drop rule, whiteness is accorded only to those who are (supposedly) “pure” white. In the recent historical past this was not so clear-cut, as Jews, Irish, Italians, and other southern Europeans were sometimes excluded from whiteness and at other times enjoyed a halfway status as almost white, but not quite (unlike those with partial African heritage, no matter how light). But today, in mainstream white bread America, the borders around whiteness are assumed to be clear.
In another sense, whiteness has always been fractured by class, gender, sex, ethnicity, age, and able-bodiedness. The privileges whiteness bestowed were differentially distributed and were also simply different (for example, the privilege to get the job for a man, the privilege not to work for women, and so on). In much feminist literature the normative, dominant subject position is described in detail as a white, heterosexual, middle-class, able-bodied male. This normative figure carries the weight as well in the cultural narrative of reconfiguring black-white relations; there have been far more “buddy” movies about white men and black men than films exploring wom en’s relationships.4In Dances with Wolves, the revision of the Manifest Destiny narrative centers on a white, normative male to carry the story; this seems to assume that if whiteness is to be recast, it must be recast from the center out. Anything else–any revision that centered on a woman, for example–would not have the cultural force, the felt significance, of a white man relearning his place. This situation must raise the question, what is white women’s relation to whiteness?

Source: http://www.historyis…hitepeople.html

Must acknowledge the complexity of race to solve. (this could also function as some sort of PIK/Alternative card)

Perhaps white identity needs to develop its own version of “double consciousness”; indeed, to name as such that two-sided sense of the past and the future that can be found in aspects of the works discussed in this essay. White double consciousness is not the move between white and black subjectivities or black and American perspectives, as DuBois developed the notion. Instead, for whites, double consciousness requires an everpresent acknowledgment of the historical legacy of white identity constructions in the persistent structures of inequality and exploitation, as well as a newly awakened memory of the many white traitors to white privilege who have struggled to contribute to the building of an inclusive human community. The Michelangelos stand beside the Christopher Columbuses, and Noam Chomskys next to the Pat Buchanans. The legacy of European-based cultures is a complicated one. It is better approached through a two-sided analysis than an argument that obscures either its positive or negative aspects. White representations within multiculturalism must then be similarly dialectical, retrieving from obscurity the history of white antiracism even while providing a detailed account of colonialism and its many cultural effects. This, then, is the challenge: to transform the basis of collective self-respect from global, racial vanguardism to a dedicated commitment to end racism.

Source above [IBID]

Link-White event & white judge (their argument) coopts their argument:


Sartre, who was famously pessimistic about the egalitarian potential of human relations, presented two options that can be taken toward the Other. The first involves an attempt to transcend the Other’s transcendence, or negate the Other’s own freedom, especially the freedom to judge and value. This mode is characteristic of hate and sadism. The other mode involves the attempt to incorporate the transcendence of the Other; that is, to have the Other’s love, but freely of the Other’s own choosing. This is the paradox of love: we want the Other to love us in a way that is absolute, unchanging, and reliable, but we want this love to be freely given without coercion. Thus we want the love to be simultaneously noncontingent and contingent. Sartre characterizes this as the desire to incorporate the Other’s freedom within me, such that my needs and desires are still at the center and the Other exists only as a portion of my arranged world without real autonomy.
White attempts to appropriate black culture may fall into this category, as a strategy that does not seek to deflect the Black Look or repress it into blank submission but instead seeks to incorporate the Black Look within oneself. In other words, attempts by whites to assimilate wholly to blackness may be motivated by the desire to make the Black Look–or Black subjectivity, which is what the Look signifies–safely internal and thus nonthreatening to the self. The recognition of an irreducible difference, a difference that crossover tries to overcome, would maintain the Other’s own point of departure, the Other’s own space of autonomous judgment, and thus the possibility for a truly reciprocal recognition of full subjectivity.

Link-Cross-over success:


This issue illuminates the difficulties of white transformation. When does the transcendence of cultural chauvinism merge into cultural appropriation? Especially in a consumer society, the core of white privilege is the ability to consume anything, anyone, anywhere. The desire to crossover itself is coterminous with a colonizing desire of appropriation, even to the trappings of social identity.
Contemporary music does model, at times, an exemplary globalism, in which borrowings are so rapid and multidirectional that the concepts of “origin” and “identity,” as well as “private property,” are quickly losing their intelligibility. This does not mean that the culture industry transcends the racial hierarchies of existing political economies; hybridity in cultural forms does not entail a corresponding distribution of economic success. However, in trying to overcome unfair distributions of financial resources or access to cultural production, it is unrealistic to propose a voluntary self-segregation or, for example, that whites stick to white music. Hybridity, and therefore crossover, is an unstoppable force. Racism has not, on the whole, slowed cultural hybridization. This means that cultural hybridization is not a sufficient cause or even a necessary indicator of antiracism.

[Source, IBID]

And your strategy is a dead end. It re-ifies white racism & coopts the alternative:

Thus, the issue of convenience unfortunately misses the point. In regard to clearly identified racist acts of commission that require conscious intent, Ignatiev may be right. But this notion can coexist with the idea that white people’s sense of who they are in the world, especially in this country, depends deeply on white supremacy. And this dependence may often operate precisely because they are themselves oppressed; that is, because their immigrant relations were a humble lot without other cultural resources from which to draw a sense of entitlement. White supremacy may be all that poor whites have to hold on to in order to maintain a sense of self-love. The very genealogy of whiteness was entwined from the beginning with a racial hierarchy, which can be found in every major cultural narrative from Christopher Columbus to Manifest Destiny to the Space Race and the Computer Revolution. Staying in the vanguard is quite often inconvenient; it requires war and great sacrifice to remain “ahead.” But it is pursued evertheless, precisely because it is necessary for the possibility of self-love. So here is the predicament: we must tell the full story of white racism in all its complexity, and this complexity cannot be fully resolved through a class analysis that sequesters the guilty as only among the rich. Yet facing the reality of whites’ moral culpability threatens their very ability to be moral today, because it threatens their ability to imagine themselves as having a socially coherent relation to a past and a future toward which anyone could feel an attachment.

[Same source/IBID] I’m troubled by the above card, but there may be some cutting of it that works.

Overall, these cards need better tags and the argument is still incomplete.

I think you should be able to use the top card–ie Whiteness isn’t homologous as a link to essentialism bad (aka they are racist and perpetuate racism). You could PIK that part of their advocacy. We should do the aff–but out reps of Whiteness should be far more nuanced.

This is tantamount to MLK saying all whites eat Mac and Cheese drive suburbans and like the Beatles. We make a more nuanced account of the above statement which is FAR less racist. We are the only ones that can access their racism & whiteness impacts–the biggest impacts in the debate.

They should be held accountable for their reps.

This probably will lead to REPS versus real world suffering debate.


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