Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Pre-Fiat Framework
Here are some of the best justifications for anti-racism/anti-oppression pre-fiat framework.
For years the black body has been excluded and oppressed when it came to discourse centered around ethics. Rooted in western ideology, academia as confined itself in a realm in which morality is determined by the white, straight, male. This is reflected in the naïve, colorblind undertones of the affirmative. If the system is inherent antiblack, the system will only disproportionately harvest the organs of the black body.
[Merrit] We need to acknowledge the exclusion of the black body if you ever what to move towards whatever this idea of a “just society” is. We live in a system where our organs are up for grabs because we are worth nothing and colorblind complacency has blinded us from reality. Deborah Jones Merrit writes:
Merritt chair of law and professor of women’s studies at The Ohio State University 2010 Deborah Jones; “Piercing the Brilliant Veil: Two Stories of American Racism” Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper Series No. 129
There are two stories about racism in America. In the first story, we have moved far beyond our early sins of slavery and segregation. Students of color attend elite colleges and professional schools. They serve as doctors, lawyers, nonprofit leaders, and captains of industry. Signs no longer proclaim “whites only,” and children of all races compete equally in integrated classrooms. A democratic majority elected an African American President, and his black family romps on the White House lawn. In this America, racism is isolated, sporadic, and anachronistic. A few misguided individuals occasionally show some racial prejudice, but everyone else abhors racism. We treat people of all colors equally, so we no longer have to think about race. In the second story, forty percent of black infants and toddlers live in poverty and one-third of young Hispanics fare as poorly. Racial slurs, hostility, and disdain for minority students permeate elementary and secondary schools. High school graduation rates for whites far outstrip those for black or Hispanic students. Hispanic men are two times more likely than whites to serve time in prison; black men are six times more This second story acknowledges the structural, systemic nature of white privilege in America. Black and Hispanic children are born into families and neighborhoods marked by discrimination. In schools and workplaces, these minority children face differential treatment that deepens their disadvantage. Both locally and nationally, their society responds to the problems of white people more readily than to the needs of minorities. Teachers work harder to help struggling white students succeed; the government sends tax dollars to subsidize farms in white Iowa rather than to fix levees in black Louisiana. Whites are blind both to these societal differences and to their own personal prejudices
Therefore, the Role of the judge is to not only to be an ethical decision maker invested in the wellbeing of disadvantaged students, but to recognize and question whether civil society is ethical and should exist. Accessibility is a multiplier for all impacts and should be your primary concern because any educational or discursive benefits are expanded by an accessible space for dialogue. The role of the ballot is remaining consistent with the best liberation strategy for the oppressed in order to create accessibility in all mediums.
[Smith] Through debate, racism is given an arena through which we can engage and participate in discussion in order to solve for this bitter reality.
Elijah Smith writes
Smith, Elijah. History maker, best assistant coach ever. A Conversation in Ruins: Race and Black Participation in Lincoln Douglas Debate
It will be uncomfortable, it will be hard, and it will require continued effort but the necessary step in fixing this problem, like all problems, is the community as a whole admitting that such a problem with many “socially acceptable” choices exists in the first place. Like all systems of social control, the reality of racism in debate is constituted by the singular choices that institutions, coaches, and students make on a weekly basis. I have watched countless rounds where competitors attempt to win by rushing to abstractions to distance the conversation from the material reality that black debaters are forced to deal with every day. One of the students I coached, who has since graduated after leaving debate, had an adult judge write out a ballot that concluded by “hypothetically” defending my student being lynched at the tournament. Another debate concluded with a young man defending that we can kill animals humanely, “just like we did that guy Troy Davis”. Community norms would have competitors do intellectual gymnastics or make up rules to accuse black debaters of breaking to escape hard conversations but as someone who understands that experience, the only constructive strategy is to acknowledge the reality of the oppressed, engage the discussion from the perspective of authors who are black and brown, and then find strategies to deal with the issues at hand. It hurts to see competitive seasons come and go and have high school students and judges spew the same hateful things you expect to hear at a Klan rally. A student should not, when presenting an advocacy that aligns them with the oppressed, have to justify why oppression is bad. Debate is not just a game, but a learning environment with liberatory potential . Even if the form debate gives to a conversation is not the same you would use to discuss race in general conversation with Bayard Rustin or Fannie Lou Hamer, that is not a reason we have to strip that conversation of its connection to a reality that black students cannot escape.
As debaters what we discuss in these debate rounds affect us and the world outside of round. An exclusion of race directly affects the minorities within the debate community and denies the oppressive reality of racism itself.
[This framework originally and generously contributed by Newark Science SS.]