[Ndca-l] "Civility"

Tara Tate ttate
Wed Dec 18 16:16:51 EST 2013

To clarify my initial brief post, I am discussing the degree of sexual
inappropriateness that has occurred as of late.  Issues of race, gender,
and sexual orientation can certainly be discussed in many rounds and lead
folks to feel uncomfortable as they face their own actions and thoughts
that lead to exclusivity.  I am not talking about that.  I am not talking
about debates that may discuss FGM, sterilization, etc.    Those issues can
all be discussed in a realm that does not create an environment that makes
me feel uncomfortable as the adult in the room with minors talking about
indepth issues of sexuality.  I will come off to a conservative prude to
some but I am talking about the level of sexual inappropriateness.  One can
intellectually discuss issues of exclusion and make me feel
uncomfortable....that is what those discussions are meant to do.  There is
a level of inappropriateness that transcends the boundaries of adult
educator listening to minors.  For me this goes far beyond the "f" word and
conversations about rape, FGM that are intellectual in nature.

I am not saying AT was calling me out but after I posted my brief thoughts,
I even wondered myself if my post would not be clear in regards to the
arguments that I am talking about.

Adjudicating a debate round is my work space - just as in my classroom,
discussions that make me uncomfortable because they challenge my belief
systems are welcome.  Discussions that indepthly discuss sexuality by
minors in front of me is not.


Tara L. Tate
Director of Debate, Glenbrook South HS
Chairperson of the Board, National Debate Coaches Association

On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM, Timmons, Aaron <timmonsa at greenhill.org>wrote:

> AS an aside I posted to the email list serve because I wanted *coaches* to
> dialogue. Others jumping in may be inevitable, but I wanted a conversation
> among colleagues that could be direct and open. I think we should do
> whatever format that maximizes comments and dialogue. Nothing should be
> done to ?chill? conversation.
> I wanted to address the ?civility/decorum? issues as it has become a new
> buzzword for many people in the community in the last couple of years.
> My initial thought was, to be honest, framed in very binary terms.
> Specifically, if teams/debaters didn?t meet some standard of ?civility?,
> did that then mean they were ?uncivil?? Did the racialized nature of some
> of the arguments put people into an area of discomfort ? Given the agreed
> upon increase in diverse bodies, argument styles, culturally different ways
> of speaking and engaging in the debate space, I find the timing of these
> claims, ?interesting?, and at least worthy of reflection to say the least.
> Was it uncivil to say ?aids serves as a death check, let em die now, save
> 8.5 in the crunch?, or ?racism has no impact you need to run a real
> advantage?, or ?rape/racial profiling/FGM/domestic violence good? in
> debates I have heard over the years? Is it uncivil that on topics that deal
> with social justice issues, people opted to run politics to outweigh, and
> not engage the affirmative or run an agent cp to just never discuss the
> harm outlined in those impacts?  While I will NOT defend the proliferation
> of the FBomb I have seen in high school debate in the last couple years, I
> do find it curious how the discussion is now framed as ?civility? and
> ?decorum?, when other bodies enter the discussion.  I KNOW this statement
> will make some uneasy. If we can all at least take a moment to reflect of
> that perspective (agree or disagree), that might at least help us
> understand the perspective of the other party.
> Stefan has lucidly given his view on the idea of ?decorum? and ?subject
> matter? that is allowable based on District/school policy, I DO NOT think
> it as clear as it might seem. Do tournaments have a RIGHT to limit content
> and behavior by guests attending their events? That is not really a
> debatable issue. Of course those schools and Directors have that
> jurisdiction. The question though is that whether those guidelines
> understand cultural differences in communication styles AND as importantly,
> the perception that those in the majority have of folks from different
> backgrounds and social locations. In addition, before we create the
> argument police about how, and what is an appropriate *form *or *content *used
> by students, we need to look really carefully about what is being taught in
> our English classes in our respective schools. Hip Hop culture is NOT going
> anywhere. In looking at several courses in the catalogues of many schools
> that we see on the national circuit, nearly all of the schools are pushing
> boundaries (several R rated movies referenced as part of the curriculum as
> an example). While the intent might be good, the subtext of hardcore
> limitations on form and content while seemingly colorblind, many times
> uniquely impact students of color in a negative way.
> I am NOT saying anything goes. I AM saying there are many different ways
> to affirm or negate a topic. I AM saying that many of the kids from
> suburban backgrounds are not used to debating urban kids. I AM saying that
> many judges who are not used to students making debate work for them in a
> different way may be uncomfortable in certain situations. I have found that
> it is hard to grow unless you lean into discomfort.
> Finally, the point is not that we all have to agree either theoretically
> or practically on how we view these issues. Rather, an open conversation is
> necessary to see if any consensus does exist.
> Many argument choices have made historically that make people
> ?uncomfortable?. What is the ?uniqueness? to that claim? All should feel
> like they have a safe space. Who is ?unsafe?.
> Good discussion all.
> Aaron
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