Debatable

Episode Summary: 

An abbreviated look at the history of debate club and the story a black student from Kansas with an aptitude for debate.

Why share:

The thread that captivated me in this story is that we are looking at the story of a young man who is competing within systemic racism. The story takes a look at how different groups recognize this problem and takes steps to exploit weaknesses in the rules to increase the fairness of the competition.

How it might apply:

How much of our lives is operated under rules that are often very old and that have not been questioned. Societal norms, rules of sports, Academic competitions, and even language games all have specific rules that may or may not have been looked at from a modern perspective. Without revisiting them from a modern perspective or diverse viewpoints, how can we know the fairness of the rules. However, even looking at the rules may not be enough. 

In this story, it is the people struggling under the rules who recognize the inherent deficiencies and biases. To achieve fairness, these are the voices that need to be listened to, and the caretakers of the rules need to be willing to erase the advantage that allowed them the privilege of their position. 

Hot Spot:

13:00 - A mention of systemic, institutionalized racism causing disengagement of a population of people.

14:00 - Start here for the background and enjoy the story, but at 16:45 you hear the argument and at 23:12 he nails the crux of Privilege - "How do you do debate? How do you participate in an activity for hours and hours and hours, weeks upon weeks upon weeks, arguably years on years on years, and not ever think about why you debate the way that you do?" (Ryan Wash).