Debate in the News – College-Level

Anyone doing debate in high school will recognize the issues and themes in the following story:


I missed this one when Radiolab first aired it, but a former student I’d coached a bit (didn’t go to my high school, but I’d coached her uncle a generation earlier) caught it and passed it on. The comments section after the story is worth reading, too – you can tell pretty quickly who the insiders/outsiders to the activity are.

While I had offers to debate in college, I chose not to, and was coaching at the high school level by my sophomore year. This story represents many of the reasons why I voted with my actions the way I did (though race wasn’t as much of an issue then). The rhetorical question that comes from this, and other similar disputes over the years, is whether (to put it on a personal level) I’m being too much of a purist to expect a round to be on the subject area of the resolution, or has (in HS terms) CX become so delimited that any round can be about anything at any time? (If so, what role does the resolution play in matters; is it  simply a limit to Aff teams and irrelevant to Neg teams?)

As you watch CX rounds at Nationals, or go to summer debate camps, ask yourself what your position is on the limiting/delimiting question – and why.

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