Jabringing? Hope So, Because I’m Not: “White Privilege” in Debate

“College Wins US Debate Championship By Repeating the N-Word Over and Over, Speaking Incomprehensibly”

This particular bit of progressive nonsense was brought to my attention by WeaselZipppers, a right blog that can be counted on to put forth the most egregious outrages of Progressives, Leftists, Democrats, Islam, and the Obama administration
I enjoy agenda sites, but check things out. Here, Zippers links to a site called Pundit  Press, which has further links to an Atlantic story with this headline and sub header:

Hacking Traditional College Debate’s White-Privilege Problem

“Minority participants aren’t just debating resolutions—they’re challenging the terms of the debate itself.”

Speaking truth to power or something.

Debate-Team

The Tyson winners

“On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.”

  .

It appears that the Atlantic writer has no experience in debate, or training in rhetoric. “Premise” Is defined as “a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion.”

No conclusions or inferences were made. The Towson students simply changed the subject. The proceedings then went in an unusual direction:

“Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!””

“Fuck the time!”

I rather like that. Good song title or t-shirt meme.

The Atlantic is somewhat reticent in describing the flavor of the debaters’ language and thrust of their rhetoric. Pundit Press is more forthcoming and offers some transcription. The transcription is accurate as far as it would be possible to transcribe this kind of speech, if such it is.   (A short video link here, and the entire session, here)

“Uh, man’s sole “jabringing” object disfigure religion trauma and nubs, uh, the, inside the trauma of representation that turns into the black child devouring and identifying with the stories and into the white culture brought up, uh, de de de de de, dink, and add subjectively like a white man, the black man!”

I’m stumped by “jabringing” as the only search result leads back to this article.

A “ jabring” is apparently a breed of cat and maybe a word in Swedish.

And this:

“When the n*****, uh, sees these pains and suffering that he can only, uh, envision himself that he, uh, does not see another n***** that he, uh, can feel sympathy for or embrace, but rather, uh, that, a-bluh, that that otherness gets obliterated.”

I thought I could follow this, but came up short.  ”Otherness” is bad,we’re often told, so the speaker should be happy that it is obliterated, but the tone indicates otherwise. Perhaps an undigested bit of Edward Said in an otherwise unidentifiable spew. The passage is not coherent enough to be termed a rant.

As one would expect, comments express outrage at falling, or non-existent standards, ghetto trash talk and the Third Worldization of America,

As for me, I’m not so hard on these kids.

I get what they are doing. I was a high school debater, eventually captain of the team.

And I was crap.

We had intramural debates, and those we called “Oxford Style” full on snark, sarcasm, vilification of opponents, a lot of humorous nastiness, with the audience awarding victory. I did quite well at those. It was basically verbal bullying, elevated above the playground variety by elegant terms of phrase, but just as vicious.

Interscholastic debating, under the aegis of the association to which we belonged, went on throughout the year on a single topic. A thick briefing book was issued and participants were enjoined to learn the basics, and go on to their own research.

debate

Me getting my ass handed to me at a regional debate, University of New Hampshire, 1965

I never did because I was bone idle, and my crew was a similar bunch of no accounts, whom I made no effort to whip into shape. So, while we often got high marks for delivery, we were marked down for everything else.

Now, we had well developed vocabularies and rhetorical technique, and even some degree of oracular artistry, but our basic skill was the same as that deployed by these Towson kids:

Bullshit

The difference was, of course, that we were not rewarded for it. Not only did we bring home no trophies, but the headmaster made sure I was left out of the yearbook picture.

Some comments express concern for the debaters, in that these synthetic accolades set them up for failure in later life. I’m not so sure in their particular cases. The articles give no information on their fields of study, but even if their degrees are insubstantial, their notoriety should help, and I expect places will be found for hem in government, NGOs, or even progressively oriented corporations.

One has to remember that these young people are outstanding in their milieu. Those who are not, but whose education reflects the same kind of standard, will not have much to recommend them. This is one more example of the endless bigotry of low expectations, and the accommodation, and even celebration, of a culture that does not respect learning. Any who aspire to emulate the Towson debaters may have gone to college, but they are in the same trap as are others who eschew schooling to become rappers or athletes.

Not everyone can; most cannot.

The Atlantic quotes academics finding nothing wrong in all this, and who, indeed, celebrate it. These are the real villains of the piece. They have their tenure, but those schooled under their ideas will be lucky to have any kind of job.

In the end, these kids are right. There are white people keeping them down,

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4 thoughts on “Jabringing? Hope So, Because I’m Not: “White Privilege” in Debate

  1. Interesting. I was at the University of New Hampshire in 1965. If I had entered a debate championship and spouted obscenities and doubletalk, I would have ended up in jail. And got myself expelled. The horrible realization dawns that these negresses of no brain may not have even been on serious hallucinogens.

    • We’ll never now if they have brains, because their teachers, enablers in the education and academic complex have made sure these kids have not developed any talent they have. There is one YouTube around wherein a Fox affiliate interviews two female team members. They sound quite capable and aware of what needs to be done – and claim to have done so – to prepare for a debate.

      Perhaps they did, but somebody came up with alternate strategy.

      Apropos of absolutely nothing, returning to R.I. from that debate on a snowy day, heard “California Dreamin'” for the first time, and determined to return there, and did. Gorgeous place, New Hampshire.

  2. Just FYI, the debate style on display here is a curious thing called “policy debate”, of which these ladies and their opponents were rather fit examples. ALL policy debates sound like this (minus the n-word and profanity). The velocity at which words are slung is required – each team has ninety minutes to regurgitate some four hours’ worth of material, and they spend long months training to speak at speeds of between 350 to 500 words per minute with clarity. This is called “spreading”, and is a hallmark of policy debating. The point of spreading is supposed to be to allow debatants to present more evidence and a greater number of arguments. Some studies suggest spreading also improve shot- and long-term memory.

    Wikipedia has an article on policy debating that’s quite informative, and you can find many examples of policy debates on YouTube.

    Having said that, despite the spreading, most policy debates are still intelligible. I’m not even sure what language this particular debate was in. And if anyone knows what “jabringing” is, let us all in on it.

    • Thanks Stephanie!

      That would explain why two of the kids interviewed sounded perfectly capable of debating in a manner familiar to me. Perhaps they had prepared for policy debate and then decided to go wide.

      I’ll have a look as you suggest, and write an addendum if I think it is warranted. The articles/blogs I saw on this tended to have definite points of view, for and against. Some were aghast at the use of rap, but damned if I heard any. I could actually see rap working in the right format.

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