A National Speech & Debate Association debater and later coach has sounded the alarm on an infection plaguing the nearly 100-year-old organization: far-left progressive judges.
James Fishback, in a lengthy report for the Free Press headlined “At High School Debates, Debate Is No Longer Allowed,” details how many of the judges have openly professed their bias on their “paradigms,” which explain what they look for during a debate.
The May 25 piece spells out how “judges are making it clear they are not only tilting the debate in a left-wing direction, they will also penalize students who don’t adhere to their ideology.”
Fishback provides details on several biased judges:
Lila Lavender, the 2019 national debate champion, whose paradigm reads, “Before anything else, including being a debate judge, I am a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. . . . I cannot check the revolutionary proletarian science at the door when I’m judging. . . . I will no longer evaluate and thus never vote for rightest capitalist-imperialist positions/arguments. . . . Examples of arguments of this nature are as follows: fascism good, capitalism good, imperialist war good, neoliberalism good, defenses of US or otherwise bourgeois nationalism, Zionism or normalizing Israel, colonialism good, US white fascist policing good, etc.” …
Debate judge Shubham Gupta’s paradigm reads, “If you are discussing immigrants in a round and describe the person as ‘illegal,’ I will immediately stop the round, give you the loss with low speaks”—low speaker points—“give you a stern lecture, and then talk to your coach. . . . I will not have you making the debate space unsafe.” …
Until last month, [Lindsey] Shrodek’s paradigm told debaters, “[I]f you are white, don’t run arguments with impacts that primarily affect POC [people of color]. These arguments should belong to the communities they affect.” Recently, her paradigm was updated to eliminate that quote. When I asked Shrodek why, she told me she didn’t “eliminate the idea itself,” and that she “doesn’t know if it’s exactly my place to say what arguments will or won’t make marginalized communities feel unsafe in the debate space.” …
X Braithwaite, who’s judged 169 debate rounds with 340 students, has her own disclosure policy in her paradigm, which uses a racial epithet: “1. N****s don’t have to disclose to you. 2. Disclose to n****s.”
Fishback points out that there are still some good judges, but for the students who pull judges like Lavender, Gupte, Shrodek or Braithwaite, the speech and debate competition went from something that “rewards evidence and reasoning to one that punishes students for what they say and how they say it.”
Read the full piece at the Free Press.