The Rise of “Wokeness” in High School Debates

A high school student criticized the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) for what she claims to be censorship. An arbitrator at a recent competition “warned” her not to mention Trump’s presidency as it was considered “inappropriate.”

Briana Whatley, the student, described the bizarre rules they were required to observe at the NSDA tournament.

Woke Ideology

James Fishback, the proprietor of Incubate Debate, stated in an interview with Fox News Digital that the NSDA, the most prominent debate organization in the country, has been taken over by a woke mentality.

Fishback attracted attention when he posted a piece regarding high school debating on Twitter, stating the activity transformed his life, but had been “hijacked by left-wing ideology.”

He distributed publicly accessible profiles of debate officials for the NSDA, some of whom explicitly informed students they would reject certain unsuitable arguments.

The NSDA asserted in a statement released last month that the 47,000 judicial paradigms on reflect the individual paradigm authors’ views and thoughts.

They stressed that judging paradigms enable students to acclimate to a wide range of ideologies held by thousands of volunteer judges from around the globe. However, on every ballot, they claim to request that all judges ruminate on and eliminate any biased, unfair feedback.

Lila Lavender’s 2019 profile describes her as a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who will never leave her revolutionary proletarian research at the door when evaluating students.

Lavender enumerated the student arguments she will never acknowledge:

  • Fascism is favorable
  • Capitalism is effective
  • Imperialist war is beneficial
  • Neoliberalism is good enough
  • Defenses of US or bourgeois nationalist sentiments
  • Accepting Israel
  • Colonialism is good
  • US white, fascist policing is good


Shubham Gupta, another debate adjudicator, is even more forthright with students.

He stated if a speaker characterizes an immigrant as “illegal” during a round, he will immediately halt the round, penalize the speaker with low speaks (low speaker points), deliver a stern lecture, and then consult with the coach.

Whatley responded by arguing during a debate, students shouldn’t comply in any manner, shape, or form. The nature of a debate is determined by evidence, not the judge’s ideology.

Whatley added she was not permitted to inquire about topics such as affirmative action. Whatley also intends to no longer compete in NSDA events because of the “culture” of censorship.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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