POLITICS & STUFF | Three Years Later: My Reflection and Frustrations with Public Forum Debate

My high school years were defined by my participation in public forum debate. PF is a two-on-two debate format that encourages discussion on current controversies such as gun control, education reform and constitutionality. While I am extremely grateful for the critical forums of discourse provided through the activity, PF debate, from my experience, was a shitshow of sexism, classism, ableism and overall privilege that hid behind the feel-good notions of intellectual discourse and academic exploration. It was also an incubator for frustration against the exclusivity and elitism that runs rampant in this activity. Not only did the coaching fees, travel and hotel fees, and even attire actively exclude students not financially well-off, a multitude of damning biases and prejudices run under the radar.

SERENDIPITY | A Societal Necessity: Women’s Diversity Programs

As an Asian male, it’s quite safe to say that my peers and I get the shortest end of the recruitment stick. It’s no secret that we’re perceived as the meek and subservient types that belong in the professional friend-zone. I’m not complaining — simply framing. What I mean by this, is that based on what I face when it comes to finding jobs, I should be incredibly angry at the world of diversity programs. When thinking of white males getting the inherent recruitment benefits stemming back from the pilgrimage days and women and underrepresented minorities getting the recruitment benefits of decades worth of guilt, I was formerly angry. Amidst my mound of salt, I never really stopped to empathize and examine the other side of things.

GROSKAUFMANIS | Not Like the Other Girls

Some forms of sexism are easier to detect than others. For instance, we automatically know that when a child is told that they “throw like a girl,” he or she is being insulted. Despite the fact that none of those words alone are negatively charged, we can draw from societal context that “throwing like a girl” is bad, and, at the very least, not as good as “throwing like a boy.” This kind of sexism is pretty black-and-white: it points to misogynistic residue that exists today, with entire campaigns dedicated to combatting it. However, when sexist language directed towards females comes from females, the issue becomes more nuanced; particularly when the sexism is largely implicit. The irony of insular misogyny is both sad and abundant: girls condemning girls for being girls.