MASS DEBATINGThis is a brilliant move:

The politics of race and gender have arrived at the University of Sydney’s oldest debating club, which this year will field teams of debaters comprised mainly of “non-cis-males, wom*n, and persons marginalised by white ­supremacy” as opposed to the best debaters they can find.

The University of Sydney Union, which describes itself as “one of the best debating ­institutions in the world”, says its affirmative action policy will ­ensure that teams heading to the Australian Easter Debating Championships (or “Easters”) for novices next month will include more “persons of colour” and others from “minority ethno-cultural background” as well as born-women, and others who don’t identity as “cis-male”.(A cis-gender person identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth. Wom*n is used to include females, trans women and anyone who identifies as a woman).There are quotas for people from non-elite public schools too, who get in on the grounds that they are “disadvantaged in debating ­opportunities”.The union, which boasts of being an equal world record ­holder when it comes to making the finals at the world debating championships, will also employ “equity officers” to attend the tournament to assist those who find debating “intensely competitive and stressful”.“This can intentionally or ­unintentionally lead to people feeling victimised,” the union says.

To all the stuffy shirt conservative snowflakes mumbling about “the best people for the task”, you clearly don’t get it. A team composed mainly of  “non-cis-males, wom*n, and persons marginalised by white ­supremacy” simply cannot lose – how many university debating adjudicators in the current intellectual climate will decide against such a team, and even if someone does, you can explain it by their conscious or subconscious bias – if you are still the best team but are victimised by the old power structures. Because it’s not performance that matters – itself some sort of a heteronormative concept that privileges competition, and conducts it according to rules that benefit those who hold the social power and privilege – it’s who you are that’s the key. Your status as the marginalised and oppressed automatically confers on you the rightness, the righteousness, the wisdom and the virtue. I rest my case.

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