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This is a critique of colorblind discussions of domestic surveillance. The evidence in this file is mostly
taken from an online back-and-forth within leftist circles after the Snowden revelations in 2013. Tim Wise, a
prominent anti-racist activist and writer, wrote a scathing article critiquing the publics response to NSA
spying. According to Wise, the outrage that many white people expressed was a product of their privilege.
Why was NSA spying so outrageous? Why was it the top story in national newspapers and on cable news
channels? Wise suggests that this response was so aggressive because white people were finally
experiencing the same kind of coercive surveillance that people of color have always experienced in the
United States. Instead of reacting with outrage, the alternative suggests that one should react to
revelations about domestic surveillance with indifference because the existence of this kind of surveillance
regime should be obvious.
This critique links to affirmatives that do not discuss the racially disparate effects of surveillance. If the
affirmative highlights the racial injustice of surveillance, the critique becomes much less persuasive. The
negative could potentially still deploy a narrower focus tradeoff critique (time spent working against NSA
surveillance is time not spent working against police brutality, etc.), but this isnt a particularly persuasive
argument. Strategically, the negative should develop another critique to read against affirmatives that do
highlight the racially disparate effects of surveillance. Doing so will provide the negative with a generic
option against (nearly) all affirmatives.
In response to this critique, the affirmative has a wide variety of options. Most importantly, the affirmative
can suggest that because the alternative ultimately agrees with the plan, the permutation is the best
option. As part of this argument, the affirmative can also suggest that plan-inclusive alternatives are
illegitimate and that the desirability of the affirmatives policy proposalnot just the reasons provided to
support itshould be the nexus issue of the debate. Many authors also disagree with Wises argument;
they suggest that anti-surveillance work is valuable for people of color and that there is no necessary
tradeoff between this and working against other manifestations of racial injustice.
One other option for the affirmative is to critique the word colorblind on the grounds that it is ableist.
There is a balanced back-and-forth on this issue that will provide an opportunity for students to debate
language-related arguments in the context of a counter-critique.


1NC Colorblindness Critique

First, the affirmatives reaction to NSA surveillance is a
product of white privilege. The abuses theyre outraged with
arent exceptions to the rule; they are the rule.
Wise 13 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2013 (Whiteness, NSA Spying and the Irony of Racial Privilege, Tim Wises blog, June 19 th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 02-17-2015)

The idea that with this NSA program there has been some unique
blow struck against democracy, and that now our liberties are in
jeopardy is the kind of thing one can only believe if one has had the
luxury of thinking they were living in such a place, and were in
possession of such shiny baubles to begin with. And this is, to be sure, a
luxury enjoyed by painfully few folks of color, Muslims in a post-9/11
America, or poor people of any color. For the first, they have long known
that their freedom was directly constrained by racial discrimination , in
housing, the justice system and the job market; for the second, profiling and
suspicion have circumscribed the boundaries of their liberties
unceasingly for the past twelve years; and for the latter, freedom and
democracy have been mostly an illusion, limited by economic
privation in a class system that affords less opportunity for mobility
than fifty years ago, and less than most other nations with which we
like to compare ourselves.
In short, when people proclaim a desire to take back our democracy
from the national security apparatus, or for that matter the plutocrats who have
ostensibly hijacked it, they begin from a premise that is entirely untenable;
namely, that there was ever a democracy to take back, and that the
hijacking of said utopia has been a recent phenomenon. But there
wasnt and it hasnt been.
Second, their colorblind policy analysis perpetuates racism and
Wise 10 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2010 (With Friends Like These, Who Needs Glenn Beck? Racism and White Privilege on the
Liberal-Left, Tim Wises blog, August 17th, Available Online at, Accessed 02-17-2015)
Liberal Colorblindness and the Perpetuation of Racism
By liberal colorblindness I am referring to a belief that although racial disparities are certainly real and
troubling and although they are indeed the result of discrimination and unequal opportunity paying
less attention to color or race is a progressive and open-minded way to combat those disparities. So, for
instance, this is the type of colorblind stance often evinced by teachers, or social workers, or folks who
work in non-profit service agencies, or other helping professions. Its embodiment is the elementary
school teacher who I seem to meet in every town to which I travel who insists they never even notice
color and make sure to treat everyone exactly the same, as if this were the height of moral behavior and
the ultimate in progressive educational pedagogy.

colorblindness is exactly the opposite of what is needed to

ensure justice and equity for persons of color. To be blind to color, as Julian
Bond has noted, is to be blind to the consequences of color, and especially
the consequences of being the wrong color in America. Whats more, when
But in fact,

teachers and others resolve to ignore color, they not only make it
harder to meet the needs of the persons of color with whom they
personally interact, they actually help further racism and racial
inequity by deepening denial that the problem exists, which in turn
makes the problem harder to solve. To treat everyone the same
even assuming this were possible is not progressive, especially
when some are contending with barriers and obstacles not faced by
others. If some are dealing with structural racism, to treat them the
same as white folks who arent is to fail to meet their needs. The same
is true with women and sexism, LGBT folks and heterosexism, workingclass folks and the class system, persons with disabilities and ableism,
right on down the line. Identity matters. It shapes our experiences. And
to not recognize that is to increase the likelihood that even the wellintended will perpetuate the initial injury.
Third, their decision to highlight NSA surveillance instead of
ongoing, ubiquitous violence against people of color
perpetuates white supremacy. This outweighs the case.
Wise 13 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2013 (Whiteness, NSA Spying and the Irony of Racial Privilege, Tim Wises blog, June 19 th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 02-17-2015)

So yeah, the government is spying on you precious. And now youre

This is the irony of privilege: the fact that some have for so long
enjoyed it, in its largely unfettered state, is precisely why some of
those those same persons are now so exorcised at the thought of
potentially being treated like everyone else has been, forever;
and it is also why the state was able to get away with it for such an
extended period. So long as the only possible targets were racial and
religious and class others, shock and outrage could be kept at a
minimum. And so the apparatus of profiling and monitoring and
snooping and data collection and even targeted assassination grew
like mushrooms in the dark. And deep down, most of the same
white folks who are now so unhinged by the mere possibility and a remote
one at that that they will be treated like those others, knew what was
going on.
And they said little or nothing. White liberals with some notable exceptions
mostly clucked their tongues and expressed how unfortunate it was
that certain people were being profiled, but they rarely spoke out
publicly, or challenged those not-so-random searches at the airport, or
dared to challenge cops when they saw them harassing, or even
brutalizing the black and brown. Plenty of other issues were more
pressing. The white conservatives, of course, largely applauded either or both of those.
And now, because they mostly ignored (or even in some cases cheered) the
violations of Constitutional rights, so long as the violations fell upon

someone other than themselves, they are being freshly confronted

with the surly adolescent version of the infant to which they gave birth,
at least indirectly. And they arent too happy with his insolence.
Yeah, well, tell it to pretty much every Arab American, every Persian
American, every Afghan American, everyone with a so-called
Middle Eastern name walking through an airport in this country for
the past decade or more. Tell them how now youre outraged by the
idea that the government might consider you a potential terrorist.
Tell it to the hundreds of thousands of black men in New York, stopped
and frisked by the NYPD over the past fifteen years, whose names
and information were entered into police databases, even though they
had committed no crime, but just as a precautionary measure, in case they ever decided to
commit one. Tell them how tight it makes you to be thought of as a
potential criminal, evidence be damned.
Tell it to brown folks in Arizona, who worry that the mere color of their
skin might provoke a local official, operating on the basis of state law (or
a bigoted little toad of a sheriff), to stop them and force them to prove they
belong in the country. Explain to them how patently offensive and
even hurtful it is to you to be presumed unlawful in such a way as to
provoke official government suspicion.
Tell it to the veterans of the civil rights struggle whose activities in the
Black Panthers, SNCC, the Young Lords, the Brown Berets, and the American Indian Movement, among

were routinely monitored (and more to the point actively disrupted

and ripped apart) by government intelligence agencies and their
operatives. Tell them how incredibly steamed you are that your
government might find out what websites you surf, or that you placed
a phone call last Wednesday to someone, somewhere. Make sure to
explain how such activities are just a step away from outright
tyranny and surely rank up there alongside the murder and
imprisonment to which their members were subjected. Indeed.
And then maybe, just maybe, consider how privilege being on the
upside, most of the time, of systems of inequality can (and has) let
you down, even set you up for a fall. How maybe, just maybe, all the
apoplexy mustered up over the NSAs latest outrage, might have been
conjured a long time ago, and over far greater outrages, the
burdens of which were borne by only certain persons, and not others.

Finally, the alternative is to react with indifference to NSA

surveillance. Yes, these abuses are bad. But theyre just more
of the same in a country that is not and has never been free
for people of color.
Wise 13 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2013 (Whiteness, NSA Spying and the Irony of Racial Privilege, Tim Wises blog, June 19 th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 02-17-2015)

Its not that Im not angry.

Its not that Im not disturbed, even horrified by the fact that my
government thinks it appropriate to spy on people, monitoring their
phone calls to whom we speak and when among other tactics, all in the supposed
service of the national interest.
That any government thinks it legitimate to so closely monitor its
people is indicative of the inherent sickness of nation-states, made
worse in the modern era, where the power to intrude into the most
private aspects of our lives is more possible than ever, thanks to the datagathering techniques made feasible by technological advance.

That said, I also must admit to a certain nonchalance in the face of

the recent revelations about the National Security Agencys snooping into
phone records, and the dust-up over the leaking of the NSAs program by Ed Snowden. And as I
tried to figure out why I wasnt more animated upon hearing the revelations and, likewise, why so many

Those who are especially chapped about the

program, about the very concept of their government keeping tabs on
them in effect profiling them as potential criminals, as terrorists
are almost entirely those for whom shit like this is new: people who
have never before been presumed criminal, up to no good, or worthy of
In short, they are mostly white. And male. And middle-class or above.
And most assuredly not Muslim.
others were it struck me.

And although I too am those things, perhaps because I work mostly on issues of racism, white privilege
and racial inequity and because my mentors and teachers have principally been people of color, for

the latest confirmation that the U.S. is

far from the nation we were sold as children is hardly Earth-shattering.
After all, it is only those who have had the relative luxury of remaining in a
child-like, innocent state with regard to the empire in which they reside
who can be driven to such distraction by something that, compared to
what lots of folks deal with every day, seems pretty weak tea.
whom things like this are distressingly familiar

As Yasuragi, a blogger over at Daily Kos reminded us last week:

(This is) the nation that killed protesters at Jackson and Kent
State UniversitiesThe nation that executed Fred Hampton in his
bed, without so much as a warrant. The nation that still, still, still
holds Leonard Peltier in prison. The nation that supported
Noriega, the Shah, Trujillo, and dozens of other fascist
monsters who did nothing but fuck over their own people and
their neighbors. The nation of Joseph McCarthy and his currentday descendants. The nation that allows stop-and-frisk.
Before all that: The nation that enforced Jim Crow laws. Before
that, the nation that built itself on slavery and the slave trade.
And before all of that, the nation that nearly succeeded in the
genocide of this continents indigenous peoples.
So why are you so surprised that our government is gathering
yottabytes of data on our phone calls?
Lets be clear, its not that the NSA misdeeds, carried out by the last two administrations,
are no big deal. Theyre completely indefensible, no matter the efforts of the
apologists for empire from the corporate media to President Obama to Dick Cheney to legitimize
them. A free people should not stand for it.

Problem is, we are not a free people and never have been, and
therein lies the rub.

They Say: Obama Apologism

1. No link we dont think NSA surveillance is good; we think
its business-as-usual under Obama. Outrage at NSA distracts
from more important challenges to violence against people of
2. No profit motive indict this radically oversimplifies.
Wise 13 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2013 (Profiting From Racism? Reflections on White Allyship and the Issue of Compensation,
Tim Wises blog, August 17th, Available Online at, Accessed 02-17-2015)

As for the corollary argument that getting paid while doing antiracism
work somehow creates an incentive to maintain the system, and so
those who receive income from such work are really frauds who dont
want to see the system end, perhaps it would do us well to think about the
implications of this argument. First, the argument would also apply to
people of color who do the work. If compensation for fighting a system
of oppression by definition means that one is vested in the
maintenance of the problem, that logic would have to apply across the
board. Is that what people believe? Thats certainly what right wingers and those who
support racism have long said about the civil rights establishment: that
they want to see racism continue so theyll be able to keep their jobs
and incomes. But if that argument is unfair and absurd when made about people of color in the
work, why is it suddenly legitimate when applied to whites?

And by this logic, one could also say and would have to, by necessity that
doctors profit from illness and as such want to see people remain
unhealthy. And teachers, of any subject, profit from ignorance, and want to
see people remain uneducated. And that grunt soldiers on the front
lines profit from war, and really, deep down want to see war continue
because getting shot at is so much fun, and anyway, what would they do if peace broke
out? By this logic, the attorneys who fought Big Tobacco were profiting
off cancer no less so than the attorneys who defended those
companies and lied about the cancer-causing properties of cigarettes.
And by this logic, organizations that do advocacy against poverty and
on behalf of poor people and communities fighting for things like a living wage, or
a more stable social safety net should only hire poor people to do that work
(which might be cool, actually), but then continue to pay them a sub-poverty
wage, in violation of the very things they are fighting for, because the minute their
incomes put the workers above the poverty line they would be, under
this logic, profiting from the misery of others, and thus reveal
themselves to be automatic hypocrites.

They Say: Case Outweighs

White Supremacy is a comparatively more pressing impact. It
is responsible for massive global violence and oppression that
risks human extinction.
Comissiong 13 Solomon Comissiong, Professor of African American Studies at the University of
Maryland-College Park, Education Consultant and Activist, holds a B.A. in Communications and M.S. in
College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island, 2013 (The War on White Supremacy,
Black Agenda Report, March 30th, Available Online at, Accessed 10-16-2014)
Despite the ill-intentioned war on terror, there is one ideological war that would be well served, if

An ideological war on White Supremacy would do

humanity immense favors, especially the people of color who are
terrorized by it, every day of their lives. White Supremacy is a
most nefarious ideology, created by white people for white people.
White Supremacy rears its hideous head throughout the globe and has
been responsible for well over 100 million deaths (i.e., African Holocaust,
Native American Holocaust). However, White Supremacy not only kills bodies, it
destroys minds. It is the programming to believe that white people,
their various cultures, and their mores are inherently better than all other people and
aggressively launched.

their respective cultures period. People are taught, from a very young age, to worship some of them most
devilish white people the world has ever known, simply because they are white. This is a vastly undertaught aspect of White Supremacy.
White Supremacy is often limited to being described as some toothless hillbilly or muscle bound and
hairless white male with a Swastika etched in to his hollow, yet hate filled, head. This is merely one minor
aspect of White Supremacy. White Supremacy, in its essence, is much, much more pervasive than the

White Supremacy is
most effective in its ideological form. Everything else is a destructive
manifestation of that ideology.
physical form we are programmed to sometimes see in human flesh.

White Supremacy bores destructive holes into the impressionable minds of children. White children are
subconsciously programmed to falsely believe that they are the champions of humanity and that their
contributions to the world vastly overshadow that of people of color. White Supremacy blinds them to
myriad truths detailing the origins of sciences, medicine, democracy and philosophy came out of African,
not Europe. This assembly-line type of programming sets in motion the next wave of future white adults
mentally equipped carry out the crimes of their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers. It
robs these white children of humanity without them ever realizing they are being developed to see the
world in a most limiting and destructive way. Without progressive social intervention many white youth are
bound to develop similar socially destructive ways as their elders.
Children of color, on the other hand, are systematically programmed to, not only see white people as
better than themselves, but to also extol white people who carried out crimes against humanity against
people of color. Within the white settler colony, otherwise known as the United States, children of color are
force-fed heaping platefuls of White Supremacy. It is a most psychologically unhealthy meal. They are
taught to call slave masters their Founding Fathers, men who would have worked them to death had
these children been anywhere within the vicinity of these devilish human beings. The likes of George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson all held enslaved Africans against their
will. George Washington and Andrew Jackson were also notorious for their assaults on Indigenous people
from North America. It is very telling of how sadistic American society is, that it would impose these kinds
of men upon the minds of children, especially children of color. This is exactly what white supremacist
societies do they force children of color to assimilate. Those aforementioned men, when cited within
classrooms and homes, should be held as examples of what not to do. A humane society would do this.
The US is far from being a humane society.

The US is a society that routinely abuses and destroys the lives of

people of color. African/black and Indigenous/Latino/brown
communities are systematically targeted by way of this white
supremacist and institutionally racist war that is being waged upon
them. Mass incarceration, the Prison Industry Complex, and

Police Brutality are all very much lethal aspects of White Supremacy. In a
society that rewards European genocidal monsters, like Christopher Columbus, it makes painful sense that
the US would be a place that harvests oppression much like farmers do fruits and vegetables. The US is
riddled with a legacy of strange fruit.
Police brutality is a most deleterious aspect of White Supremacy and Institutional Racism. This is why
police brutality disproportionately impact people of color. Thanks to the work of the Malcolm X Grassroots
Movement we know that in 2012 a black person was murdered by law enforcement at least every 36
hours. The white supremacist corporate media did nothing to expose this story. And why would they they
are who they are because of White Supremacy. A revolution to end White Supremacy truly will not be
televised at least not on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS or the like.
The so-called entertainment industry is replete with white supremacist images, messages, and is
controlled by White Supremacy and Institutional Racism. This is why the only images shown of Hip Hop
Culture, within the corporate medias usurped airwaves, are that of the most virulently racist and
stereotypical images of people of color. These are the acceptable versions of blackness they feel
comfortable showing. Again, it matters little that Hip Hop is a culture largely created by African/black
youth. The white supremacist power structure that controls the media, that makes destructive images
popular while suppressing revolutionary ones, is no different than the white people who stole North
America from Indigenous people. Once in control of a resource they are hell-bent on suppressing any
semblance of resistance or justice.

White Supremacy is a social disease that infects entire societies,

person-by-person, community-by-community and nation-by-nation. It is a plague that has
only gotten stronger and more deceptive throughout its existence, which
spans over several hundred years. If the US was a sincere and justice oriented
nation it would wage an all out war on the ideology of White
Supremacy aimed at destroying all vestiges of a most deadly and
disproportionate white power structure. The USs ongoing existence as
a white settler nation precludes it from waging a noble war on White
Supremacy. White Supremacy and Institutional Racism largely fuel this countrys lifeblood. The
USs wars are ultimately justified by White Supremacy and
capitalism. Historically these wars have been waged for white men by white men. However, with the
growing number of people of color within the United States, the white power structure has adapted to the
times. In 2008 they selected their newest weapon Barack Obama a brown-faced man willing to wage
white supremacist/capitalist/imperialist wars for the white power structure he ultimately serves. This,
unfortunately, has worked like a lucky charm, thus converting legions of black people (who previously
opposed Euro-Americas imperialist wars) into cheerleaders for the same reprehensible wars, simply
because the face of Euro-American white supremacy is now a brown one.

The struggle to end White Supremacy is one that must continue and
grow even stronger countless youth of color simply depend on it. Resistance to white
supremacist ideology is paramount. If you believe in humanity (regardless
of the color of your skin) you must join in this resistance. White Supremacy is a
most deadly social malady. It has given birth to Apartheid, Jim
Crow, mass murder, chattel slavery the list literally goes on
and on.
People of color must resist White Supremacy in every way they can. We must organize ourselves to combat
it teaching our youth to recognize it is an important first step. People of color must collectively resist
White Supremacy, and good intentioned white people must play their own critical roles within this struggle.
It is the obligation of any good intentioned white person to go in to white communities and organize an end
to the social disease there. After all, White Supremacy emanates from white communities. It is frequently
birthed from ignorance and hatred, among several social maladies and complexes.
White people, it is your responsibility to put an end to White Supremacy in your communities just as it is

Supremacy is killing masses of people (physically and mentally). When
the responsibility of men to bury Male Supremacy and sexual/physical abuse of women.

will we all decide to wage a war on this pervasive social illness/ideology, and put and end to it?

Humanity depends on our collective commitment to end it before it

metastasizes and puts an end to us all.

Racism is unacceptable. It outweighs other impacts.

Memmi 99 Albert Memmi, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Paris, 1999
(Racism, Published by the University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0816631654, p. 163-165)

The struggle against racism will be long, difficult, without intermission,

without remission, probably never achieved.
Yet, for this very reason, it is a struggle to be undertaken without
surcease and without concessions. One cannot be indulgent toward
racism; one must not even let the monster in the house, especially not
in a mask. To give it merely a foothold means to augment the
bestial part in us and in other people, which is to diminish what is
human. To accept the racist universe to the slightest degree is to
endorse fear, injustice, and violence. It is to accept the persistence
of the dark [end page 163] history in which we still largely live. It is to agree
that the outsider will always be a possible victim (and which man is not himself an
outsider relative to someone else?). Racism illustrates, in sum, the inevitable
negativity of the condition of the dominated; that is, it illuminates in a
certain sense the entire human condition. The anti-racist struggle,
difficult though it is, and always in question, is nevertheless one of the
prologues to the ultimate passage from animality to humanity. In that
sense, we cannot fail to rise to the racist challenge.
However, it remains true that one's moral conduct only emerges from a choice;
one has to want it. It is a choice among other choices, and always
debatable in its foundations and its consequences. Let us say, broadly speaking,
that the choice to conduct oneself morally is the condition for the
establishment of a human order, for which racism is the very negation.
This is almost a redundancy. One cannot found a moral order, let alone a
legislative order, on racism, because racism signifies the exclusion of
the other, and his or her subjection to violence and domination. From
an ethical point of view, if one can deploy a little religious language, racism is "the
truly capital sin." It is not an accident that almost all of humanity's spiritual traditions

counsel respect for the weak, for orphans, widows, or strangers. It is not just a question of theoretical
morality and disinterested commandments. Such unanimity in the safeguarding of the other suggests the

All things considered, we have an interest in [end

banishing injustice, because injustice engenders violence and

real utility of such sentiments.

page 164]

Of course, this is debatable. There are those who think that if one is strong enough, the assault on and
oppression of others is permissible. But no one is ever sure of remaining the strongest. One day, perhaps,
the roles will be reversed. All unjust society contains within itself the seeds of its own death. It is probably
smarter to treat others with respect so that they treat you with respect. "Recall," says the Bible, "that you
were once a stranger in Egypt," which means both that you ought to respect the stranger because you
were a stranger yourself and that you risk becoming one again someday. It is an ethical and a practical

the refusal of racism is

the condition for all theoretical and practical morality. Because, in the
end, the ethical choice commands the political choice, a just society
must be a society accepted by all. If this contractual principle is not
accepted, then only conflict, violence, and destruction will be our
lot. If it is accepted, we can hope someday to live in peace. True, it is
a wager, but the stakes are irresistible.
appeal--indeed, it is a contract, however implicit it might be. In short,

They Say: Permute Do Both

1. Perm severs advantage where the 1AC reacted to NSA
surveillance with outrage, the 1NC responded with
indifference. No take-backs: the case carries ethico-political
consequences that are intrinsic to voting Aff. Discourse is
meaningful and policy-relevant, especially in the context of
2. Perm severs starting point where the 1AC prioritized NSA
surveillance, the 1NC prioritized abuses perpetrated against
people of color. Priority must be singular: policy advocacy
cant start in two places at one time.
3. Reject severance stable aff advocacy establishes the
groundwork for neg rejoinder. 2AC take-backs make negs job
too hard, discouraging arg innovation and case-specific
critique research. Err neg because of affs substantial
opening move advantage.
4. Colorblindness DA the 1AC was presented without
reference to the particular effects of surveillance on people of
color. Colorblind policy analysis perpetrates racism and racial
inequality thats Wise.
5. Focus DA
A. Link: the aff distracts focus from police violence against
people of color. Every minute spent worrying about NSA reform
is a minute not spent mobilizing against everyday brutality.
YeaYouRite 14 YeaYouRite (@YeaYouRite), the pseudonym of a blogger at Daily Kos who selfidentifies as a New Orleans leftist, 2014 (The NSA Is An Existential Problem. Police Brutality Is A Real
Problem, Daily Kos, August 22nd, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)

At this point, no one needs any refreshers on what's happening in

Ferguson, Missouri. But how about what happened to Eric Garner or John
Crawford or Ezell Ford or Kajieme Powell?
These are just police killings in the past month, and just people we know about (there's probably more),

Many hundreds, if not thousands of others,

were beaten or wounded by police this past month. We have names
and faces that go with this problem. Police brutality is quite real.
When white people log into their email, I doubt most are seriously
worried that the NSA is going to steal their private information and
victimize them in some way. Yet if the Internet is to believed, Lord Obama is
and only people who've been killed.

taking all our freedom away through his super-spy agency and big
On the flip side, when black people walk down the street, they are
constantly worried about being hassled or their sons or daughters
being brutalized at the hands of unaccountable local government.
We don't have any names or faces of people who've been murdered by
the NSA or had their right to vote taken away by the NSA or had their
house taken away because of predatory lending practices by the NSA.
No one's home has been destroyed by a freak weather-event caused
by the NSA. The NSA didn't bust unions or cut funding to the NIH.
These are all real problems with real victims.
But even when it comes to supposed victims of NSA spying, the anti-NSA crowd have to reach back all the
way to 2005 just to find some people whose communications were intercepted, even though there's no
proof any of those individuals were themselves targeted.
And another recent bombshell went totally ignored by the anti-NSAers when we found out that Germany
spied on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Does anyone else remember when Merkel was shocked (SHOCKED I
TELL YOU!) to learn that America has a spy agency that does spying-type things on other countries, even

It's almost as if the anti-NSA ranting is one giant exercise in

white privilege.
So, why do I bring this up? Am I an NSA supporter? Am I a statist authoritarian
who thinks you have no right to privacy? No, as I've stated before, I think we should wind
down much of the bulk surveillance, mostly because it's so expensive, but also because
its allies?

of the not-unfounded "slippery-slope" argument.

The reason I bring this up is because so many fire-breathing liberals

miss the forest for the trees. Every minute you spend arguing
against the NSA is a minute you spent arguing against an existential
problem, while there are real problems all around us. Let's prioritize
and agree to focus on the real affronts to civil liberties happening in
this country first, then worry about the slippery slopes.
B. Impact: affs focus on NSA reform enables far worse policies
to continue. The critique outweighs the case.
YeaYouRite 14 YeaYouRite (@YeaYouRite), the pseudonym of a blogger at Daily Kos who selfidentifies as a New Orleans leftist, 2014 (The NSA Is An Existential Problem. Police Brutality Is A Real
Problem, Daily Kos, August 22nd, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)

Media coverage can dictate policy. Endless media coverage on the NSA
got Obama to change certain NSA policies and got the Amash Amendment to almost
pass (by next year, it probably will pass).

There has been no legislative action on police militarization or killing of

unarmed black men. Why not? Because, until now, liberals have mostly
been screaming about bureaucrats destroying our way of life with
their metadata and bulk collection.
To those who claim this is a false equivalence or both issues are
symptoms of a larger problem of authoritarian government, think of it
like this: if we ended bulk collection on Americans tomorrow, there
would be no discernible improvement to the conditions in minority
communities, or even white communities for that matter.

One problem is pneumonia. The other is a mole which may or may not
become malignant down the road, so keep an eye on it. But treat
that pneumonia right now because it could kill you.
Another example would be to not to install energy-efficient windows
while your house is on fire. I'm not saying "don't worry about the NSA."
Intelligent people are perfectly capable of holding two thoughts in their
heads at once. I'm simply saying we need to prioritize our problems.
If you ask black or Latino or Middle Eastern people whether they're
more concerned about the NSA or, I don't know, everything else from
voting rights to student loans to immigration to police killing their
families, I don't need to tell you what answer you're likely to get.
People of color don't have the luxury of worrying about big
government, because they're too busy being terrorized by local and
state government.
6. Hoodwinking DA the permutation is bit criticism, not
fundamental criticism. This takes race-neutrality for granted
as a context-setting assumption, reinforcing its legitimacy and
diffusing the power of our critique.
Calmore 99 John O. Calmore, Reef C. Ivey II Research Professor of Law at the University of North
Carolina School of Law, 1999 (Random Notes of an Integration Warrior - Part 2: A Critical Response to the
Hegemonic Truth of Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry, Minnesota Law Review (83 Minn. L. Rev. 1589),
June, Available Online to Subscribing Institutions via Lexis-Nexis)

critical race theory engages in fundamental criticism

as opposed to bit criticism. n45 Fundamental criticism is directed
toward challenging the prevailing set of assumptions that the
members of society share to establish the context for their view of the
world and themselves. Much of the conflict over race and multiculturalism is a conflict over the context-setting assumptions that
dominant society, institutions, and culture have adopted. These
assumptions are, in turn, rigorously contested by the oppositional
accounts of outsiders, incorporated troublemakers, and marginalized
insiders who argue that those very assumptions [*1601] must be
revised. This is characterized as "fundamental criticism," because it
challenges not just bits or parts that could be changed or reformed
within the existing contextual frame, but, rather, the context itself.
Through contesting the foundational assumptions, the context itself
is potentially transformed by reformulating those very assumptions.
The same context cannot remain; it cannot be seen as capable of
adaptation. Bit criticism is a tinkering within. As people of color are "integrated"
In my personal view,

within the mainstream, we tend to personify this kind of systemic tinkering - reinforcing a feigned

Bit criticism too often accepts feigned flexibility, surface

change, as something more radical or trans-formative than it really is.
It delays the overall transformation that is needed to make
things just. Hoodwinked liberal agents of change actually serve to
reinforce the social, institutional, and cultural context-setting

assumptions by accepting the legitimacy of their explanation and

justification their "truth."
Critical race theorists, necessarily, assert a freedom from the
constraints of traditional scholarship. This is not simply a matter of academic freedom.
This is not simply identity politics. Race-conscious experience and
perspective are the springboard from which we engage in a
fundamental criticism of an oppressive version of truth that
tells lies about the colored past, present, and future. This raceconscious point of view and fundamentally critical orientation direct
our appreciation that reality is socially constructed and, moreover, it
implores us to engage in counter-hegemonic moves.

They Say: Surveillance Harms POCs

1. Not uniquely yes, its targeted. But thats business-asusual for people of color who are already subjected to much
more intense violence and brutality by state and local police.
In the context of this everyday reality, Internet data collection
just isnt a big deal thats Wise.
2. Aff doesnt solve at best, the plan is a minor reform. What
we need is to overthrow the whole system of white supremacy.
Khalek 13 Rania Khalek, independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized for
Truthout, Extra, The Nation, Al Jazeera America, and the Electronic Intifada, 2013 (Activists of Color Lead
Charge Against Surveillance, NSA, Truthout, October 30th, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)

Former political prisoner and Black Panther Party leader Dhoruba BinWahad declared that "the United States has moved into a full garrison
police state," which "has been exported and institutionalized all over the
globe." His antidote? "We have to put together an international
movement to check the development evolution of the modern
national security state," which requires linking globalized labor
exploitation to the prison industry to the war on terror to
institutionalized white supremacy rooted in the "European-settler
state." Bin-Wahad was skeptical about the ability of "legal" remedies
to reform the system. "You cannot make the police state better. You
cannot reform white supremacy. We need to abolish the system as
it now stands," Bin-Wahad said.

They Say: No White Privilege Link

1. Starting point link focusing on NSA surveillance
distracts attention from more important struggles against
racialized violence. What the aff didnt discuss is more
important than what they did discuss. Our critique impact is
hiding in plain sight.
Wise 13 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2013 (Whiteness, NSA Spying and the Irony of Racial Privilege, Tim Wises blog, June 19 th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 02-17-2015)

it is time to remind ourselves that the only things worse than what
this government and its various law enforcement agencies do in secret,
are the things theyve been doing blatantly, openly, but only to some
for a long time now.
This nations government has killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq
and Afghanistan, openly, in front of the world.
This nations sanctions on Iraq in the 90s contributed to the deaths of
hundreds of thousands more, by the admission of Secretary of State Albright. All of
it, out in the open. No secrets.
This nation stood by and even helped propagate massacre after
massacre an attempted genocide even in Guatemala throughout the 1980s;
and not only did we not hide that we were doing it, President Reagan
openly praised the architects of the slaughter while proclaiming they
were committed to social justice.
We incarcerate 2.5 million people and have roughly 7 million
people under the control of the justice system in all openly, and
increasingly for non-violent offenses: more than any nation on
We have the highest child poverty rate in the developed world, and
there is nothing secret about it. Our leaders dont even care about
covering it up. In fact, an awful lot of them just dont care. At all.
These are the crimes of empire. These and a lot more. And it didnt
take Edward Snowden to tell you about them. Theyve been hiding in
plain sight for a long time.

2. Colorblindness link the 1AC was presented without

reference to the disparate racial impact of NSA surveillance.
Reject race-neutral policy analysis because it perpetuates
marginalization and oppression.
Wise 10 Timothy J. Wise, anti-racist activist and writer, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane
University, 2010 (With Friends Like These, Who Needs Glenn Beck? Racism and White Privilege on the
Liberal-Left, Tim Wises blog, August 17th, Available Online at, Accessed 02-17-2015)
Beyond Individual Bias: How Liberals and the Left Practice Racism
Beyond the personal biases that exist to some extent within all of us (including those who are progressive),

liberals and those on the left operate within institutional spaces and

even in our political activism in ways that contribute to systemic

racial inequity. This we do through four primary mechanisms. The
first is a well-intended but destructive form of colorblindness. The
second is an equally destructive colormuteness. These mean, quite literally,
a tendency among many on the white liberal-left to neither see nor
give voice to race and racism as central issues in our communities
and the institutions where we operate, or their connection to and
interrelationship with other issues. Both liberal/left colorblindness
and colormuteness perpetuate the marginalization of people of
color and their concerns, in the larger society and within
progressive formations for social change.
3. Not a link of omission colorblind policy analysis is
complicit with white supremacy. That race wasnt central to
the 1AC was de facto agreement, not a harmless oversight.
Jackson 6 Matthew Jackson, Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University, holds a
Ph.D. from the Department of Education, Culture, and Society from Brigham Young University, 2006 (The
Enthymematic Hegemony of Whiteness: The Enthymeme as Antiracist Rhetorical Strategy, Journal of
Advanced Composition, Volume 26, Number 3/4, Available Online to Subscribing Institutions via JSTOR, p.
Toward a Pedagogy of Witnessing Against Whiteness

If, as I argued in the beginning of this article, I am phenomenologically positioned as a

white person who is privileged by the dynamics of my racialized
society and I remain silent and inactive concerning matters of
whiteness, then I can be found guilty of being complicit with the
perpetuation of white supremacy. In order to resist this type of
complicity, I would argue that I must learn how to identify whiteness as much
as I can-acknowledging that I will have blind spots-and to speak out and take action
against whiteness to work against it.
For my purposes here, I would suggest that we think about resisting whiteness in terms of developing a
rhetorical stance and a pedagogical positionality that is not relegated to the confines of a particular course
during a given semester but one that aims at a more fundamental way of being-in-the-racial-world in an
ethical and political way. While I am using the term pedagogy here in the traditional sense to focus
primarily on our classrooms, I want to invite a broader understanding of our pedagogies to include our
inter-actions that go beyond our academic environs and into our everyday lives-into the seemingly
mundane behaviors and relations that make up much of our meaningful lives as white folks. What I mean
by this is that we must broaden our critical attention [end page 629] to whiteness beyond our scholastic
pedagogies to be mindful of the ways that we "teach" and enact whiteness in the ways that we live and
interact with others when we are not in front of a captive audience of students. For instance, where and
with whom do we choose to live, shop, recreate"; what media do we entertain and what questions do we
ask (or fail to ask) about it?

Mills suggests that a crucial aspect of the perpetuation of racism is

simply the failure to ask certain questions" (73). For my purposes here, this
means those difficult questions contesting the often missing or silent
premises of the doxa of white supremacy. I would add my voice to the many that have
argued that racism needs to become part of the textpart of our formal
and informal discourseas we develop an exigency in identifying what may be racial
grievances, particularly where whiteness is concerned.

The difficult choice for whites is to speak or to remain silent. To

oppose the enthymematic hegemony of whiteness with its conceptual
frameworks designed in part to thwart and suppress such opposition,

one has to think against the grain. In order to reject the norming
inequities of whiteness, I must "speak out" and actively struggle
against white supremacy. The enthymematic arguments of white
supremacy will continue to prevail unless they are vigilantly,
explicitly, and overtly contested. And this is precisely why, if I choose
to remain silent, I can be understood to consent and be held
accountable for the consequences of complicity. And to those who would
argue for the viability of a detached, neutral, or objective stance on such issues, Freire asks: " What is
my neutrality, if not a comfortable and perhaps hypocritical way of
avoiding any choice or even hiding my fear of denouncing injustice. To
wash my hands in the face of oppression" (101).
What I am suggesting here is a way of being imbued with a Freirean
sensibility of questioning, of problem-posing, of being critically selfreflexive and curious about the racialized world in which we live without
the hubris of thinking that we have all of the answers or assuming that our antiracist work is inherently

I am suggesting that we examine our whiteness and our

investment in white supremacy more closelythat we ask the hard
[end page 630] questions. If we do not know how to ask them, then we
must put in the time and effort required by antiracist thought and

In summary, I have argued that we can redefine the enthymeme for our postmodern condition and make it

if I,
as a part of "the people," remain silent, I am in de facto agreement
with arguments for white supremacy as expressed in fragmented, mediated formal and
informal discourse. I have argued that an enthymematic view of whiteness requires
white people to actively and perpetually act and speak out
against dominant hegemonic ideologiesto disagree explicitly
with and make plain their underlying premises and conclusions, to
resist being complicit with the racist consequences of those arguments.
rhetorically and pedagogically useful in antiracist and counter-hegemonic work. I have argued that

And I have also provided a framework for a tenuous rhetorical stance and pedagogical positionality for

This is not a stance that

positions me as "one who gets it" and is free then to assume an
unproblematic anti racist positionality, but rather one that
heightens my vigilance in my work with all others to continually
improve our ways of working against white supremacy.23
whites working against multifarious forms of white supremacy.

They Say: Policy Rejoinder Best

The plan is important, but so is the case. The plan-in-a-vacuum
model prevents racial literacy because it presumes that
policies can be evaluated independently from their racial
contexts. The impact is hermeneutical injustice, or the
injustice of lacking the necessary concepts for understanding
social experiences. This is an important real world impact.
Headley 14 Clevis Headley, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University, holds
a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Miami, 2014 (On Why Race Matters: Teaching the Relevance
of the Semantics and Ontology of Race, Exploring Race in Predominantly White Classrooms: Scholars of
Color Reflect, Edited by George Yancy and Maria del Guadalupe Davidson, Published by Routledge, ISBN
9780415836692, p. 116-117)
Racial Literacy as an Antidote to Hermeneutical Injustice

Racial literacy also has the potential to enable students to avoid two
incapacities: (a) the inability to correctly and effectively understand the
everyday materiality, or reality, of race, and (b) a cultivated inability to
meaningfully discuss the general semantics and ontology of
race. I explain to students that these incapacities make them victims
of hermeneutical injustice, the injustice of lacking the necessary
concepts for understanding a significant area of their social
experience.6 This hermeneutical deficit prevents one from gaining
access to crucial aspects of self-understanding. For example, we can
imagine the existential and epistemic vertigo that can paralyze an
individual who lives in a world in which race is persistent, but the
individual lacks a competent understanding of the role of race in
shaping the affairs of daily life. The trauma associated with the realization and awareness
that one is indeed raced can be particularly troubling, especially if one previously lived in an environment
that sheltered one from the practicality of understanding themselves as raced.
Michael Monahan, in his recent bold philosophical defense of the reality of race against the racial

attempts to
transcend race are destined to fail. [end page 116] Race, according to Monahan, is
not an annoying, irrelevant, and insidious contingent property of
persons that ought to be rejected. As he writes:
One's racial being is not a fixed and given essenceit is neither
a property that we simply possess, nor is it a strictly contingent
activity that we can choose to abandon. It is . . . more a sort of
location or context, and it is in this way, as inevitably conditioning
one's subjectivity, that racial reality must be understood. One's Whiteness, Blackness,
abolitionists and racial eliminativists, has enforced the inescapability of race and why

Asianness . . . is not something that can be purely in the way the politics of purity would have us
believe, but it is also impossible for one to purely not be raced, or simply decide by voluntary fiat
how one is raced.7

We are all raced in that we are born into a human reality infused by
race. However, our race is not a dangerous fiction. And as Monahan states in a different context:
Race is something that we do not something that we are, and it
is, importantly, something that we always do in concert with others,
whose ways of doing race inevitably shape the ways in which we
are able to do (or not do) race.8

The claim that race is inescapable, as to be expected, is bitterly resented by

many White students, mainly because of the perception that Whites are raceless and also
because of the unquestioned normativity of whiteness. Indeed, White students
often articulate their protest against race in terms of their not being responsible for the sins of the past. At
these times, I often resort to the philosophical uses of history for the purpose of getting students to
understand that, although they were not present at the founding of the United States as a sovereign entity,

The point is not

that each and every White individual in the past and in the present has
been successful in accumulating disproportionate amounts of wealth
and opportunities, but that White skin color has historically been used
as a marker for access to wealth and opportunities. Du Bois's "Psychological
they have been born into a society in which White skin color has been privileged.

wages of whiteness,"9 Cheryl Harris's notion of "whiteness as property,"10 and George Lipsitz's notion of
the "possessive investment in whiteness" are but three examples of this phenomenon.11 It should be

I introduce these ideas not for the sake of alienating my White

students, but to set them on the path of working through, as well as
critically engaging with, their inherited historical traditions in the
hope that they will gain a critical appreciation of how race has infused
these diverse traditions.
noted that

They Say: Attention Policing Bad

Were not policing attention; were critiquing privilege.
Shifting focus away from police violence against people of
color is a luxury of whiteness.
Raushenbush 14 Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for The Huffington
Post, former Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University, former President of
the Association of College and University Religious Affairs, ordained Baptist minister, holds a Master of
Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Religious and International Studies from
Macalester College, 2014 (What White People Can Do About the Killing of Black Men in America, The
Huffington Post, August 13th, Available Online at, Accessed 08-18-2014)
'Can we switch for just one day?' my friend Sean jokingly asked me as we were working out at the gym.
'No, way' I said firmly. You see, Sean is black and I am white and Sean was suggesting that we swap races.
In his plea, Sean was none-too-subtly commenting that living life as a white man might be easier than
living as a black man. In my unwillingness to switch, I acknowledged the privilege -- and safety -- that
comes with being a white person in 21st century America.

There are a lot of events vying to occupy the American mind these
days such as Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine, the immigration crisis, hate crimes
against Sikhs, Ebola, and Robin Williams' death. But in one way, the
ability to switch among these traumas is a white person's
'luxury.' For Sean, and for many black Americans, the recent spate of black
male deaths at the hands of police in America is forced to occupy
the primary place.
There is an epidemic in this country and its victims are black men. Eric
Garner died after being put in a stranglehold in Staten Island in New York City, Michael Brown, was an 18year-old teenager killed in Ferguson, MO, and Ezell Ford was killed while reportedly lying down in the street
in Los Angeles.

Black Americans are rightfully outraged, but it will require all

Americans to be mobilized before the racism that undergirds these
killings will end and the deaths along with it. White Americans like me
have to stop channel surfing all the outrageously bad news
from around the world and focus on the death that is happening in
our own cities to our fellow Americans.

I spoke to Rev. Tony Lee who is an African-American pastor at Community of Hope AME Church in Prince
George's County, Maryland. Rev. Tony and I went to seminary together and he has been a colleague I trust
to speak the truth to me about race in America. He called the recent deaths 'disturbing but not surprising.'

reason people are responding so strongly is that these are

examples of daily antagonisms felt by black people on the street.
This is part of a wider school-to-prison pipeline and the ghettoization
and de-humanization of black bodies. Social media gets the word out much quicker and
people are responding to dead black men on the streets in LA, Ferguson and NYC by saying 'wait, that is
going on in our streets too.'"
But social media is part of the problem according to Rev. Lee. "The challenge is for this to become a
movement not just a moment. People are expressing outrage with hashtags but they are not organizing.
Movements need organizing."
Given that we are both pastors, I asked Rev. Lee what the church should do and he offered some very
practical steps, including becoming advocates for police training, holding police departments legally
accountable for deaths, and connecting with the efforts at a community level. Rev. Lee also pointed out
positive organizations that are doing great 'movement' work like Black Youth Project that churches should
be supporting and partnering with.
Rev. Lee was quick to mention that his church has positive relations with the local policing because they
have been proactive in creating encounters where police can meet the community and the community can
meet police -- not only in crucial moments when tensions are high -- but also during normal times when the
two can see the best of each other.

According to Lee, the church also needs to reclaim and proclaim the narrative about the worth of black
lives in the face of the criminalized depiction of black people on TV, movies and in music. The wider church
should be involved in the celebration of the breadth and richness of the black experience.

I asked Rev. John Vaughn, Vice-President of Auburn Seminary, what kind

of response he would like to see from white Americans. Rev. Vaughn
responded via email that he hoped his white friends would be vocal and
articulate why these killings are not 'yet another isolated incident'
and 'explore the premise that racism is not a thing of the past.'
Perhaps most importantly: "Listen to your friends and colleagues of
color about their experiences and analysis of racism in America."
I also pressed Rev. Lee on what he would like to tell white Americans on how to show solidarity. I was
humbled by his response:

We need to lock arms amidst all of this. If the police feel they are
above the law with any one group, they will feel they are above
the law with others. We need to learn from the civil rights
movement. It wasn't just black folks, it was everybody,
because it wasn't a black problem it was a moral issue. We are
remembering 40 years after the Freedom Summer. That wasn't just black people risking their
lives, it was a community that went down to Mississippi because they knew that when any group
within the nation is marginalized then we can't be the nation we want to be.

The way I translate Rev. Lee's generous invitation is 'show up.' White
people need to get off the computer and get involved with our voices,
feet, votes and resources to help make sure that this epidemic of black
deaths in America ends. This is not a 'black problem it is an American
problem and it will take all of us working together to solve it.

They Say: Ableism Critique of Colorblind

No link to the ableism critique context is important.
Michael 15 Ali Michael, Director of K-12 Consulting and Professional Development at the Center
for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, Director and Co-founder of
the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, holds a Ph.D. in Teacher Education from the University of
Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, 2015 (White Teachers,
Whole Classrooms, Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education, Published by Teachers
College Press, ISBN 0807755990, p. 18)

I use the terms "colorblind" and "colormute" throughout the book.

I struggle with this decision because from a critical disability
perspective, these terms are ableist as they conflate an unwillingness
to see or talk about race with disability, rather than political
orientation, ignorance, and lack of skills or experience. Although I do
not want to perpetuate this ableism, I use this language here because
the terms are so prevalent in the literature on race that I think the
use of alternative terms would be confusing. It is my hope that
through the extensive exploration of these terms in the context of race
by prominent theorists such as Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (Colorblind Racism) and Mica
Pollock (Colormute) that the words today have a unique meaning, wholly
different from the words "blind" and "mute" on which they are built.

Reject public call-outs theyre a form of fake radicalism that

shuts down conversations and distracts from material change.
A private discussion about language choices is a better
Ahmad 15 Asam Ahmad, Coordinator of the Youth Program at the Metropolitan Action Committee
for the Prevention of Violence Against Women & Children, Coordinator of the It Gets Fatter Projecta body
positivity group started by fat queer people of color, 2015 (A Note on Call-Out Culture, Briarpatch
Magazine, March 2nd, Available Online at, Accessed 03-05-2015)

Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals,

activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or
patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People
can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist,
ableist, and the list goes on. Because call-outs tend to be public, they can enable
a particularly armchair and academic brand of activism: one in which
the act of calling out is seen as an end in itself.
What makes call-out culture so toxic is not necessarily its frequency so much as the
nature and performance of the call-out itself. Especially in online venues like Twitter
and Facebook, calling someone out isnt just a private interaction between
two individuals: its a public performance where people can
demonstrate their wit or how pure their politics are. Indeed, sometimes it
can feel like the performance itself is more significant than the
content of the call-out. This is why calling in has been proposed as an
alternative to calling out: calling in means speaking privately with an
individual who has done some wrong, in order to address the behaviour
without making a spectacle of the address itself.

In the context of call-out culture, it is easy to forget that the individual

we are calling out is a human being, and that different human beings in
different social locations will be receptive to different strategies for
learning and growing. For instance, most call-outs I have witnessed immediately
render anyone who has committed a perceived wrong as an outsider
to the community. One action becomes a reason to pass judgment on
someones entire being, as if there is no difference between a community member or friend
and a random stranger walking down the street (who is of course also someones friend). Call-out
culture can end up mirroring what the prison industrial complex
teaches us about crime and punishment: to banish and dispose of
individuals rather than to engage with them as people with
complicated stories and histories.
It isnt an exaggeration to say that there is a mild totalitarian
undercurrent not just in call-out culture but also in how progressive
communities police and define the bounds of whos in and whos out.
More often than not, this boundary is constructed through the use of
appropriate language and terminology a language and terminology
that are forever shifting and almost impossible to keep up with.
In such a context, it is impossible not to fail at least some of the time.
And what happens when someone has mastered proficiency in
languages of accountability and then learned to justify all of their
actions by falling back on that language? How do we hold people to
account who are experts at using anti-oppressive language to justify
oppressive behaviour? We dont have a word to describe this kind of perverse exercise of
power, despite the fact that it occurs on an almost daily basis in progressive circles. Perhaps we could call
it anti-oppressivism.
Humour often plays a role in call-out culture and by drawing attention to this I am not saying that wit has
no place in undermining oppression; humour can be one of the most useful tools available to oppressed

when people are reduced to their identities of privilege (as white,

and mocked as such, it means were treating each other
as if our individual social locations stand in for the total systems
those parts of our identities represent. Individuals become synonymous
with systems of oppression, and this can turn systemic analysis into
moral judgment. Too often, when it comes to being called out, narrow
definitions of a persons identity count for everything.
No matter the wrong we are naming, there are ways to call people out
that do not reduce individuals to agents of social advantage. There are
ways of calling people out that are compassionate and creative, and
that recognize the whole individual instead of viewing them simply as
representations of the systems from which they benefit. Paying
attention to these other contexts will mean refusing to unleash all of
our very real trauma onto the psyches of those we imagine represent
the systems that oppress us. Given the nature of online social networks, call-outs are not
people. But

cisgender, male, etc.)

going away any time soon. But reminding ourselves of what a call-out is meant to accomplish will go a long
way toward creating the kinds of substantial, material changes in peoples behaviour and in community
dynamics that we envision and need.

This is especially true in the context of ableism. Rejecting their

call out strategy is crucial to constructive activism.
Kinzel 11 Lesley Kinzel, blogger and social justice writer, has written for Newsweek and Marie
Claire, was named one of the Feminist Presss 40 Feminists Under 40, 2011 (On our difficult language,
and the calling-out of, Two Whole Cakesa blog about body politics, social justice activism, and popcultural criticism from a feminist perspective, March 30 th, Available Online at, Accessed

We throw thats ableist or thats racist or thats fatphobic around, I suspect, in the
hope that such heavy judgement-bearing words will shock and
embarrass the speaker out of using the offending language. And
sometimes, it can work, at least in the short term, when we are merely thinking of our own self-

beyond that instant, this is not constructive activism.

Using surprise, guilt, or humiliation as negative reinforcement to
change behavior does nothing to instruct the person in question on why
their behavior is causing problems; they stop simply because they
dont want to get in trouble. While the power shift this approach
employs may feel awfully satisfying to those of us who have labored under some degree
of oppression for much our liveswe get to dictate the terms of engagement, for once merely
shifting the power from one hand to another does nothing to
change the destructive use of said power against us.
This practice of shaming people into behaving a certain way or using certain language does
not truly address the underlying inclination; it does not unpack
the thinking that allowed that speaker to feel entitled to say those
things in the first place. Fear can be an effective motivator, but its not
often a productive one, if our goal is broad and lasting cultural
change. It is, after all, fear that motivates folks of all sizes to diet, that
keeps queer folks in the closet, that makes women afraid to walk alone
at night, that compels people of color to keep their heads down even in
the face of overt discrimination and just get by. It is fear and shame
that locks the systems that marginalize us in place, and as Audre
preservation. But

Lorde has explained, in one of the most brilliant pieces of writing on social justice ever put to paper,

there is little we can do while still holding on to the masters tools.

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this societys definition of acceptable women; those of us who
have been forged in the crucibles of difference those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are
Black, who are older know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone,
unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside
the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our
differences and make them strengths. For the masters tools will never dismantle the masters house. They
may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about
genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the masters house as
their only source of support.

people should stop using certain language because they have

developed an understanding of why that language is oppressive, and
how their use of it contributes to inequality and marginalization, and
not because they are afraid or ashamed of confusing social
repercussions they do not understand. What we need is a
commitment to giving people clear explanationsbe they angry, or
impassioned, or bluntof why their words or behavior are problematic, or
upsetting, or damaging. We need to resist relying on comfortable
jargon to call people out, and to ditch the erroneous presumption

that making someone feel stupid will encourage them to read more
about a subject. It doesnt work. Fear and shame dont help people
to understand how the language we use and the actions we
undertake, even in our own small individual spheres, all conspire to
create a social environment that oppresses us. Fear breeds
resentment and, sometimes, hatred. These are not things we need more
of. These are the things that put us here in the first place.


2AC Colorblindness Critique

1. Wises critique is Obama apologism. The alt embraces
complacency and inaction. Case outweighs.
Halle 13 John Halle, Professor and Director of Studies in Music Theory and Practice at Bard College,
political activist and writer, 2013 (Tim Wises game, Left Business Observer, July 12th, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)
As the mask comes off, revealing the Obama administrations reactionary face, the spin deployed by its
much vaunted media team is beginning to lose its power to confuse and misdirect. And with this, those
whose business model involves selling Obama as a species of pragmatic liberal are gradually finding
themselves parading their factual bankruptcy and rhetorical dishonesty for all to see.
A recent piece by Bruce Dixon excellently takes down two of the worst of this variety: MSNBCs Joy-Ann
Reid and Melissa Harris Perry. But it is important to recognize that they are not the only ones who have
made careers for themselves in the marketing, sales and distribution of the Obama brand. One of the most
successful, and arguably a more effective marketer than the MSNBC cheerleading squad is the self
described anti-racist Tim Wise.

Wise would, of course, vehemently object to being characterized as an

Obama apologist, though, as we shall see, the ultimate effect of most of his
work is to promote a multicultural form of neoliberalism fully consonant
with the administrations views and which thereby strongly serves its
political interests. His real beat is as an anti-racist educator with
several books to his credit, a full schedule of speaking appearances at
university campuses, public high schools and police departments leading racial sensitivity
workshops as well as increasingly high profile media appearances
including on mainstream national cable outlets.

Being attuned to racial sensitivity is a job Wise takes seriously, as can

be seen in Wises blog entries and numerous tweets. A large fraction of these
involve policing the left for any claim, phrase, indeed, any word which
could be construed as insufficiently informed by the historical injustices
and atrocities visited on POCs (to use Wises preferred acronym). Wise does not
merely make note of these. Acting as judge and jury, Wise reaches a
verdict, imposes a sentence on those he has found guilty, and the
sentence is often death.
This is, unfortunately, not an exaggeration. When those who raised concerns-soon borne
out-of the potential of objectively reactionary governance from the Obama administration enabled and
aggravated by its deadening effect on mass movements, they were described by Wise as having become
such an encumbrance as to render (them) all but useless to the liberation movement prospective
recipients of a burning they will richly deserve.
The hanging judge
This is not the only death threat to be found in Wises oeuvre. Another was addressed to those who insist
they arent racist because they have black friends. I am going to shoot them, Wise declared. While these

the violent tone of his

discourse suggests that Wise fantasizes his targets being subjected to
lynching, or at least necklacing, as poetic justice for what he takes as their
complicity in crimes against peoples of color.
That Wise grants himself the authority to judge others motives and
actions naturally raises the question of what his qualifications are to do so.
These are often virtually non-existent with Wise simply inventing
facts which are subsequently used to attack, denigrate or belittle.
A recent example found Wise charging Glenn Greenwald with never
hav[ing] sa[id] shit about racial profiling, or surveillance of
were among the more unvarnished instances of eliminationist rhetoric,

POC/Muslims. In reality, Greenwald has a long history of speaking

out on this issue-easily obtained by a simple google search, as Greenwald
noted in a 100 character rejoinder. This interaction subsequently
revealed a third salient feature of Wise: neither a retraction or apology
from Wise was extended. Having mounted his high horse, Wise not
only exempts himself from the requirements of factual accuracy but
from basic decency.
Wises tone and sloppiness might be rationalized as understandable
overreactions to right wing provocations until one recognizes that
these attacks are not directed towards the right, actual racists or
those who promote objectively racist policies. Rather Wise reserves
much of his ire for those whom Obamas former Press Secretary famously referred to as the
professional left. Included among these are left critics of Obama
such as Greenwald, Paul Street, and other barbituate leftists who
preen as moral superiors because (theyve) read Bakunin, and Zerzan,
and Chomsky, or because (they) once called a cop a pig to his face in
Seattle or some such thing.
The purity of Wises animus towards the left was impressively
displayed in a recent series of tweets provoked by the NSA disclosures
and the Obama administrations efforts to retaliate. Rather than
welcome the revelations, Wise was quick to minimize their
importance, basing his dismissal on a transparently absurd claim by
Wise that NO people of color (are) shocked by Snowdens revelations.
None. POC assume this shit. #whiteprivilege lets u ignore till now.
When those who objected to this gross distortion responded, they were
red baited as white Marxists who fail to appreciate that white
supremacy is the glue that holds the U.S. class system together, and if
you dont KNOW that, yr an idiot.
These same white leftists according to Wise should congratulate
themselves on their irrelevance & wonder why most POC apparently
think they r full of crap According to Wise, Id be effing amazed if
any white leftists enamored of Snowden actually new shit about
movement building and how its done. And Lets b [sic] clear: Glenn
Greenwald was a moderately decent college debater who thinks this is
his moment. It isnt. You nor Snowden r heroes.
Smearing Snowden & Occupy

This final tweet removed the veil from the game being played by Wise.
As those who have followed the matter are aware, the no heroes designation of
Snowden and Greenwald has been a staple of Obamas apologists,
Reid, Harris-Perry, and others, almost certainly circulating a focus group tested talking point devised by

By blandly parrotting this well worn

establishment smear, Wise revealed his membership within this cohort,
with the only difference between Wise and the others inhering in
Wises primary demographic being not the liberal MSNBC left but the radical left
associated with Zmag, Democracy Now and the Nation. For this constituency, full
throated defenses of Obamas policies have long since failed to pass
White House media specialists.

the laugh test. And so Wise is always careful to note his disagreement
with Obamas policies, his service to the administration deriving from
his reliable attacks on the white privilege of left critics providing an
easy rationalization for complacency and inaction.
Wises political services were provided not only in the wake of the Snowden disclosures but, more
predictably, in response to the Occupy movement about which Wise has had very little to say. Wises
silence was predictable given that OWS seeks to reconstruct a unified movement directed against the
plutocratic 1%, unifying rather than dividing, as Wise would, the 99%. Rather than participate in OWS,
Wise contributed to a collection of essays entitled Occupying Privilege in which readers will learn about
white supremacy, medias spin control, (mis)education, the criminal IN-justice system, cultural
appropriation, and racisms continued impact on people of color and white people. No mention of Wall
Street banks, housing foreclosures overwhelmingly impacting POCs, trillion dollar bailouts, as this would
distract from the question of So, um, what the hell is white privilege anyway, and do I have it? According
to Wise, The short answer is if youre white, yeah, you do. By helping circulate the OWS/white privilege
meme, Wise helped develop a much brandished rhetorical bludgeon for the defenders of plutocracy
against what was the most successful attack on its foundations in many years.
Not just a potato chip
The above is somewhat misleading in that it suggests that Wises central priority is the promotion of the

the main product Wise is selling is

himself, specifically his racial sensitivity franchise which he has indeed
successfully marketed and profited from handsomely, as noted above. There
is a connection between these two objectives: in order to be regarded
as legitimate by mainstream institutions from which his bread and
butter income derives, Wises criticisms need to remain within
legitimate boundaries, which in practice means narrowly directed
towards race. Attacks against white privilege are, for reasons mentioned above,
welcomed by the establishment. In contrast, those directed against
the real power in the hands of what is now an increasingly multicultural
elite are out of bounds. Wise understands these rules of the game
very well, and he plays it expertly.
Obama brand. Rather it should be understood that

That said, it should be noted that Wises rise to a position of public prominence was crucially aided by the
alternative media, especially at the initial stages, most notably by Zmag where Wise first established a
media perch some two decades ago. This brings up the issue of why was a figure who has so consistently
expressed his contempt, or at best, a distinct lack of enthusiasm for leftists and core aspects of the left
agenda continues to be welcomed by it with open arms.
I wont attempt to address this here, as the subject is perhaps best left alone, though with the
understanding that a similar trajectory was followed by Melissa Harris Perry who began her rise accessing
authentic left outlets such as Democracy Now!, Laura Flanderss GritTV, and The Nation. By this point,
neither Wise nor Harris Perry has any need of the ladder which was provided for them, and so both are free
to consolidate their positions by joining in establishment attacks on the left agenda.
While it is probably by now too late to matter in their cases, it is encouraging that a first flicker of
recognition of the reactionary character of the Wise/Harris Perry brand of multicultural neoliberalism is

the disclosures of Greenwald

and Snowden provided the impetus for a broader examination of which
side Wise is on. A good indication unearthed by Doug Henwood was Wises having been engaged
beginning to be visible. As it has in many other quarters,

by Teach for America a group which, as anyone with a minimal political awareness understands, is devoted
to the undermining of inner city education and the whole sale layoffs of African American teachers to be
replaced by TFAs overwhelmingly white, underqualified, non-union recruits.
Wises having Stamp(ed) TFAs Anti-Racist Ghetto Pass provoked a sharp response from Bruce Dixon at
Black Agenda Report who circulated a petition calling for Wise to cancel his scheduled engagement with
TFA. Unsurprisingly, Wise has rejected Dixons request. More significantly, Dixon went further, raising
doubts about Wises competence, awareness and, ultimately, underlying agenda: If this is how antiracism education worksgiving cover to organizations and policies that hurt people of color more than
anybody elseit might be time to re-think that whole contraption as well.

It is indeed time to consider what use is

served by the anti-racist education industry and for one of its main operators,
Tim Wise, to find a new, preferably honest, and less destructive line of work.
From Bruce Dixons lips to all of our ears.

2. Questioning our motives is a dangerous distraction. Our

analysis should center on policiesincluding surveillance. This
turns their focus DA.
West 15 Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary,
former Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from
Princeton University, 2015 (Facebook Post, April 23rd, Available Online at
story_fbid=10155468598900111&id=297452645110, Accessed 04-24-2015)

The escalating deaths and sufferings in Black and poor America and
the marvelous new militancy in our Ferguson moment should compel us to focus
on what really matters: The life and death issues of police
murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, TPP (unjust trade
policies), vast surveillance, decrepit schools, unemployment,
Wall Street power, Israeli occupation of Palestinians, Dalit resistance in
India, and ecological catastrophe.
Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal
these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status
quo. I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who

intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice. I am not beholden to
any administration, political party, TV channel or financial sponsor because loving suffering and struggling
peoples is my point of reference. Deep integrity must trump cheap popularity. Nothing will stop or distract
my work and witness, even as I learn from others and try not to hurt others.

to pursue truth and justice is to live dangerously. In the spirit of John

let us focus on what really matters: the issues,
policies, and realities that affect precious everyday people catching
hell and how we can resist the lies and crimes of the status quo!


3. Permute: do both. This means criticizing NSA surveillance

with an understanding that it is part of the ongoing, ubiquitous
abuse of people of color. The alt doesnt disagree with our
policy conclusions.
4. Yes, our impact is real. Mass surveillance actually and
disproportionately harms people of color. Voting aff is antiracist.
Hudson 13 Adam Hudson, Reporting Fellow at Truthout, holds a B.A. in International Relations
from Stanford University, 2013 (Facebook Post, July 7th, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)

My Twitter argument with Tim Wise about Edward Snowden, Glenn

Greenwald, and mass surveillance (which caused a maelstrom on
Twitter because of how awful and one-dimensional his arguments were)
revealed a lot about how intellectually bankrupt anti-racist
liberalism is in the United States. Wise and a lot of so-called anti-racist
liberals (including Melissa Harris-Perry) use their anti-racist analysis to defend
Obama from any criticism rather than seriously critique his policies.
They'll belittle the importance of issues like targeted killing,
indefinite detention, and mass surveillance, blame Republicans, or
defend Obama's egregious policies, even if they went on the record
criticizing the same thing when it happened under Bush. The fact of

the matter is that many of Obama's policies, such as privatizing

education, mass surveillance, indefinite detention, targeted killing and
covert wars, actually (and disproportionately) harm people of color
in the U.S. and around the world. A real "anti-racist" would call this out
rather than attack the people who've exposed such egregious actions.
5. Reject aff-inclusive alternatives. They discourage
meaningful clash and over-reward agreement. Holistic
comparisons based on thesis-level disagreement better test
strategic decision-making and argument quality.
6. No focus tradeoff link neg oversimplifies.
Dyson 15 Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, holds a Ph.D. in
Religion from Princeton University, 2015 (All Black Lives Matter, The New Republic, April 24th, Available
Online at, Accessed 04-24-2015)
That epidemic has made some question the release of my essay as the plague of black death spreads. Its
good to remember theres rarely a convenient or ideal time to engage messy, complicated issues, although
its hardly impossible to address more than one issue at a time. On the Friday before my essay on West
published, I published an op-ed for the New York Times on the killing of Walter Scott in South Carolina by
North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, arguing that the lived experience of race for blacks often
feels like terror, whether its the fast terror of police killings or the slow terror of unmerited school

Some have suggested that we should only deal with police

brutality and the killing of black folk. But most of us are used to
grappling at the same time with competing, or even parallel,
interests, and theres little fear that critical attention will be diverted
from the most pressing matters at hand. The healthy and humane treatment of human

beings, although far more pressing in the case of the police and black masses, links the argument I made
about respecting ones opponents to the movement for the recognition of the value of black life.

7. No white privilege link the opposite is true.

Greenwald 12 Glenn Greenwald, Columnist for Salon, holds a J.D. from New York University
School of Law, 2012 (Who are the victims of civil liberties assaults and Endless War?, Salon, January 16th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 06-19-2015)
Over the weekend, I recorded a BloggingheadsTV session with The Nations Katha Pollitt in which several of
these same themes were discussed; it was a good, civil, constructive discussion, and the video is below.

Part of the debate over the last couple weeks among progressives regarding
political priorities, the Obama presidency, the Ron Paul candidacy and
the like has entailed a litany of accusations smears hurled at those of us
who insist on the prioritization of issues of war and civil liberties
abuses, and who vocally highlight the ways in which the Democratic
Party generally and President Obama specifically have been so awful
on these matters. Some Democratic loyalists have explicitly argued
that contrasting Obama with Ron Paul on these issues is warped
because issues of war and civil liberties are, at best, ancillary concerns,
while others have gone so far as to claim that only racial and/or gender bias
white male privilege would cause someone to use the Paul
candidacy to highlight how odious Obama has been in these areas.

Leaving aside the fact that (as I detail in the discussion with Pollitt), numerous women and people of color
have made the same points about the vital benefits of Pauls candidacy voices which these accusers

these accusations are pure projection. Those who

were operating from such privilege would not seek to prioritize issues
of war and civil liberties; thats because it isnt white progressives and
their families who are directly harmed by these heinous policies. The
opposite is true: its very easy, very tempting, for those driven by this
type of privilege for non-Muslims in particular to decide that these issues
are not urgent, that Endless War and civil liberties abuses by a
President should not be disqualifying or can be tolerated, precisely
because these non-Muslim progressive accusers are not acutely
affected by them. The kind of privilege these accusers raise would
cause one to de-prioritize and accept civil liberties abuses, drone
slaughter, indefinite detention and the like (i.e, do what they themselves do), not demand that
significant attention be paid to them when assessing political
As I noted the other day, it isnt white males being indefinitely detained,
rendered, and having their houses and cars exploded with drones the
tellingly ignore and silence

victims of those policies are people like Lakhdar Boumediene, or Gulet Mohamed, or Jose Padilla, or Awal
Gul, or Sami al-Haj, or Binyam Mohamed, or Murat Kurnaz, or Afghan villagers, or Pakistani families, or
Yemeni teenagers. In order to get the full depth of the oppression and injustice of these ongoing War on
Terror policies, one has to do things like listen to this amazing and tragically rare interview conducted
by Chris Hayes this weekend with Boumediene, as the former GITMO detainee explained in Arabic how his

Its easy to convince yourself that these

abuses are not an urgent priority if, like those above-linked accusers, your nonMuslim privilege (to use their accusatory terminology) enables you to
be shielded from their harms.
life was devastated by indefinite detention.

This is the primary point made so brilliantly by Falguni Sheth, the Political Theory and Philosophy Professor,

white progressives throwing around these accusations are

themselves the ones guilty of it by virtue of their willingness to
subordinate these issues to partisan gain in other words, no longer desiring that
in arguing that

these abuses be vested with prime political priority now that its their Party and their President guilty of
But HERE FOLKS! I am a brown woman (in case my bio didnt clue you into that), and I am
downright livid at policies passed during the Obama administration (which a number of folks will
attest that I anticipated before the 2008 election), which are even worse than expected. I am as
livid with progressives who affect a casual? studied? indifference to the Administrations repeated
support for warrantless wiretapping (remember Obamas vote during the 2008 election season
when he took a break in campaigning to return to Washington to vote for the renewal of FISA; for
his support of the Justice Departments withholding of evidence (and even habeas corpus) from
detainees on grounds of national security; his commitment to indefinite detention (NDAA was not
the first time its arisen. We saw his support in the gesture to move Gitmo detainees to a federal
prison in Illinoiswith only a casual suggestion that they might receive civilian trialsonly to
watch it die quickly under even modest resistance. Guantanamo is still open with detainees
languishing); the expansion of troops into Afghanistan in the first part of his term; the unceasing
drone attacks in Pakistan, etc. . . .
Heres my other question: Why does this have to turn into a guilt by association debate? Why
cant we discuss the questions that are being raised as serious and important questions, rather
than referendums on voters or pundits moral character? I dont have to like Ron Paul (and why
do we need to LIKE our politicians?). I dont have to have dinner with him. He doesnt need to be a
friend. He is raising the questions that every other liberal and progressive and feminist (yes,
including you, Katha) should be raising and forcing the Democrats to address. As Greenwald has
pointed out, these issues only become outrage-worthy when the Republicans are spearheading
human rights violations, because it gives the libs and progs a lever by which to claim political
superiority. The silence on the Democrats record of human rights violations is deafening. And
theyre more than cherries on a blighted tree. Theyre dead bodies on the blighted conscience of

8. Policy rejoinder best if both teams support NSA reform,

vote aff. K-as-prior-question overcorrects for tunnel vision by
neglecting the policy consequences of academic scholarship. It
also makes the negs job too easy, undermining rejoinder and
deep preparation skills.
9. Reject attention policing there are many productive
starting points. NSA surveillance is one.
Greenwald 12 Glenn Greenwald, Columnist for Salon, holds a J.D. from New York University
School of Law, 2012 (Who are the victims of civil liberties assaults and Endless War?, Salon, January 16th,
Available Online at,
Accessed 06-19-2015)

I dont run around accusing progressives who have

different political priorities than I do of being driven by racial and
religious bias. I genuinely recognize that there are all sorts of benign
and even noble reasons why one might have different political
priorities or might even value partisan loyalty more than I do. But there is one thing I know for
certain: to smear with this kind of innuendo those insisting on the
prioritization of war and civil liberties issues or devoting oneself to
these causes is indescribably irrational and reckless. One driven
by racial or other forms of privilege would seek to de-prioritize or
ignore these issues, not highlight them. Indeed, a primary reason why
these fully bipartisan policies of Endless War and civil liberties assaults
largely go unchallenged is precisely because their primary victims are
anything but privileged. Thats exactly why these issues are not a
distraction from the cause of equality; they are an embodiment of
As I said the other day,

10. Alt overcorrects it erases people of color from antisurveillance movements. Even if theres some truth to the link,
plan or perm still best.
Khalek 13 Rania Khalek, independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized for
Truthout, Extra, The Nation, Al Jazeera America, and the Electronic Intifada, 2013 (Activists of Color Lead
Charge Against Surveillance, NSA, Truthout, October 30th, Available Online at, Accessed 06-18-2015)

Despite the crowd's diversity and repeated acknowledgements of America's

sordid history of aggressive spying on communities of color, the few
outlets to cover the rally portrayed it and the movement against NSA
surveillance as one dominated almost exclusively by privileged white
USA Today managed to interview white men only and failed to quote a single speaker of color. Neither the
Huffington Post nor The Guardian fared any better. To be fair, big-name speakers, such as Jesselyn Radack,
director of the Government Accountability Project, and Thomas Drake, former NSA senior executive turned
whistleblower, were featured prominently in news reports most likely because they are well-known. But
that still doesn't explain why almost all the attendees interviewed were white when the crowd was far from
Not a single media outlet bothered to mention the moving and powerful performance of Malachi
"Malpractice" Byrd, a member of the DC Youth Poetry Slam Team whose piece began, "I pledge civil

disobedience to the flag of the hypocritical tyrants that expect us to assimilate and to the republic, which
somehow stands, as one nation, under many gods, of individuals stripped of their liberties and in need of
justice for all."
But it was Slate political reporter Dave Weigel who seemed to have attended a different rally altogether.
"Among the attendees: More than a few Tea Partiers and young, small-l libertarians, possibly equaling
those who could be put on the left," Weigel reported.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with recognizing the presence of right-leaning civil libertarians who

this portrayal is inaccurate and ignores the voices of those

who suffer the most from the NSA dragnet.
value privacy,

Surveillance State Was Built on Targeting Communities of Color

Two days prior to the Stop Watching Us rally, Busboys & Poets, a progressive DC restaurant, hosted
"Enemies of the State? Government Surveillance of Communities of Color," a panel discussion organized by
Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and Voices for Internet Freedom. The room was packed mostly with
activists of color concerned about the implications of NSA surveillance on already-marginalized and
increasingly surveilled communities.
Steven Renderos, national organizer for the Center for Media Justice, who helped put together the panel,
told Truthout that examining the legacy of surveillance in communities of color could help lead to solutions.
"It's critical to understand the history so we can learn how to dismantle it," Renderos said.
"Those of us

from marginalized communities grew up in environments very

much shaped by surveillance, which has been utilized to ramp up the criminal justice system and
increase deportations," Renderos said. "It's having real consequences in our
communities where children are growing up without parents in the home
and families are being torn apart through raids and deportations, a lot of
which is facilitated through the use of surveillance."
Panelist Fahd Ahmed, legal and policy director for the South Asian-led social justice organization Desis

mass surveillance is the predictable outgrowth

of programs that have targeted marginalized communities for decades.
Rising Up and Moving, argued that

"Just by the very nature of [the United States] being a settler-colonialist and capitalist nation, race and
social control are central to its project," Ahmed said. "Anytime we see any levels of policing - whether it's
day-to-day policing in the streets, surveillance by the police or internet surveillance - social control,
particularly of those that resist the existing system, becomes an inherent part of that system."
But, he warned, "These policies are not going to be limited to one particular community. They're going to
continue to expand further and further" because "the surveillance has a purpose, which is to exert the
power of the state and control the potential for dissent."

Sadanandan, program director for ACLU DC, acknowledged the

collective resentment felt by people of color who are understandably
frustrated that privacy violations are only now eliciting mass public
outrage when communities of color have been under aggressive
surveillance for decades.

"The Snowden revelations represent a terrifying moment for white, middle-class and upper-middle-class
people in this country, who on some level believe that the Bill of Rights and Constitution were protecting
their everyday lives," Sadanandan said. "For people of color from communities with a history of
discrimination and economic oppression that prevents one from realizing any of those rights on a day-today basis, it wasn't a huge surprise."

But Sadanandan argued that NSA surveillance still "has particular concerns
for communities of color because of their unique relationship to the
criminal justice or social control system, a billion-dollar industry with regard to, for
example, border patrol or data mining as it's applied to racially profile." Sadanandan warned that NSA
surveillance more than likely would strengthen that system of control.

Former political prisoner and Black Panther Party leader Dhoruba Bin-Wahad declared that "the United
States has moved into a full garrison police state," which "has been exported and institutionalized all over
the globe." His antidote? "We have to put together an international movement to check the development
evolution of the modern national security state," which requires linking globalized labor exploitation to the
prison industry to the war on terror to institutionalized white supremacy rooted in the "European-settler
state." Bin-Wahad was skeptical about the ability of "legal" remedies to reform the system. "You cannot
make the police state better. You cannot reform white supremacy. We need to abolish the system as it now
stands," Bin-Wahad said.
Disappointed With Obama

Bin-Wahad's most scathing indictment was of African-Americans in positions of power. He referred to

Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus as "black enemies of black people" for sanctioning
drone strikes and NSA spying" and called Obama "the worst thing to happen to black people since
At the rally, Steve, who traveled from Philadelphia and declined to give a last name, said that growing up
as a black man in South Africa instilled in him a desire to speak out against rights abuses. "I feel sensitive
when I see here in America people having their rights infringed upon," he told Truthout. "The US
government must act consistently with what it preaches around the world. They can't preach to the world
about human rights if they're not providing them to the people over here."
Anthony Wilson, who traveled by bus from Philadelphia with the software company ThoughtWorks, told
Truthout at the rally that despite being an enthusiastic Obama voter, he is disappointed in the president. "I
believed that when Obama was elected things would be more open, but to my surprise it went in the other
direction." Wilson also expressed frustration with his own community, saying, "A lot of black people give
Obama a pass." "When I voted for him, I thought I was voting for a Martin Luther King or a Malcolm X. But
he is not progressive enough. He has no intention of changing anything. And if he hasn't done it by now,
then he never will."
Renderos expressed similar sentiments. "A lot of communities of color are deferring to the president with
very blanketed support for his policies."
Renderos said organizing and educating can help combat this. "When the framing around surveillance is
posited around the first and fourth amendment, that's unfortunately a reality that doesn't necessarily
resonate with communities of color. The fourth amendment has been eroded through programs like stopand-frisk and Secure Communities," he said. "We need to build a consensus around the increase in
deportations and the jail population by communities of color and how this is intrinsically connected with
the increase of a surveillance state here in the US."
Learning From History

Ignoring activists of color does more than just rob marginalized

communities of having a voice in the NSA surveillance conversation. It
also overlooks potential strategies for fighting it.
Renderos put it best: "We need to learn from history about how movements
like the Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement and the Brown
Berets responded to living under a surveillance state."

Additional Permutation Evidence

Both the aff and the critique support the same policy
conclusion. Starting point and method links overvalue
purity at the expense of effective politics.
Burris 13 Greg Burris, Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the
University of California-Santa Barbara, holds degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Central Eurasian
Studies from the University of Texas-Austin and Indiana University-Bloomington, 2013 (What the Chomskyiek debate tells us about Snowden's NSA revelations, The Guardian, August 11th, Available Online at, Accessed

In order to demonstrate how Chomsky and iek, despite their

squabbling, can be made to complement each other, I now turn to a
developing story with which we should all already be concerned: the ongoing saga of
whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations about NSA surveillance
practices. Snowden's leaks have already changed the entire framework of
the discussion. Their impact has thus been seismic. Here, we are talking
about facts, about the importance of new empirical data for our
assessment of the contemporary moment. The introduction of these
facts into the public arena has put the government on the defense.
One need only recall how Snowden's disclosures immediately revealed
that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had outright lied to Congress.
Glenn Greenwald and his editors at the Guardian have thus been wise in choosing to publish Snowden's
revelations gradually, thereby preventing them from so easily becoming yesterday's news.

But look how quickly the discourse shifts. After an initial shock, power
can rapidly appropriate new data for its own ends. As Herbert Marcuse put it in
One-Dimensional Man, that which initially appears subversive can be "quickly
digested by the status quo as part of its healthy diet". Thus,
government representatives are, for the most part, no longer disputing the
positive content of Snowden's claims. Rather, they are justifying them
in the name of fighting terror. In this way, the site of struggle slips from
one dimension to another, from the realm of contested facts to
the realm of contested interpretations.
In light of the recent NSA surveillance scandal, Chomsky and iek offer us
very different approaches, both of which are helpful for leftist
critique. For Chomsky, the path ahead is clear. Faced with new revelations about
the surveillance state, Chomsky might engage in data mining,
juxtaposing our politicians' lofty statements about freedom against
their secretive actions, thereby revealing their utter hypocrisy. Indeed,
Chomsky is a master at this form of argumentation, and he does it beautifully in
Hegemony or Survival when he contrasts the democratic statements of Bush regime officials against their

He might also demonstrate how NSA surveillance is not

a strange historical aberration but a continuation of past policies,
including, most infamously, the FBI's counter intelligence programme in the
anti-democratic actions.

1950s, 60s, and early 70s.

iek, on the other hand, might proceed in a number of ways. He might look
at the ideology of cynicism, as he did so famously in the opening chapter of The Sublime
Object of Ideology, in order to demonstrate how expressions of outrage

regarding NSA surveillance practices can actually serve as a form of

inaction, as a substitute for meaningful political struggle. We know
very well what we are doing, but still we are doing it; we know very
well that our government is spying on us, but still we continue to
support it (through voting, etc). iek might also look at how surveillance
practices ultimately fail as a method of subjectivisation, how the very
existence of whistleblowers like Thomas Drake, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and the
others who are sure to follow in their footsteps demonstrates that technologies of
surveillance and their accompanying ideologies of security can never
guarantee the full participation of the people they are meant to control.
As iek emphasises again and again, subjectivisation fails.

Importantly, neither of these approaches is wrongheaded . Both

provide productive and fruitful avenues for further reflection and
consideration. Indeed, political struggles never take place solely within
one isolated site or at one level of abstraction. Rather, they take place
seemingly everywhere and in multiple dimensions simultaneously. Thus,
to deny ourselves access to the important contributions of either
Chomsky or iek would be to engage in an exercise of selfmutilation, an instance of cutting off one's nose to spite one's
face. Existing structures of power do not limit their operations to only
one level of abstraction and neither should we. To meet these
structures head-on, then, we must diversify our strategies. As a result,
Chomsky's astute political analyses and iek's creative inquiries into
the functioning of ideology can both be helpful. The debate between
these two figures is thus a non-debate, and the choice between them
is a false one. Why choose only one when we can just as easily
have both?
Reject demands for methodological purity. The plan and alt are
on the same side.
Weiland 13 Jeremy Weiland, Activist who has worked with Occupy Richmond and Richmond
Industrial Workers of the World, Contributing Writer at the Center for a Stateless Society and Attack The
System, Software Developer who has worked for CustomInk, Jobaio, 6th Density LLC, INM United, and
ALTERthought, former Systems Analyst for the Computer Sciences Corporation, holds a B.S. in German and
Computer Science from the University of Mary Washington, 2013 (An anarchist critique of the reporting on
the Snowden leaks, Social Memory Complexan anarchist blog, December 31st, Available Online at, Accessed 07-07-2015)
As the year rolls to an end, I'd like to compile a few thoughts on the handling of the NSA secrets leaked by
Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ryan Gallagher, and others. This debate has occurred
on ephemeral media like twitter, and these matters deserve a more extended treatment. There have been
many developments since my last post on the subject; one of the most interesting has been the
journalistic issues surrounding this episode.
Throughout this post, keep in mind that

I approach this as a radical, anti-

institutionalist anarchist. My values place very little weight on compromising secret

government plots for any reason. I disagree fundamentally with Snowden's desire for selective leaking,
though it shouldn't surprise anybody that an ex-NSA employee would maintain very different priorities than

Nothing could be more useless or moronic than to expect

relatively establishmentarian, statist folks like Snowden, Greenwald, or
Poitras to act exactly like I might were I in their shoes.
an anarchist.

However, I have a basic respect for Snowden's sacrifice and

Greenwald's work that transcends my political preferences (I'm not
familiar with Poitras's work prior to this episode, though she has my respect as well). I will not sully
that respect by dragging any of these people through the mud, even if
their chosen acts don't quite conform to my personal standards. Indeed, I
wish to advance a critique of their conduct that can actually
contribute to the debate without drowning everything in the
noise of acrimony and belligerence.
Unlike many on the radical left, I believe tone is important, both for
maintaining crucial solidarity within the larger resistance and
for disciplining our own thinking against irrational laziness. Snowden,
Greenwald, Poitras, and others are fundamentally on my side of
this issue, regardless of our differences in values and ideology. People
on the same side can disagree and debate without devolving into
crude infighting. I regard it as shameful, juvenile, and counterproductive to elevate any kind of political or methodological
purity over those broad interests that unite us.
Responding to NSA surveillance by demanding abolition of the
state is counterproductive. Our call for negative state action is
a more effective challenge. Reformism bad oversimplifies.
Weiland 13 Jeremy Weiland, Activist who has worked with Occupy Richmond and Richmond
Industrial Workers of the World, Contributing Writer at the Center for a Stateless Society and Attack The
System, Software Developer who has worked for CustomInk, Jobaio, 6th Density LLC, INM United, and
ALTERthought, former Systems Analyst for the Computer Sciences Corporation, holds a B.S. in German and
Computer Science from the University of Mary Washington, 2013 (An anarchist critique of the reporting on
the Snowden leaks, Social Memory Complexan anarchist blog, December 31st, Available Online at, Accessed 07-07-2015)
There is only a political solution

it is the scale at which the NSA operates that makes it

dangerous. Only with such concentrated resources and authority can the
NSA compromise the entire communications network infrastructure at
every layer. Any defense strategy or reform that doesn't squarely
address the issues surrounding this unprecedented concentration of
power is worse than useless. Clever hacking will not save us from
concentrated power; crypto is a workaround and not a sufficient
response to the fundamental challenge here. New oversight practices, such
as a "privacy advocate" position in the FISA court, will fail as surely as old ones. Organizations
like the NSA specialize in telling themselves and others precisely the
narratives that justify their abusive, disingenuous conduct in the dark.
Knowing this, statists of all varieties must wrestle with how to check and
balance the government in this era. The sheer level of secrecy and
abuse here can't help but give the lie to their minarchist approach of
legal reform and institutional counterbalancing. Clearly any
government abiding an organization like the NSA is no mere accomplice
but rotten to the core. Any reform that does not squarely face this
reality is insufficient and counterproductive on its face.
I mentioned earlier that

While anarchists understand that even this latest outrage will not bring
about the revolution, I do think we are uniquely positioned to advocate
for extreme measures that others currently find unthinkable. There
literally is no alternative, because who could ever trust anything the
government does in secret again? The NSA's power and operation in the
dark must be scaled far, far back if we are to have a real solution
to this crisis. Indeed, the state must be made to understand that its very
legitimacy is at stake, and this is a core anarchist goal in the first place.
Dissolution of the state and the NSA may not be politically feasible,
but a sharp and crippling cut to the budgetespecially the abolition of the secret black
budgetmay be one concession we can extract from the
establishment. After abolition, containing the budget is the next
best insurance against power becoming too concentrated in an
organization. Granted, this is a long shot, but it both has the virtue of being
measureable and also marking a grave reappraisal of the
government's legitimacy.
I'm sure each and every person responsible for bringing the NSA cache
of secrets to light has a different vision of what reforms are best.
However, we are at a unique juncture in historyone we indeed owe to Snowden,
Greenwald, Poitras, and others, but nevertheless one which belongs to all of us. Never before
have the people faced such pervasive and subtle totalitarianism
so undermining to society as we know it. If folks finally consider radical
solutions, it will not be because anarchists berated them into it.
The right arguments could ensure the separation of the head from
the snake this time, if anarchists can model a new attitude towards
power that seeks not to alienate opponents but build a
qualitatively different consensus.

Ableism Critique of Colorblind

Use of the term blindness to describe epistemic deficiencies
is incorrect and offensive. We should use the terms
insensitivity and numbness instead.
Medina 13 Jose Medina, Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, holds a Ph.D. in
Philosophy from Northwestern University, 2013 (Foreword: Insensitivity and Blindness, The Epistemology
of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations, Published by
Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199929023, p. xii-xiii)

hope to have contributed a bit to such overcoming by avoiding the visual language at least
in some of my discussions when it was possible and appropriate, but alsoand more
importantby calling attention to the problems associated with equating
epistemic deficiencies with perceptual disabilities such as blindness
(or deafness). Both in academia and in everyday speech we are surrounded
by discourses that privilege able-bodied perspectives. Instead of simply erasing
Although I have not succeeded in overcoming the visual paradigm of blindness to talk about insensitivity,

any reference to the ubiquitous metaphor of blindness, I have introduced a sustained critical discussion
about our rhetorical devices to discuss epistemic deficiencies in social interaction. In order to begin such

the terms insensitivity and numbness are far

more appropriate than blindness to describe deficient epistemic
sensibilities. In the first place, the problem of having been desensitized to
certain aspects of social relationality has a perceptual dimension, but
the perceptual numbness involved is multidimensional and affects
not only sight, but the other senses as wellin particular, it affects
our capacity to hear and listen properly. In the second place, the terms
insensitivity and numbness are more appropriate than blindness
because, although clearly related to our embodied sentience, they can
be easily extended to the non-perceptual, and indeed the epistemic
deficiencies in question go beyond our perceptual organs. There is an
important disanalogy between the failure of a sensory organ (such as
sight) and the communicative and interpretative failures I will discuss (those
associated with social ignorance grounded in oppression). For this
reason, it is more adequate to talk about forms of numbness or
insensitivity, which are sometimes perceptual (involving the inability to see
something or to hear something, for example), but sometimes not. Finally, in the third place,
the terms numbness and insensitivity can avoid problems that appear
in the use of the metaphor of blindness: this metaphor facilitates the
circulation of distorted images that sighted people have about the
experience of blind people; and indeed the equation of blindness with
ignorance is disrespectful and offensive for blind people and
contributes to the [end page xii] otherness of people with disabilities.1
Interestingly, the kind of insensitivity that the use of the metaphor of
blindness exhibits exemplifies well the kind of meta-insensitivity that
my view denounces, namely, the lack of critical awareness of what we
know and do not know about the experiences of people who are
significantly different from us.
discussion, I offer three reasons why

Vote affirmative. Challenging ableism at the rhetorical level is

crucial to dismantle systems of oppression.
Cherney 11 James L. Cherney, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at
Wayne State University, 2011 (The Rhetoric Of Ableism, Disability Studies Quarterly, Volume 31, Number
3, Available Online at, Accessed 11-29-2012)

ableist culture
sustains and perpetuates itself via rhetoric; the ways of interpreting
disability and assumptions about bodies that produce ableism are
learned. The previous generation teaches it to the next and cultures
spread it to each other through modes of intercultural exchange.
Adopting a rhetorical perspective to the problem of ableism thus
exposes the social systems that keep it alive. This informs my second reason for
viewing ableism as rhetoric, as revealing how it thrives suggests ways of
curtailing its growth and promoting its demise. Many of the strategies
already adopted by disability rights activists to confront ableism
explicitly or implicitly address it as rhetoric. Public demonstrations, countercultural
In this essay I analyze ableism as a rhetorical problem for three reasons. First,

performances, autobiography, transformative histories of disability and disabling practices, and critiques of

Identifying ableism as
rhetoric and exploring its systems dynamic reveals how these corrective
practices work. We can use such information to refine the successful
techniques, reinvent those that fail, and realize new tactics. Third, I contend
that any means of challenging ableism must eventually encounter its
rhetorical power. As I explain below, ableism is that most insidious form of
rhetoric that has become reified and so widely accepted as common
sense that it denies its own rhetoricityit "goes without saying." To
fully address it we must name its presence, for cultural assumptions
accepted uncritically adopt the mantle of "simple truth" and become
extremely difficult to rebut. As the neologism "ableism" itself testifies, we need new
words to reveal the places it resides and new language to describe how
it feeds. Without doing so, ableist ways of thinking and interpreting will
operate as the context for making sense of any acts challenging
discrimination, which undermines their impact, reduces their symbolic
potential, and can even transform them into superficial measures that
give the appearance of change yet elide a recalcitrant ableist system.
ableist films and novels all apply rhetorical solutions to the problem.

Their use of ableist language turns the case. Struggles against

white supremacy fail when they ignore disability.
Wheelchair Dancer 8 Wheelchair Dancer, a disability studies blog, 2008 (On Making
Argument: Disability and Language, April 28th, Available Online at, Accessed 01-26-2013)

society as a whole has not paid the same kind of attention

to disabled peoples concerns about language. By not paying attention
to the literal value, the very real substantive, physical, psychological,
sensory, and emotional experiences that come with these linguistic
moves, we have created a negative rhetorical climate. In this world, it
is too easy for feminists and people of colour to base their claims on
argumentative strategies that depend, as their signature moves, on
Id like to suggest that

marginalizing the experience of disabled people and on

disparaging their appearance and bodies.
Much of the blogosphere discourse of the previous weeks has studied the relationships between race,

the intellectual takeaway has

been an emerging understanding of how, in conversation, notions of
appropriation, citation, ironization, and metaphorization can be
deployed as strategies of legitimation and exclusion. And, as a result, I
(white) feminism and feminists, and WOC bloggers. To me,

question how oppressed, minoritized groups differentiate themselves from other groups in order to seek
justice and claim authority. Must we always define ourselves in opposition and distance to a minoritized
and oppressed group that can be perceived as even more unsavory than the one from which one currently
As I watched the discussion about who among the feminist and WOC bloggers has power and authority and
how that is achieved, I began to recognise a new power dynamic both on the internet and in the world at

wide variety of powerful feminist and anti-racist discourse is predicated
on negative disability stereotyping. Theres a kind of hierarchy
here: the lack of awareness about disability, disability culture and
identity, and our civil rights movement has resulted in a kind of
domino effect where disability images are the metaphor of last
resort: the bottom, the worst. Disability language has about it a kind
of untouchable quality as if the horror and weakness of a disabled
body were the one true, reliable thing, a touchstone to which we can
turn when we know we cant use misogynistic or racist
language. When we engage in these kinds of argumentative
strategies, we exclude a whole population of people whose histories
are intricately bound up with ours. When we deploy these kinds of
strategies to underscore the value of our own existence in the world,
we reaffirm and strengthen the systems of oppression that
motivated us to speak out in the first place.
large. Feminism takes on misogyny. The WOC have been engaging feminism. But from my point of view,