10 Tips For a Purposeful Debate on Social Justice Issues

  1. Understand that a debate is not an argument. A debate becomes an argument when both parties resort to ad hominem, non-fact-based attacks,  A debate becomes a feckless conversation between a fool and wise man when one resorts to ad hominem attacks.
  2. Cite your facts simply and truthfully.
  3. Do not embellish
  4. You have lost the argument when you have to attack your opponent.  A well-crafted argument suffices.
  5. Do NOT take it personally when you are wrong. Intelligence is flexible and open to correction.  Bigotry is rigid and closed-minded.
  6. PLEASE read up on critical race and social theory, and be well-versed in intersectionality.  This doesn’t mean you have to quote Audre Lorde verbatim, but that helps.
  7. Don’t use your personal experience as a universal experience. You are one person, and you are NOT the spokesperson for an entire marginalized group.
  8. Do NOT silence a member of a minority group by invalidating their experience or telling them that their feelings are not justified.
  9. DO offer solutions instead of just outlining problems.  If you have the energy to complain, you have the energy to be constructive.
  10. Treat one another as you would like to be treated- with respect

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