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Black Teacher Male Remote Students
Speech and debate offers both private benefits for students and public benefits for society. The private benefits students gain from participating in speech and debate include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, etc. On the other hand, the civic education offered by speech and debate helps participating students become informed and active global citizens, which is a public benefit to everyone. Schools as civic institutions have been charged with ensuring that all students procure private benefits and are able to produce public benefits. This mission necessitates that all students have equitable access to educational resources, but Black students have been historically and systemically excluded from equitably accessing and benefiting from educational institutions like speech and debate. Even if Black students attend a school with speech and debate activities, this does not automatically equate to equal access to speech and debate activities. School funding, team funding, demands outside of school, cultural expectations of what a speech and debate competitor looks like, and many more structural factors make true equitable access a goal that has yet to be achieved. If teachers, coaches, and schools more broadly are to fulfill their mission, they must seek to actively engage and mentor Black students in speech and debate. Insofar as Black students have been unjustly excluded from full participation in speech and debate, it is the obligation of educators to correct this injustice. A justice-oriented pedagogy of speech and debate is one that ensures Black students are provided with just as many educational opportunities as their white peers. As compassionate human beings who have had the luck to enjoy speech and debate, we must recognize that others deserve to know more about the world in which they reside. Speech and debate opens up a new world of literature, travel, and opportunity.