The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Black Culture in the United States

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/22/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 429 times Debate No: 85343
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




Full Resolution

Black Culture in the United States of America necessarily maintains the foundations of racial thinking required for racism to exist.


Black Culture [1] - The cultural contribution of African Americans, and Non-African Black Americans to the culture of the United States as disctinct from American culture


1. There is no ELO requirement for voting; however, this debate will use the opt-in and "select winner" voting standards as outlined here:
2. The first round is for acceptance only.
3. No new arguments in the final round. Any arguments given in this round should be disregarded by all voters.
4. Any objection of definitions must happen in the comments prior to acceptance of the debate. Upon acceptance, the contender agrees upon the definitions as written.
5. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate.
6. The burden of proof for this debate is on the Pro: the Pro must prove that black culture in the United States of America necessarily maintains the foundations of racial thinking required for racism to exist.




I accept. I thank my opponent for creating this debate, and wish them good luck on the following rounds.
Debate Round No. 1



Race is not an inherent descriptor of homo sapiens sapiens. To understand, we need to define racial naturalism, James 2011 [1],

"Racial naturalism signifies the old, biological conception of race, which depicts races as bearing “biobehavioral essences: underlying natural (and perhaps genetic) properties that (1) are heritable, biological features, (2) are shared by all and only the members of a race, and (3) explain behavioral, characterological, and cultural predispositions of individual persons and racial groups” (2006, 528–529)."

Racial Naturalism is based upon uncertain premises, Hochman 2006 [2],

Racial naturalism depends not only on the validity of human subspecies classification, but also more generally on the taxonomic validity of the ‘subspecies’ category itself. It is important to note that the subspecies concept has been the focus of considerable debate over the last century. In 1953 Edward Wilson and William Brown argued that “the subspecies concept is the most critical and disorderly area of modern systematic theory.” This view is still commonly held. Robert Zink, for instance, found that, “Mitochondrial DNA sequence data reveal that 97% of continentally distributed avian subspecies lack the population genetic structure indicative of a distinct evolutionary unit.” Phenetics, in particular, has attracted strong criticism. Daniel Mulcahy describes a recent trend in eliminating subspecies altogether: “Discrete, diagnosable lineages are elevated to specific [species] status, while those that show clinal [gradual] variation and/or appear to represent ecological pattern classes are placed in synonymy with the parent species and the subspecific epithets are disregarded.” The debate surrounding racial naturalism does not take place against anything like a stable scientific backdrop.

For race to be an inherent feature of our nature, there would need to be fundamental genetic difference between different racial subspecies, and more importantly, the taxonomical nature of subspecies would need to be a valid nomological tool for definining nature in identity. Skin color alone doesn't serve as a foundation for race, as it blurs the lines of being: If a person is born of a white parent and a black parent, are they black because they have black skin, or white because they belong to, as Black Culture would put it, the 'priviledged class'. To truly determine race through naturalism, the child would have to exhibit characteristics unique to being 'black' or being 'white' as a subspecies of homo sapiens sapiens. Characteristics do not inherently tie themselves to skin color and therefore skin color does not necessitate racial existence.

A modern conception of race does exist as a social construct, James 3 furthers [1],

[I]nstitutional constructivism emphasizes race as a social institution, whose character is specific to the society in which it is embedded and thus cannot be applied across cultures or historical epochs (Mallon 2006, 536). Michael Root (2000, 632) notes that a person ascribed as black in the United States would likely not be considered black in Brazil, since each country has very different social institutions regarding the division of humanity into distinct races. Similarly, Paul Taylor (2000) responds to Appiah’s racial skepticism by holding that races, even if biologically unreal, remain real social objects (Mallon 2006, 536–537). Indeed, in a later work Taylor (2004) argues that the term “race” has a perfectly clear referent, that being those people socially ascribed to certain racial categories within the United States, regardless of the widespread social rejection of biological racial naturalism.

Therefore, race does not objectively exist but is rather race in terms of American Society is a social concept projected from individuals into the American Social Sphere. As a result, any existing racism is founded on the same racial thinking that supports the social construction of race.

Black Culture further entrenches the flaws of the Western Social Sphere rather than methodologically reconsidering its nature

The Western Social Sphere currently exists in a system of adversarial power relations. Black Culture sustains a negative-sum relationship between American Culture and Black Culture as inherently distinctive. Game theory explains that positive-sum relationships are relationships in which the outcome of interactions is mutually beneficial, zero-sum relationships result in no net positive or net negative outcome, and negative-sum relationships result in an outcome of interaction that is overall detrimental.

A. Black Culture as Not-American

The dichotomy between American Culture and Black-American cultural linguistically presupposes that 'Black' is a differentiating factor in the fundamental nature of the two. Thefore the word Black has signifying value in the interpretation of the proponents of Black-American culture. Hall 1997 [3],

The emphasis on cultural practices is important. It is participants in a culture who give meaning to people, objects and events. Things 'in themselves' rarely if ever have any one, single, fixed and unchanging menaing. Even something as obvious as a stone can be a stone, a boundary marker on a piece of sculpture, depending on what it means - that is, within a certain context of use, within what the philosophers call different 'language games' (i.e. the language boundaries, the language of sculpture, and so on). It is by our use of things, and what we say, think and feel about them - how we represent them - that we give them a meaning. In part, we give objects, people and events meaning by the frameworks of interpretation which we bring to them.

Hall's argument is that in our linguistic use of 'black' to describe the following subject of culture we necessarily utilize 'black' to define what that culture represents. Black Culture therefore necessarily sustains the ideology of race that is inherent in racial thinking, and therefore racism, in its own existence.

B. Black Culture as suffering

Black Culture historically addresses a notion of suffering. Specifically in Black History Month, Black Culture resonates messages of ancestral slavery, and reinstates present-day imagery of modernized chains on the current generation of Black-American citizens. An emphasis on suffering is harmful to the Black Culture cause for two reasons:

1. Suffering inherently presupposes inequal power structures.

Suffering, in terms of Black Culture, is equivocatable to structural oppression. One must exert power-over another in order to cause suffering. The colonists utilized power-over Africans to enslave them. Modern colonists, the priviledged class, exploits African Americans in order to further their own ends. Black America necessarily exists as a single end of the power spectrum in order to extend the range of dominance that the cultural elite possesses.

2. Suffering continues to necessitate a cultural divide

Because suffering elaborates a power-over structural relationship between Black America and non-Black America rather than a power-to relationship - one in which power is exchanged mutually rather than forcefully exterted - Black America cannot exist as America - the singular cultural totality of all that is America and within America - but instead as a distinctive entity that resists via its nature cultural communion.

Because of the inherent distinctiveness present in Black Culture, intergration is impossible. This prevents cultural integration and therefore positive-sum relationships. Karlberg 2005 [4],

[M]any critical functionalists have concluded that contemporary Western-liberal social systems are largely dysfunctional because they are socially unjust and/or ecologically unsustainable. In a series of Heretical Reflections on Today’s Values, Culture and Politics, systems theorist Ervin Laslo (1989) asserts that idealized norms of aggression, competitive acquisition, and unregulated competition are no longer sustainable in an increasingly interdependent global society. In place of these traditional Western-liberal norms, Laslo (1989, pp. 109-15) calls for a reorientation of basic human relationships from adversarial “negative-sum” and “zero-sum” relations toward mutualistic “positive-sum” relations.

Another prominent systems theorist and peace researcher, Kenneth Boulding, has articulated a theory of power that is consistent with Laszlo’s analysis. Boulding’s (1990) integrative theory of power provides an alternative way of thinking and talking about social relations in an age of interdependence. Integrative power, he (Boulding, 1990, p. 25) explains, is “the capacity to build organizations, to create families and groups, to inspire loyalty, to bind people together, to develop legitimacy”. According to Boulding, it embodies cooperation and reciprocity, friendship and collective identity, the growth of a sense of community, the ability to create and pursue constructive images of the future together, and the belief that one’s own welfare is increased through an increase in the welfare of others. Drawing on his background in systems theory, economics, and peace research, Boulding concludes that functional social and political systems can only be constructed on the normative basis of these integrative power relations. Though he acknowledges the historical existence of adversarial power relations, and even accepts their necessity in some limited contexts, Boulding (1990) argues that contemporary world conditions demand a much wider recognition of the importance of integrative power in human affairs.

The logical conclusion is then that, because a power-over structure is required to forward a dialogue of suffering, the very practice of furthering such dialogue tacitly concedes the existence of racial structures, and systemically re-entrenches racial thinking into the American Social Sphere, thereby providing a foundation for racism.

Sources in comments.


Thanks to pro for posting their arguments. The BoP is shared (as agreed upon in comments), so I will only post my arguments in this round, without any rebuttals.

A. History of Racism and Family

Slavery in colonial and early America is undoubtedly one of the building blocks of current-day racism in the United States. The slave owners enslaved the blacks for many generations, because of the white's power over blacks, building a sense of superiority. This mindset of racism, passed down from generation to generation, kept a racist mindset in the heads of the decedents of those former slave holders. This creates a racist mindset without the involvement of culture.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is an example of an extreme racial group. On their website, they admit it is passed down from generation to generation [1]. Being taught like this from early childhood is hard to break out of, parents impact their children hugely [2]. If your parents and those around you all strongly believe, and tell you something from an early age, you are most likely to follow en suite.

B. Human Neurology

The human brain gives evidence as to why racism exists. The part of the brain that starts racial thoughts is called the amygdala. The purpose of the amygdala is to learn what types of situations lead to negative outcomes.The amygdala is a quick learner, and takes information sub-consciously. This means that different racial stereotypes created by others makes your amygdala sub-consciously learn them. It is and was very important for the amygdala to operate fast, so humans can avoid dangers. However, the amygdala operates so quickly it does not give your conscious brain time to think [3][4]. The amygdala is the basis of many racial actions, even without the person being a racist, or close to racist.

However, the amygdala is not the only part in the human brain that racism comes from. It can also come from the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is involved in decision making, and sometimes sub-consciously [5][6]. The amygdala feeds information to the prefrontal cortex, including these racial stereotypes [7]. This is shown by different studies; including a study that relates pictures of black and white faces, showing that whites, when showed white faces, associate more words with positive, and when showed a black face associates more words with negatives [8]; when told a black participant was going to sit somewhere, the other participant sat further away, and many other studies conducted by the University of Harvard [3].


Racial thinking is not caused by any cultural group, but family and the human brain. Families with long histories of racism passing down from generation. These stereotypes are then sub-consciously picked up by others, and fuel racism. Racism is not called by cultures, but family members of racists and the human brain


Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 2


I will spend this round responding to my opponent's opening case.


As a judge, in order to understand how to evaluate this debate, I feel I must offer you an explanation of necessity and sufficiency in context of the resolution. The resolution states: Black Culture in the United States of America necessarily maintains the foundations of racial thinking required for racism to exist.

Necessity in context of the resolution means that the maintenance of the foundations of racial thinking required for racism to exist necessarily, or is determined to - in the same vein as inevitability - occur due to Black Culture in the United States of America. In other words, I am arguing that this sort of racial thinking is ALWAYS sustainable by Black Culture. I am not, however, arguing for sufficiency. In other words, while Black Culture necessarily allows for this racial thinking to occur, I do not have to hold that this racial thinking is sufficient for racism to exist, or that other causes of racism themselves are NOT sufficient for racism to exist. Let me explain:

1. The resolution does not state that Black Culture causes racism, but that it allows for racism to exist. Therefore I do not have to prove that Black Culture is sufficient for racism to exist, and I don't even have to prove that Black Culture is necessary for racism to exist (that racism cannot exist without Black Culture), but I only must prove that the foundations of racism necessarily exist whenever Black Culture exists as it does in the United States.

2. If my opponent proves that culture or neurology are sufficient for racial think and therefore sufficient for racism, which is the essence of his argument, that is not enough to negate the resolution as the resolution does not demand that I prove Black Culture is the only concept providing a foundation for racism. I only must prove that such a foundation necessarily exists due to Black Culture. Therefore my opponent's entire case is irrelevant, as his burden, rather than proving alternative pathways to racism, is to prove that the racial think that allows for racism to exist is not necessarily entrenched in black culture.

With that said, I have 8,000 characters left and will be addressing my opponents sources at the very least.

Con Sources

1. This isn't the KKK website. This is the party of The Knight's Party, a political party in the United States. They even say in their FAQ that they are a political organization and that the Ku Klux Klan is a public domain term usable by anyone. Furthermore, the idea that they admit on their website that racism is past down generationally in their organization is a blatant lie. They state, also in the FAQ, that they do NOT believe in racial supremacy and do NOT support the killing of blacks, but actually reject those who killed blacks in the past under the guise of the KKK as radicals and not true klansmen. The website my opponent uses argues that the goal of the KKK is to preserve the existence of white Christians, whom they believe to be under attack due to the easiness of negatively stereotyping whites and Christians making for a deadly concoction of stereotypical thinking that could be used to assault the White Christian image. In fact, they are fighting AGAINST racial thinking and are fine living alongside blacks, so long as those blacks don't try to destroy White Christianity. They argue that Christianity is beneficial to ALL races, and the ability for a White person to uphold Christian values should not be destroyed. Whether or not The Knights Party upholds the traditional conception of the KKK is irrelevant, as this is the source my opponent provided.

2. Nowhere in this source is either clause of my opponent's statement, "Being taught like this from early childhood is hard to break out of, parents impact their children hugely", or the following derivative statement, "If your parents and those around you all strongly believe, and tell you something from an early age, you are most likely to follow en suite" proved to be true. The source literally says, and I quote, "For some, prejudice can be a family value." Furthermore, "children can feel some loyalty to uphold negative attitudes". Nowhere does the author draw the relationship of parental bias and child influence to be more than a possibility. Furthermore, even with the acknowledgement that it is possible that parents influence their children, my opponent claims that this source argues that these biases are hard to break as a child, a claim NEVER made in the entire article. My opponent also also claims you are "most likely" to believe what your parents believe, when again, it was never argued from the author as more than a possibility. This is a blatant misinterpretation of the evidence he provides.

3. This one at least links to his argument in a way that the author wouldn't feel violated.

4. Not really sure why this is cited, it's not clear what part relates to his prior argument.

5/6. These are simply explaining that the PFC operates subconsciously, it's hard to misinterpret that.

7. This is cited as support of the statement, "The amygdale feeds information to the prefrontal cortex, including these racial stereotypes." Nowhere in this entire book does the topic of racial stereotypes come up. He literally just grabbed a random book on google books, made a claim on his own, and posted the book as a source as if the author was making such an argument. The book he cited speaks of the relationship of the amygdale and the PFC, not about racial stereotypes. This claim by my opponent is a straight-up lie.

8. Same as source 3.

Now, we see that in 8 sources, 2 are literally definitions and cannot really be misconstrued. That leaves 6 analytical sources (if you include the wikipedia argument that makes no positive arguments, but rather is explanatory in nature and also doesn't talk to my opponent's argument in any tangible way, but we'll grant it for arguments sake). Of these 6, half of them are represented in a manner that is academically dishonest.

Con should be voted down on the basis that his representation of his sources are blatant lies. Ultimately is an educational site at its heart. Members come to the site for intellectual stimulation. As a result, activities that deteriorate the educational nature of should be frowned upon, and activities that are intrinsically anti-educational should be met with votes in opposition. Your RFD and your vote represents your stance on what DDO should represent and whether or not DDO ought to allow for anti-educational practices such as academic dishonesty. Here are a few ways in which my opponent's antics are anti-education:

A. Violation of academic standards of accurate representation

Sources 1, 2, and 7 are clearly misrepresented. I pointed to locations within the sources that directly contradict what my opponent claims that they are supposed to be arguing. This is the equivalent of me quoting Kant in a debate on ethics and arguing that he defends utilitarianism in the form of universalized sexual hedonism. Such an argument, in its inaccuracy, pollutes our understanding on Kant and more broadly the topic literature on ethics. If we are to accept such an argument as true, we disenfranchise ourselves from being able to aptly partake in a philosophical discussion of ethics as our understanding of Kant, a core ethicist, would be fundamentally contrasted with everyone else's understanding of Kant, and discourse requires a mutual foundation of understanding to be productive and education. While not misquoting Kant, he is misquoting three authors and warping their arguments for his benefits, not only preventing us from understanding the true nature of the arguments, but also promoting the misunderstanding of those arguments in a way that is fundamentally anti-educational.

B. Violates the educational principle of truth-seeking

The point of intellectual discourse is to come closer to the truth. When we misconstrue arguments are muddy the waters and leave the discussion less informed than when we entered it in the sense that being misinformed is worse than not knowing at all. Sure, both debaters are trying to win, but they should make that effort to win in a manner that promotes the educational nature of debate as debate is, at its core, an educational activity. It's perfectly okay to play devil's advocate and to defend an argument you believe to be false, insofar as defending that argument makes you more aptly aware of its intricacies and therefore gives you a better understanding of their nature. Warping facts from their essential objectivity to a subjective perversion of truth in order to support your argument necessarily warps debate from an activity in which participants seek to leave a discussion more informed than when they entered, which is the heart of DDO, into an activity in which the truth is meaningless and rather debaters main aim would then be to avoid meaningful discourse in order to win through technicalities. Truth-seeking upholds the educational nature of DDO and debate as an activity while the misrepresentation of evidence is thereby anti-educational.


First in foremost, as a judge you ought to vote against my opponent for so blatantly abusing the evidence he provided. Not voting on this issue is raises into question the value of DDO at all. Even if you don't vote against my opponent for his unethical and anti-educational behavior, you still don't look to his arguments as they are non-responsive to the resolution. Finally, I am confident that as the debate continues I will prove the soundness of my opening case, giving you a clear place to vote if you believe that DDO should not promote content of value over game-theory optimized debates in which participants are exploitative rather than intellectual. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Codename_X forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


FF. Keep in mind that if my opponent has yet to refute any of my arguments and if he decides to post in round 4, I have no way of responding to any rebuttals, also that new arguments are not allowed in round 4 per rule 3.


Codename_X forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Codename_X 9 months ago
I finished my argument, but I will post later. This is because I will not be able to work on the weekends, and I want to give myself enough time to post round 3 arguments... Just giving you a heads up that I will post with not very much time left (purposefully).
Posted by Kierhein 9 months ago
Also, if you need clarification on any of my arguments, feel free to ask.
Posted by Kierhein 9 months ago
My apologies for taking nearly the entire 3 days to post my opening position. I had a pre-written position, but did not realize that it was 20k characters long, and it took time to re-evaluate my approach to the topic in a way that fits within the character limits.

Round 2 Sources

Posted by AngryBlogger 9 months ago
I disagree. I do think black people are outta control in the US, but more so because of the media, and prejudice warmongers like Al Sharpton that constantly feed these blacks, and demonizing whites, especially white cops and spark these huge protests.

BET has been around forever, even when it was more peaceful.
The image awards has not shown any craziness with blacks until recent as the Oscars, but that is now, back then, everything you listed could be thrown out the window. If you're talking now and days, then well, maybe, but still debatable.

I do feel music, movies, video games can influence people to do bad things, obviously they can influence people to do good things and make a change in their life, so you have to tag the bad along with that, but music in general, rap music is unhealthy. Granted, other music is too, but the most violent music is rap, the days of 2pac is long gone, he made some good poets in his music tho granted he was a thug too but still, better than most rappers today cause a lot of his songs were positive.

I think your biggest arguments would have been social media like the news 24/7 brainwashing blacks, and political activists like Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson.
Posted by MikeTheGOd 9 months ago
BET is life
Posted by Kierhein 9 months ago
Codename, if you are still up for debating after I get the rules and resolution properly formatted, I'll accept. Right now bop is entirely on me, but if you would rather take half of that on yourself it is your prerogative.
Posted by Ariesx 9 months ago
I would be up for it.
Posted by Ariesx 9 months ago
Racism is subconscious, and I think that one must have black history month in order to combat subconscious thinking.
Posted by Codename_X 9 months ago
I'd be up for this, as long as the BoP is shared, instead of on Pro.
Posted by UtherPenguin 9 months ago
I'd totally be up for this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 8 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pretty straightforward vote thanks to the two forfeited rounds meaning that Pro's case goes entirely dropped and Con never gets a chance to make any defense of his case and respond to the theory argument raised by Pro in the refutations. I vote on theory first. Even if I can't vote there, I vote off the fact that Pro's case gets entirely dropped. Even if I can't vote off of that, I vote off the fact that Con's case is extratopical so Pro is the only one with any chance at having any kind of offense towards the resolution.