Another user recommended I post my RFD here as an alternative to providing an outside link. Thought that was a good idea.
As this was directly cut from a word document, the structure is somewhat poor, but I've spent too much time writing this as is. The original is still available via the link above.
Hello. I should start by saying that I am as unbiased as you can ask for in this particular topic – I’m not even American. I should also point out that I had issues with the arguments of both sides – dismiss my conclusion if you find cause to, but know that this is my sincere vote. I’ve put a substantial amount of effort into this RFD.
Below this page is a summary I’ve compiled while reading the debate. Green represents my thoughts on the matter, while Purple is representative of a thought that isn’t pointing out any flaw of either side.
PRO: It’s – for the most part – true that there is no written legislature that encourages mistreatment of black Americans. [At least – nothing that CON could provide. I am, admittedly, not well educated in American politics - save for what I can gather from this debate.]
However, your definition of “systemic” does not specify written legislature – merely that ‘systemic’ means that “something is done according to a system or method”. For instance, in your example – a ‘systemic disease’ as your debate seems to imply, would refer to a genetic disorder – where the genes are responsible for ‘writing’ the rules. If the body is diseased regardless of the written rules – as in a viral or bacterial infection – then it’s still – by this very definition – systemic – affecting the whole system.
By way of comparison – America undeniably has a problem with racism. The disease is there – its symptoms are present tenfold, in protesting minorities to inexplicable disproportionate incarceration all the way to a rich history of segregation and police brutality. No, the government doesn’t explicitly encourage it in law – but it’s there, and the fact that there’s still not enough done about it – as CON proves – is enough evidence to fulfill their BoP.
TL; DR: Yes, 100% non-conformance is a “pipe dream”, and yes, it’s hard to find it written in black and white that there is disproportionate treatment of black and white – but a government that sits relatively idle whilst 13% of its citizens experience an extremely disproportionate level of incarceration and health issues is a government that operates on a racist system. It is systemically racist. If it were a different group experiencing these issues – one that didn’t have an extensive history of being discriminated against, then there might be another cause to be considered.
But: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and swims like a duck – it’s certainly not a flamingo. Doesn’t matter what the name tag says, and doesn’t matter that it was told to be a chicken.
CON: Please stop declaring that you’ve won. In all aspects, this is up to the voting collective, and the cheeky jabs at PRO fall on unappreciative eyes. “Tsk, tsk tsk.” “…that’s why PRO’s arguments fail…” “Through the ignorance of PRO…”. I considered giving PRO the conduct point.
That said – PRO never satisfactorily rebuts the core of your argument – which is effectively an appeal to authority – corporations pour millions of dollars into ending racism, experts agree that systemic racism exists, incarceration rates are disproportionately skewed to black Americans.
When PRO does touch these core tenants, the rebuttals are often based off a technicality as opposed to a rebuttal of the thing in itself – PRO dismisses source  on the basis of irrelevance and poor reliability, (which I still question) PRO dismisses several arguments in their last round that allows you no room to respond, PRO dismisses the corporations line of thought on the basis of poor referencing, etc.
As it stands, you have my argument vote by a hair – and you certainly might not get other votes. The final round would have helped.
[By way of transparency, I’ve also included conversations with both PRO and CON post-vote submission, see final page.] [Only accessible via link.]
“Systemic”: describes something that is done according to a system or method; a systematic approach to learning that involves carefully following the program's steps; what relates to or affects an entire system; a systemic disease affects the entire body or organism, and systemic changes to an organization have an impact on the entire organization, including its most basic operations.
“Racism”: A belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief; racial discrimination or prejudice.
“Government”: U.S. city locales, states, and federal government.
- R3: No new arguments.
- No new sources after debate concludes.
- No waived rounds – forfeiture.
- No declaration of victory in R4.
- 4th round conclusion only.
- No addressing voters for voting suggestions.
Faux Law: R1:
“The Proper Interpretation of “Systemic””
1.a: If CON refutes the definition of “systemic”, they’ll be moving the goalposts.
1.a.i: “System” refers to policies and written legislation. Reiterates that anecdotal evidence is poor quality.
1.b: Systems should be clear. Groups of individuals – sub-group – may adapt it. Don’t blame the system – blame the individuals. [Interesting angle. Is a system not an emergent property of it’s individuals? Curious to see where CON will go with this.]
1.b.i: An officer acting alone is not the “system”.
1.b.ii: Legislation isn’t omnipotent – can’t control fully. “100% conformance is a pipe dream.”
“The Proper Interpretation of “Racism””
2.a: Vague strike at BLM.
2.a.i: “BLM” suggests the system is an issue, and that BLM singles out “blacks as a protected class”.
2.b: If the system is the issue, the system would specifically mention something about them.
2.b.ii: Equal Protection Clause cases;
1. Removal of “blacks only” signs for violating EPC.
2. Changing of school system – violating EPC – combined schooling.
3. Overturning of interracial marriage laws – violated EPC.
2.b.ii: Summary of above – all court cases show an effective system dealing with previously defined ‘racism’.
“Experts agree there is a problem, and all evidence points toward it.”
Quotes an “in-depth” research, showing that heart attacks were more common in black Americans living in “states with high levels of structural racism”. The study suggests there is discrimination in “educational attainment, income, wealth, credit, employment and incarceration.” CON’s main point here is health disparity. Valid, according to the study quoted.
Quotes misuse of standardized tests, quotes misuse of an algorithm determining health care.
Increased incidence in myocardial infarction – heart attack. [If PRO digs into this a bit more, this might be a potential weakness – how does racism cause myocardial infarction? Potential confounding factors abound.]
Quotes MIT president – “remarking the problems existing within the system.”
“Call to Action”: [12?]
Mostly ethos – an appeal to emotion. Notes that billions of dollars have been donated to ‘end systemic racism’.