Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Carew, Joy Gleason

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Jones, Ricky L.

Committee Member

D‘Silva, Margaret


Debates and debating; African American college students; Debating; African American students--Language; Speech--Social aspects


This research uses the speech community model of analysis to illustrate how language is used to determine inclusion into and exclusion from Debate. This has been done by examining the use of four Black discourse types in Intercollegiate Policy Debate: signifying, call and response, tonal semantics, and narrative sequencing to show the ways in which current debate practices (un)intentionally exclude Blacks. Upon examination, one can see that there is educational value to the methods used by majority of the Black student population within Debate. In addition to being a tool of empowerment for this student population, these students can also provide the overall Debate community with alternative perspectives and values. These can be useful to all students‘ development as active citizens within an increasingly diverse American society. This analysis could provide important insight into the next phase of the debate about Debate.