A Report from the Riverside Debate Club
Written & Edited by Khwahish ( Grade 12) , Adya and Maia ( Grade 11)
Cancel Culture; the latest internet obsession slowly taking the media by storm. What is it? How did it come to be? And why is it relevant in the world we live in today?
‘Cancel Culture’ by definition is a form of ostracism or rejection, in which an individual, typically a celebrity or a public figure, is thrust out of their social or professional circle as a result of offensive or convoluted stances they may have on sensitive topics. Primarily making its rounds on social media platforms such as Twitter, this force is rapidly festering and overtaking the livelihoods of so many around us.
On the 6th of July, six students from the eleventh and twelfth grades of Riverside School debated over the topic “This house will cancel ‘cancel culture’’’ in front of the entire Key Stage 3 and the in-house jury that consisted of Deepa Ma’am, Vishwa Sir, and Joshua Sir. Nargis and Anushree from Grade 12 initiated the debate by channeling the inspiration they had felt having witnessed a spectacular school debate for the very first time a few years ago.
Excitement bubbled across the Keystage for days before the event. Auditions were held, carefully curated selections were made, and our debaters were soon ready for action. The members of the proposition included Kavya (Grade 11), Khwahish (Grade 12) and Devyansh (Grade 11). Kavya was able to brilliantly set the tone for the proposition through her evocative and engaging introduction, and there were some strong points raised by Khwahish to support her claims. The opposition team was made up of members, Adya (Grade 11), Dev (Grade 12) and Vaidehi (Grade 12), and the first two members were able to powerfully counter the arguments established by their opponents through their implementation of thoroughly researched facts. The final speaker from the opposition, Vaidehi, adeptly weaved together the threads left loose by both teams to close the debate with a firm and concise conclusion before the platform opened up for the audience to raise any questions left unanswered. To spice things up, a wildcard entry, Sharvil (Grade 12), was brought into the picture to lend his own views to the intense debate.
The foundation laid out by the proposition was that cancel culture ridicules the idea of free speech, and blurs what should be the otherwise clear definition of justice. This idea was countered by the opposition’s rebuttal as they highlighted how cancel culture could also be wielded as a tool of social justice. Eventually the debate transitioned into identifying the true meaning behind cancel culture, and its well confused sibling, ‘call-out culture’.
At the end of the debate, the jury members were given time to discuss what team to side with and a vote amongst the audience was taken. Although the opposition won by a fraction of a point for their more articulate and persuasive arguments, the number of votes seemed to support the proposition’s stance.
It was a gruelling game of grit, intellect and unity that eventually taught us the format of a formal debate as well as a little more about the world around us. More than anything, this gave us a platform to speak up and intently listen to those against us, all while put in a relatively uncomfortable situation. It inspired and broke the ice for the juniors as they too were motivated to participate in the next debate.
Overall, a huge amount of credit deserves to go to Aritra Ma’am for being the torch bearer along with Anushree and Nargis to bring back the excitement of our in-house debate club and organizing its very first debate. We hope to have more engaging and invigorating debates such as this one in the future. Additionally, we must applaud the debaters for volunteering and setting the benchmark high for the future debaters of our school !
Here’s the Insta Reel https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cf8ejyDFPNO/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=