The University of Louisville is hosting a regional debate this Thursday that centers on race in politics, culture and class in the Obama era.
U of L will face off against Bellarmine University and Tennessee State University. Teams will argue from one of three perspectives including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. or a synthesis of both. “The Great Debate” program has held debates on race and cultural issues throughout the region for 25 years, said Mary Mudd, program assistant for the U of L debate team.
“Each year there’s anywhere from one to three regional events that focus on some topic, of concern to African American communities in particular, and it seeks to weave together intellectual speeches about the topic with cultural vignettes that reflect the specific culture of the community,” said Mudd.
The recent death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin from Florida will highlight certain discussions.
U of L debater Jason Walker said his team plans on referencing the shooting and death of 17-year-old Martin, which has resulted in nationwide rallies, including one at U of L last month. The incident will be used to dispel certain views that race relations were transcended after President Obama was elected, said Walker.
“We currently see right now with the Trayvon Martin case that’s not the case. So the way that we can access and grapple in people who may not be familiar with the particular wording or the particular topic, everyone is familiar with this particular issue,” he said.
The debate is at 7 pm Thursday at U of L’s Belknap Campus.