The forensics community has long been hailed as one of the most accepting, progressive, and open-minded segments of the academy. However, minority competitors and coaches continually face a myriad of challenges in terms of acceptance within the community. Many scholars have argued for more inclusiveness within the activity in terms of representation and acceptance of literature from diverse perspectives (Robinson & Allen, 2018; Rogers et al., 2003; Billings, 2000), however, very little attention has been placed on the issue of behavioral norms and expectations within rounds. More specifically, no article to date has explored the impact of culture on audience reactions and behaviors within forensics. Many students, especially students of color, have been conditioned to engage in what is commonly referred to as the call and response tradition of the church from a young age. Snaps, mmmms, and other verbal and nonverbal expressions are a part of this engagement. Therefore, this paper argues that similar expressions within forensic rounds flow from this tradition and thus warrant an evaluation. We will use a critical race theory (CRT) lens to argue that the failure to recognize these behavioral norms as being culturally bound, at best misses the point of audience feedback and at worst upholds the idea that the only way to properly engage in performance is to conform to whiteness.
Journal or Book Title
Journal of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri