POST BY: Yasmin L., Chair of the BSN Debating Club

On Monday 20th March, the Senior School explored contemporary issues of inequality through debate, on Race & Ethnicity day of BSN’s Equality Week. ASH students were invited to take part in a debating competition alongside BSN students, during which topics debated included safe spaces, whether The Netherlands is a hospitable country, and positive discrimination. Proposing teams argued that safe spaces empower minority groups, that The Netherlands is a warm and welcoming nation, and that we ought to practice positive discrimination to create an equal society. Counterarguments by opposing teams included that safe spaces stifle freedom of speech, that The Netherlands’ hostility is reflected by the rise of Geert Wilders’ PVV, and that positive discrimination violates meritocratic principles. In a close competition between mixed teams consisting of both BSN and ASH students, the debating competition was eventually won by Luna de Llama (Y11), Usman Malik (Y13), and Jessica Inamdar and Ave Sekowski from ASH. After a day of lively and vivid debates, ASH Speech & Debating Society and BSN Debating Society look set to collaborate on similar such events in the future.

Midway through the day, all students were invited to attend a Showcase debate. Proposing the motion ‘This house believes that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement promotes justice effectively’ were Ollie Wainwright (Y12), Voke Akati-Udi (Y11) and Luna de la Llama (Y11). They argued that the BLM movement popularises issues such as police brutality and economic disparity, comparing the campaign to those of Mandela, MLK and Gandhi.

They were ultimately defeated by the opposing team, which consisted of Mark Fabian (Y13), Alasdair Hopwood (Y11) and Chioma Herler (Y10). They countered by arguing that the movement is divisive, demonising, disorganised and incites violence.

As Chair of the BSN Debating Club, it has always been my aim to create an opportunity for those passionate about speech and debate to come together, and to showcase their talents. It gave me great pleasure to watch the competition and the showcase unfold, and see how wonderfully members of BSN Debating Club expressed themselves. It was especially inspiring to observe how much the debaters have grown as speakers during my time as Chair.

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