Master Debaters introduces us to the compelling subculture of high school policy debate, its key players and ancestry, odd habits and lingo. This is fast-paced theater, a sport featuring academic athletes from all walks of life, a bulwark of the Western tradition. And it happens every weekend under our noses in mostly empty classrooms across the USA.
Master Debaters also introduces us to a series of black and Hispanic Urban Debate League superstars, two of whom defy all odds to defeat the top debate team in the country at the National Forensic League Nationals in Salt Lake City.
But Master Debaters is not just a feel-good story of triumph over adversity. Debate is a game, but it’s the same game played by CEOs, trial lawyers, and political operatives, who will trade in what they believe for what they know will win. Master Debaters asks us to examine what kind of people debaters become when they are asked to defend positions that are at best preposterous, and, at worst, morally reprehensible.