Known as one of the most vocal generations, especially when it comes to activism, Gen Z is making their voice heard. However, this generation sometimes shies away from speaking up in person or when the stakes are low.
So how can Gen Z get over this? The answer is through Speech and Debate. When realizing that a considerable amount of Gen Z are in high school, debate is a great way to build confidence and communication, improve critical thinking skills and build a network.
"Gen Z is too afraid to ask a waiter for extra ketchup, but will bodyslam a cop"
"We respect those who actually serve"
— Tuesday Badell (@AmericanoOnLine) June 7, 2020
If you ask most people if they’d be willing to do some public speaking they would say no. Public speaking is a common fear but have no fear, Speech and Debate combats this. Being able to speak is a skill and great leaders in history have been able to do. So, with Gen Z leading the decades to come we need a generation who can speak up.
Speech and Debate allows you to articulate your thoughts, ideas and opinions wherever you go. This is essential in the workforce, your personal life, just everywhere. With an increasingly digital world this skill of communication is being lost and speech and debate will help it become found.
Debate often requires you to think on your feet, prepare, research and build arguments. Especially in more spontaneous forms of debate such as Parliamentary Debate. Critical thinkers can solve complex problems like the ones the world is facing today. That starts with research, analyzing, and sharing your thoughts which all happens in debate. Being able to develop a new generation of these thinkers will be beneficial to all of us.
Debate is one of the best ways to build a network especially for high schoolers who can have limited social circles, allowing them to be exposed to new, different types of people. When speaking to a debater that I know personally she said she’s made valuable connections not only in the Bay Area but across the country. Many of these debaters go on to amazing schools and do amazing things and as we all know those who have power are those who have the connections. If Gen Z were to develop these connections, social activism projects they support could continue to grow.
Ayushree Dahal (she/her) is a Bay Area based journalist.
Edited by Nykeya Woods