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cdonnelly15
Pro (for)
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The Contender
umdbtr
Con (against)
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Affirmative Action Is Unfair

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,467 times Debate No: 53939
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cdonnelly15

Pro

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Affirmative action thwarts such a dream, for Rev. King did not say that he dreamed of an America in which his children would not be judged unfavorably by their skin color, but rather that he dreamed of an America in which their skin color didn't matter at all. In an America in which character and substance rather than superficial ethnic distinctions were the ones that mattered. All students should be given an equal shot at entry to universities, regardless of ethnic background. I believe this is the default position; everyone should get an equal shot. In order to defend their side, therefore, my opponents must explain what about this particular situation is unusual; why African-American applicants need an extra boost, even now. Many people believe that this levels the playing field for under-privileged African-American youth, however as Richard Kahlenberg, of the Century Foundation explains,
(http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com...) (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...)
all Affirmative action has done is fill college campuses with an ethnically diverse mix of wealthy students. Wealthy african-americans have the same opportunities as wealthy whites; if the issue is opportunity then institute class-based affirmative action, however there is no reason that race should enter into it.
The other reason given for Affirmative action is that ethnic diversity on campus is beneficial for the college atmosphere. This may be true, however it is still unfair to the students if African-Americans who don't need it are given a leg up over their white counterparts. Secondly, I would contend that socio-economic, geographic, & gender diversity is far more important than racial diversity. An african-american male and a white male who both grew up in the same wealthy suburb in Connecticut will be far more similar in their perspective than, say the wealthy suburban white male, and a poor white female from Mississippi. Thus, the two chief reasons given for Affirmative Action are fundamentally flawed.
I look forward to our debate.
umdbtr

Con

Insofar as prop started the debate with a seemly relevant quote by Martin Luther King, he/she needs to show WHY affirmative action "thwarts such a dream".

I"ll stark with 2 remarks and move on to responses to prop"s case then positive material.

1st Remark:
It seems prop is narrowing affirmative action into solely entry of universities, which I believe this is not so matching spirit of motion "Affirmative Action Is Unfair", as prop has only provided why in ONE instance it is unfair, as opposed to why in at least MOST instances affirmative action is unfair. Perhaps prop should change wording of topic to "Affirmative Action for AMERICA"S COLLEGE ADMISSIONS is unfair."

Otherwise, please show me why it"s ALSO unfair for other areas, e.g. job applications. And also sexism, because it seems you"re just focusing on racism.

2nd Remark:
In order for Prop to win this debate, prop primarily needs to show:
Why it is likely racism is (almost) non-existent in application process of educational institutions OR
Why ANY kind of affirmative action will not do anything to it

Which I believe he/she has yet to shown.

Further rebuttals
All Affirmative action has done is fill college campuses with an ethnically diverse mix of wealthy students.
R1: If you can read further in the article, you"ll see that Mr.Kahlenberg isn"t against Affirmative Action as a whole, but simply against RACE-BASED affirmative action. He proposed to adopt a "CLASS-BASED" affirmative action, which is still affirmative action. "Such a program could enroll similar numbers of minority students as the current version, Mr. Kahlenberg says.", which means the end goal could very well be the same, eliminating racial preferences. This is definitely something OPPOSITE to your team line.

R2: As neg, I"m very happy to propose whatever affirmative action that is necessary to eradicate unjust racial preferences, which includes class-based, if that"s more effective.

Now moving to some of my positive materials:
1.Why is there a need for affirmative action in college admissions in US

a."Affirmative action programs have resulted in doubling or tripling the number of minority applications to colleges or universities, and have made colleges and universities more representative of their surrounding community. Statistics show that after California abolished its affirmative action programs in 1998, the minority student admissions at UC Berkeley fell
61 percent, and minority admissions at UCLA fell 36 percent. After Texas abolished its affirmative action program in 1996, Rice University's freshman class had 46 percent fewer African-Americans and 22 percent fewer Hispanic students." [1]

b."Diversity in higher education provides an educational advantage for all students, both personally and intellectually. We exist in a global, multicultural society, and in order to achieve success, employers and employees must be able to work effectively with the diverse society that surrounds them." [1]

c.According to Espenshade and Radford (1997), Asians have the lowest acceptance rates at the selective private universities in a sample which may be old, but it"s most complete dataset publicly available. One model shows, "Asian applicants have 67% lower odds of admission than white applicants with comparable test scores." [2] Over the years it is likely to have improved, or it may have been worsened, but the effect of racism was quite obvious here, just a decade ago.

d.Most racism nowadays are likely to be covert than overt. This means it is within our subconscious judgment. It is hidden within our decision making intuition. This makes it harder to detect and easier to perpetuate. Imagine a black/Asian applies to a college which is quite likely to have decision makers dominated by white people, even if some of them may appear to be non-racist, they could easily justified their racist decisions through other reasons, e.g. not smart enough, not charismatic enough, bad extracurricular activities, etc.

e."Because inter-generational mobility is tied to college attendance and joining America"s leadership is linked to admission to the top selective universities and graduate programs, the removal of affirmative action would only increase the already overwhelming whiteness of the upper echelon of American society." [3] And moreover, we know that upper classes of American are often a significant force in shaping policies and cultures of institutions and society, as well as creation and provision of job opportunities, etc. This means if upper echelon remains a certain race, it"s not a safe bet to assume that they"ll not also embrace other minorities to an equal extent with people from their own class and race.

2.Why is it morally justified

a."Affirmative action policies are necessary in order to compensate for centuries of racial, social, and economic oppression. Generally, individuals with higher socioeconomic status have more opportunities than those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Supporters believe that certain racial or ethnic groups are disadvantaged because they are frequently in lower income brackets and consequently are not exposed to the same resources as students from higher socioeconomic classes. " [3]

b.In order to reach "equality of opportunity", we"ve to eradicate any unfair criteria of judgment, like race, gender and class, as these are qualities that we often didn"t actively choose nor consented to, but which we"re born into it arbitrarily. As long as I"ve showed why it is likely racism, sexism and classism are still likely to exist in the society nowadays, it"s necessary for us to impose affirmative action within places needed in that society.

Sources:
[1] http://www.ncsl.org...
[2] http://blog.priceonomics.com...
[3] http://ideas.time.com...
Debate Round No. 1
cdonnelly15

Pro

cdonnelly15 forfeited this round.
umdbtr

Con

umdbtr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
cdonnelly15

Pro

cdonnelly15 forfeited this round.
umdbtr

Con

umdbtr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
cdonnelly15

Pro

cdonnelly15 forfeited this round.
umdbtr

Con

umdbtr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
cdonnelly15

Pro

First off, let me sincerely apologize for missing the last few rounds. Unforeseen difficulties prevented my giving this debate the attention it deserves. I will pick up below with a response to my opponents first argument.

I agree that my resolution was too broad, and accept the resolution, "Affirmative Action in American Collegiate Admissions is Unfair." I offer my sincere apologies for the confusion.
I would, however, insist that when I said Affirmative Action I meant it in the colloquial usage, which is to say, the use of race as a preferential factor for minorities in collegiate admissions.
My opponent's "2nd Remark", was that I need to either show that racism is not present in collegiate admissions or that affirmative action is not an effective response to said racism. I would say that on the contrary, if my opponent is to advocate that one group of people be given preferential treatment over another group, the burden is on him/her to show that said group truly needs that extra help.
My opponents first argument is that there is a need for affirmative action in American collegiate admissions.
I will respond to each of his sub-points in turn; please consult those sub-points in my opponent's last argument for reference.

a.) Now, here my opponent is essentially saying that affirmative action leads to more minorities attending elite universities. Even if this is true, it has no effect unless he/she can prove that this, of itself, makes the system "fair". Secondly, my opponents claim is based on the 1 year drop in admissions at UC Berkeley, dropped after affirmative action was ended at that school. However, according to the American Enterprise Institute & Linda Chavez of the Center for Equal Opportunity, in the long run not only did the number of minority students attending U Cal schools increase, graduation rates did as well, presumably because the minority candidates who were admitted were better qualified. (http://nypost.com...)
(http://www.aei-ideas.org...)

b.) Here my opponent simply quotes verbatim the National Conference of State Legislators saying that diversity is good. The problem with this is two-fold. 1.) Something being 'good' for the university system or the students overall, doesn't necessarily mean that it is fair, so this does nothing to help my opponent's side. 2.) This is not relative; diversity may be a good thing, but it isn't compared to -say- the value of being surrounded by the most qualified students. Presumably if your peers are smarter, then you can learn more from them.
c.) Here my opponent uses a 15 year old sample to try to demonstrate racism against Asians. The problem with this argument is that it is looking at data gathered while affirmative action is in effect. This sort of racial-disparity is the direct result of affirmative action. Because colleges are looking for diversity, and Asians are far more likely to have top grades & SAT scores (according to my opponents own evidence), Asians are at a disadvantage, because if colleges were to admit students simply based on academics, there would be a disproportionate number of Asians. In fact, this evidence finds that being an African American is the equivalent of an increase in your SAT score of 310 points, while being Aisan is the equivalent of a 140 point penalty. Clearly, affirmative action is tipping the scales, with severely adverse consequences for many students.
d.) Here, my opponent simply asserts that there is covert racism in the college admissions process. He offers no evidence for this, but I would say that there is very overt racism in the collegiate admissions process, as a direct result of affirmative action. Asians are discriminated against, in favor of African Americans and Hispanics.
e.) This essentially says that going to elite colleges is good for African-Americans. There are two problems with this argument. 1.) It says nothing about the fairness of the policy, and thus nothing about the resolution. 2.) Attending elite colleges is not necessarily good for students who are not qualified. In fact, according to Malcolm Gladwell, its better for students to go to a school where they will do well, than simply the best one they got into. (http://betweenletters.quora.com...)
Thus, it is really unclear whether getting into and attending schools they are not academically qualified to attend actually benefits students who are accepted to elite universities on the basis of race as, according to Gladwell, they are less likely to graduate, and will have a far lower self-concept.

My opponents 2nd argument is chiefly that affirmative action is morally justified.
a.) My opponent here cites Time Magazine again to argue that certain racial groups have a lower socio-economic status than others, and thus fewer opportunities. The problem with this is that it is imprecise. It is far better to simply compensate for what lack of opportunities a student has had, rather than try to approximate that change based on race. There are plenty of impoverished Caucasians, and there are plenty of privileged African-Americans.
b.) I would like to quote, here, from my opponent. "In order to reach "equality of opportunity" we [have to] eradicate any unfair criteria of judgment, like race, gender, and class, as these are qualities that we often didn't actively choose nor consented to [sic], but which we're born into it [sic] arbitrarily." A race, gender, and class-blind admissions process (such as that used in the UK) achieves this goal far better than affirmative action, which necessarily perpetuates the use of race in admissions. Remember that according to my opponents own evidence, if you happen to have been born African American, that's just as good as a 310 point bump on the SAT. Clearly, there is racial bias going on, here and its the system my opponents is trying to defend that is perpetuating it.
umdbtr

Con

umdbtr forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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