The Instigator
Kalea11488
Con (against)
Losing
27 Points
The Contender
YaleMM
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points

Affirmative Action, do you like, or not?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,556 times Debate No: 265
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (20)

 

Kalea11488

Con

Affirmative action definition: refers to policies intended to promote access to education or employment aimed at a historically socio-politically non-dominant group (typically, minorities or women). Motivation for affirmative action policies is to redress the effects of past and current wrongful discrimination and to encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals and police forces to be more representative of the population.

Here's what I think. As a student of Political Science, it is my obligation as well as my own free will to know the fundamentals of the way the United States government functions. I completely understand that everyone should have an equal opportunity in this great country that we live in. Us (referring to Caucasians) have treated African-Americans very poorly in the past, I am 100% aware of that. However, is it really fair to consider race as a factor for admission to college, employment in the work force, etc? I believe that hard work, perseverance, and good old fashioned merit should be the number one (and ONLY) consideration for any applications processes. Honestly, how fair would it be, if you studied and earned your way to the top of your game to get into medical school, and you are notified that you have been denied because the medical program has enough white students, they need more minorities to fulfill their quotas? That would feel pretty bad, now would it not? Or if you were applying to a job, saying that they are "sorry, but you are a perfect candidate for the job, but we have a black man who is first in line according to the affirmatvie action policies, you're just going to have to go somewhere else." Where does that leave us? Are we supposed to nomad around, from school to school, from job to job, just because they need a quota to be met? How is this considered equal opportunity?

Only racists consider race.

In the words of Barack Obama... "We are not a country of red states or blue states, we are not a White America or Black America or Latino America, we are the Unites States of America."
YaleMM

Pro

So like. Are you only talking about quotas? Because actually it would feel terrific to be told by a college admissions board that, because they were employing a racial quota system, I had been denied admission. The ensuing litigation would be hillarious.

Quotas are illegal. Beyond that they are also the worst of all possible implementations of an affirmative action system. What we would do, and should do, is count race as an offsetting factor to account for the like, silly-high correlation between all-minority and all-impoverished neighborhoods.

If you don't buy the racial motive here, you should certainly still accept the socio-economic factor, I'd be fine defending a system that advantaged a certain income level or whatever.

But yeah, pretending that there isn't a problem and admonishing people to work harder is kind of the opposite of a solution. You can't just yell at people until they aren't poor anymore. You have to include something in your system that lets people who suffered under disadvantageous circumstances rise to the top of that system so they can turn their energies towards correcting those circumstances.

Really even if you don't think that's going to happen there is so so little harm in counting race as a factor. Its like. Yeah. Go to the next school.
Debate Round No. 1
Kalea11488

Con

"Really even if you don't think that's going to happen there is so so little harm in counting race as a factor. Its like. Yeah. Go to the next school."

Do you really think it is fair to be forced to go from school to school because you cannot be accepted? This country was founded on the factor that all men are created equal, and granted it has taken many years for racism to subside as much as it has, it is still prevalent but it is not as severe. How is it an "equal opportunity" if they are considering race as a factor in applications? I agree that we need to be a diverse, unique country. I believe every single person, African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, biracial, Native American Indian, whomever, all deserve the vastly abundunt educational and opportunities for employment. So let their hard work and perseverance shine through for the whole world to see.
YaleMM

Pro

Your arguments:
- It is unfair to be rejected because of race.
- It is not "equal opportunity" to consider race during admissions.
- Poor people should work harder, and then they would not be poor.

That's a straw-man of your rhetoric, that last one, but not really a particularly abusive mischaracterization of your argument.

So I'll adress them in turn.

1) Rejection on account of race seems most prevalent (and certainly you have argued for it being more prevalent) in a system that presents with race-based quotas. Still, I guess I have to be willing to accept the nightmare scenario of two students who are ostensibly equal and the one with the racial/socio-economic factor getting in instead of the one without. Look. Admissions programs? Pretty arbitrary. And yeah, I'm fine with creating some level of unfairness to protect against the vastly larger scale unfairness of for instance, people in economically blighted areas not having the money, leisure time, or easy access, to extracurricular activities that would have served to put them over the top in their college applications.

That's what we're talking about, not equality of treatment, as you indicate, but attempting to ensure (through whatever reasonable means) that there is a true equality of opportunity. That circumstances don't just become stacked against certain groups forever.

That notion of equal opportunity not simply being a question of equal treatment, because of historical and even ahistorical inequalities inherent in situation n' such, is my beat to your second argument.

Your third claim is what I warned against, the assumption that hard work will always win out. The point of affirmative action programs is not to supplant hard work, its to supplement it. To call for fairness of treatment while not taking the steps to ensure that everyone would have to work basically as hard as everyone else is brutal and silly.

Sorry I kicked you down to the ground Billy, but there's a penalty for being on the floor and you're going to have to pay it.

It might be better than this plan to, I don't know, legislatively correct for these inequal situations? But that's really hard. Till we do that, yeah it's probably ok to consider race as an offsetting factor instead of going: "well he had good grades but this other, richer student also found the time to play soccer really well." Which is almost alway what's going to happen.
Debate Round No. 2
Kalea11488

Con

Kalea11488 forfeited this round.
YaleMM

Pro

As dissapointed as I am that you did not offer an argument in the third round, still, thanks for the debate it was a fun one.

For my final argument I will respond again briefly to the notion that only a race-blind system can be fair, a meritocratic system even, which seems intuitively really great and wonderful.

If there was no impact on what we can judge as merit through testing by social circumstance, that would be right. As long as there is an impact? And there is, in the form of as listed above, leisure time, access to tutors, equipment...etc. The forms of testing that would be required to measure raw "merit" would fail to do so in a way that did not systematically disadvantage the already disadvantaged.

This is bad when they are merely presently disadvantaged, in the case for instance of the newly poor, but perhaps it is worse when the group is historically disadvantaged. Denied over time the kinds of things that would allow them to change that situational problem and rise above circumstance until generationally they were locked into the position of "the people the tests screw over."

I say 'perhaps' because Im not sure how to weigh in my mind the badness of the situations. Fortunately, I don't have to. My opponent says that BOTH socio-economic AND race-based affirmative action are awful ideas. I'm willing to defend each, I think I have offered some argumentation in the defense of each.

Thanks again.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by FIU_G 9 years ago
FIU_G
"Your third claim is what I warned against, the assumption that hard work will always win out. The point of affirmative action programs is not to supplant hard work, its to supplement it. To call for fairness of treatment while not taking the steps to ensure that everyone would have to work basically as hard as everyone else is brutal and silly."

Yale MM ftw.
Posted by Lsav 9 years ago
Lsav
the question really comes down to how you quantify merit. Would you say that someone from an inner-city school (regardless of race) who took advantage of the very few options available, excelled to the top of their class but only has a 3.2 and 1000 combined math and verbal on their SATs scores had less merit than someone who went to an upper-class suburban school, drifted by and was ranked marginally in their class, but had a 3.7 and 1200 on their SATs just because they went to a better school? I think what affirmative action's (which I am in favor of only based on socioeconomic status and only for higher education) goal is to define merit subjectively rather than objectively, as many "unbiased" systems of merit like the SAT seem to be incorrect predictors of college success but rather reflections on how well someone can be taught to take the test.
Posted by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
Very good debate you guys! I was very compelled for both sides, but I was disappointed the Con didn't respond for the third round. I have to give it to the pro for that reason and these others.
1. Con, saying that a student would have to jump from school to school because they couldn't get accepted anywhere because of affirmative action is a gross exagerration. As the pro stated, it only comes into play when the students have almost equal ability.
2. This is actually kind of to kels, but to the con as well, I don't think color has so much to do with it when considering what after school programs were avalible. That is pretty much solely socio-economic status.
Again, the most important thing to remember when it comes down to affirmative action is that it only comes into play when everything else is equal. It is only intended to be a "tie-breaker" in favor of a minority, be it racially, economic, or whatever.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
No actually I dont think anyone should get something based on their background actually .. just stating you cant judge it on a group because everyone falls into different categories ... To generalize isnt fair .. Give a test (whether SATS , civil servent , etc ) and base it on merit alone ...
Posted by Princeton_A 9 years ago
Princeton_A
Socioeconomic affirmative action is not based on race. It doesn't just assume minorities are all poor and use that as justification. It elivates people in low income areas, white and poor alike, so if you are in favor of poor white people also getting an education and that is your major complaint, then you actually support a form of affirmative action.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
allbachteng , The system is so flawed ..not all minorities are poor and not all white people are rich ..That is so racist to assume otherwise. If I here one more time that someone didn't have the same schooling because of race..I am going to scream .. There are plenty of poor white people that didnt have the opportunity to have a great education just as there are some minorities born into luxury. To say it can be based on race is absurd. If you want to say it is about economics , then why not do it based on income rather than color.
Posted by albachteng 9 years ago
albachteng
I find myself in favor of the affirmative. he makes a good point concerning economics - if we accept that we have two applications, one who is poor, and one who is rich, hadn't we consider the fact that the poorer of the two might need a leg up to reach his full potential? doesn't the rich man have an advantage. I am personally neither opposed nor for affirmative action, but if any of you would like to start another debate on it, i will happily take either side. it would be very enlightening.

i like how you two debated; relatively respectful and all. my vote right now goes to pro.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
Affirmative action is and always will be racism. It has no place in modern society.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
I would debate you , but I am also not in favor of affirmative action, so it would be a boring debate ...lol
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Vote Placed by longjonsilver 9 years ago
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