The Instigator
CosmicSoL
Pro (for)
The Contender
MSte123
Con (against)

Affirmative Action is Justifiable and Constitutional

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Argument Due
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 day ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 151 times Debate No: 116351
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

CosmicSoL

Pro

While it is wrong to unjustly and indiscriminately favor one race, culture, and ethnicity over another, when taking into account historical factors that have influenced current socioeconomic dynamics, it should be permitted for public policy to aid affected groups to create an equality of opportunity and make social mobility more probable. This is assuming that the policies are constructed and executed in a fair manner meaning that any individual or group must be qualified for whatever position they are wanting to fill (be it in educational institutions or in the workforce)
MSte123

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for starting this debate.

Now, I would like to break down my opponents arguments piece by piece.

"While it is wrong to unjustly and indiscriminately favor one race, culture, and ethnicity over another,"

The very beginning of the pro argument is undermined by its first sentence. My opponent has just freely admitted that it is unjust and discriminatory to favor one race over another. This is exactly what Affirmative Action does. Affirmative Action discriminates by favoring one race or sex over the rest of the population. That policy is blatant discrimination, and frankly racist and sexist because it is making a judgement on the basis of race or sex and not merit.

"when taking into account historical factors that have influenced current socioeconomic dynamics,"

Pro must be more specific as to which historical factors have influenced socioeconomic dynamics because the con cannot contend incredibly broad topics. This is because the con argument does not know what the pro argument is specifically claiming for the justification of Affirmative Action.

"it should be permitted for public policy to aid affected groups to create an equality of opportunity and make social mobility more probable."

The pro argument proposes no evidence of inequality of opportunity. To be noted, there is not one law in the United States which actively discriminates against citizens of a certain race or gender. If there is, the burden of presenting a discriminatory law falls upon the pro side. This is because the pro side claims there is inequality of opportunity.
The pro argument also claims that social mobility needs to be "more probable." Social mobility, if defined by income, is greatest in the United States. The Brookings Institute states that it only takes three things to rise into the middle class. The three things are, "don"t have children outside of marriage, finish high school, and get a job." (1)

"This is assuming that the policies are constructed and executed in a fair manner meaning that any individual or group must be qualified for whatever position they are wanting to fill (be it in educational institutions or in the workforce)."

The final pro argument can be defeated by one sentence. If the individuals are assumed to be qualified, I see no reason for Affirmative Action. The problem is that Affirmative Action usually lowers the standards for certain races and sexes. Affirmative Action is a damaging because it lowers the standards of a product or service. The lowering of standards then hurts the consumer using that product or service.

Affirmative Action disrespects the actual races and sexes it wishes to help. Affirmative Action believes that these races and sexes cannot reach the standards the free market sets for every other race and sex. For that reason, Affirmative Action must be terminated.

(1)https://www.brookings.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
CosmicSoL

Pro

"My opponent has just freely admitted that it is unjust and discriminatory to favor one race over another"

This is false. The pro made the claim that is wrong to unjustly and indiscriminately favor one race over another. An attempt to equate the act of aiding specific groups in isolated instances in order to right inequities rooted in history with a generalized definition of discrimination is a fallacy and demonstration of faulty logic. The terms unjustly and indiscriminately serve as key terms for understanding what the pro would propose to be the underlying necessities for policies such as affirmative action or at the very least policies that seek the same fundamental goal, which is equality of opportunity.

The implication is that by giving more consideration to individuals that find themselves more predisposed to unfavorable conditions either in that moment or prospectively based on a historically observed patterns, then it is justifiable given those conditions.

As to the specificity of potential benefitting groups, the pro side will temporarily focus its lens on the African American community.

"To be noted, there is not one law in the United States which actively discriminates against citizens of a certain race or gender"

The absence of discriminatory law does not denote the absence of discriminatory conduct. Even in light of the Civil Rights Act which on paper banned discrimination, there was an adjustment period that is debatably still occurring. While policies historically toted the rhetoric "separate but equal" the outcome was everything but equal, perpetuating racial and prejudicial biases that had dire sociological consequences. Affirmative Action was implemented as a countermeasure against subversive discriminatory practices and these practices were not backed by law but rather the result of a socioculturally accepted norms. "It only takes three things to rise into the middle class. The three things are, "don"t have children outside of marriage, finish high school, and get a job."

A complete range of social mobility should not be confined to simple movement from the lower class into the middle class, but rather in the definition of a full range of mobility afforded by equality of opportunity that includes access to the upper middle class and even the upper echelons of society. It is the pro"s belief that such degree of mobility is dependent upon education from higher institutions and employment at proportionally equal business entities. This is what Affirmative action seeks to address and remedy. Furthermore, social capital and status are not solely defined by income but a variety of other factors.

The percentage of African-American children born out of wedlock is 73% with the percentage of Non-Hispanic Whites at 29%. [1]
The graduation rates of black students for the 2011-12 school year was 69% with non-Hispanic whites at 86% nationwide. [2]
The unemployment rate of blacks is roughly 1.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites across all age groups according to the United States Department of Labor for the 2nd Quarter of 2018 [3]

Now these statistics and the factors that influence them cannot be fully divorced from the exercise of individual responsibility nor should they be. Conversely, they cannot be analyzed holistically without acknowledgement of historical and sociocultural factors. While Affirmative Action certainly cannot exclusively remedy the difference, it can be a mechanism to aid in that process, when correctly executed.

"If the individuals are assumed to be qualified, I see no reason for Affirmative Action"
Again, Affirmative Action was originally created on the premises that despite qualification, many minority groups were denied acceptance into specific institutions based on race. It was not meant to retaliate against majority groups but to equalize the established system that originally supported majority groups at the expense of minorities.

"If the individuals are assumed to be qualified, I see no reason for Affirmative Action"
"The problem is that Affirmative Action usually lowers the standards for certain races and sexes."
Hence the pro"s inclusion of the qualifiers unjustly and indiscriminately in it"s original statement. The pro agrees that the standards should not be lowered below a set of parameters nor should quotas be imposed for the mere sake of diversity. However, in most evaluative practices it is not a single immutable bar that determines applicant competence, but rather several sets of parameters (many being arbitrary and unquantifiable) of which an applicant can meet, exceed or even fall short in light of other factors (for example a student may gain entry into a University with a GPA lower than the average if a standardized test score significantly higher than the average, intellectual capacity demonstrated through essay based questions that may outweigh other measurable factors, or other character based traits that are implied through extracurricular activities and the like.) To reemphasize, It is not the Pro"s argument that Affirmative Action should lower the standard or use either race or whatever other identity based trait as a singular trump-all factor, but rather that in order to equalize opportunity and control for potential bias (both conscious and unconscious) AA be implemented, and by extension take into account the various extenuating factors surrounding an applicant and their application and to neglect to do so would wholly dismissed certain historical and sociocultural factors.

The notion that "Affirmative Action believes that these races and sexes cannot reach the standards the free market sets for every other race and sex" is an assumption made on the premise that society is collectively blind to race and/or gender and thus starts everyone on equal footing which is observed to be historically and currently inaccurate in light of the aforementioned statistics. While a certain degree of inequity is to be expected across and within different race groups for factors seemingly independent of race, if those same inequities can be traced back to several specific statistics that specifically vary across race groups in a disproportionate fashion as a foundation for what would hinder social mobility (and under the assumption that there are no biological factors that would support such a large disparity) then it stands to reason that there are sociocultural mechanisms that would lead to the existence of said disparities which would result in the necessity of the implementation of policies such as affirmative action making them justifiable and constitutional.
MSte123

Con

I would first like to again thank my opponent for this courteous and civil debate.


The con would like to begin the next round by stating that one’s color of skin, race, or biological sex should never be the basis for any argument except in regard of certain medical procedures. The con frankly believes that one’s skin color or sex does not matter. This is not to be confused with someone’s culture not mattering because the con believes that one’s culture does indeed matter. Continuing, this is not to say, that if someone is being discriminated against based on these three factors, the general public should ignore the injustice. On the contrary, the con believes that any case of discrimination based on these three factors should be outlawed from this remarkable country.


Then, the only way Affirmative Action is justifiable, as my opponent put it, is if there is still “unfavorable conditions” for certain colors or sexes in the United States. Because of this justification, the pro has the burden to prove that such “unfavorable conditions” still exist.


What the con argues is that there is no wide spread racism based on those three factors in the current United State and because of this, there is no need for Affirmative Action. The con will unfortunately acknowledge that there are still individuals in the United States who believe that because one is of a certain color, race, or sex, this one individual is less than another color, race, or sex.


Beginning, the con will now address the main points made by the pro.


“The absence of discriminatory law does not denote the absence of discriminatory conduct.”


This statement is true. However, two things contradict the need for Affirmative Action. The first is that there is legislation banning discrimination based on the three factors discussed above. Legislation in the United States is passed by the majority which logically equates that the majority agrees with it. If legislation is passed barring discrimination based on color, race, or sex, which it does in the United States, then the majority has proposed and approved it. This directly contradicts the belief that racism and sexism are rampant in the United States. If racism and sexism were rampant, then the citizens of the United States would have passed new legislation repealing the legislation which bans discrimination.


Second, the argument that Affirmative Action is needed because racism is still prevalent does not apply to the current conditions of the United States. The con will contradict the pro’s focus on African-American racism while simultaneously contradicting the focus of any racism in the United States.


First, a gallop poll shows that in 1958, 37% of Americans would never vote for a black president (1). Barack Obama, a man of black skin, was elected twice in 2008 and 2012.


Second, according to William H. Frye, an expert at the Brookings Institute, “Sociologists have viewed multiracial marriage as a benchmark for the ultimate stage of assimilation of a particular group into society.” (2) In 1958, 16 states banned interracial marriages. Today, interracial marriages have risen to 15% of all new marriages. Continuing, “63% of Americans say it “would be fine” with them if a member of their own family were to marry someone outside their own racial or ethnic group. In 1986…65% said people of different races marrying each other was not acceptable for anyone or themselves (3).”


These three statistics alone show that there is no trend of rampant disdain to a specific color, race, or sex in the United States.


“It is the pro’s belief that such degree of mobility is dependent upon education from higher institutions and employment at proportionally equal business entities”


Affirmative Action is a policy that can be wielded to diminish any race and that is why it is so dangerous. The secondary effects of policy aimed to aid a certain race over another have targeted other ones dramatically. This can happen and has happened in the higher institutions of United States. One such example is in higher education.


A National Study of College Experience showed that, “a student who self-identifies as Asian will need 140 SAT points higher than whites, 320 SAT points higher than Hispanics, and 450 SAT points higher than African Americans.” (4). This large of a gap directly shows how Affirmative Action is negatively consequential. The con will concede that some outside factors, such as essays, can influence decisions but, such a large gap of standards, like SAT scores, is blatant racism caused by Affirmative Action policies.


“Now these statistics and the factors that influence them cannot be fully divorced from the exercise of individual responsibility nor should they be.”


The statistics that the pro utilized never connect to mass racism occurring in the United States. Nor can the pro connect mass racism because, as the con presented earlier, the United States is no longer a racist country. This is because these disparities the pro cited are a causation of a problem in specific culture, not from a majority of people targeting a specific minority. It seems that the pro is shifting its argument to one defending Affirmative Action to an argument alleging that the United States and its citizens are, as a whole, racist.


“The pro agrees that the standards should not be lowered below a set of parameters nor should quotas be imposed for the mere sake of diversity.”


This is what Affirmative Action does. Affirmative Action “aids” by imposing quotas based on race and when the standards of that quota are not met, unnecessarily lowering the standards for some, not all, races or sexes. If the pro agrees, as the pro did, that no standards be lowered, or quotas be in place, the debate is over. The con has won because the pro is now arguing for something different than Affirmative Action.


“if those same inequities can be traced back to several specific statistics that specifically vary across race groups in a disproportionate fashion as a foundation for what would hinder social mobility…then it stands to reason that there are sociocultural mechanisms that would lead to the existence of said disparities which would result in the necessity of the implementation of policies such as affirmative action making them justifiable and constitutional.”


The pro makes no constitutional argument throughout the whole pro case. The pro only addresses the constitutional argument in the last sentence of the case. This lack of evidence alone dismisses the pro’s constitutional justification. However, the con believes that even if there was an argument for Affirmative Action based on the Constitution of the United States, it would be faulty. The con believes that the fifteenth and nineteenth amendments actually contradict Affirmative Action.


Concluding, the con argues that if there is no mass social antipathy directed to a specific color, race or sex, there is no need for Affirmative Action. The only mass discrimination that is occurring in the United States is caused by the evil system of Affirmative Action.


Debate Round No. 2
CosmicSoL

Pro

Before I begin my argument I would also like to thank my opponent for being civil in their conduct and for being willing to engage in this discourse.

Alright I think it"s necessary to outline a few things to recenter the argument a bit and the readress the issues we"ve already discussed.

Firstly, a clear definition of what Affirmative Action is:

A government (or private) program designed to redress historic injustices against specific groups by making special efforts to provide members of these groups with access to educational and employment opportunities.

It was used to promote actions that achieved non-discrimination by preventing employers from discriminating against members of disadvantaged groups. It was intended to promote the opportunities of defined minority groups within a society to given access to that of the majority population.

The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the "ruling class" of a culture.

Quotas are illegal in the United States, where no employer, university, or other entity may create a set number required for each race. [1]

So firstly your claim that "Affirmative Action "aids" by imposing quotas based on race and when the standards of that quota are not met, unnecessarily lowering the standards for some, not all, races or sexes" is false. Quotas were made illegal by the Supreme Court in Regents of the University of California V. Bakke in 1973. This also makes claims about the lowering of standards also false because the need to do so would only arise from trying to fill a quota, which is an illegal and incorrect practice of affirmative action. So my argument is still very much about Affirmative Action.

Riding that point, I"d like to point out that there is almost always a disparity between the law and it"s execution. This is true regarding Affirmative Action and even regarding the legislation that the con has cited regarding discrimination. Again, I"d like to give the example of the Civil Rights Act whose effects were not made completely evident until the end of the 20th century and debatably still occurring in an effort to equalize America"s social climate (this is mainly what our debate has been about.)

The Con has made the claim that both the 14th and 19th amendment contradict the premises upon which Affirmative Action is predicated. Could you please give further explanation? The absence of more constitutionally-based points in my argument is a result of the principle of strict scrutiny as applied in the majority of Affirmative Action cases. Strict scrutiny is a mediating standard that ties the constitutionality of any governmental or private practice weighing it against the government"s interest. This is made clear in Fisher v University of Texas. This also means that there is going to be a clash of ideologies given an originalist and activist interpretation of the Constitution. So, given the observance of strict scrutiny, in our current social climate, Affirmative Action has already been ruled as constitutional. So what we"re really debating on is whether or not it is still justifiable which would render strict scrutiny inert under the assumption that the needs of the groups that warranted and made Affirmative Action necessary and constitutional in the first place had already been met.

However, that conversation is impossible to have without at least making skin, race, and/or biological sex a factor in the argument and by extension a basis. The con has made a clear and correct distinction between racial identity and culture. However, in the case of African Americans the two are nearly inseparable. That is not to say that they are one in the same, however a large part of anyone"s identity is rooted in culture. My claim is that historically, African American identity has always been and continues to be tied to the culture as a result of many factors. Blacks original identity on the North American continent was inseparably tied to slave culture. In the wake of segregation and the social impacts of that, it was still evident that the cultures of the black minority and the white majority were separate based on physical features namely race, skin color, and ethnicity. This trend in political inserts that have propagated cultural divisions based on race is easily observable. Now, policy and society at large function to serve to benefit the majority, it"s a natural consequence of established hierarchies and generally speaking do not necessarily playing to a racist narrative. However the claims I am making are that the hierarchal structures of America specifically were originally founded on racist ideologies given legislative processes, their constituents, and are made evident in our arc of history. These have prevailed and flourished for centuries and their endings are only now being seen at the turn between the 20th and 21st centuries.

Now the question is whether or not racism still exists. Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one"s own race is superior. Prejudice is defined as preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. "Disdain" is but a narrow window to define racism, as the belief, even if subconscious, that one is superior does not always correlate with negative feelings such as disdain and aversion to what is deemed as inferior. I"d like to briefly point out the the subject of race in this instance isn"t an attempt to off-road our debate, but rather it is paramount to understanding the context and the subject matter of Affirmative Action. So we previously equated the existence of racism to the existence of "unfavorable conditions" and in my view being in a minority group is already an unfavorable condition, because simply put the needs of the majority across history and geography have outweighed the needs of the minority"s per the pattern of the establishment of hierarchical structures. America is one of the few countries that seeks to rectify that through legislation and as a fundamental principle of its existence, but that has only occurred because the defining lines for what separates the majority from the minority were established from its beginnings and it was determined to be race. So I"d like to preface further comments with the fact that the racial and social climate for all minority groups is better than it has ever been in the history of mankind and continues to get better with each passing year. Equality of opportunity is becoming more of a reality and certainly is the reality for many, even within those minority groups including myself. However, as specified earlier, the natural tendency of a group, community, or nation is to establish laws that benefit the majority, and America is the first of its kind to go against that norm by attempting to expand the area of effect to which freedoms and equality of opportunity reach all people, but in order to do that, given the historical context that precluded that revelation, it has been seen as a necessary countermeasure by the Government (per its own rulings) and by those these programs effect to not only legislate programs that aid under-privileged groups in recognition of an advantaged majority, simply given their status as the majority, but to now tailor that aid to benefit the majority of the minority. Clearly there are exceptions to the predominant culture, and that is clear evidence of progress, but I believe Affirmative Action is a compromise that still requires the effort of underprivileged groups.

In summary. Affirmative Action has already been ruled to be constitutional, which constitutionality is justified by the standard of strict scrutiny that grants constitutionality based on the needs of the people translated to the interests of the government.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by CosmicSoL 1 week ago
CosmicSoL
Forgot to include citations at the bottom
1. http://www.politifact.com...
2. http://www.governing.com...
3. https://www.bls.gov...
Posted by CosmicSoL 1 week ago
CosmicSoL
Thanks for accepting the challenge and for being cordial. I"m not very familiar with the etiquette of these online debates as far as formality goes so my apologies if I come off as informal in my responses. Secondly, I posted this debate as means of personal inquiry and so while the premise of the debate will and may revolve around what has been currently defined as affirmative action (as far as public policy) I"d like to discuss more the principle and if occasion/time permits and should it be proven necessary, possible alternatives or addendums to the current policies. I really look forward to the rest of this debate
Posted by Topaet 1 week ago
Topaet
Interesting debate.

Good luck to both debaters
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