The Instigator
MisterDeku
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
DeFool
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Affirmative Action is harmful.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
DeFool
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,865 times Debate No: 35561
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

MisterDeku

Pro

THeHitchslap has declined my challenge, so now it's an open debate.

= Disambiguation =
I as the Pro will argue that Affirmative Action is harmful. Con will argue that it is beneficial.

= First round =
This round is acceptance and clarity only. If you the as the contender decide to accept this debate, you may only post the phrase 'I Accept.' in the your first round. Anything else will constitute a full forfeiture of all 7 points of the debate.

If there is a need for clarity, it should be inquired about in the comments prior to accepting. If I find it reasonable I will post it here before Con accepts.

I repeat, Con should only post the phrase 'I Accept.' in his first round. I will add clarifications as necessary.

= Rules =
1. This will be a public debate. The emphasis will be one clear communication and effective on-case arguments. There should be no discussion of framework, or use of debate jargon in the round.

2. The BOP will be balanced between the Pro and the Con. Neither side will maintain presumption so if at the end you believe the debate to be a tie no vote should be cast.

3. No semantics!

= Definitions =
Affirmative Action: Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
DeFool

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
MisterDeku

Pro

"Leave behind the passive dreaming of a rose-tinted future. The energy of happiness exists in living today with roots sunk firmly in reality's soil." - Daisaku Ikeda

Ikeda writes on the harms of looking at reality in an idealistic manner. When we attempt to romanticize justice and fairness, we end up instead skewing them so that they look nothing like they should. The unavoidable truth is that different people are born into different walks of life, each equipped with strengths and weaknesses unique to them. Race, gender, and/or socioeconomic status are not a person's definitive values. And while these attributes may provide a stumbling block for some in their walk, it shouldn't justify policies and procedures which harm others.

Affirmative action is harmful as it treats hardships as inequalities, teaches entitlement, destroys any gained character benefit from said hardships, and promotes the hiring of less qualified individuals to selective institutions.

One born into a lower socioeconomic class would grow up with a stronger work ethic than one born into a more financially advantageous situation. And while I don't mean to establish that argument as a universal rule, it is undeniable that hard circumstances build character. through affirmative action such values are not treated as benefits to one's character, but instead as characters flaws which need to be corrected by means of special treatment. We teach that one who has had a tough time in life, or one who is descended from those who have had tough times are entitled to special treatment by virtue of their hardship. This is bad as it it takes away one's ability to put the skills they've learned through their hardships to work. Instead entitlement is promoted as necessary for progress, and people become lazy.

All the while, the gap continues to grow as those who have been traditionally classified as well off are required to work even harder to make up for the benefits given to those of a lower class. We effectively strip those gaining from affirmative action of any potential character benefits and give them to those being hurt by affirmative action.

We harm the proletariat and strengthen the bourgeois.

This begins a vicious cycle which only widens the gap between the well off and those benefiting from affirmative action. We don't solve for inequality through reverse prejudice. We only make it worse.

Finally the issue of employment is one to be discussed. I would think that the obvious injustice of denying an qualified individual a job so that it could be given to a less qualified individual is obvious enough, so I won't spend too much time there. The real problem that affirmative action creates in the realm of employment is that can prevent progress by placing less qualified individuals into certain jobs. Up until only a few years ago mass famine plagued the entire world, and in many places this is still is a huge problem. However thanks to the progress in agricultural science we've been able to make huge strides in solving this problem.

This may not have been the case had affirmative action been the guiding factor in placing those responsible for this change. Had we given certain individuals teaching jobs because of their race, students may not have been inspired to solve world hunger. Had we accepted students into agricultural schools to research progressive farming methods based on gender, we may have never discovered ways to feed the world. We already see affirmative action influencing employment and education in the status quo. Women dominate the field of education and minority scholarships, among other things, make it difficult for the middle-class white to pay for their education. There's no way to tell what progress will or has been stifled because of this, and we should treat it as a good thing.

In conclusion, a person is more than their race, gender or pocketbook. And until we realize this, we will never move towards equality.

Vote Pro!
Good luck Con.
DeFool

Con

I thank my partner for the opening presentation.

I cannot take seriously the argument that "discrimination builds character, and is beneficial." I also should point out that the benefits of AA have been carefully documented over the years, as greater employment, upward mobility, and education distribution has occurred within our society as a direct result. [5] The entire society benefits from less discrimination, and more robust economic saturation - far more than the absurd notion that minorities benefit from racist hiring practices.

I should note that PRO seems to automatically assume that minorities will be low skilled. PRO also seems to think that AA is not a voluntary program for civilian employers.

What is Affirmative Action?

AA is used by the US Department of Labor to help “recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps. “ [1]

Affirmative Action policies apply to relevant government agencies and contractors. Although the US Department of Labor often requires that lucrative government contracts be awarded to contractors that respect the Department’s anti-discriminatory practices, civilian employers are not covered.

Is Affirmative Action Needed Anymore?
Yes.
In his Opening Argument, PRO repeatedly assumes that minorities are generally under-qualified for employment and outreach efforts. I am positive that PRO is no bigot, and I am willing to fully vouch for his good character. However, his views are illustrative, and many employers may hold very similar, unintentionally harmful views as they make hiring and recruitment decisions.

Why do we assume that efforts to “recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans” are tantamount to “hiring low performing, unskilled or incompetent persons?”

Does Affirmative Action Require Employers to hire under qualified minorities?
No.
AA is not a set of policies that force employers to hire under-qualified minorities. The US Department of Labor states, as it outlines the US Affirmative Action policy, "For federal contractors and subcontractors, affirmative action must be taken by covered employers to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans." [1]

What Affirmative Action does is allow qualified persons to be considered for employment opportunities that have been historically off-limits to them because of race, gender or veteran status. It does not mention, or protect, any lesser qualified persons.

Conclusion:
As PRO concedes in R1, Affirmative Action, by definition, refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group. PRO also agrees that Affirmative Action is helpful to these groups. Moreover, it is a voluntary program for private companies and employers, and does not allow for under qualified persons to displace whites, a scenario that is numerically impossible on a mass scale.

In order to win this particular debate, PRO is required to demonstrate why the following is inordinately harmful:

“Allowing the US Department of Labor and government agents and contractors to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps. [1]

Clearly, this has not been shown to be harmful. In fact, this policy has not been mentioned at all; a cartoonish straw man has been presented as harmful, but not the actual policies of the US Dept. of Labor.

[1] http://www.dol.gov...
[2] http://www.commerce.gov...
[3] http://www.commerce.gov...
[4] http://www.dol.gov...
[5] http://www.aclu.org...

Debate Round No. 2
MisterDeku

Pro

Before I get into some more specific arguments, there are a couple of housekeeping issues that need to be taken care of. The most important of which is to clarify that the alternative to affirmative action is not blatant racism. When I make the argument that it is a bad thing to enforce policies based on race, color, religion and national origin, I do not conclude that policies should be put into place which harm others based on these things. Instead I place a call to value people based on their skills and to leave race, color, religion and national origin out of the question entirely.

Next, I want to point out that it is unacceptable to simply ignore an argument, no matter how poor you personally find it to be. I would appreciate it if my opponent would treat me with more respect than that and actually responded to my argument on hardships. Con undermines my arguments further throughout his previous round, but I'm confident that the readers can see where for themselves.

Finally, there was no reason for Con to redefine a term I had already clarified in the first round. Con's arguments are based on an alternative definition of affirmative action which functions differently than my own. The difference is a minor one, but it is important nonetheless. I'll get to that in a minute though. Before that I need to stress a theme my opponent seems to have ignored from my prior round; people are not Pokemon, you don't have to catch them all.

I never claimed that affirmative action leads to unqualified employees being hired, I said that it doesn't lead to the most qualified employee being hired. Because companies and academic institutions want to diversify their employees and students they will overlook more qualified applicants in favor of those who meet a racial or gender-based quota. This is more obvious in the field of education, but this harm is present in the workplace as well; race-based scholarships are given out at just about every university in the US, while white students graduating high school with high honors get nothing. This behavior is harmful to fairness as it rewards traits beyond one's control instead of hard work, and to progress as it gives an education to one based on the same.

I'm not sure why Con wants to conclude that this position assumes that minorities aren't capable of maintaining achievement based honors, but it's a wholly untrue.

Moving on, we can now look at how my opponent's new definition fundamentally changes the debate to be skewed in his favor. First his definition includes veterans and the disabled, giving me a burden I shouldn't have. In the opening round I provide a definition which effectively limits Affirmative action to gender and race.
Next, con places the term 'qualified' into his definition of Affirmative Action, cutting his burden down and seemingly invalidating my arguments. If these are qualified individuals then they should be able to find a job or be accepted into a school based on their own merit; the framing round as well as my previous round clearly illustrate that more than just qualified individuals are benefiting from Affirmative action.

As for the straw man accusation, it's unfounded. Con never even refutes any of my arguments, and at one point openly admits to ignoring some of them. Meanwhile Con doesn't answer the fact that Affirmative action harms fairness by taking jobs and scholarships from more qualified individuals in preference of people only meant to fill a quota. Instead he actually means to claim that by me pointing out these injustices, I am insinuating that minorities are incapable of getting these positions by their own merit

If anyone is assuming that minorities can't excel on their own, it's not me it's Con.
In conclusion, we need to evaluate people based on what they can do, not the color of their skin. Affirmative action may benefit a few people, but on the whole it harms justice and progress immeasurably.

Back to you Con!
DeFool

Con

How Does AA Work?

As one of the largest employers in the United States, the federal government is in a wonderful position to implement hiring practices that can ignore race, gender, veteran status, religion and national origin – and provide employment and education opportunities to persons that would otherwise be shut out.

The Question as to the definition of AA:

AA was first created in the US in 1961, under the Kennedy Administration. The idea behind the policy was to use the hiring power of the federal government to promote recruitment and outreach practices that “hire without regard to race, religion and national origin.” [1] The policy was administered under the US Dept. of Labor.

All of this appears on the Wiki in the agreed upon definition, and was provided by PRO. It therefore, cannot possibly deviate from this definition. It only deviates from his straw man.

“In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take "affirmative action" to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.” [1]

AA in the US does not, and cannot by law, impose racial preferences. AA in the United States can only take these things into consideration as means to ensure that they are not the basis for hiring decisions. The policy also cannot protect practices that exclude more qualified candidates.

AA Is Misunderstood

PRO is not alone in this error, as many Americans believe that AA is a quota system (which is illegal), or that it replaces discrimination with discrimination (which, by actually reading the policy itself, we see is forbidden.) Many also feel certain that AA allows less qualified minorities to hold positions for which they are less qualified.

These people are wrong; they have made a mistake, and have trusted sources of information that have proven untrustworthy. I note to readers evaluating this debate that I have used the actual language from the actual policy. I have also included language from the actual executive order that instituted AA.

Rebuttals


Racism and unfair hiring practices are good, because they build character

This is an unsupported assertion, and requires supporting data. I point to the almost total lack of “racism training” in higher education and vocational schools, “Discrimination Offices” in corporations and businesses.

“Building character” is a silver lining to an unfortunate situation; it is not a goal.



I place a call to value people based on their skills and to leave race, color, religion and national origin out of the question entirely.

As we read the actual language of the Executive Order that instituted AA, we see that PRO agrees with its goals. This should be seen as a concession, as it grants my case: that the impact of AA is beneficial.


I never claimed that affirmative action leads to unqualified employees being hired, I said that it doesn't lead to the most qualified employee being hired.

Noted.
However, there is no reason to assume that women and minorities are “less qualified” than their white counterparts.

Because companies and academic institutions want to diversify their employees and students they will overlook more qualified applicants in favor of those who meet a racial or gender-based quota.

Quotas are illegal in the United States. [2] There is no reason to assume that non-whites or women are less qualified for these positions.

This is more obvious in the field of education, race-based scholarships are given out at just about every university in the US, while white students graduating high school with honors get nothing.

This is an unsupported assertion, there is no evidence for it. In fact, most college students in the US are white. [3]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com...
[3] http://nces.ed.gov...

Debate Round No. 3
MisterDeku

Pro

Con never responds to my pointing out his hijacking of the resolution, and instead continues to argue under the definition of affirmative action that he has provided. I point this out in the previous round, but Con doesn't respond it. Furthermore, in the prior round Con tacks disabled people and qualified veterans onto this definition of affirmative action; this is further unjust as it gives me a burden not established in the very beginning. Again, Con ignores this violation.

This debate was never about whether or not affirmative action took race into consideration. The definition of Affirmative action is "policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group..." We assume that race is something considered under affirmative action.

This debate was about whether or not affirmative action is fair or unfair. Con has not met this burden, and has instead attempted to argue that affirmative action doesn't take race into consideration at all.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission[1], or EEOC is not a subdivision of affirmative action. The EEOC takes race, color, Religion,gender and national origin out of the question when dealing with hiring practices; affirmative action expressly considers these things and creates allotments to make getting employed or getting an education easier for these people.
[1] http://www.eeoc.gov...

The three arguments con begins his prior round with are irrelevant. Con does not get to hijack this debate because he doesn't like his burden.

Going on to the, I'd like to point out that it is a cherry-picking fallacy[2] to only refer to a single line of an argument and build a refutation based on that 'cherry-picked' term. Con has done this several times in his prior refutation and they need to be pointed out.
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...

For the first argument, this is a flat-out straw man. Con ignores it the first time I make it, and now makes it out to sound as though I am affirming racist hiring practices. My original argument was that hardships build character; when you are poor, you learn to value what you have. When you are the victim of racism, you learn compassion and forgiveness.

The EEOC guarantees that people won't be discriminated on by race, but affirmative action makes minorities out to be entitled because they are a minority.

On the second refutation, I've already shown that Con doesn't meet this burden. Con also ignores the prior line of thought I provide concerning the definition of Affirmative action. This refutation is a cherry-picking argument and should not be excused.

As for the hiring of less qualified individuals, I never said that minorities or women were less qualified. However affirmative action treats them as though they are. It is unjust to assume that women or minorities need policies which guarantees them employment as though they could not secure it by themselves.
This refutation is a straw man argument. What this argument is actually saying, is that when we have to consider race, religion, color, gender and national origin in the hiring process, we end up hiring people because they meet a quota instead of their abilities.

The next argument is the same deal. Con assumes women and minorities need to be qualified.

Finally con claims that most college students are white, but most of the people in the United States are white, so this is a natural occurrence. What is interesting to note is that 75 percent of teachers are female[3], and that asians (a minority) dominate high tier schools[4].
[3] http://nces.ed.gov...
[4] http://www.nytimes.com...

In conclusion, Con doesn't meet his burden and commits more than a few fallacies.
Vote Pro!
DeFool

Con

Many thanks to PRO for instigating this contest, and for having completed it. As is customary, I will introduce no new arguments this round, but will only offer a brief review and rebuttals.

Overview:
In this contest, Pro states, without sources or supporting data, that AA allows for the hiring of less qualified minorities over whites. I have pointed out, with supporting evidence from the actual US Dept. of Labor policy itself, that this is not true. AA Only takes race, gender; etc. into account to ensure that these things are not used as the Federal government makes hiring, advancement and recruiting decisions.

This misunderstanding represents the heart of the Affirmative Action debate.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Con never responds to my pointing out his hijacking of the resolution, and instead continues to argue under the definition of affirmative action that he has provided.
I used the definition that PRO provided in R1. The definition includes a link to a Wiki page, which makes detailed mention of the Dept of Labor Policy that forms Affirmative Action policy in the US.

This debate was about whether or not affirmative action is fair or unfair. Con has not met this burden, and has instead attempted to argue that affirmative action doesn't take race into consideration at all.
The debate was to cover whether or not AA is harmful, as stipulated by PRO in R1. I have shown that AA policies are critical in requiring perhaps the largest nationwide employer (the Federal Government) to adopt policies that eliminate race, gender, veteran or disability status and national origin from consideration when recruiting, advancement and job placement decisions are made.

As for the hiring of less qualified individuals, I never said that minorities or women were less qualified.

Quoting PRO:

- (AA) “doesn't lead to the most qualified employee being hired.”
-
(AA) “harms fairness by taking jobs and scholarships from more qualified individuals in preference of people only meant to fill a quota.”
- “the obvious injustice of denying an qualified individual a job so that it could be given to a less qualified individual is obvious enough”

Statements such as these demonstrate the need for AA policies that help to eliminate race, gender, veteran status, etc. from hiring and advancement decisions; employers can hold horrible views of other genders and races without even being aware of it. PRO also includes in his performance several statements that are intended to compliment minorities, such as praising them for overcoming the difficult childhood, poverty and so forth that he assumes they might have had.


Note to Pro: Congratulating minorities on overcoming a life of hardships is not a compliment. Make sure that they fit that condescending stereotype first. Not all black people are poor, uneducated, or “less qualified.”


What this argument is actually saying, is that when we have to consider race, religion, color, gender and national origin in the hiring process, we end up hiring people because they meet a quota instead of their abilities.
Which is exactly what Affirmative action was created to stop. Passing up better qualified persons because of race, gender, national origin or veteran status… in order to hire the white guy.

Final Notes:

-Pro fundamentally misunderstands what AA is, and has based his premise on this faulty understanding
-AA does not take race into consideration, as proven by the actual language of the policy itself (R2)
-AA uses the massive hiring power of the federal government to eliminate race, gender, religion or other irrelevant criteria from hiring, placement, and recruiting decisions are made (R3)


Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by MisterDeku 3 years ago
MisterDeku
Posted with two minutes to spare!
Posted by MisterDeku 3 years ago
MisterDeku
I haven't managed my time very well in this debate, so now may time-out before I get the chance to post my first round. If that's what has to happen, I'm sorry, but I won't be forfeiting the entire debate.

I'll post a link here in the comments where you can ready my round 1 from an external source.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RedMoonlight 3 years ago
RedMoonlight
MisterDekuDeFoolTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I thought both sides did very well in this debate, and made it an interesting one to read. However, argument wise, it's a flat out win for Con. He has successfully proven, based on definitions and examples of the law in practice, that the only purpose of affirmative action is to level the playing field. It is not in any its own form of backwards discrimination. For it to be so would not be in accordance with the legal criteria of AA. Pro's nitpicking about the definition has no significance whatsoever. The only definition of a law that it would be appropriate to use in a debate is the law itself, which Con provided. The AA Wikipedia page that Pro based his definition seems to be somewhat incorrectly defined, as it did not include the specifics which Con later clarified (which are exceptionally important to the debate). I awarded Con the sources point since reputable sources and facts appeared to be the backbone of his argument while Pro's was fueled more by assumptions.