The Instigator
miketheman1200
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Affirmative Action

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/14/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,633 times Debate No: 22851
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

miketheman1200

Con

My argument, being con, is that Affirmative action should be abolished from law everywhere because it violates peoples right to equal opportunity, and promotes discrimination based on race, age, and sex. In schools, people should be judged on ability, not backround.
FourTrouble

Pro

Many thanks to Con for proposing this topic. Against Con's claims, I will argue that affirmative actions policies should not be categorically abolished from "law everywhere" because affirmative action policies can provide a pragmatic and legitimate solution to the problems posed by particular forms of institutional racism. To get the discussion started, I will provide a working definition of affirmative action and a brief opening statement.

The Legal Information Institute defines affirmative action as the following: "A set of procedures designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination between applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future." [1]

There are three things that must be taken into account in discussing affirmative action: intent, context, and effect. By definition, affirmative action refers to a set of policies that, in intent and effect, must "eliminate unlawful discrimination." As such, Con's claim that affirmative action "violates peoples right to equal opportunity" is, by definition, a misunderstanding of affirmative action. Within a context of a unlawful discrimination, if there exists a set of laws that can eliminate the unlawful discrimination, why should those laws be abolished? Affirmative action is a pragmatic solution to the problem of institutionalized racism, and is therefore legitimate in particular circumstances.

[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
miketheman1200

Con

Im sorry for my first statement, I primarily wanted to talk about affirmative action in college admissions. I will also talk about its affects elsewhere.

Affirmative action was a way for President Johnsen to cool things down at the hieght of the civil rights movement. He is quoted saying during his famous speech at Howard University, "But freedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.

You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.

Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates."

His speech as a whole is the equivilant of saying, "sorry about the whole slavery thing, but its cool because now you can have all the advantages in society." This doesnt promote fairness in this country, this doesnt promote equality.

My opponent claims that Affirmative action eliminates unlawful discrimination, but in the society that we live in today, thats exactly what it creates.

Ill lay out a scenario for you and the voters to think about. If an African American scores a significantly higher SAT score than a white male, who should be more likley to be accepted into a college? Clearly the Afircan American because he recieved the higher score. Now consider this, a white male scores significantly higher than an Afircan American male on his SAT scores, but its in a densley white populated county, this will mean that because of the low number of African American students, the lesser qualified student will get in. To me this simply is silly.

The same thing can be said with women admissions. More than ever women are qualfied for college, more so than men, but because of affirmative actions policies to maintain diversity, theres a large amount of men who get into college that are less qualified than women who were denied admission.

This whole idea that Affirmative action benifits society by providing equal opportunities to people who would not normally recieve these opportunities is idiotic. Colleges should judge kids on their character, and academic ability. Otherwise we miss the whole point of equality. We shouldnt want a equally diverse society, but work towards an academically equal one. That way college admissions wont have to consider the color of ones skin, or what that individual is carrying downstairs :)

I would also like to ask my oponent what is meant by institutionalized racism, and how it works in todays society?

http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu...

http://www.balancedpolitics.org...
FourTrouble

Pro

Con's argument depends on a narrow and discriminatory concept of "merit." The argument goes like this: people should be admitted to college because of their merits taking the SAT, but neither race nor gender could be a component of merit. Con's trick here is to define merit so narrowly -- only test scores or examination results count -- and then stigmatize any other consideration as unwarranted preference and unlawful discrimination.

Think about it: merit is just a word for whatever qualifications are deemed desirable for the performance of a particular task, and there is nothing fixed about those qualifications. Some medical schools now decline certification to aspiring doctors who have proven themselves technically and academically but lack the social skills to relate with patients.

When colleges admit people on the basis of other factors, they are not abandoning academic merit but forging an alternative conception of academic merit rooted in the larger social, cultural, and historical context in which college admissions take place. Consider: if may be a qualification for a policeman or policewoman in the inner city to be black or Hispanic, and that does not make the people granting blacks and Hispanics those jobs racist, it makes them pragmatists. Likewise, it may be part of the merit and qualifications of a worker in a rape crisis center that she is a woman.

College admissions weigh many factors and qualifications when deciding what consitutes a particular applicant's merit. To say the only qualification is SAT scores is to completely do away with many of the qualifications that various applicants have, and as I said, many times belonging to a particular ethnic or gender group can itself be a qualification.

Finally, I'd also like to point out to Con that SAT scores and GPA can themselves be racist. According to studies, "affirmative action beneficiaries have succeeded in higher education and various occupations despite not having the required test scores or GPA, therefore exposing reified concepts of merit" as "intellectually biased." [1] SAT scores may demonstrate an applicant's access to "SAT prep" that others could not afford, and allowing such examination results to dictate college admissions as a whole is the same as allowing unlawful discrimination. Affirmative actions corrects against this.

I think I have addressed the issue fully. Let me now address Con's question: what is institutionalized racism, and how does it work in today's society? Institutionalized racism is the kind of racism that is institutionalized, but cannot be punished legally. I have already given one example: using SAT scores is a form of institutionalized racism, as it is well-known that SAT scores favor particular ethnic groups, and it is also well-known that SAT scores do not show a correlation with the success of the ethnic groups that the scores do not favor.

A few more examples of institutionalized racism should prove the point: Blacks and Hispanics get worse public education, because the urban schools they go to don't have as much money as the schools in white suburbs. The reason this happens is because public schools are financed from local property taxes, so in communities where houses and businesses are less expensive, the schools provide worse education. This is unfair, and is a form of institutionalized discrimination. Racial profiling could be considered another form of institutional racism.

Then, of course, there is institutional sexism: women are paid less than men for doing the exact same jobs and holding the exact same qualifications. That's considered unlawful discrimination, but its institutionalized in such a way that it cannot be legally penalized.

Clearly, the fact that systemic racism exists, unlawful discrimination, requires that measures be taken to counter-act the effects. Affirmative action is the set of procedures that are employed to eliminate this kind of unlawful discrimination. By definition, affirmative action cannot be unlawful discrimination because its intent and effect is to eliminate unlawful discrimination.
Debate Round No. 2
miketheman1200

Con

I will begin by addressing the problems with some of my opponents arguments.

1. "Some medical schools now decline certification to aspiring doctors who have proven themselves technically and academically but lack the social skills to relate with patients."

This is a good point, but also an issue. If a heart surgeon is plenty good at making his patients feel comfortable, but isn't as good at open heart surgery as another doctor, then why wouldn't it make sense for a hospital to hire the more academically experienced one then the one who has a good way with talking to the patients? Its not a therapist meeting, its open heart surgery. People need to think about the more desirable qualification.

2."Consider: if may be a qualification for a policeman or policewoman in the inner city to be black or Hispanic, and that does not make the people granting blacks and Hispanics those jobs racist, it makes them pragmatists. Likewise, it may be part of the merit and qualifications of a worker in a rape crisis center that she is a woman."

You are clearly missing the point. Being a certain race shouldn't be a qualification for anything because that is racial profiling, which is wrong. Whites did it to blacks in the early 1900's so that only whites could get certain jobs and only blacks could get certain jobs. It should be that anyone can get any job, regardless of their skin color, but on bases of merit. That is the only way towards a more colorblind, and equal society.

3. "According to studies, "affirmative action beneficiaries have succeeded in higher education and various occupations despite not having the required test scores or GPA, therefore exposing reified concepts of merit" as "intellectually biased.""

Please remember to cite your source when talking about studies, or quoting individuals.

4. " it is well-known that SAT scores favor particular ethnic groups"

First of all SAT scores cant favor anyone, they are the scores resulting from someone's SAT examination and do not poses the ability to favor one ethnic group or person over another. Also, I know alot of African American and Latin American students who get greater grades than me, which proves that its an issue of self responsibility and lack of effort on individuals behalf, no matter the circumstance.

5. "Blacks and Hispanics get worse public education, because the urban schools they go to don't have as much money as the schools in white suburbs. The reason this happens is because public schools are financed from local property taxes, so in communities where houses and businesses are less expensive, the schools provide worse education."

Like I said before, if there is a single person in one of those poorer schools who is successful while at that school, then your argument is invalid because no matter how bad the condition, its still possible to do well. It doesn't hurt if those kids aren't doing drugs or acting criminal either. There are also alot of people who became successful who had poor backgrounds (cited below)
http://www.intelligenius.net...

6. "Then, of course, there is institutional sexism: women are paid less than men for doing the exact same jobs and holding the exact same qualifications. That's considered unlawful discrimination, but its institutionalized in such a way that it cannot be legally penalized."

Agreed (that this is a problem), but this can be fixed without affirmative action, and clearly isn't fixed by affirmative action as can be seen by the fact that it still happens just about everywhere.

Here are some facts showing the end of AA

1. There are Five states now with bans on affirmative action. California, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska, And Arizona. States like Florida and Connecticut are also passing anti AA legislation. Texas banned Affirmative action in schools.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. The only Black Justice in the supreme court is against it which is a pretty big statement, since according to pro race is another type of merit towards a persons credibility.

3. Most people cant decide when to apply affirmative action. Its the 1/16 rule. If you have any blood that's not white, should you be qualified for Affirmative action policies? If no, then the whole point is gone. AA is meant to help those with a "minority" background, what if a white male has a "minority" background?

4. Its a giant rambling mess, and its only turning people against one another. As time goes by more and more states will pass ban legislation on AA until it is progressively eliminated.

I enjoyed this argument very much and cheers to pro for accepting. Please vote con :D
FourTrouble

Pro

In closing, I will defend my argument from Con's flawed responses and misunderstandings, followed by my responses to Con's closing arguments.

1. Con concedes I make a "good point." Con attempts to argue that the only qualification necessary for being a doctor is technical skill, but this is absolutely false. A doctor must be psychologically equipped to deal with the stress and pressure of the operating room, as well as the possibility of failure. Furthermore, consider patients who are terminally ill or with psychiatric problems; these people require a deeper understanding of humanity, as well as psychological toughness for dealing with these problems. Con's reduction of medical practice to pure technical skill is just that, reductive and an overly-simplistic view of medical practice and what qualifies on to be a doctor. (As a discrete aside, note that I am currently in medical school and am speaking from experience: if you don't have the required psychological/social skills, you will have a very tough time getting certified as a doctor).

2. Con falsely claims I am "missing the point" when it is in fact Con who has missed my point. Con insists that belonging to a particular group does not provide qualifications for someone, even though I have provided examples of jobs in which belonging to a particular gender or ethnicity does give one better qualifications. To say a man is equally qualified to work in a rape crisis center is insensitive to rape victims. In fact, not only is it insensitive to rape victims to say a man is equally qualified to work at rape crisis center, it is outright harmful to rape victims who find the courage to seek help. I urge Con and readers to speak with rape victims, ask them how they would respond if they went to a rape crisis center and the person working there was a man? It is a far cry from reality to say men are equally qualified as women to work in a rape crisis center, a far cry that is only possible by turning a blind eye to reality.

3. I forgot to cite my source [1] from Round 2. It was an honest mistake, and I am putting the source here: the peer-reviewed, academic book, Affirmative Action and the Meanings of Merit, by Bruce Lapenson.

4. Con argues that "SAT scores cant favor anyone." Why not? Physics examinations favor physicists, the bar exam favors people who have gone through law school, and the SAT favors people who have taken SAT prep. The amount of preparation one has to take a test has a direct effect on the results o taking the test. The fact that people who live in poverty tend to do worse on the SAT does not show that people living in poverty did worse because they are less qualified: it means that the SAT is a test designed to favor those who are not living in poverty. It would be just as easy to design a test that favors people who are living in poverty, or to design a test that favors the skills of Blacks and Hispanics. Then, would Whites would complain that the test was biased against Whites?

A test is, by definition, designed to favor a particular group of people over others, namely, those with preparation. The SAT favors Whites and Asian-Americans over Blacks and Hispanics, and therefore, a Black who scores a 1400 has achieved roughly the equivalent of a White who scores 1500. Achievement and merit (the key word here is merit) is defined differently for different groups of people. Consider the following: if someone who studied Comparative Literature in college scores in the 90% on a graduate-level math exam, and a mathematician scores in the 95%, would you say the mathematician has more merit? I would say the Literature student is just as qualified to study math, the only difference being they don't have equal preparation as the mathematician and therefore scored lower. College admissions attempt to judge potential, and that must be weighed differently for different groups.

5. According to Con's bizarre logic, if a "single person in one of those poorer schools" is successful, then my argument is invalid. Con's thinking goes like this: if a single person person can excel within bad conditions, a single person from a poor background succeeding, then the bad conditions don't matter. Let me state it one more time, simple because I myself am still taking in how strange this logic is: if, from within group of people living in abject poverty, a single person is able to overcome the odds, then we should completely ignore the fact that the majority is performing worse than another group who is living in wealth. In other words, completely ignore poverty, ignore bad conditions, ignore hardship.

Recall: Con is the one talking about equality of opportunity. According to Con, poverty has no relevance on equality of opportunity. The only thing that matters is how one performs, regardless of circumstances. This completely evacuates people from their context and personal situations. If someone grows up having to support their family with two jobs from the age of 13, and has no time to study or prepare for the SAT, is it reasonable to expect that person to perform as well as someone who had time to prepare? Is it reasonable to expect someone living in conditions where everyone around them is doing drugs and acting criminal to perform as well as someone who isn't? Is this equal opportunity? Affirmative action is a set of policies that are designed to create equal opportunity, not take it away. Con completely ignores social and economic context, as well as the reality of someone's personal opportunity, and instead only looks at results. Opportunity has nothing to do with results, it has to do with circumstances. Con's logic is bizarre on its face, and contradictory when investigated further.

6. Con states institutional sexism can be fixed without affirmative action. How? Con provides no solution. It is fixed by affirmative action by providing better opportunity for women to excel, thereby allowing them to get equal-paying jobs as men. Not sure what Con's argument against this is, since he hasn't really provided any.

Now, onto Con's "facts showing the end of AA":

1. The fact that 5 states out of 50 have banned AA does not bode well for Con's case: that means the majority allows affirmative action, as well as the majority decision of the Supreme Court, who has deemed it constitutional.

2. As I said, the Supreme Court ruled as a majority that AA is constitutional and legal in college admissions. So why is Con bringing up a single dissenting Justice as a "big statement," if the majority of the Justices agree AA is beneficial? And, so what is a single Black person thinks AA is unjust. What is more important is that the White justices think it is justified, and that there are just as many Black academics who think AA is justified. And there are just as many Whites (myself) and Asian-Americans (my friends) who think AA is completely justified. Also, Con is appealing to an authority that was itself discredited in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, so it's a flawed appeal to authority on multiple counts.

3. I'm not debating the technicalities of how affirmative action is applied. It could just as well be the 3/4 rule, saying it has to be the 1/16 rule is simply a weak attempt to try discrediting affirmative action. AA is overall beneficial to society, and saying it isn't because you don't know how to apply is, is simply saying you don't know all the facts. Once we know the facts, and we know who belongs to a particular group that could benefit from AA because they are unlawfully discriminated against, then AA is completely justified. Figuring out who is part of that group is a completely different debate, although I'd argue imposing a 1/16 rule is unnecessary, and there are better solutions to this problem.

4. Con claims it's a "giant rambling mess." Says who? Con. This is all Con's imaginative speculation, unsubstantiated by facts. The facts show us that AA is justified when institutional racism exists.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
The merit argument against AA does not work. The best arguments against AA are arguments that question the possibility of knowing the intent behind outcomes. In other words, theoretically AA is completely justified when it can proven that unlawful discrimination exists, but the problem of proving unlawful discrimination exists in the first place then becomes a question of matching intentions up with outcomes. How can we know that a negative outcome for a particular group, say the fact that women are paid less, is the result of unlawful discrimination? We can't, unless we know the intention behind the discrimination.

This informs many of the practical problems with AA: how can we know when and how much AA should help specific groups, and likewise, when it should end? Best arguments against AA are thus practical arguments, not theoretical ones about qualifications, test scores, etc.
Posted by miketheman1200 2 years ago
miketheman1200
16kadams as for your 4th point, I want to remind you that the examines are fair for those that prepare for them. Unless of course they have a million excuses as to why they couldn't be ready.
Posted by miketheman1200 2 years ago
miketheman1200
16kadams I apreciate the pointers. This is my first debate ever and I did try. I will try harder next time around to make better points, and use better sources.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Sources: Pro had better sources, PM me if you want me to change it.

Arguments - It seemed that pro had superior argumentation in most areas, and really con seemed scattered and incomplete. Never really lead to a conclusion towards his side. I will go in numbers.

(1) CON pretty much concedes the point
(2) Both claimed to have missed the point, I think pro proved that con missed the point and strawmaned, not pro
(3) Source added....
(4) CON falsely assumes examines are fair, no, smarter people have a lg up, pro points out. So affirmative action helps the...... Less advantaged so to speak.
(5) TIED
(6) PRO proved it helps women, con did not refute nor offer solution's. PRO wins here.
_____

(1) How many states have AA is irrelevant...
(2) PRO proved it was constitutional
(3) CONS solutions are poor, but pros arguments here aren't much better, TIE
(4) CONS arguments proven to be all speculation

PRO = Winner
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
seraine, I'm not sure why you even read this debate, your vote is blatantly biased. If you actually read the debate, you'd know the merit argument completely depends on how you define merit. I provided examples to show that merit can be the result of belonging to a minority group, and at once you accept the examples (women working in rape crisis center) as true and then dismiss it as a small anecdote? A small anecdote? Where does Con say that? The right question as a voter on this debate is: did Con adequately respond to my example? Answer: no. You won't find a single place where Con refers to the women qualified to work in a rape crisis center. That is the same as a full concession. Your RFD and vote clearly shows that you read this with the full intention of voting against me and ignoring the actual arguments made.
Posted by miketheman1200 2 years ago
miketheman1200
thanks for helping me complete my first debate :D
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
Forgot to put my source in there. Here it is: [1] Affirmative Action and the Meanings of Merit, by Bruce Lapenson.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
miketheman1200FourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by seraine 2 years ago
seraine
miketheman1200FourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro never adequetely refuted the merit argument. Pro did say that some minorities were disadvanteged because of schooling, but that has nothing to do with merit. People with higher SAT scores tend to be better, and just because some didn't take SAT prep doesn't mean they are more qualified. Though there is a few cases where it is definitely better to have only males or females, but that is at best a small anecdote. Affirmative action applies to basically all jobs, not just a select few.