The Instigator
mongeese
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Conor
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points

Affirmative Action

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Conor
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,736 times Debate No: 8574
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (6)

 

mongeese

Con

Affirmative Action - http://en.wikipedia.org...

I am against affirmative action.

With every positive benefit of affirmative action, there is an equal and opposite negative effect.

With every other negative effect of affirmative action, there is no positive benefit.

People argue that it gives minorities more opportunities.

It equally robs majorities of their opportunities.

It also places restrictions on employers, which decreases their ability to make a profit.

It also increases resentment towards minorities.

I await whatever my opponent has to say on the subject.
Conor

Pro

Seeing as you have made a series of baseless statements to begin your argument, it is unnecessary for me to rebut what you have said, although I'm sure you will provide evidence in the coming rounds.

On the contrary, I believe affirmative action is an effective method to counteract elements of de facto segregation and racial discrimination that are naturally prevalent in society in terms of employment and education. This is especially important in the United States of America (which I assume will be the primary example of the debate), where minorities, such as African-Americans, have been hindered in their economic and social growth as a group for centuries due to societal negligence and more importantly, slavery.

Although affirmative action is undoubtedly a preferential system, it is only preferential to a member of the minority group when both candidates (for a job or enrollment in a university, etc.) are equally qualified or deserving of the job (http://en.wikipedia.org...). While you might say that if affirmative action was not in place, majority or non-preferred groups (such as whites) would be given more jobs, this is obviously not due to some kind of inherent qualification or intellectual excellence within members of the white population. Due decades of financial and social inequality, minorities have been offered less opportunities, and have naturally been retarded in their development as a group in society. For example, the black population of American has higher unemployment and less education than the white population. This is not because they are 'lazier' or more 'inefficient' than whites, but because they've been deprived of economic and educational rights in society to such an extent that their community has been held back socially, despite the fact they are legal equals of whites.

Affirmative action is an method to reverse this social inequality and balance the economic and educational gap between racial and/or other social groups.
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Con

Alright, now to move on to my argument.

Let's say that you have twenty situations across America one day where an employer has to decide between hiring a black guy and hiring a white guy, with both of them having equal qualifications. Without affirmative action, the employer would flip a coin. Heads, the white guy gets the job. Tails, the black guy gets the job. With affirmative action, the employer always hires the black guy.
So, this results in ten black guys gaining jobs that they wouldn't ordinarily have.
This also results in ten white guys losing jobs that they would ordinarily have.
Now, if each one of the white guys was told that he lost his job because of affirmative action, they would suddenly feel resentment towards affirmative action, the black guy, all black guys, and government. This is bad.
However, if you use coin flips, the white guy knows that he lost fair and square, especially if the employer flipped the coin in front of the two potential employees.

That's my support for my contentions.

Now, you claim that there would be segregation and racial discrimination that would play against the black guy. So, you say we should just reverse this discrimination.

I say that reversing discrimination is not fighting discrimination.

We should all flip coins.

"While you might say that if affirmative action was not in place, majority or non-preferred groups (such as whites) would be given more jobs, this is obviously not due to some kind of inherent qualification or intellectual excellence within members of the white population."
So, if affirmative action was in place, minority or preferred groups (such as blacks) would be given more jobs; this is obviously not due to some kind of inherent qualification or intellectual excellence within members of the black population.
There. Your quote is applied equally against itself.
We should all flip coins.

"Due decades of financial and social inequality, minorities have been offered less opportunities, and have naturally been retarded in their development as a group in society. For example, the black population of American has higher unemployment and less education than the white population. This is not because they are 'lazier' or more 'inefficient' than whites, but because they've been deprived of economic and educational rights in society to such an extent that their community has been held back socially, despite the fact they are legal equals of whites."
However, in this case, both the white man and the black man are supposedly equally qualified. In that case, what if the white guy came from a family of Irish immigrants who fled the Great Irish Famine (http://en.wikipedia.org...) and struggled to get a living? What if the black guy is really a mulatto who came from a fairly wealthy family? The only blacks that benefit from affirmative action are the ones who lived in the North, where slavery and segregation ended sooner (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Furthermore, if a black guy and a white guy both have equal qualifications for a job, why should family history matter? The black guy has to have had a family that was more successful than the average black family, or the white guy has to have had a family that was less successful than the average white family. Family history should play no part in employment. What should matter is what the family history did to your qualifications. Obviously, the family histories had the same effect, if they're equally qualified, so why favor the black guy?

"Affirmative action is an method to reverse this social inequality and balance the economic and educational gap between racial and/or other social groups."

You see, if every black man were the average black man, and every white man were the average white man, then the white man would always be more qualified than the black man. Therefore, only the upper blacks compete with the average whites for jobs. The upper blacks are the ones who weren't hit strongly by racial segregation in the past, and managed to succeed anyway, so why should their being black matter?
Also, only the lower whites compete with the average blacks. They may have been born out in the country, working a small farm, where they didn't adapt well to industrialization and didn't do too well since then. The two groups still apparently have identical family histories as far as affirmative action should be concerned, because they both ended up in the same economic bracket. Why should the black group be benefited over the white group?
There is no correct answer.

"Affirmative action is an method to reverse this social inequality and balance the economic and educational gap between racial and/or other social groups."
Why does it really matter that there is an economic/educational gap among different races?

If a white man and a black man are of equal qualification for a job, they presumably had family histories with similar effects on these qualifications.

Just because more blacks had these disadvantageous family histories, doesn't mean we should assume that all whites are better off than blacks, and all blacks are worse off than whites.

There are some black families and some white families in the same economic bracket. It isn't necessarily because the black family rose up from poverty and the white family fell down from elitism. It probably is that the black family did fairly well, and the white family did fairly well.

The point is, two guys whose family histories both gave them the same qualifications should be equal, regardless of race. Why does race even matter?

Flip a coin. Or think of some other tiebreaker that determines who's more qualified, like a competition to see who can stack cans the fastest.

Race isn't important.

Affirmative action thinks that it is.

But as long as they're equally qualified, it isn't.

Thus, affirmative action is wrong.

Thus, vote CON.

Thank you for reading.
Conor

Pro

It seems you don't quite have the right understanding of affirmative action, and sometimes you make ignorant or unsupported assumptions about the situations and behaviors of certain groups.

To address your first situation:
Affirmative action is made explicitly to take into account the realistic tendencies of employers or admissions officers. In post-Civil Rights America, the employer wouldn't necessarily "flip a coin," even though that might be the ideal situation for two completely equally qualified candidates. Affirmative action is taking into account both the natural bias that was and still is existent in American (see President Kennedy's Executive Order 10925 http://www.thecre.com...) as well as the centuries of social deprivation and setbacks that the minorities and neglected social groups of this country have faced.
In terms of the so-called "resentment" that the whites feel, I agree that there undoubtedly would be some cases of resentment, but it's not some unconditional hatred that suddenly is felt towards blacks by whites. And besides, the point of affirmative action is to to take into account these age-old economic and social inequities with the acceptance of burden by the generally better off white population.
Also, you are not taking into account how affirmative action also applies to laying off workers from their jobs. A colorblind system of laying off workers would inevitably be favoring white employees, since they are the ones who have held senior positions due to the years of white male dominance in society. Therefore, in the absence of affirmative action "color-blind policies do not correct racial injustice -- they reinforce it" (http://www.understandingprejudice.org...).

"So, you say we should just reverse this discrimination."
You're employing the term discrimination incorrectly. Affirmative action is the preferential selection of equal candidates in a systematic way, and done according to statistics (http://en.wikipedia.org...), in order to balance the existent inequality in society. This isn't "reversing discrimination," which implies an age-old innately felt resentment towards the opposite race, but a scientific way to counteract the natural discrimination among race-class divisions.

When you used my quote against me, you understood it incorrectly. Whites would get more jobs because they have been holding senior employment positions for years, and have had more educational opportunities. With affirmative action, blacks would be given more jobs because the policy is, like you said, not favoring them due to some kind of natural superiority over whites, but selecting them because of their deprivation of opportunities and their inequality in respect to the majority.

"Both the white man and the black man are supposedly equally qualified...The only blacks that benefit from affirmative action are the ones who lived in the North, where slavery and segregation ended sooner."
Yes, but just because they are equally qualified doesn't mean they have the same family history. It's true, their might be some cases where affirmative action is done at the expense of poor whites, but when there are two equally qualified candidates, there's a higher chance that the black one came from a more difficult background, and this is taken into consideration.

"The black guy has to have had a family that was more successful than the average black family, or the white guy has to have had a family that was less successful than the average white family."

Wow. That's pretty ignorant as I understand it, and frankly, a little racist. So in order for a black guy to be as qualified as a white guy, the white guy has to be below the success of the average white family? That is a biased assumption; you're saying the only way a black person could be as qualified as a white person is if the black guy was unusually above the status quo and the white guy unusually below it.

"Obviously, the family histories had the same effect, if they're equally qualified"
Again, no. Just because a black guy happens to be exceptionally qualified in terms of intellect or test scores or whatever doesn't mean he was some 1/4 mixed race kid who grew up a pampered life in New England without any discrimination.

"only the upper blacks compete with the average whites for jobs."
This is in theme with all your previous statements. Please either provide statistics or define what specifically you mean by "average." Average in terms of what? Education? Income? Or a combination of all these factors.
"The upper blacks are the ones who weren't hit strongly by racial segregation in the past."
An "upper black" as you call it could very well have been born into poverty and lived in the deep South under segregation, and therefore should be picked in a job if they are of equal or comparable qualifications to a white. This selection would take into account the difficult family history faced by the black, while the white, due to statistics, probably didn't face that same discrimination.

Also, many sources can refute your statement that affirmative action benefits only middle and upper class blacks, who you claim aren't the victims of discrimination. The AAFP argues that affirmative action actually created the minority middle classes.
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Even if, as you said, the white suffered from the xenophobic anti-Irish sentiment after fleeing from the Potato Famine, it is inappropriate to equate the suffering of a poor Irishman to the suffering of an African American. I am saying this with a deeply empathetic view of the Irish, because my ancestors were a proud Catholic family from Ireland who faced a lot of discrimination in employment once they arrived in the New World.

Affirmative action might be able to be abandoned in the future, when the races are more or completely balanced. But as of now, the idealistic and unrealistic colorblind "flipping a coin" method just isn't practical, and it isn't fair. As said before, it just leaves in place the imbalance in opportunities between majority and minority.

Also, you have failed to refute the benefit of diversity in the workplace. Diversity helps co-workers become more empathetic and tolerant of other cultures. Studies have been done to show that there's a ""consistent pattern of positive relationships between diversity in higher education and both learning and democracy outcomes""(http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Vote PRO
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Con

"Affirmative action is made explicitly to take into account the realistic tendencies of employers or admissions officers."
This is why we should implement a "flip a coin" policy, rather than affirmative action.

"In terms of the so-called 'resentment' that the whites feel, I agree that there undoubtedly would be some cases of resentment, but it's not some unconditional hatred that suddenly is felt towards blacks by whites."
Exactly. It is conditional. And the condition is affirmative action. Eliminate the affirmative action, and you eliminate such resentment.

"And besides, the point of affirmative action is to to take into account these age-old economic and social inequities with the acceptance of burden by the generally better off white population."
However, if a black man and a white man both land on an equal application, then the white man obviously didn't live up to his "social superiority," so why should he suffer for it?

"Also, you are not taking into account how affirmative action also applies to laying off workers from their jobs..."
What difference does it make whether the senior employees are white or black? As time goes on, if color-blind policies are used, blacks will have as many senior positions as they deserve by their qualifications, so there'd be no need to force employers to fire their senior white employees, which directly lowers their profits and hurts the economy.

"When you used my quote against me, you understood it incorrectly. Whites would get more jobs because they have been holding senior employment positions for years, and have had more educational opportunities..."
You now assume that all whites have been senior employees. This is false. When a white man applies for a job, and is equally qualified as a black man, then you can't just argue that the white man can get a new job. Why can't the black man get a new job? You see, they're equally qualified, so it shouldn't matter which one of them doesn't get the job. Either one could try again. Why put the burden on the white guy every time? Give him a fair chance.

If they both have the same qualifications, life has been treating them equally well. There is no inequality with equal qualifications. Thus, there is no reason to favor the guy who has black skin.

"Yes, but just because they are equally qualified doesn't mean they have the same family history."
They must obviously be similar. The white guy and the black guy obviously have the same burden from their family history.

"It's true, their might be some cases where affirmative action is done at the expense of poor whites, but when there are two equally qualified candidates, there's a higher chance that the black one came from a more difficult background, and this is taken into consideration."
Wrong. If the black guy had a more difficult background, then he would be less qualified. If the white guy had a more difficult background, then he would be less qualified. If they're completely equally qualified, then they should have a comletely equal chance of being hired. The black guy shouldn't be given special treatment.
You also ignore the fact that any mulatto would claim to represent blacks, so he would have an advantage over lesser blacks, and an advantage over equal whites.

"Wow. That's pretty ignorant as I understand it, and frankly, a little racist. So in order for a black guy to be as qualified as a white guy, the white guy has to be below the success of the average white family?"
That's the argument behind affirmative action. The average white family IS more successful than the average black family. That's not racist.

"That is a biased assumption; you're saying the only way a black person could be as qualified as a white person is if the black guy was unusually above the status quo and the white guy unusually below it."
Replace the "and" with "or," and you have a true statement.
If the average of one set of numbers is 5, and the average of another set of numbers is 10, for two numbers of different sets to be equal, one or both of them must be unnaturally high or low. It's a statistical fact.

"Again, no. Just because a black guy happens to be exceptionally qualified in terms of intellect or test scores or whatever doesn't mean he was some 1/4 mixed race kid who grew up a pampered life in New England without any discrimination."
Then why do you assume that the white guy had a pampered life? Perhaps his family worked hard on a farm all their life.

"This is in theme with all your previous statements. Please either provide statistics or define what specifically you mean by 'average.'"
Okay, the average white American has a higher income than the average African American. Otherwise, affirmative action would be purposeless.

"Also, you have failed to refute the benefit of diversity in the workplace. Diversity helps co-workers become more empathetic and tolerant of other cultures."
Diversity can happen without affirmative action. Blacks would still be hired. It's just that a white man wouldn't go, "No, not again..." whenever he realizes that he's matched against a black man.

Anyways, my opponent assumes that minorities have to have a worse past than majorities. However, if that held true for every minority and every majority, then there wouldn't be any minorities that are equally qualified with any majority.

Here's a balanced situation. You have a black guy and a white guy applying for a job. They turn out to be equally qualified.

They have the same qualifications.

Through a combination of every possible external and internal factor, they have the same qualifications.

The external and internal factors of their life had the same effect on each of their qualifications.

The external and internal factors are equal.

They are equal.

Now, riddle me this. Why should the black man be preferred, when they are equal?

The answer is, he shouldn't. They're equal.

Vote CON. Affirmative action is inequality, by the logical explanation above.

"Some opponents of affirmative action contend that affirmative action programs are discriminatory and that they, in many cases, result in the promotion of under-qualified individuals over higher qualified individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender. They also argue that preferential treatment should be based upon current social and economical standing, not that of one's ancestors. Some opponents say affirmative action devalues the accomplishments of people who are chosen because of the social group to which they belong rather than their qualifications."
"Sowell writes that affirmative action policies encourage non-preferred groups to designate themselves as members of preferred groups [i.e. primary beneficiaries of affirmative action] to take advantage of group preference policies; that they tend to benefit primarily the most fortunate among the preferred group (e.g., upper and middle class blacks), often to the detriment of the least fortunate among the non-preferred groups (e.g., poor white or Asian); that they reduce the incentives of both the preferred and non-preferred to perform at their best — the former because doing so is unnecessary and the latter because it can prove futile — thereby resulting in net losses for society as a whole; and that they engender animosity toward preferred groups as well."
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Conor

Pro

"This is why we should implement a "flip a coin" policy, rather than affirmative action."
Like stated before, this policy would be ideal if
1) all employers were completely unbiased and willing to engage in the "flip a coin" honestly.
2) all or most African-Americans were on the same level of whites in terms of economic and social equality and had the same opportunities: that's the big one.
Maybe one day we can use the "flip a coin" policy; affirmative action is the temporary solution.

"Eliminate the affirmative action, and you eliminate such resentment."
But as I said before, affirmative action and letting a minority (who has a higher chance of having suffered a tough history than you) get or keep a job is part of the social burden that the majority has to accept in the interest of the society; therefore, there is no reason to feel this resentment and furthermore, most whites (as shown by public opinion polls) are willing to accept this burden (1).

"However, if a black man and a white man both land on an equal application, then the white man obviously didn't live up to his 'social superiority,' so why should he suffer for it?"
You keep making these absolute statements in conjunction with the adverb "obviously" as if it were some factual truth. Just because he is as qualified as the black man doesn't mean that he had a bad history. And even if he did, the black man could also have had a bad history. That's why you use affirmative action to prefer the black man, seeing as it's more probable that the latter statement is true.

"What difference does it make whether the senior employees are white or black? As time goes on, if color-blind policies are used, blacks will have as many senior positions as they deserve by their qualifications, so there'd be no need to force employers to fire their senior white employees, which directly lowers their profits and hurts the economy."
I've already refuted this statement. Because white senior employees are already in position, they will not get laid off in times of downsizing, and it will only perpetuate the cycle of inequality. And also, like I said before, colorblind policies don't work due to the lack of educational and economic equality of minorities in respect to the white majority; therefore, the black man would probably have grown up without the same educational opportunity as the white man, which would have a negative impact on things like GPA and job qualifications. Like you have said, two people can be qualified, while one is more qualified than the other. In this case, if the less qualified belongs to a minority, then affirmative action must be used to take into the economic and educational opportunities that this man was probably deprived of. This does not mean that white people are ever deprived, it's just taking into the account the statistically greater chance that the minority was deprived.

"If they both have the same qualifications, life has been treating them equally well."
Again, not necessarily. For someone who always exploits exaggerated or hyperbolic situations in your arguments (such as the struggling Irish potato famine farmer), it's contradictory and strange that you would make such absolute and generalized claims. They don't necessarily have to have the same lives, and if they are equally qualified the black man still could have come from a struggling family, just as you claim the white man could have. But there is a higher chance, even with equal or comparable qualifications, that the black man came from such a background; that's why we use affirmative action.
Also, you are ignoring the other evidence for the benefits of affirmative action which you claim have an "equal and opposite negative effect."

First of all, I assume you agree that diversity in the workplace is good, but you claim that the diversity would occur naturally without affirmative action. Although some of your conclusions make logical sense to yourself, professional and independent studies point otherwise. "According to a report from the U.S. Labor Department, affirmative action has helped 5 million minority members and 6 million White and minority women move up in the workforce"(2). Secondly, there's no equal negative effect at all. White applicants would not "lose" their job; most unemployment within the white population is attributed to inconvenient business relocation, downsizing, and lay-offs (3).
Affirmative action, according to Census reports and official figures, would only cause about 1% of white workers to be affected(4).

"If the average of one set of numbers is 5, and the average of another set of numbers is 10, for two numbers of different sets to be equal, one or both of them must be unnaturally high or low. It's a statistical fact."
But I'm saying that that statement doesn't apply absolutely because there are a number of different factors. You defined average as "average income." So because the black man has a lower income, he's obviously less qualified?
To use one of your "what if" arguments against you, what if the black man had a difficult family history, his family made a relatively low income, but his qualifications were equal or comparable to the white man's (i.e. he had good test scores due to an innate ability)? See, you're grouping both education and economics in the same group. Although you're correct in assuming they often are directly proportional, the aforementioned example provides an exception to that. We're dealing with people, not just numbers, and some people have certain traits (like intellect or personal ability) that aren't affected by statistics.

"Then why do you assume that the white guy had a pampered life? Perhaps his family worked hard on a farm all their life."
Right, but there's a higher chance that the black man did NOT have that pampered life, even with his certain above average qualifications.

"Diversity can happen without affirmative action. Blacks would still be hired. It's just that a white man wouldn't go, "No, not again..." whenever he realizes that he's matched against a black man."
Again, the studies I've cited show the lack of diversity with colorblind policies, and the abundance of it with affirmative action.

Affirmative action is necessary; you're not taking into account all the possible situations and the naturally hindrance in financial and economic growth that minorities have faced.
A lot of our dispute has been focused on our different interpretations of "qualification," "average," and "upper" or "socially superior." You need to consider that there are exceptions within the minority community too (like an exceptionally qualified black from a destitute family), not just the Southern drought-suffering farmer or the Irish immigrant.

Affirmative action is a necessary policy to even out the present inequities in our society and increase diversity in universities and the workplace, and it's effectiveness is proven.

Good man, mongeese. I had a fun time debating with you. Thank you to mongeese and to all those taking interest in this debate.

VOTE PRO.

Sources:
1)Roper Center for Public Opinion. (1995a). Question ID: USYANKP.95007, Q21 [Electronic database]. Available from Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe Web site, http://web.lexis-nexis.com...
2)Reverse discrimination of whites is rare, labor study reports. (1995, March 31). New York Times, p. A23.
3)Ivins, M. (1995, February 23). Affirmative action is more than black-and-white issue. Philadelphia Daily News, p. 28.
4)http://www.understandingprejudice.org...
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Lt.Zubin 7 years ago
Lt.Zubin
It better just be from your experience, mongrease.
Snuggits!
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Of course, that's just from my experience.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Oh.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Massacre?

The votes only decide the proper winner about two-thirds of the time, from what I've seen.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Thanks, Lifeisgood.
You exemplify the American dream.
Posted by Lifeisgood 7 years ago
Lifeisgood
Personally, I am against affirmative action because of the government involvment required to enforce such a policy. However, both sides did an excellent job in my opinion. Bravo, Conor. Well debated.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Mongeese, look at the points man.
It's a massacre, nugget.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Nice!
Posted by chekt 7 years ago
chekt
I just started an affirmative action debate yesterday, I had no idea about this one.
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Thanks for your feedback and the good tips.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by thejudgeisgod 7 years ago
thejudgeisgod
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Conor
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