The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Affirmative action in the United States is morally justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,140 times Debate No: 11670
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




Is Affirmative action in the United States morally justified? you can give framework/definitions if ya want but i will 2


Hello. Since I am the Con I will ask that the opponent post his case first so that I may attack and refute it. I look forward to my opponent's case, thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Sorry this is my first time debating on this site so i was unaware of the protocol i was breaking by asking you to go 1st. Go ahead and correct me if I'm outa line on anything else in the future.

I offer the following framework to the debate-
Justice is defined as a good-willed solution to a problem.
Affirmative action, as defined in accordance to the U.S. government, is individual preferences benefiting those historically excluded, that takes into account other factors than merit.

For a debate about justice of an idea, we cannot look at specific examples of Affirmative Action to see the big picture; there are simply too many ways to implement it. Instead we must access if giving those disadvantaged by factors out of their control deserve an equalizing boost. As the pro, we will demonstrate that it is indeed justified to equalize the playing field, even if we have to look onto factors such outside of merit.

That being said, my 1st contention is the status quo.

Rawls Difference principle of philosophy permits inequalities in the distribution of goods only if those inequalities benefit the worst-off members of society. If this was a perfect world, we wouldn't have an insurmountable class structure; if this was a perfect world we wouldn't need Affirmative action, which like the Civil rights movement, is the next stepping stone to equality.

Contention1 (status quo)

A)The Status quo is that of discrimination and racism, putting the non-majority groups at a disadvantage. Even with affirmative action (and much more so if it were to be eliminated), African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians face grossly unequal opportunity in American society. If you are born as a member of any of these groups, you will be two to three times as likely to be born into poverty. These disadvantages are not just economic; in a recent study done by Dr. Marianne Bertrand, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, she found that resumes with African American names has a 50% less call-back rate that their white counterparts regardless of qualifications.

B)The Status quo gives unjust advantage to the well-established majority. An example of this is legacy students being 3 times more likely than the general population to be accepted into their college of choice regardless of merit. A study out of Duke University concluded that legacy students entered Duke with lower grades and performed poorer the first year. Not only did the Duke Legacy students earn lower grades initially, but they were more likely to be wealthy and white graduates of private high-schools, thus perpetuating an already established upper-classes' dominance on white collar fields.

The Status Quo states that inequalities benefit the best off in our society, by the basic principles of philosophy, this is not justice. Rawls states that maintaining this justice is in the best interest of everyone, even the advantaged group.

That moves me to my 2nd contention: Affirmative action is diversity
Contention 2 (diversity is good)

A)The result of Affirmative Action in college, According to testimony in the Gratz v. Bollinger supreme court case "In a racially homogeneous class of students, significant viewpoints would be missing" and It has been shown that members of heterogeneous working groups offer more creative solutions to problems than those in homogeneous groups (Cox, 1993; McLeod, Lobel, & Cox, 1996). [In sum], They show greater potential for critical thinking. Lastly, "attending a diverse college also resulted in more diverse friends, neighbors, and work associates nine years after college entry."

B)Affirmative Action's duty in the workplace. In areas of high-minority density, Health problems abound, because our ghettos, barrios, and Indian reservations have become dumping grounds for hazardous materials and industries that pollute but do not employ. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, minority physicians are 5 times more likely to practice in areas of high minority density and an additional 13,000 physicians are needed to serve the 50 million minorities who don't have access to a physician. Across all fields, a more diverse business means a more productive business.

Finally, my third contention demonstrates Affirmative Action's potential and just intent in achieving a more equal playing field.

A)Under Affirmative action, progress has been made. An ACLU briefing paper on affirmative action reports: "Six million women have received opportunities in employment and education directly because of affirmative action programs, and in the last 10 years the overall number of black professional women has grown 125%

B)Without Affirmative action, progress is lost and a roll-back effect occurs. UC-Berkeley admitted 61% fewer minorities in 1998 - the year the state first implemented its ban on affirmative action. Even with the ban on Affirmative Action, the under qualified majority legacy students were still admitted. According to a 2009 study from the National Science Foundation that with a nation-wide ban on Affirmative Action a 35% drop of minorities would occur in institutions of higher learning. Furthermore, a removal of Affirmative Action in the workplace would result in millions of opportunities for minorities and women to be lost and racism would continue to define our hiring processes.

In the past, the major inequalities of the status quo justified affirmative action for minorities, now as time change we must look to the new ways to promote equal opportunity for all, no matter what family they we born into. Since the pro has demonstrated that AA is warranted by injustice, that diversity benefits everyone, and that AA has just intent, please vote pro.


It's certainly ok that you don't know protocol. It can be somewhat confusing at first though I am sure you will get used to it eventually.

This is similar to an LD round and also a CX round. Perhaps this round is none of the above. Whatever it is, I ask that my opponent clarify in his next speech, and I will use this information in the third round.

I ask this, because this seems to be a value debate that is structured on policy. If this is a value debate than the problem is defining the actual definition of morally justified. To who is it justified? Aligned to whose morals? Is the opponent assuming that all people's morals are the same? So in a value debate, overall the decision of it being moral would be based on the majorities thoughts on it. If the majority of people think it is immoral, than surely it is?

But, this can also be looked at through a policy lens. If this is a policy subject, than the overall decision would be based on whether or not the status quo is improved through the implementation of such a thing as affirmative action.

Because I am unsure of which type of debate my opponent wishes, I have no choice but to debate it as both. I will show you A)Why the majority of people would find it immoral or unnecessary and B) If the status quo will improve with the implementation of such a policy. Without further ado I will attack the opponent's case and talk about some points about why affirmative action is round politically and morally.


Contention 1 : Status Quo

In this contention, my opponent shows what the current problems are in the U.S. relating to this case. He says that: minorities aren't treated fairly do to race, nationality. He states that minorities live in poverty more often. Says that majority get's advatages.

I will start off with his first point 'Disadvantages for minorities'. It must be noted that these disadvantages exist directly because of discrimination. Discrimination is when a person sees a group as being bad simply because of a trait they have, most often one they can't help. This is an attitude that IS negative but it is exactly that. An attitude. Policies in the United States can change the structure of things and they way law works, but it can't change the way people think about others. No policy in the world has the power to end discrimination, because discrimination is completely legal. My opponent used an example of a person not getting an open apartment because of his race. The owner has the complete right to say no to that person, whether it's fair or not. Affirmative action can't help this problem, because to do so it would have to take away people's freedom to think. Seeing as this is impossible, affirmative action will not help the people discriminated against.

His second point stated that the majority gets extra advantages. This maybe true, but once again, it's based on feelings and prejudice and is completely legal. No law will change people's right to freedom, and this includes affirmative action.

Thirdly, I would like to point out that the U.S. DOES implement some affirmative action today. My opponent is able to present these harms, though, so it is obvious affirmative action will not work, because it has not already. There is no reason to increase something if it won't end up helping anyone at all. In fact, if the majority sees that the government is attempting to help the minority, their hate and prejudice will increase even more, which ends up worsening the problem. So in all, affirmative action will make the status quo worse than it already is, a policy no-no. Also, the majority, as we have said, finds affirmative action wrong because they are the ones who are prejudice. Because the majority think it is wrong that it must be immoral. So on the front of policy debate AND value debate, I have shown affirmative action wrong.

CONTENTION 2: Affirmative action creates diversity (which is good)

My opponent's A card basically says that the mixed group of students is able to produce more of a thinking class than one all of one race. In the United States, though, colleges DO have a mixed group. Whether racism exists or not, people of all races will still exist in college. No law can be passed that will make that happen because schools a while back stopped being segregated. Unless the affirmative action involves segregating them again, then affirmative action will not work. This is one again based on the one previously mentioned that no law can change a persons prejudice and feelings, thought it can make it worse. As worse is bad, affirmative action should cease to exist and certainly not be implemented further.


A) My opponent show some facts that some people benefit from this affirmative action, but it is only temporary. All that we are doing with these plans are treating some of the symptoms, but we are not actually fixing the problem. Discrimination in the U.S. has been decreasing slowly but surely over the past years, but implementing a plan that promoted even MORE unfair advantages toward the minority will surely increase the hate and discrimination toward them.

B) This card talks about the effects law will cause but it does not mention the harms that the people will still feel toward the minority. This minority will, as stated, become even more discriminated against and eventually lead to violence and death.

The third contention was mostly about some positive effects arising from affirmative action. While I acquiesce, benefits do exist, the disadvantages of the overall effect will end up being worse than what we started with. So yes, there maybe a moment of peace, but this will soon decline into even more discrimination, ending up less that the status quo in the end. This is an obvious policy no-no. I have also shown previously how this is a bad plan according to a value look on the debate. Whichever way you look at it, whether it be values, policies, or both; I have shown all to be harmful. Because of these reasons, I urge you to vote Negative. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


waitthisisntdeca forfeited this round.


Opponent forfeited. Flow to me.
Debate Round No. 3


waitthisisntdeca forfeited this round.


My opponent has failed to refute all arguments and skipped multiple rounds. This means that he must agree with all of my arguments. It can only be reasoned that this round would flow to me. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mr_Jack_Nixon 7 years ago
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