The Instigator
abard124
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
RaeTulo
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

Affirmative action is a good idea

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
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 11 votes the winner is...
RaeTulo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,114 times Debate No: 11568
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (11)

 

abard124

Con

Before I begin, I would just like to say that, due to the nature of this debate, there is a distinct possibility for disparaging comments. I stand by my word that I will debate with utmost respect, and I would ask for my opponent and those who comment to do the same. Thank you.

According to Merriam-Webster, Affirmative Action is an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women.

Now, I do happen to be Jewish (to an extent). However, if I applied for the same job as a perhaps more qualified Christian person, I don't feel like I should get that job any more than I would feel someone less qualified than I should. Our economy would do better if companies hired the most qualified person regardless of race, gender, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, or anything else other than pure qualification.

I live in Lake Oswego, OR, which is roughly .6% black. This could potentially mean that a system of affirmative action would have them all employed easily, even though some may not be qualified at all. I'm sure many of them are extremely qualified, don't get me wrong, but I feel that if they are qualified, they should get the job because they are qualified, not because they're Black.

I will allow my opponent to present an argument before I say more.
RaeTulo

Pro

1.)Affirmative action is created to solve the problems of racial inequality.
- It is no secret that an enormous part of inequalities do lie in race. Is it possible to fix these racial problems without addressing these problems? Uhm, NO. We can't wish the problem away. Allow me to point out that race, ethnicity, etc. is not the ONLY deciding factor under affirmative action policies. With affirmative action, if two EQUALLY qualified men apply for a job, special recognition is to be given to the disadvantaged man. If we don't look at race as a deciding factor in hiring, etc., then we're letting the problem continue to exist and further perpetuate itself. Seeing as this is nonbeneficial to anyone being harmed by these problems, we must recognize that, affirmative action, by addressing the problem, seeks to fix the problem. And that idea under affirmative action is a good one.

2)Affirmative action is beneficial.
- It's plain to see that impoverished people of all races, ethnicity, and sexes, are going to have more trouble accessing adequate schooling and employment opportunities. Simply put, they can't really afford to get into higher education as easily as the majority (the wealthy, men, and the white). So there's not problem with providing an advantage to level the playing field. Let's look at an analogy. Think of a classroom. A math class. Say the majority of the students are those who understand a specific function of algebra. We'll label those who are struggling, the minority. So when a student has trouble understanding something, the teacher, Ms. Affirmative Action, steps in with special attention to bring them to the same level as the rest of the class (the majority). I see no harm in this.

As I've shown, and will continue to show, affirmative action is only beneficial.
Vote pro! :D
Debate Round No. 1
abard124

Con

Thank you for your quick and thoughtful response!

"It is no secret that an enormous part of inequalities do lie in race. Is it possible to fix these racial problems without addressing these problems?"
In order for that to happen, we would need a societal change. Luckily, we are going through said change. 50 years ago, this debate would have been very different. You are absolutely correct that inequalities do often lie in race, however, Martin Luther King, Jr. once had a dream, and our nation is living out Dr. King's dream. It has certainly not been achieved yet, but we are much closer to it now than we were when he delivered it in 1963. As of now, the president of our nation is a black man. Our vice president is Catholic. Our secretary of state and speaker of the house are women. Our supreme court has a black man, 2 women, 2 Jews, 6 Catholics, and a Hispanic woman. The majority leader of the senate is Mormon. In the 5 states bordering the Pacific ocean, of the 10 senators, only 2 are white, Christian men (Merkley and Begich). My point in throwing out these statistics is that we are in many ways achieving King's dream. So, to answer your question with my long, drawn out soliloquy, yes, it is possible to fix the problems without intervention.

"With affirmative action, if two EQUALLY qualified men apply for a job, special recognition is to be given to the disadvantaged man."
So, instead of going in for a second interview, they just choose the black guy? The reality is, it's not possible to have two people who are completely and totally equally qualified. The would have to be the same person. Race shouldn't be any factor at all in choosing who gets the job. Only qualification.

"If we don't look at race as a deciding factor in hiring, etc., then we're letting the problem continue to exist and further perpetuate itself."
In the days of yore, they would look at race as a deciding factor (If he's not white, we shouldn't hire him). I don't see how affirmative action is any different, except it pretends to be promoting fairness.

"Seeing as this is nonbeneficial to anyone being harmed by these problems, we must recognize that, affirmative action, by addressing the problem, seeks to fix the problem"
Between your commas, I can see what you mean in a way. I can see that it can be seen as a check against racism, but it assumes that people are racist. So, if the guy who's hiring ISN'T racist, it ends up being "reverse racist," or, to say it as it really is, racist against the majority. Now, I'm in no way a white supremacist, but I believe in equal rights for everybody, not special rights for some. 'I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'" (King).

"Simply put, they can't really afford to get into higher education as easily as the majority (the wealthy, men, and the white)."
There are scholarships to get into colleges. If you do well in high school and you apply for a scholarship (and sometimes even if you don't), your economic status shouldn't hinder you from going to college. I'm going to choose to ignore your claim that men can more easily get into college because, to put it bluntly, that's not true. The majority of college students today are female. And, unfortunately, your claim about the white was very true in the past. Now, the people back then are bringing up the people of today, and since those people knew they had no hope in the past, they valued education less. Guess what that translates to. If you don't value education, your kids are less likely to. That is why Asian people very often excel in school. They value education much more in Asian culture than they do in American culture, and so their kids will too. So, since we are in a much freer society than we were in the past, the playing field is leveling out, and so, once again, these problems will fix themselves.

Basically, your argument then proceeds to sound like you're arguing that minorities are naturally disadvantaged and/or less qualified. I disagree with that (Carlos Slim Helu? Oprah?), but even if it were true, it would hurt our economy greatly if we intentionally hired disadvantaged and unqualified people because they are disadvantaged and unqualified. If it so happens that those who are truly qualified are white, so be it. If they are black, so be it. If they are Jewish, so be it. If they are Asian, so be it. If they are Hispanic, so be it.

I am looking forward to seeing what you have to say!
RaeTulo

Pro

I appreciate your responses. I can tell this debate will be a good one. :)

I partially agree with your first refutation. Change is being made. But the change wouldn't have been nearly as easily made if affirmative action was never implemented. Affirmative action addresses race because it is part of the problem.
For at least 200 years, African Americans were deprived of rights while the white majority kept the rights for themselves. It's no secret that African Americans were kept as slaves. They were treated unfairly, and I'd have to say 'unfairly' is hardly the word. "But blacks have not simply been treated unfairly; they have been subjected first to decades of slavery, and then to decades of second-class citizenship, widespread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization. They have been bought, sold, killed, beaten, raped, excluded, exploited, shamed, and scorned for a very long time." [Stanley Fish] Is it fair to take these men and women, set them free, put them at the beginning of a race and tell them they're free to compete? [an analogy by Pres. Johnson] The answer is no. And so, affirmative action steps in with a little advantage for the team who's been held back for so many years, and this is how equality is being achieved. So as my opponent has conceded, problems lie in the race. We can't fix a problem without addressing it. If the problem lies in math class for one, they should give special attention to that math class. Not knowing 2+2=4 doesn't mean copying that answer from another classmate's assignment [not addressing the problem]. It means you grab a calculator and punch in 2+2 to get 4 [addressing the problem].

"[a]So, instead of going in for a second interview, they just choose the black guy? [b]The reality is, it's not possible to have two people who are completely and totally equally qualified."
I'll work my way backwards...
[b]. I guess you're right, let me try again. Obviously two men won't usually have the same qualifications, however, it is possible to be equally qualified or be equally as ready for the job or spot in the college course. And so when an employer realizes, "Hey, this guy is ready to work. And so is this man," under affirmative action, he'll...
[a]. give the disadvantaged man an advantaged by giving him the callback. I can't really tell you how an employer is going to do their callbacks, whether it be just giving him the job, or setting up another interview. I assume each employer does it differently.

"In the days of yore, they would look at race as a deciding factor (If he's not white, we shouldn't hire him). I don't see how affirmative action is any different, except it pretends to be promoting fairness"
"In this country whites once set themselves apart from blacks and claimed privileges for themselves while denying them to others. Now, on the basis of race, blacks are claiming special status and reserving for themselves privileges they deny to others. Isn't one as bad as the other? The answer is no." [Fish]
Look at the playing field. It's currently tilted, and that's obvious. Equality, as you have conceded, is not being fully achieved, but steps are being taken. The playing field is tilted, and was tilted because of the majority. The minority was set at the bottom, while the majority climbed up to the top and the playing field had become unlevel. So in equalizing the playing field, and bringing the majority to the same level, or close to the same level as the majority, Affirmative action is promoting fairness.

"[a]So, if the guy who's hiring ISN'T racist, it ends up being "reverse racist," or, to say it as it really is, racist against the majority. [b]... I believe in equal rights for everybody, not special rights for some."
[a]. " Reverse Racism is a cogent description of affirmative action only if one considers the cancer of racism to be morally and medically indistinguishable from the therapy we apply to it. A cancer is an invasion of the body's equilibrium, and so is chemotherapy; but we do not decline to fight the disease because the medicine we employ is also disruptive of normal functioning. Strong illness, strong remedy: the formula is as appropriate to the health of the body politic as it is to that of the body proper." [Fish] Allow me to explain. For many years, the minority has been discriminated against and deprived of many opportunities, while the majority was given an advantage. We'll call this the "Cancer." In order to fight this cancer, we must use chemotherapy by giving the minority the advantage. Look back to my classroom example. It's not reverse discrimination, it's not putting one over the other. It's making an attempt to put two competing teams on an equal level.
[b]. I strongly agree with this. But in the words of Reginald T. Shuford, "Treating people fairly does not mean treating them the same." In the past, as I've shown, the majority has been given the advantage, or "special rights" as you put it. "Special rights" that the majority has already been given for more than 200 years. So now, it's the minority's turn. Let's give them a chance to catch up, shall we?

"Basically, your argument then proceeds to sound like you're arguing that minorities are naturally disadvantaged and/or less qualified"
I believe I can fairly argue this. This assumption comes from reality. The minority IS at a disadvantage, because the majority has PUT them at a disadvantage through keeping them from education opportunities, employment opportunities, good houses, adequate healthcare. You have to look at the reality, which is that minorities are at a disadvantage. And as I've proven, affirmative action seeks to remedy that disadvantagement.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
abard124

Con

Thank you for your response!

"But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone" (King). Even in 1963, when rights were not nearly as equal as they are today, Dr. King got it. Giving rights to minorities should not mean automatically antagonizing or punishing the majority.

"It's no secret that African Americans were kept as slaves."
The thirteenth amendment was passed in 1865. There is nobody alive today who was legally kept as a slave. I understand that you're trying to say that they were oppressed, but we can't change how things were 150 years ago, so we need to look at the problems of today. And, as King said, "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness" (King).

"Is it fair to take these men and women, set them free, put them at the beginning of a race and tell them they're free to compete?"
No. But we freed the slaves in 1865. We passed the Civil Rights act in 1964. Now it's 2010. It's not the beginning of the race anymore.

"Not knowing 2+2=4 doesn't mean copying that answer from another classmate's assignment [not addressing the problem]. It means you grab a calculator and punch in 2+2 to get 4 [addressing the problem]."
I'm not sure if I understand this analogy. Affirmative action means giving a preference to minorities when applying for a job or college. You're somehow equating that to the difference between copying from a person and copying from a machine. I don't understand how they are even similar.

"And so when an employer realizes, 'Hey, this guy is ready to work. And so is this man,' under affirmative action, he'll...give the disadvantaged man an advantaged by giving him the callback."
But it would make much more sense to give both men the callback. If they are both ready to work, why should only one get the opportunity, not because they are more qualified, but because of the color of their skin. "I have a Dream," as you can probably guess, is my favorite speech ever of all time. My favorite quote from that speech is, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" (King). I want you to think about that quote. Affirmative action judges people by the color of their skin. That's not King's dream.

"Now, on the basis of race, blacks are claiming special status and reserving for themselves privileges they deny to others. Isn't one as bad as the other?"
I'm going to have to disagree with Fish on this one. The answer is yes. "In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds" (King). If it's wrong for white people to do it, it's wrong for black people to do it.

"So in equalizing the playing field, and bringing the majority to the same level, or close to the same level as the majority, Affirmative action is promoting fairness."
But it's not bringing them to the same level. If 2 people apply for a job, or a college, or anything, if they were at the same level, they would be judged on the same thing: qualification. They wouldn't be judged by the color of their skin. They wouldn't be punished for being part of the majority, and they wouldn't be rewarded for simply being a minority. As I said earlier, we need equal rights, not special rights.

"Reverse Racism is a cogent description of affirmative action only if one considers the cancer of racism to be morally and medically indistinguishable from the therapy we apply to it. A cancer is an invasion of the body's equilibrium, and so is chemotherapy; but we do not decline to fight the disease because the medicine we employ is also disruptive of normal functioning. Strong illness, strong remedy: the formula is as appropriate to the health of the body politic as it is to that of the body proper."
This is also a false analogy. Chemotherapy is not a good treatment for cancer, but it's all we have as of now. Why do you think that so many scientists are looking for a cure for cancer? They're looking for something less dehumanizing and debilitating as chemotherapy. They're already looking promising for a targeted chemotherapy, which basically is more effective at just killing cancer cells instead of whatever it finds. Society is not like medicine. There are other methods, like hiring the right guy regardless of race. Also, cancer is a degenerative disease, which means that it gets worse over time. As we have established, the problem of race relations in America is getting better, not worse. We use chemo against cancer because it gets better, while cancer gets worse. As our society gets better, the racism inherent in affirmative action would get worse, because it would end up much easier for minorities to get jobs than the majority. This would lead to an enmity against the minority, and the whole process would start over again. It's nothing like Cancer. In fact, it's almost the opposite. It's almost like curing cancer by killing you faster with AIDS.

The way I see it, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the original anti-affirmative action activist. He may not have known it, but he was. He argued for equality. He argued for equal rights. He was not a black supremacist. He wanted "the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners" to be able to "sit down together at the table of brotherhood." He wanted people to not to "be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" (King). Affirmative action has no part of Dr. King's dream. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the face of equal rights, and his dream is the soul. Affirmative action is not equality. It's no different than our past of putting whites before minorities. Affirmative action is racism. According to Webster, racism is "racial prejudice or discrimination." Affirmative action, by definition, is racial (sexual, religion-based, etc.) discrimination. I am quite confident that, if King was alive today, he would not approve of affirmative action. Vote CON.
RaeTulo

Pro

I forgot there are only three rounds. I was hoping to do a cross examination session during the third round, and answer during the fourth.

Round three:
[Me]Ask questions for con.
[You] Answer questions, ask questions for me.
I'll answer your questions in the Comments boxes after the round is over, and people can vote afterward.

1. We can both agree that affirmative action has been around for quite a long time. Do you agree that now, in 2010, the minority is better off than the majority? [meaning, do you think the minority is higher in education now, and employment?]

2. Do you think past discrimination has current effects?

3. You stated "The thirteenth amendment was passed in 1865. There is nobody alive today who was legally kept as a slave. I understand that you're trying to say that they were oppressed, but we can't change how things were 150 years ago, so we need to look at the problems of today." If we're still benefitting from the oppression of the minority now [they are still at a disadvantage, and thus, the majority is at an advantage], should we give something back? If we're still benefitting, are these problems the problems of today?
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
Bro, chill.

I'm sorry if you don't get my humor ;)
Posted by Hurstman 7 years ago
Hurstman
Not funny. That's always your excuse. Unvote
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
I don't have a problem: I'm just messing ;)
Posted by Hurstman 7 years ago
Hurstman
Whats your problem sac8. You don't know why I voted.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
Hurst's vote was both biased and unfair.
Posted by RaeTulo 7 years ago
RaeTulo
1. Was MLK's dream not to have equality achieved? If not, correct me, but if so, then I believe Affirmative action, while it may give an advantage to the races, is helping to reach his dream.

2. I understand that there are successful minorities. I do truly believe they are at a strong disadvantage. As I've pointed out, past discrimination has current effects. The majority is still benefitting from the past discrimination. What I mean by this, is that minorities are behind, financially, academically, etc. This is reality. The minority being behind means the majority is ahead. That's not an even playing field. I do believe they are at a disadvantage. I'd like to remind you that this is not an unjust assumption, they are disadvantage because the majority PUT them at a disadvantage. And while Civil Rights legislation has been passed, minorities are still kept at a disadvantage.

3. Cross over what I said in the 2nd response.
Their ancestors were oppressed. They were put behind and kept there. Generations after were kept behind. As the majority benefits even TODAY from this, we can see that minorities are still at a disadvantage, and being kept there.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
I'm sorry, I messed up a fact. I said that the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, was Hispanic. He is actually Lebanese Mexican. So I guess that makes him a minority even in his home of Mexico.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
While this is kind of unconventional, I will answer your questions and ask you some. I'll let the voters decide if it's kosher. For lack of space, I will answer your questions in order, but I will not provide the text of your questions.

1. Not yet, but the societal trends certainly suggest that they will be in the future if we use affirmative action for that.

2. In some ways, but it doesn't make sense to reward someone because their grandma was discriminated against a great deal.

3. We're not really benefiting all that much anymore. And especially in our economy, we can't afford to hire anyone but the most qualified, regardless of skin color. And that question didn't really address my argument that we're essentially giving them reparations for what their great grandparents went through.

Ok, my questions to you:

1. Do you not agree that affirmative action is contrary to King's dream? Please explain.

2. Do you truly believe that minorities are at a strong disadvantage, even though the president is black, there are 14 Jews in the senate, and various other things which I brought up earlier?

3. How much do you truly think that the minorities of today are really hindered by the fact that their ancestors were oppressed many years ago?
Posted by RaeTulo 7 years ago
RaeTulo
Darn it! I thought we still had one more Con argument.
Sorry for the misunderstanding! Disregard my third post.
Posted by FalseReality 7 years ago
FalseReality
I would totally do Con for this if I could. Oh well.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by RaeTulo 7 years ago
RaeTulo
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by Hurstman 7 years ago
Hurstman
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Awed 7 years ago
Awed
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by C.Artificavitch 7 years ago
C.Artificavitch
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by twin 7 years ago
twin
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by aldooffline 7 years ago
aldooffline
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
Teleroboxer
abard124RaeTuloTied
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 Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by mongoose 7 years ago
mongoose
abard124RaeTuloTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30