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

Affirmative action is effective at combating racial inequality.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,707 times Debate No: 27771
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)




First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I understand that this is still a controversial issue, and I look forward to debating it.

As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, affirmative action is "an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education". The practice is mainly in place to help combat inequality between races.

As a method of combatting racial inequality, this is flawed by its very nature; instead of eliminating racial inequality, this merely tries to fight racial inequality by skewing things in the other direction (fighting fire with fire). Clearly, that is NOT the racial equality that our civil rights leaders fought for. True racial quality would be admitting people to positions based on qualifications alone and completely ignoring race.


I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this topic, and hope to bring some light to it.

My opponent uses the term; "fight fire with fire". I don't know if he is aware, but you can actually fight fire with fire. I have witnessed myself before.

Here is a link that shows this very well;


You could actually visualize this using that own analogy of "fire with fire" that my opponent brought out.

When the system was first put into place, the system excluded a very large part of the population. They had no rights what so ever, and they weren't allowed in the system even know they were part of (you could visualize this as the begin of an unjust mistake, and the begin of fire burning from one side).

Once they finally accept the injustice they have put this part of the population into it, the system had already being put in place for years, and those people were left at the very bottom of the system.

This system is a system of capitalism, which the opportunities are greater from the starting point. From there on, whoever is at the top has more opportunities, and better chances to stay there, those who are on the bottom has less opportunities, and in consequence chances are more favorable for them remaining there.

Affirmative action, is an action to try to accomplish bringing back the same opportunities for those generation of oppressive people that never had the chance to start from where they should have (the beginning point). They were there at the beginning, but were denied the rights.

The fire that was started, was a fire to consume all, the fire from affirmative action, was a different fire, started to control the burning flames that exists, and hopefully at one point, bring that fire to extinguish.

Debate Round No. 1


My apologies for the late response- been busy for the past few days.

My opponent's argument largely revolves around slavery and how it was very difficult for freed African Americans to get on their feet because of being denied so many rights for so long, and I can understand affirmative action more in the wake of that. However, my opponent makes no strong argument for why it should still be in place in 2012. Even since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it's been nearly half a century- there comes a time to move on.

However, I am still maintaining my position that this is not a good way to combat racial inequality. Hiring or accepting should always be done based on qualifications and ignore race altogether. It is not the right solution to try to make up for our past mistakes by making things unequal in the other direction- we need to focus on treating everybody the same way regardless of things such as race and gender if we want to move forward as a society.


I like that you brought out the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before this act was put in place, and even a period after such, those people were just abandoned to the very bottom. Not only that, but because of discrimination against them, they weren't even allowed to try to rise to anything above what they already had, which was little to nothing.

This is what happened. They were "freed" from a cruel act, which is slavery, and were dumped on the streets filled with discriminatory people that did not want them there, and would even refuse to sell or let them use any of those facilities. After a long wait "enjoying" (insert sarcasm here) a locked "freedom", the government finally pass such of act, which is an embarrassing thing for the nation (imagine, your government had to force you to not discriminate). After such of act, the people didn't just willing listen to their government, it took time for the people to get used to obey such of act. This wasn't such of a long time ago, many of the people from that time still live among us (I say this mostly for the cruel people that hold those suffering people back. Imagine this, they are still living among us).

So not even half of a century has passed, and many of those who live in such of cruelty still alive today.

When is enough you say?

There would never be enough, no matter how much you try to set things right, it will never be, what was done was an atrocity and will be forever so. All you can do, is try to repair, even if it cannot be (kind of like when you send someone to jail after they kill someone, it doesn't matter how long that person will stay in jail, the life s/he took will never be given back, it doesn't mean we will just let the guy walk free because of that).

The system should go at least until there is a balance in equality, which is far from it, after less than half of a decade. When you do something horrible to someone, you try to pay it back with more than your damage, and not think as; what would a reasonable payment be in this case?

You are pretty much acting like the criminal that I compared to. You serve a few years, and are wondering; how much more should I serve? At one point, you should all just go on with your lives and forget what I did. (I hope you don't take this in a bad way)

Debate Round No. 2


No, I completely understand the context of your criminal analogy. I'm not taking it as an attack at all.

However, you're comparing the actions of members of an extremely large group of people to the actions of an individual. It is not beneficial to society to punish a large group of people (many of whom aren't even guilty of anything at this point) the same way that an individual would be punished. With that mentality, you only end up making the hatred/anger that this discrimination stems from worse.

I don't think that anybody should forget slavery or forget the years of discrimination that African Americans experienced, but we should look back on the experience, accept that what we did was wrong, treat people equally regardless of race, and move on. If we don't move on as a society. If our society doesn't move on, then the problem will only get worse. You're trying to correct something that is morally wrong by doing the same thing in reverse, which doesn't make it any less wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right.

As for your point about people still among us that want to discriminate, that will never go away. There are laws in place to protect minorities against discrimination, and those are effective because these people know that they'll be sued and lose if they attempt to.


Affirmative action is not discriminatory, is here to try to repair wrong actions in the pass. It does not try to discriminate against any group, but to help the group of which was once discriminated and held from accomplishing anything.

If it was something to take it back on those who did them wrong, I'll completely support CON's argument, of which it as he put it; "It is not beneficial to society to punish a large group of people (many of whom aren't even guilty of anything at this point) the same way that an individual would be punished. With that mentality, you only end up making the hatred/anger that this discrimination stems from worse. ". However, that is not what affirmative action is for, it is the attempt to repair the fairness of such of group, of which, never had the chance to have what they should from the beginning.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by babyy 3 years ago
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Posted by Cometflash 3 years ago
@Defool Thank you!
I guess maybe I should have this public somewhere in my profile.

I just not very good to write things up when is to be about myself.

Writing is by far the hardest part to do since there are so many words that sounds very much alike. Another thing is, I must try to think in English and not translate from my original language since the grammar rules are very different, some words in English/Portuguese does not have a translation as well (example, the word "cool" as a temperature does not exist in Portuguese). The thing I have more trouble with however, is getting stuck in a word. If you stop mid sentence to think of a word, or to make sure you are spelling and placing correctly, you are bound to forget how that sentence was going to be formed, and in consequence having to reconstruct what you once had in mind, but now not longer do.
Posted by DeFool 3 years ago

I was unaware of this, thank you for making this information known. I need to congratulate you on your fluency in English. For a new tongue, you have shown a mastery of my native vernacular that far surpasses every single resident of Mississippi. Except for one person.
Posted by Cometflash 3 years ago
@danmhood Thanks. Same wishes.

I like to go with what I have, and not with what I can find.
I also pretty much go on with the idea that I'll probably lose the grammar/spelling contest. I cannot really know if I'm being correct or not since I never really study the language.
My first language is Portuguese, and I took Spanish as a second language at school. I never really had a chance to properly study the language, all I know is from dedication of watching movies and TV series in English without subtitles for years, and ruthless attempts of communicating through message boards and forums for almost the same amount of time.
At the beginning I try to do so to learn Japanese, but message boards and forums kicked me, they wanted me to write in the symbolic form, which I had no idea how to.
My intentions weren't to be rude to my opponent, but I felt it could have been taken in such of way, of why I made sure to point so.
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Posted by DeFool 3 years ago
In R1, affirmative action is defined as "an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education." And the negating argument is introduced as, "instead of eliminating racial inequality, this merely tries to fight racial inequality by skewing things in the other direction."

Obviously, this counter is a simple restating of the definition presented " and does not refute the resolution "Affirmative Action is effective at combating racial inequality." Of course AA is an attempt to "skew racial inequality in the other direction." What is required is a demonstration that AA does not effectively skew racial inequality in the other direction. Pro did not seem to notice this.

R2, Pro simply defines AA in more complimentary tones, and Con simply re-asserts his opinion on the fairness of the practice. R3 continues to see Pro defending AA, in an unfocused and rambling manner. Con concedes a main "argument" of Pro"s: "As for your point about people still among us that want to discriminate, that will never go away." Which seems to agree with much of Pro"s logic on the matter; that is, that AA is needed to neutralize this discrimination. ("I say this mostly for the cruel people that hold those suffering people back. Imagine this; they are still living among us")
Posted by DeFool 3 years ago

As a strong supporter of Affirmative Action, I would like to see Pro improve his S&G, keep his arguments more focused and concise, and improve his understanding of the counter-arguments. (He should have noted the logical flaw that I pointed out.) He will also improve his advocacy by maintaining a calm, more respectful demeanor, without the sarcasm and hyperbole. These are not necessary, and are often counterproductive.

In the end, I could not name a clear winner for the "Convincing Arguments" score. I am won over by the arguments for Affirmative Action, but these were not used forcefully here. Pro defined the term well, and offered good opinions on the topic " but no real arguments were presented. (P1+P2=C) Con conceded a key point, but I am required to evaluate the debate on what actually gets presented " and this concession was never recognized. I was also forced to award Con conduct for his composure and calm, and S&G for the many, many grammar errors committed by Pro.
Posted by danmhood 3 years ago

Good debate! Let the best man win.
Posted by danmhood 3 years ago

Thank you for your feedback! I'll see if I can fit my definition of effectiveness at combatting into my rebuttal, as well as revise my argument a bit to clear a few things up.
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 3 years ago

The technicality of the term isn't what I question, but by the last sentence of your first paragraph I think you understand that.

I'm sure if you run a business to which you knowingly reject all majorities you will fall under intense scrutiny. That statement is to exaggerate the reality of the circumstance. There is no level playing field where minorities are being chosen above majorities, and that's the general illusion of AA opponents. You could suggest that it is a form of repentance, and if it encompasses the idea that the need for diversity in today's society is due to the fact that only certain and specific classes, races, and gender were previously reaping the benefits of privilege for a very long time and we (as a society) wish to change that, I'll agree.

Not to disregard the current progress by minorities. As Bill Maher illustrates, "A black man has now entered the oval office, and several of the Kardashians." (lol)

To say that AA doesn't allow for the empowerment of individuals based on their own abilities is to disregard the fact that AA was a way for employees who were qualified and accomplished but discriminated against to gain jobs on a level not before seen. It's not about hiring minorities who can't compare, it's about allowing minorities who wouldn't generally be given a chance, the chance. It's like saying desegregation laws shouldn't make minorities feel empowered because they didn't walk in on their own power. Any non-minority who resents a minority because of a policy of inclusivity, probably wasn't too fond to begin with.

I'd much rather have this conversation over PM. I'd rather not fuel someone's case.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:11 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither extended the arguments very far. It was "treat all equally" v "compensate for discrimination." I don't know what data or sources might be used, but I would have found something to argue my case with if this was my debate. Conduct to Pro for his "composure and calm". Pro's use of commas instead of starting a new sentence loses him S&G.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: See Comments.