Affirmative action is wrong
Debate Rounds (3)
The statement "affirmative action is wrong" is very subjective. This can be twisted in many ways. For the purpose of intellectual honesty, we should argue whether affirmative action helps minorities more than it hurts those in the majority. We should also examine whether or not injury to the majority is such that affirmative action is unjust, regardless of its positive affect on minorities.
I would argue that though there are examples of affirmative action being injurious to the very organization employing it, there are far greater examples of affirmative action helping society overall. This may be indicative of the application of affirmative action in different settings, but the overall intent of affirmative action, as well as the primary benefits are not "wrong" by any measure I can think of.
My opponent makes a misguided attempt to show that affirmative action is wrong based on emotional appeals, and irrelevant statements about one group that has benefited from affirmative action (blacks). She further implies those in the majority "suffer" from affirmative action. She also implies affirmative action is some kind of punishment against whites for having enslaved blacks. All these statements are based on a misguided interpretation of how affirmative action works, and who it benefits.
According to the National Council on State Legislatures, President John F. Kennedy first coined the term in an Executive Order urging that contractors use "affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." This led to the establishment of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and EEO policies in the workplace. Lyndon Johnson later issued his own Executive Order requiring contractors to raise their number of minority workers. Colleges and Universities later executed similar policies in recruiting in order to boost their number of minority students. (1)
The argument that simple policies somehow hurt whites as a whole is a very frivolous argument. For centuries, whites have held a monopoly on legislation, law enforcement, education, politics, finance, and land ownership. During the "New Deal," according to the book "When Affirmative Action was White," 65% of African Americans were denied benefits. During and after WWII, while black military members had trouble receiving even the benefits they earned like the GI Bill, recent immigrants from Eastern Europe experienced a revolutionary transformation in their citizenship status. (2)
In a country where the wealth gap is growing between whites and minorities, affirmative action is not only beneficial to all, but necessary. In 2005, whites had a median household net worth of $134,992. Hispanics had a median household net worth of $18,359, and black had a median household net worth of $12,124. Just 4 years later, white's median household net worth had fallen to $113,149. For Hispanics, it fell to $6,325, and for blacks it fell to $5,677. A third of Hispanic and black households in 2009 had a zero or negative net worth in 2009, while only 15% of blacks fit that profile. (3)
It is important to note, also, that the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action are not black, rather white women. White women, like blacks, once couldn't vote, and once were considered property. Thanks to affirmative action, the number of women (mostly white women) has grown in the following areas (and more):
" The percentage of women architects increased from 3% to nearly 19% of the total;
" The percentage of women doctors more than doubled from 10% to 22% of all doctors;
" The percentage of women lawyers grew from 4% to 23% of the national total;
" The percentage of female engineers went from less than 1% to nearly 9%;
" The percentage of female chemists grew from 10% to 30% of all chemists; and
" The percentage of female college faculty went from 28% to 42% of all faculty. (4)
It would seem to me that affirmative action is not "wrong," rather beneficial to those it is intended to aid, and largely harmless to those who perceive it as "wrong."
(2) When Affirmative Action Was White by Ira Katznelson
My opponent acknowledges the numbers- white women have largely benefited from affirmative action. She makes a strange appeal to her authority as a white woman with regard to analyzing those numbers. I don't see the reason in giving her any consideration in analyzing those numbers simply because she is part of the demographic. I don't understand the difference between my observing white women have largely benefited from affirmative action vs. a white woman observing white women have benefited from affirmative action.
My opponent makes a statement that appears to be elitist self-righteous indignation: "I still don't see why I have to help other people for something I didn't cause."
She puts herself, erroneously, in an imaginary demographic that is not assisted by affirmative action, and makes an appeal to the emotion of that demographic. To be clear- if it wasn't for "affirmative action," which refers to policies intended to boost participation levels in different areas for specific under-represented demographics, has assisted white women with regard to their representation in many areas, and more so than most other demographics. My opponent does not dispute this, rather she implies she sees it a little different. Personally, I fail to see how perspective has anything to do with positive statistics for her demographic. If perspective were relevant it is my opponent's burden to prove, or at least make an attempt at convincing us of, that relevance. Though she claims that when she sees something that benefits her it's natural for her to like it more she also still claims affirmative action is "wrong."
My opponent goes a little further than merely placing herself erroneously in a demographic that is not assisted by affirmative action- she also puts herself in an imaginary demographic of those who assist others by implementing affirmative action. I don't understand how she comes to this conclusion. How is she helping anybody for something she didn't cause? My opponent has a very misguided idea of how affirmative action works.
Mangani forfeited this round.
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