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

Affirmative action policies should be justified in the US

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,140 times Debate No: 78511
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Affirmative Action has changed the world for many minorities.

I will argue for Affirmative Action. Anyone willing to argue against can join this debate and choose to debate against. Be my guest please :)

Here are some definitions and overall view of Affirmative Action
-affirmative action: policy of favouring members of disadvantaged groups/minorities who suffer from past discrimination within races
-justified: act to be just/right
-US: within the states

Feel free to join :)


I accept.
Note that we are debating the idea of affirmative action, where I will be arguing against it and my opponent for it.
Good luck, I look forward to the debate
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Lexus for accepting this debate. Nevertheless, I will like to move on to my arguments.

My first argument will be on the the equality from affirmative action with sub point A: Increase of diversity and sub point B: increase of greater opportunities to people, and I will post my second argument prior to my third round

Lets move onto my first sub point, the increase of diversity. A large part of the Affirmative Actions laws specify minority percentages for employment. This means that companies cannot discriminate a person or refuse to hire a person, solely based on their skin color. Affirmative action tends to increase diversity in the workplace at a faster pace than normal market forces. In addition, no evidence suggests that contractors have to hire unqualified candidates to fulfill affirmative action requirements. The other side may argue that affirmative actions that the amount of diversity would actually be harmful to everyone but haven"t we proved that everyone has rights? The reason why affirmative action is there is because the policy suggests that everyone is equal and has the rights. African American women earned 63 cents to dollar for the jobs that men do, and Hispanic women earn 57 cents to the dollar. In addition, blacks have twice the unemployment rate of whites, according to Understanding Prejudice. This is why we need affirmative action. With all the ongoing racism, if we place this policy in, our society would be equal.

Moving onto our second sub point, we can not stress enough on the fact that affirmative actions are increasing greater opportunities to people. Children of minority are much more likely to be subjected to poverty, violence, and other disrupting things in their past. This greatly impacts the education and schools of these communities. These laws help to give these students the help and boosts that they need to succeed in the world. Affirmative action programs have resulted in doubling or tripling the number of minority applications to colleges or universities, and have made colleges and universities more representative of their surrounding community. Statistics show that after California abolished its affirmative action programs in 1998, the minority student admissions at UC Berkeley fell 61 percent, and minority admissions at UCLA fell 36 percent. When affirmative action is put into place, it give the minorities so much more rights than they did in the past. We are giving the people who were discriminated in the past a chance to rise in our society now. The fact that other races other than these African Americans were on the the top of the pyramid, with Affirmative Action we are making things equal by letting these African Americans have a chance to also climb to the top as well. In our past, these African Americans had chances to get into jobs because they were smart enough to do so. But whites were only considered in these economic stances, smart or not. We are giving a chance to the past races discriminated and without affirmative action, how will we ever do so?

I feel like with affirmative action, there will be equality among all races.

I would like to hear a rebuttal from my opponent and their arguments as well

Best wishes out to my opponents! :)


Thanks for your opening arguments. As a reminder, since you are new to the site, you should cite your sources with links/citations at the end of your argument. This allows us to check the validity of the sources and what you have said. If you want to post your sources in the next round, that'd be appreciated.

I will begin my arguments with an example. Let's imagine I am starting a bake shop and I need 100 employees to start my business off the right way. It should be known that I am in a city with an affirmative action ordinance which says that at least 15% of employees should be from diverse backgrounds. I send out an ad in the paper looking for people that are qualified for this job. I receive 200 applications, and I sort them into two groups; desirable and undesirable, both of which have 100 people in (desirable and undesirable are based on applications, not race, they are just categorised into race when looking if I am meeting affirmative action guidelines). The numbers for each are as follows:
  • Desirable:
    • 94 white
    • 4 black
    • 2 latino
    • (1:1 male to female ratio)
  • Undesirable:
    • 89 white
    • 5 black
    • 6 latino
    • (1:1 male to female ratio)
This presents a real problem. If I hire all of the people in the desirable category, I am breaking the ordinance about affirmative action and I am not meeting diverse guidelines. But these are the people that are qualified and that I deem good enough to be in my place of work...
I have to turn away 9 completely qualified white people, simply based on the fact that they are white - and I have to go through the unqualified applicants and hire 9 unqualified minorities simply based on the fact that they are minorities.

My opponent says that they are arguing that affirmative action is great, because they are basing their "first argument ... on the equality from affirmative action". I ask you, reader: is turning away someone based on race, not merit, something that we should encourage in the workplace? The very thing that affirmative action is meant to get rid of - racial discrimination - is exactly what it is creating.

Not only this, either: affirmative action leads to less personal accountability.
I ask the reader, if a black student can get admitted into an Ivy League school with a low GPA, what incentive would they have to get a 4.0? They can get into an Ivy League school with a mediocre SAT and ACT score, why would they study to improve their scores to a level that is truly noteworthy?
What this leads to is a disconnect from work and reward in the real life, and ultimately if you are rewarded immensely for work on a mediocre level, then you are not as likely to truly succeed in the workplace since you are used to having your hand held and not having to work for yourself for anything that you have acheived in life. This is just a side effect of favoring a low-scoring minority to a high-scoring majority just based on the fact that someone is part of the majority - not because they are high scoring.

My opponent claims "African American women earned 63 cents to dollar for the jobs that men do", which sounds terrible: but if we think about the implications of that we can deduce that it simply isn't true. If employers can get away with paying black women just 63 cents to the dollar of a man, then why aren't there corporations in the US simply employing black women? The profit margain would increase substantially, and workplaces are based around profit! As Christina Hoff Sommers explains [1], the real reason that women are seen to make less money than men is because there are different life goals and hours worked for the sexes - it isn't based around a deep-rooted patriarchy. We can take this idea and apply it to black women as well - there is no deep-rooted discrimination against black women based simply on their sex or race.

Next, my opponent claims that affirmative actions are increasing greater oppurtunities to people - and this is true. However, it doesn't look at the big picture, which actually shows that it harms exactly as much as it helps. It harms white people as much as it benefits those of different races - overall it is a net neutral. Because the harm is such as present as the benefit that is made, and they are exactly the same weighted, we can say that this entire point holds no weight at all. We can't consider an argument that literally harms as much as it benefits - but the argument only looks at the benefits as a deceitful way to avoid the real issues.

Debate Round No. 2


I am very honoured to be debating against such an experienced debater! Because I am a beginner, I am very sorry for the lack of knowledge here. However, I would like to start off by also setting an example to our viewers from my previous arguments.

Imagine a balance. One side-lets say the left side- is discriminated minorities [ex. African Americans, Latino, etc.] and the other side -right side- is a higher prestige class [White people, etc.] Right now in our past, it was unequal. The left side was leaning towards the ground whereas, the right side was way at the top. With affirmative action, it flips around vice verse. We see in our future that the balance will now be equal with affirmative action. If we do not use affirmative action, the left side would always stay at the bottom. We would stay in our past. If we analyze deeper and think more about the situation without affirmative action we can now see that we will never see an equal future, which is what we strive in our society today.

My opponents have talked in their first argument with an example of the desirable and undesirable ratio. Although I do not understand quite the context my opponents are talking about, I will like to have a clarification on my summary of your argument: My opponents are saying that with the affirmative action policies put into place, they are in a way spoon-feeding the minorities. Putting less expectations into consideration of minorities, there for making unfairness towards the accountability stances. [Clarification for this please] However, we have to think into what is making this. The reason why affirmative action is in action in our presence is due to the fact that the higher classes discriminated these minorities. My opponents keep on saying that "This disconnects from works and rewards in the real life, and ultimately if you are rewarded immensely for work on a mediocre level, then you are not as likely to truly succeed in the workplace since you are used to having your hand held and not having to work for yourself for anything that you have achieved in life." But should these higher classes be "rewarded" for their past mistakes and discrimination? Not only that but these higher classes have had so many chances for years. Minorities chances are off the charts due to the count of their race, skin colour, and looks. We are rising their chances by many meters because there are minorities out there who strive for knowledge, but yet was unconsidered just from their looks. For that, this falls.

Not only that but this rebuttal leads into my next argument: Reversing past discrimination.

My second motion shows that affirmative action is placed in because it would reverse the negative effects caused by years of discrimination. Discrimination has been going on for years. Affirmative Action, is not directly meant to stop discrimination. It implies around the fact that affirmative action gives more chances to minorities. It promises equality to our future. Affirmative Action has helped the people who have been discriminated to open their eyes to a better place and a better world. Let"s be reasonable here, the side opposition is saying that reverse discrimination should never be the next answer. But we should never let go of the fact that Latino"s and African American people were killed, tortured, in slavery and unconsidered for their colour. That they were treated badly for years. My viewers, we are forgetting the fact that these higher classes [ex. white people] have killed and discriminated many minorities in the past. My opponent is suggesting that it would also harm the white people/higher classes but isn't this why we should have affirmative action? Because it would only be fair for the higher classes who have never been touched know how much these disposed race went through? Now this does not imply that we should also enslave white people, and kill them. But in these stances, I encourage and stress that affirmative action will change all the past mistakes made from higher classes, but failed to realize the outcomes. I would like to leave a question for the viewers and my opponent.
"Are my opponents implying that we should never give these minorities a chance?"

My opponents refuted my argument on the stance that it will increase greater opportunities. They have agreed, but also stated the harm. But contender, don't you agree that even if it harms, it will help another side? That if we allow affirmative action, we would become an equal society now that the minorities had the other chance? That affirmative action helps both sides in our future?

They have also refuted one of my examples on the case: that African American women get a less amount because of their sex. But even if there are different life goals and hours worked for the sexes, does it still change the fact that it is unequal? No it doesn't. Just because they have different goals and hours, does not mean they should get less money/unconsidered/not taken seriously.

I see that they have not refuted my first sub point and I request my opponents perspective on this argument, but for now it still stands.

I also thank my opponents for giving me some advice, and am willing to post one for you via my first argument in the second round.

Again, best wishes to my opponent


My opponent asked for some clarification regarding my arguments, so I will provide some here.

What my first argument basically boils down to is that, in affirmative action, we are not hiring people based on merit or their qualifications; instead we are hiring them simply because we *have to* by law. We are hiring people simply based on their race instead of things that we should be hiring them upon. This is racial discrimination, which affirmative action was created in order to completely prevent (it was created to prevent people from hiring only white people simply because they are white - a noble idea, but not very practically implemented). The harms of racial discrimination in the workplace are well known, so affirmative action must be negative, at least in this sense. The desirable:undesirable ratio was simply two groups of people; one group that I wanted to hire and had the merit for hiring (desirable) and one group that wasn't good for hiring but still applied (undesirable). There isn't a need to look further into the wording, it should be pretty straightforward.

My second argument is basically that minorities do not have self accountability under a system of affirmative action. They do not have to hold themselves accountable for their failures in order to get a higher score on the SAT, for example, because Ivy League schools will admit black students on mediocre SAT scores compared to the average white student's scores to get into the same school.

Now, I will go on to respond to my opponent's arguments further.

"The reason why affirmative action is in action in our presence is due to the fact that the higher classes discriminated these minorities"
My opponent says that the reason that affirmative action exists is to retaliate against centuries-old discrimination... not to ensure equality in the workplace, not to ensure that everyone has a chance in life... it is to retaliate against the higher classes! (These higher classes are, assumably, white men).
I ask: is this discrimination present on a large scale in present times? I would argue that we have gone very far from the old days where one can deny work to anyone based on the color of their skin - we even have a President that is black! Now, this isn't to say that racism or discrimination doesn't exist, it always will I believe, but on a large-term scale (which invoking a policy of Affirmative Action would require), there is not any.

"But should these higher classes be "rewarded" for their past mistakes and discrimination? Not only that but these higher classes have had so many chances for years."
They aren't, though. A white person that gets a seat in the Senate doesn't get that seat because they are white - that'd be absurd! A black person doesn't get into the Senate simply because they are black, either - that's equally as absurd in this day and age.
I believe that the higher classes (a fancy term for white men, admittedly) *used to* have more chances for years, simply because it was the status quo to only emply these white men. But times have changed, and if you can't see that you really should read the news, because it is so obvious; we have black women in all careers in all positions WITHOUT having to force employers to hire them to those positions.

"Minorities chances are off the charts due to the count of their race, skin colour, and looks. We are rising their chances by many meters because there are minorities out there who strive for knowledge, but yet was unconsidered just from their looks. For that, this falls."
This is an extraordinary claim, and thus it requires an extraordinary source to back it up. There are black people in all sorts of positions worldwide without having to hold their hand through the process, why is Affirmative Action required? All I see is an argument that holds to the premise that minorities (and women are not a minority, but that is for another time) cannot be hired because they don't have any oppurtunities whatsoever, and thus we need to hire more and more of them, even if they are incompetent.

RE: Everything said in "reversing past discrimination"
What is our moral obligation to present an unfair workplace due to past grievances, and admittedly, grievances that happened well over a century ago (slavery and widespread discrimination)? I'd say that, while we need to recognise what happened in the past, we do not need to elevate the precious workplace in order to make people feel good about bad things that happened in the past.
Everything that my opponent is arguing for is based on the premise that we need to recognise past discrimination (I agree with this), try to prevent it from happening (I agree with this), and to prevent a fair workplace based on this past discrimination (I do not agree).

My opponent also uses the term "reverse discrimination", but let's be real here: there is no such thing. Discrimination isn't power + privilege or something equally as crazy as the term "reverse discrimination". There's just discrimination, and there are subsets for this thing: racial, sexual, etc. No such thing as reverse discrimination, there's just being a terrible person and not giving equal access to oppurtunities based on some unnecessary thing.
Debate Round No. 3


Because that we are now on the final rounds I will put up one rule following upon the next round
1)No more new present arguments/evidence->unless your opponents asked for one

For now let me reconstruct my opponents refutation towards my argument

They have refuted my claim that we should now discriminate the other class for past discrimination, and discrimination has now lessened. But just because we now have a president that is black does not mean that there is no discrimination at all in our country, which in my definition is the US. My opponents are complaining on the fact that we NEED to discriminate higher classes to pay back the minorities disturbed past. But ladies and gentleman I ask you, what other way is there to pay back these minorities? Which now leads me to the question that I want to state: Does that mean it is okay to discriminate the other side forever? That we should never let minorities have their equality? No, that is why we need affirmative action because I can't stress enough that this way is the most effective to pay back all the killings and unfairness brought upon minorities! My opponent have basically stated in the first sentences of the paragraph exactly what I intended to say! Perfect!

Nonetheless, they have also said refuted my claims in now black people are getting more chances and making it unfair. Haven't I not stated that there are people out there who work hard for their degree, yet they don't get hired for it?[1] It also follows me up to the fact that they refuted my claim for "extraordinary sources" and hiring without merit. Extraordinary source? Here you go. [1] But have my opponent not read that before, they were never considered from skin and race even if they had a degree? Affirmative Action is allowing discriminated people have a chance! Higher classes have been favoured one too many ladies and gentleman! Why should we not allow affirmative action? There is no reason why we should not! The fact that my opponent is implying in her whole arguments is that we are being unfair to the higher classes! But why should we be fair to them when they have already been considered to in the future? Affirmative Action is making things fair, and they fail to realize this. Not only that, but they gave us the SAT example. But do they not realize that these minorities never got chances they had in the past?

"What is our moral obligation to present an unfair workplace due to past grievances, and admittedly, grievances that happened well over a century ago (slavery and widespread discrimination)? I'd say that, while we need to recognise what happened in the past, we do not need to elevate the precious workplace in order to make people feel good about bad things that happened in the past"
Because these grievances happened over a century ago, doesn't mean we should skip it in our cycle of life. People still grow up, knowing these specific discriminated races. They are implying that we have no right to make them feel good. But that is not what I am saying. I am showing why we need to do this. For equality, for better diversity, not solely off of past discrimination. My opponents are taking my argument too harsh and we are not focused on that one argument. It only SUGGESTS that it only makes it fair.

I apologize for taking "reverse discrimination" into this debate, but if my opponents will not use this as an argument, I will move forth into my case. Because my opponent said there is no such thing, I will consider this as something I do not need to refute on.

From what I read, they have not refuted my diversity claim, therefore making it still stand.

Affirmative action shows an equal future. That if we allow the other race to have a chance in reality, our future promises an equal society. Affirmative action shows us an increase in diversity, making workplaces much more efficient than hiring the same race over and over again. Not only that, but it shows justice towards the discriminated race. Ladies and gentleman, my opponent has been ignoring my definition all along. It says in the resolution, justified. We see affirmative action as a just act towards our future. It shows a right towards the minorities, a right for them to be as equal. My opponent only suggests that it harms the higher classes. But ladies and gentleman, these minorities have been harmed. Why do we make this just by not giving the higher classes a burden, like the minorities. On the balance of equality, affirmative action shows us that it balances it out in our future. It will make better work forces from diversity. It will increase opportunities the

Lets dig into the cost-benefit analysis. On the opposition, the cost is large especially to the higher class. On my side, the benefit is towards the minorities. Which one would you want to support? My viewers for the debate, do you not agree that the benefit towards minorities is much more vast than the harms of higher classes?

Long term, the impact of affirmative action is big. It is equal, and we want an equal society.

Be my guest, would you let the minorities take a stand in our society today? Or let the higher considered race take over the whole equality stance?

Vote pro, please take in consideration of my last questions.

I again, give my best wishes to con. It was a great debate and I am looking forward to debating again with you :)



I thank my opponent for a great debate, as we are now going into a close.
Just as a reminder; my opponent has the burden of proof to show that the benefits of affirmative action outweigh the harms. If they fail to do so, the win must automatically go to me.

My opponent shows that, even though we have a black president, racism and discrimination are not dead. This is true, 100% totally true, there is nothing wrong with that claim. I even said that discrimination and racism exist in my response! My opponent fails to credit me for this, because if they did so, they would make a deadly mistake; when I said that these things exist, I mentioned that these things do not exist on a wide enough scale to have any real impact that would require affirmative action to be put into the workplace. This is totally true!
What I was trying to get at with my "we have a black president" argument is that we don't need affirmative action to make a minority have a high position of power, which affirmative action exists for.

"My opponents are complaining," pro says, "that we NEED to discriminate [for affirmative action to exist]". Do you see anything wrong with this quote? I sure do... it is advocating for the exact thing that it was trying to pay the damages for: discrimination. My opponent is literally advocating for an equal work environment by promoting discrimination on nothing but the basis of race and sex. My opponent's argument is, essentially: we need to combat systematic discrimination against minorities and women (although this does not exist) by discriminating against the (non-majority) white male, which will help us stop (actually perpetuate) discrimination in the workplace.

My opponent asks us to consider the deaths that happened hundreds of years ago when the system was discriminatory... and truly, the system was terrible and we lost too many people to a system that didn't allow the person to get ahead based on merit, instead race and sex. Times have changed, this is no longer an issue in modern America (at least at a level which would warrant Affirmative Action). The best way to remember those lost and move forward is to think about what happened to these people and vow to never make the same mistake, while not rewarding people for something that happened hundreds of years ago. By my opponent's logic, we would have to allow the Irish to get ahead in every job, since they were treated on a level equal to colored people at the time, IF NOT WORSE!

She also presents a false dichotomy, in favor of affirmative action; allow AA or have a system that actively discriminates based solely on skin color or sex. What's false about this dichotomy is that it's actually just one choice, written as two! AA discriminates soley on skin race and sex, as I have been showing throughout this entire debate. It is also false in the way that it presents that without AA we have active discrimination, but we really don't; at least not a level that would warrant a change in the status quo.

My opponent's source for saying that minorities do not get hired as often simply because of their race holds literally no water - if I may quote the source, "their workforces ... are predominately white, Asian, and male." What this means is that white and Asian students getting out of college have the exact same opportunities - a minority has the same hiring rate as a majority. The difference between college graduates for black and hispanic graduates getting hired is around 3% of the total population of all graduates - so low of a number, in fact, that it is a statistical anomaly!

Later, she says that SAT scores being used against white students and being used in favor of minorities is because the minorities didn't have opporunities in the past. She literally states, "minorities never got chances they had in the past." This is complete hogwash - the life of your great-great-great-great-grandfather has no bearing on whether or not you are able to get a decent score on the SAT and hold yourself accountable for that score.

She later says that even though the grievances (which are lost opportunities for minorities) are centuries-old, she even admits that all of these grievances happened over a century ago in her response, we need to still have them a part of daily life. Come on, we don't need to have SLAVERY as part of our daily life and reward people because a few hundred years ago their ancestors were slaves. That's utterly ridiculous, and that's exactly what she is advocating.

Now, let's get into some cost-benefit analysis:
Pros -
  • allows for higher diversity (I dropped this claim)
  • allows for centuries-old grievances to be settled (not really, as shown in my refutations)
  • allows for equal opportunities (again, completely refuted!)

Cons -

  • advocates for the very thing that it wants to get rid of (racial discrimination)
  • is inequal for society in the short, and long, term (inequal hiring practices, etc)
  • does not allow for personal accountability (holds the hands of minorities)

The last two bullet points for the pros were completely refuted by me, so when weighing cost-harms, these should not be in account. Essentially what we need to consider is: higher diversity v. racial discrimination, inequal hiring practices and a lack of personal accountability. But higher diversity never had any weight applied to it when my opponent was arguing - and debates of policy require weight in order to even be considered.

Pretty much, my opponent's entire case is weightless and refuted - in essense, it is not even worth consideration when you weigh the pros and cons of AA. Make the rational choice and vote for con, since pro 1. hasn't met their burden and 2. didn't have any weighted claims.

Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Lexus 2 years ago
Thank you for the vote, Kozu.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Feel free to ask for clarification.
Posted by hellywon 2 years ago
Posted by Lexus 2 years ago
by the way pro, you aren't allowed to make any rule after the first round. I will try to comply but that's not fair whatsoever, I already had some of a reply in my mind :U
Posted by HarrisonJHamilton 2 years ago
I'm all for Affirmative Action. As long as whites will be able to benefit in 10 to 20 years when they become the minority in the USA.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Kozu 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The biggest thing I'm going to stress to Pro is that you needs to explain why maximizing rights for minorities is good. I know it seems silly to explain something so self-evidently good but as a judge reading with a tabula rasa view, I have no reason to support such things unless I'm told of some positive impact for it. In the beginning you acknowledge that even if Con shows that diversity is harmful, we should do it anyway. If trying to maximize rights serves as a net detriment to society, I'm not going to support it. You do give some positives impacts, like how it would increase pay for black women, but Con's argument about them having different life goals and worked hours convinces me otherwise. I would have liked to see you enforce how much AA would reduce poverty. With that said, I'm buying Con's positive impacts for rejecting AA (increase personal accountability and avoids undesirable employees). I also like how Con *turned* AA's purpose on itself, as it promotes discrimination.