The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
39 Points
The Contender
YYW
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Affirmative action should be ended in college admissions

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,464 times Debate No: 35445
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (7)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

Pro is against affirmative action and Con is for affirmative action.

In California, affirmative action was ended in 1996 with a ballot initiative that stated:

"The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." [1. http://en.wikipedia.org...]

In this debate only the college admissions portion of preferential treatment will be considered. I will argue that preferential public college admissions based upon race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin should be prohibited throughout the United States, and my opponent will argue that preferential treatment should be allowed as affirmative action throughout the country.

The status quo is that affirmative action is allowed in some places and prohibited in others. The debate is to be judged based upon what side makes the best case.


Rules

This opening round is for definitions and acceptance only. I will give the Pro case at the start of the second round.

Standard debate conventions apply. I list them here for the benefit of new debaters and readers. I believe there is nothing tricky or eccentric. Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation, with anything contrary to the rules to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

DR 1. All arguments must be made in the debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments are to be ignored.

DR 2. Source links or references must be included within the 8000 characters per round limit of the debate. No links or sources are permitted in comments.

DR 3 Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate.

DR 4. No new arguments shall be made in Round 4. Pro may rebut previous arguments using new evidence solely for that purpose, but no new arguments are allowed. Con may not present any new evidence in R4.

DR 5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted.


YYW

Con

I accept.

Many thanks to Roy for this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate.

Affirmative action mainly discriminates against Asians

Affirmative action has no effect on getting into the higher education system. The US has a tiered system of higher education so that virtually anyone who wants education after high school will not be denied it based upon academic admissions. There are 1166 two-year community colleges, and “In the United States, community colleges operate under a policy of 'open admission.' That is, anyone with a high school diploma or GED may attend, regardless of prior academic status or college entrance exam scores.” A student successful in a two-year community college can then transfer to a four-year institution. In addition, there are more than 20 four-year schools that take 100% of applicants directly and more than a hundred that take over 90% of applicants; the few rejections are likely for non-academic reasons. [2. http://tinyurl.com... ]

Affirmative action is about direct admission to the most competitive (i.e., elite) public schools like the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. [3. http://tinyurl.com... ] Under affirmative action, students of selected groups are admitted despite failure to meet the established academic criteria for admissions. The tiered system in California is typical of the US, with 10 top end University campuses designed to serve the top 12.5% of high school graduates, a larger State college system (23 campuses) designed to admit the top 30% of high school graduates, and 109 community colleges (having open admissions. [4. http://tinyurl.com... In the US as a whole, about half the students in higher education are in open-admission community colleges.

Nationwide, elite schools have disproportionately more Asian-Americans than than the general population. California has an Asian population of 14% of the total. When affirmative action was ended, the Asian admissions at UC Berkeley rose from 37% to 48%. In the entire country, Asians are 4.8% of the population; ending affirmative action is expected to increase the population at elite schools from 23% to 32%. All other racial and ethnic population percentages would be reduced as the Asian percentages increase. [5. http://tinyurl.com...]

Asians are a small minority and have suffered substantial historical disadvantage, including outright ban on immigration.. Asian immigrants faced language barriers, racial prejudices, and poverty. Japanese Americans were put in confinement camps in World War II. One might think Asians would be beneficiaries of affirmative action. Not so. They are deemed not a “disadvantaged” minority, so along with whites they are targeted for displacement by Blacks and Hispanics in elite schools.

Texas, California, and Florida all once had affirmative action for public college admissions. Affirmative action was banned in Texas and California in 1996, and in Florida in 1999. In all three states, ending racial and ethnic preferences increased Asian American representation on college campuses while reducing white, black, and Hispanic populations. Nationwide, a study revealed that Asians must score 140 points higher than whites to gain admissions to elite schools. [6. http://tinyurl.com...].

In the first half of the twentieth century there was a similar “problem” of “too many Jews” in the elite schools, and those schools imposed quotas upon admissions of Jews. Affirmative action remains a politically acceptable cloak for racial discrimination.

Affirmative action is unfair

It's fair to help people who have suffered substantial disadvantage. Abolishing affirmative action allows applicants to receive special treatment for reasons other than race, gender, or ethnicity. Standardized testing allows poor schools to be objectively identified. Statistics related to crime and poverty allow identification of a poor environment where the applicant has been raised. Individuals can apply based upon their individual circumstances, including poverty, discrimination, and family problems. Another way is to just ask the applicant if he or she has suffered disadvantage, and take his word for it. Accepting the opinion of the applicant alone would be preferable to the arbitrary awarding of benefits solely on account or race or ethnicity.

Children of the rich and powerful, receive benefits while poor and disadvantaged people who happen to be Asian or white are at a relative disadvantage. The granting of privileges under affirmative action is violates the principle of equal treatment under the law.

Granting benefits based upon race and ethnicity allows any group to demand special treatment. The political discussion then moves away from determining merit or remedying actual disadvantage to one of awarding benefits in return for votes. We should not be debating whether benefits should be given for one's heritage; we should be debating how to best assess merit. It's not possible to award privilege based upon race or ethnicity without accepting that such privilege is sometimes justified. The only way to uphold equality is to outlaw unwarranted privilege.

Affirmative action diminishes society and the economy

Society works best and is most competitive in the world economy when it turns out the best of each profession: scientists, physicians, teachers, engineers, and all else. The elite schools admitting academically unqualified applicants include medical schools. Affirmative action puts less qualified applicants into the limited number of educational slots available. Granting admission does not grant completion, and the result is what would be expected from admitting less qualified applicants. They drop out or perform less well than the qualified applicants. Society then gets fewer and less qualified professionals.

When affirmative action is ended, graduation rates increase. The way the tiered system works, if a student is denied admission at top school like Berkeley he will always be admitted to a less competitive level of the system. Both admissions and graduation rates for Blacks and Hispanics increased after California ended affirmative action. They applied and were accepted into the state college and community college systems, where they appropriately succeed. [7. http://tinyurl.com...]

Without affirmative action in California, Blacks and Latinos admissions and graduation rates have been steadily improving. Currently the UC system has 115,000 non-Latino whites and 100,000 whites. … California's community colleges enrolled 513,000 Latinos (up from 255,000 in 1996) and 506,000 whites (down from 519,000 in 1997). … 17% of African Americans who entered UC in 1992 (under affirmative action) graduated in four years; of those who began in 2007, 45% graduated in four years; 71% graduated in six years. Of those who entered in 1994, 57% had graduated in six years. [8. http://tinyurl.com...]

The idea that Blacks and Hispanics are perpetually disadvantage is a myth. Under competitive pressure, they do quite well. When affirmative action is banned, schools turn to seeking genuine disadvantage, and that is positive.

Affirmative action diminishes the people it is supposed to benefit.

Thomas Sowell, an African-American scholar at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, reveals that "today many Americans will refuse to visit a black physician or dentist because of their assumption that he or she was admitted both to medical school and to the position held through 'special preferences', set-aside quotas, and relaxed standards. The same is true for many other professionals and for other beneficiaries of 'affirmative action.'" [9. http://tinyurl.com...]

It diminishes self respect: "… affirmative action indirectly communicates a demoralizing message of inferiority that reinforces the same separatism it set out to solve. It is pure illogic to think that you can fight fire with fire and get anything but scorched earth." [10. http://tinyurl.com...]

Affirmative action in admissions should be ended.

YYW

Con

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

In R2 I introduced contentions claiming that affirmative action harms the recipients it is intended to help. Here I will provide additional arguments and evidence supporting that contentions.

Affirmative action puts applicants into difficult academic situations for which the not prepared. The problems this creates for the students is called mismatch. The impact is carefully documented in a book published last year. [11. Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr. “Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It”, Basic Books, 2012] Sandler is a civil rights advocate, lawyer, and law professor who served as a community organizer in the Black neighborhoods of Chicago. (Familiar?) Taylor is an investigative journalist. The book is based upon quantitative data in academic studies, and by interviews with admissions officers.

First, understand that the preferences given to applicants are very large, which means that they end up in schools way beyond their ability. In [11], the authors write:

... Thomas Espenshade, a leading expert on (and supporter of) affirmative action, and his coauthor Alexandria Walton Radford obtained academic data on a large number of students at a sample of selective, mostly private colleges. In their 2009 book on race in higher education, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, they reported that black applicants received “an admissions bonus . . . equivalent to 310 SAT points” relative to whites and more relative to Asians. ... Other studies focus on the vastly greater chance that a black applicant has of being admitted compared with a white applicant with the same academic index score.

There are two important points here. First, racial preferences are not remotely close to being the “tie-breakers” they are sometimes claimed to be. They require admissions offices to give priority to minority applicants over hundreds or thousands of white and Asian applicants with substantially higher academic indices. And second, because of the large divergences in average academic indices across racial lines, large racial preferences follow ineluctably if elite schools want student bodies whose racial mix reflects their applicant pool.

The disparity in preparation is so great that the effects are devastating:

It is not lack of talent or innate ability that drives these students to drop out of school, flee rigorous courses, or abandon aspirations to be scientists or scholars; it is, rather, an unintended side effect of large racial preferences, which systematically put minority students in academic environments where they feel overwhelmed. Because of the mismatch effect as well as the related role of racial preferences in fueling pernicious stereotypes of black intellectual inferiority, we will argue that the biggest problem for minorities in higher education is no longer race but rather racial preferences. [11. Introduction]

Affirmative action in general diverts resources away from low-income students of all races:

Most universities’ pervasive neglect of poor, working- and even middle-class students and its relationship to their single-minded focus on racial identity. ... Black students are, today, about a third more likely than are white students with otherwise similar characteristics to start college (although blacks are less likely than similar whites to finish college—in large part, we believe, because of mismatch). Meanwhile, low-income students of all races are 70 percent less likely than their affluent counterparts to enter college. In other words, the problem of access (which financial aid and moderate, targeted preferences can address) is social and economic. The problem of
persistence—of ending up with the degrees that students start college to achieve—has become a racial problem largely because of the pervasive use of very large racial preferences. [11. op cit]

The evidence against affirmative is so persuasive that long-time supporters are rethinking the issue:


As a high-profile defender of affirmative action, I used to think the so-called ‘mismatch’ problem was a bit overblown. Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor have caused me to think again. How many bright and promising minority students, we must ask, have failed because they were steered—with the best intentions, of course—into elite schools for which they were less prepared academically than most of their classmates? What better ways can we devise to boost academic achievement and expand the pool of qualified students of all races? We don't do future generations of students any favors by trying to ignore this issue or pretend it doesn't exist. If common-sense moderates don't step up and engage this debate, we only allow extremists to take control of it.
—Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning (1989 for Commentary) syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune [12. http://www.indiebound.org...]


We can help students who are genuinely disadvantaged, and we should be doing that instead of affirmative action as now constituted and practiced.



YYW

Con

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
RoyLatham

Pro

My opponent sought this debate through a forum thread. He has forfeited the two debate rounds. It would be nice if he could type the word "pass" rather than waiting for the three day expiration.

Con loses conduct for the forfeits, losses arguments for having posted nothing, and loses sources for providing no evidence whatsoever.

YYW

Con

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
Oh fvck off Veritas.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 3 years ago
InVinoVeritas
People should have their accounts suspended for stuff like this. :\
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Re: comment in the voting, the fonts look OK in Firefox, but I checked in Chrome and they look tiny. The embedded image appears about 75% on the time in Firefox, but it's 100% present in the Android Silk browser. ... Many SW mysteries ...
Posted by Raisor 3 years ago
Raisor
Too bad about the missed round. I was looking forward to reading this.
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
Ok.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
I'll post and then you can respond if you wish.
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
Thanks. I'll rebut and respond. Or, of you want to call this a forfeit and restart the debate that's fine too. Cheers.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
You should work as hard as you can to answer every argument made. If you decide you don't have anything to offer, promptly post "Conceded."
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
Forgot about this. If you want me to address your arguments, I can, if not, that's fine too. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Sure, no problem.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Noctan 3 years ago
Noctan
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: F.F.F.
Vote Placed by Raisor 3 years ago
Raisor
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Close debate but Con's case was really hurt by forfeiting every round.
Vote Placed by MisterDeku 3 years ago
MisterDeku
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. Oh pro, you may want to look at your font settings, it came out rather small.
Vote Placed by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF - I had not considered the way the USA does affirmative action. I would be interested to see the result (standardized test scores) of students who received admission ONLY because of affirmative action.
Vote Placed by jzonda415 3 years ago
jzonda415
RoyLathamYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: F.F.