The Instigator
KevinLanzing
Pro (for)
The Contender
Mason27
Con (against)

Do Americans still enjoy 'equality of opportunity'?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 209 times Debate No: 107981
Debate Rounds (3)
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KevinLanzing

Pro

I intend to argue that Americans (all Americans) still enjoy equality of opportunity. Some people have more than others do. But inequality in itself is not a problem, if people can rise above their means and improve their circumstances. I believe they can, and routinely do. Americans remain optimistic that their future is bright and that they can deliver a better life for their children than they enjoyed. This belief is at the core of the American Dream, and the American Dream is alive and well.
Mason27

Con

I plan to argue that Americans do not still enjoy equality of opportunity today in our society. Although many Americans do not recognize the inequalities taking place, I argue that specific groups of people definitely experience inequality today in regards to equal opportunity. Although some people do prove able to rise above these circumstances and become successful overall, I do believe that inequality today causes many major issues such as poverty, addiction, etc. The seemingly near-ending cycles of poverty seen all throughout the country continue to affect a large number of people both young and old. Although the American Dream" does remain alive and well in the eyes of some, there is a large amount of ignorance and hypocrisies that exist alongside this idea.
Debate Round No. 1
KevinLanzing

Pro

For there to be equality of opportunity, access to the 'keys to wealth' must be widely available. These keys are: 1. Access to education (particularly college), 2. Access to homes, and 3. The ability to start a business. I chose these three because:

1. Education: Numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between a college education and earning potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that median weekly income for workers with a Bachelor's degree is $1,156, while those with only a high school diploma only earn $692/week. (https://www.bls.gov...)
2. Homeownership: Homeownership is an investment in the future, and for most American families their house is their single most valuable asset. Renters will never see a return on their monthly rents, but homeowners will. The value of homes continues to rise, as does the value of land. After all, they're not making any more!
3. Entrepreneurship: For many Americans, starting their own business is a dream come true. It can also be quite lucrative: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of an entrepreneur is $171,610/year. By contrast, median personal income is just over $31,000/year.

As I said before, if access to these 'keys to wealth' remain widespread, equality of opportunity is assured. And access has only expanded over time! Consider:

1. Education: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1940 only 5% of Americans 25 and older had a college degree. In 2010, almost 28% did.
2. Homeownership: in previous generations, African-Americans and other minorities were largely shut out of housing in attractive neighborhoods. Federal government policies like redlining only compounded the injury. But we have learned from our racist past, and made amends. It will take time to correct problems decades in the making, but corrections are already taking place.
3. Entrepreneurship: according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), entrepreneurship is at its highest level since the organization began tracking this issue in 1999. 13% of Americans are involved in entrepreneurship activity. These people have not lost faith in the American Dream!

In conclusion, equality of opportunity remains strong in the United States. Americans at all income levels - and particularly historically disadvantaged minorities - have opportunities to raise themselves up by their own bootstraps like their parents and grandparents before them. In fact, access to the keys of wealth may never have been so widespread in our nation's history!
Mason27

Con

Although in today's society, the access to education, healthcare, and homes is widespread, I would not say that this creates equality of opportunity for all people of the United States. Although these necessities are readily available in today's society, I do not believe that everyone in the United States has an equal opportunity to obtain these things. In addition to access to health care, education, and homes that creates inequality across our country, other issues exist today that clearly demonstrate the inequalities that take place today.

Human Trafficking: As the third fastest-growing criminal industry in the United States, human trafficking and modern slavery remains a huge issue today. Due to the lack of awareness among the general public and a lack of advocacy for victims, human trafficking proves as a huge injustice. This injustice is not specific to any age, race, or background, and a whopping 41 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking today (a21.org). Atlanta, in particular, is the largest volume city for human trafficking in the United States. Every part of these victim's freedom is taken from them forcefully and victims often are sold for sexual acts.

Racism: Today, racism remains a significant issue throughout the United States. Although advancements have been made and those of different races and ethnicities have more opportunity now in comparison to past times, inequalities still exist today and remain a huge issue. Employers are less likely to hire job applicants with black names, police are significantly more likely to use force against African Americans, and the war on drugs is biased towards incarcerating African Americans (https://www.theodysseyonline.com...).

Women's Rights: Women in the United States continue to face inequality on a daily basis. Whether regarding earning a lesser salary than their male counterparts, maintaining the right to have an abortion or receive low-cost birth control pills, inequalities exist today among women. Still today women are not given "equal opportunity" when compared to men.

LGBTQ+ Rights: Today, many people across the country of all ages, races, and background experience a great amount of inequality for simply loving the person that they do. Whether someone is homosexual, bisexual, or another sexual representation, all people should have an equal opportunity to marry another person or adopt children. Until very recently, gay marriage was illegal in a large portion of the United States. Even since the legalization of gay marriage, inequalities exists for those who are homosexual, bisexual, etc.: " A lack of widespread nondiscrimination protections means wearing a wedding ring to work can result in a gay worker being legally fired in 29 states. In most states, LGBT people can also still be refused service and denied housing, and there are no laws protecting LGBT students against bullying in schools" (https://www.hrc.org...
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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