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The Contender
Con (against)
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Get Rid of Affirmative Action

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,108 times Debate No: 39388
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




(This is my first debate so if I mess up the set-up I apologize in advance)

To me Affirmative Action is a hypocritical idea and policy. It supposedly is a program to end discrimination, however all it does it promotes discrimination. Affirmative Action makes race and gender play an role in gaining admittance to a school, or to land a job. I find it unfair that someone who may be smarter and overall better for acceptance to a position would be rejected because of the school or company has to allow a certain amount of minorities into its ranks. Its true that some people may be better off than others in terms of finances and environment, but that's not anyone else's problem and no one should have to suffer because of it. This country is built off the premise that hard work will have you be successful in life. There shouldn't be any free passes to someone because of their race. If they work hard, they will be successful, the program shouldn't be taking opportunities from those who truly deserve them.


Thank you to Pro for instigating this debate. I will start my arguments in the next round. In this round, I will explain the Affirmative Action policy as it is outlined by the United States Department of Labor. This will offer a more comprehensive definition of what Affirmative Action is, so that it can be debated more clearly.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello and thank you for accepting the debate.
I saw you comment about trying to swing this an different way. I"m assuming by your post above your trying to say that Affirmative Action does not have preference but rather discourages it.
This is an honorable notion but as we all know things that governments want to do don"t always work and can also have the opposite effect of their intended actions. Affirmative Action are one of those programs that do just this.

affirmative action
: the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc. (

You say that race and gender don't play a role in getting jobs or gaining admission to a school, well if that's so why do they include race and gender sections on applications? If race and gender truly did not matter it wouldn't be included on the application.

Here is the government itself making race play a role in jobs as well as scholarships,

"The Obama Administration will make history by hiring the government"s first "Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity" to mastermind a multi-million-dollar effort that boosts the number of minorities in biomedical research and slashes discrimination in the federal grant process. The $500 million initiative to racially diversify medical research was launched last year after a government-sanctioned study uncovered a "disturbing and disheartening" lack of racial diversity in the field""""To right the wrong the NIH created a $500 million plan to support minority students with scholarships, research experiences and even graduate loan repayment. The agency is also creating a new committee that makes "diversity a core consideration of NIH governance" and ensures fairness in the peer review system that erases "unconscious bias related to disparities in research awards." The plan also implements "implicit bias and diversity awareness training.". (

Then we have the Dodd-Frank bill which was passed to stop a financial crises but it also did this
"Key agencies such as the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Housing Finance Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks will get their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. So will the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the National Credit Union Administration. Each office will be equipped with a director and staff to develop policies that promote equal employment opportunities and racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the individual agency as well as companies that do business with it. The goal is to assure "to the maximum extent possible the fair inclusion" of women and minorities, individually and through business they own, in the activities of the agencies, including contracting."

I don't know but to me this seems like the federal government is definitely stressing race and gender. Here is just a another instance of city obviously doing what's right.

"You can't make this stuff up. It's a real-life story out of Phoenix, the capitol of Arizona and the nation's sixth-largest city. It has more than 1.4 million residents and, among its official motto's is "value and respect" of diversity. This means "more than gender and race," according to the city"s official website. It also encompasses "uniqueness and individuality" and embracing differences. "We put this belief into action to provide effective services to our diverse community."

Evidently officials are willing to compromise those "effective services" at 29 public swimming pools spread throughout the city. To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they"re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that "we will work with you in your swimming abilities." (

Then of course we have the University of Michigan court case where the school gave an extra 20 points on its admission scoring process to students if they were just minorities. Race and gender play a huge role in Affirmative Action and quite frankly if things would like to be made fair for all it should just be gotten rid of.


Many thanks to Pro for Round 2, and apologies for my glitchy presentation. I have reported these difficulties to the "DDO Bug Reporting" Forum thread.

A full definition of Affirmative Action must always include the actual policies, and can't rely on the distorted views of opponents. The only acceptable definition of Affirmative Action law is the law itself, as enforced by the United States Department of Labor. Links to the actual AA regulations are provided below.

What Does the Law Actually Say?
In short, Affirmative Action states that contracts will not be awarded by the Federal Government unless an applicant agrees that they "will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin" [1]

Is Affirmative Action Needed?
Affirmative Action is a policy by the United States Department of Labor that is used to help ensure that those who are awarded government contracts do not discriminate against eligible qualified job candidates based on superficial characteristics such as gender or race.

Based on the criticisms of these nondiscrimination policies (as seen below) there are very good reasons to think that if contractors were allowed to do so, many of them would unfairly deny employment, career advancement, and recruitment to otherwise qualified candidates.

For example, in his Round 2 Argument, Pro points out that the group "Judicial Watch" has decried such things as the "fair inclusion" of women and minorities in Federal programs. [*] The group also issued an outrageous diatribe against minority lifeguards, claiming that training minorities to be lifeguards would mean that poor swimmers would be placed in life-or-death situations. [**] Judicial Watch never explicitly states that minorities can never be trained well enough to replace white lifeguards, but their point is clear: Minorities should not receive training to become better swimmers.

By opposing the fair treatment of women and minorities, and grossly distorting the goals of such things as lifeguard training programs, groups such as Judicial Watch and many others underscore the urgent need to prevent institutionalized discrimination.

Affirmative Action provides critical protections from discrimination for veterans, women and racial and ethnic minorities that are often the victims of prejudice. Groups such as those cited by Pro exemplify the deep undercurrent of bigotry that remains in this country, despite the strong progress that has been made in the past half century.

If Affirmative Action policies were eliminated by the Department of Labor, some 26 million American veterans, women and minority workers and students would suddenly find themselves with fewer protections against this prejudice. American taxpayers would be required to pay Federal contractors who would be permitted to hire according to race instead of talent, and most Americans would find this to be unacceptable.

Affirmative Action Study Resources
The following links provide accurate information on Affirmative Action, and comes directly from the actual Dept of Labor regulations.

Overview, description:

The Law, as it is worded:

The Regulations for contractors:


* Pro suggests that the "fair treatment" of women and minorities is a valid criticism of AA in the section that begins "Then we have the Dodd-Frank bill..."

**Pro cites a claim by Judicial Watch that suggests that minorities that are "not strong swimmers" could never be trained to become good lifeguards, presumably because minorities can't, or should not be, undergo lifeguard certification training classes. Either way, this passage proves the need to maintain nondiscrimination policies, such as Affirmative Action.
Debate Round No. 2


Sorry I have taken such a long time to respond, I have a lot of exams this week so I'm very busy. In regards to your two comments below all of your links.

The first is showing that while you the government put these policies to ensure race and gender do not play a role in hiring, they are doing the exact opposites and making offices making sure that women and minorities are included. This is so full of hypocrisy that its not even funny.

The second point you made is also a tad slanted. I'm not inferring that minorities cant swim, I was a lifeguard with one. My problem was that if you read the article, is that the city is willing to get rid of trained white life-guards who know what they're doing to hire minorities who may not even know how to swim, but they'll train them up to it anyway. Is it fair that they are going to get rid of already trained life-guards who know the job just to include minorities who don't, even going as far to spend extra money on them to train them and certify them. I wish they did that for me the certification isn't cheap. If this seems fair to you I don't know what to say.

"Over the past quarter of a century, Stanford has been discriminating in favor of racial minorities in admissions, hiring, tenure, contracting and financial aid. But only recently has the University been forced to rethink these policies in the face of an emerging public debate over affirmative action are beginning to see why. Originally conceived as a means to redress discrimination, racial preferences have instead promoted it. And rather than fostering harmony and integration, preferences have divided the campus. In no other area of public life is there a greater disparity between the rhetoric of preferences and the reality take, for instance, the claim that racial preferences help the "disadvantaged." In reality, as the Hoover Institution's Thomas Sowell has observed, preferences primarily benefit minority applicants from middle- and upper-class backgrounds. At the same time, because admissions are a zero-sum game, preferences hurt poor whites and even many Asians (who meet admissions standards in disproportionate numbers). If preferences were truly meant to remedy disadvantage, they would be given on the basis of disadvantage, not on the basis of race."( This is a great article that shows many flaws of Affirmative action.

Again Ill put this here because it shows that the government obviously does take race into consideration.

"The Obama Administration will make history by hiring the government"s first "Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity" to mastermind a multi-million-dollar effort that boosts the number of minorities in biomedical research and slashes discrimination in the federal grant process. The $500 million initiative to racially diversify medical research was launched last year after a government-sanctioned study uncovered a "disturbing and disheartening" lack of racial diversity in the field"To right the wrong the NIH created a $500 million plan to support minority students with scholarships, research experiences and even graduate loan repayment. The agency is also creating a new committee that makes "diversity a core consideration of NIH governance" and ensures fairness in the peer review system that erases "unconscious bias related to disparities in research awards." The plan also implements "implicit bias and diversity awareness training.". (

All of these examples show that Affirmative Action is wrong and horribly outdated. perhaps the government wanted it to be something else when it was passed, as you have shown me with your definitions. But whatever it is now, it is a complete sham. Race and gender are included in government jobs. If they weren't you wouldn't need to fill out the race/gender part of the application.

By even inferring these programs are color-blind to race is crazy. The proof is all around us in how it affects us and influences getting jobs, scholarships, and getting into school. A very recent development was the court case at the university of Michigan.

"The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of affirmative action again Tuesday, but this time the question is not whether race may be considered as a factor in college admissions. Instead, this case tests whether voters can ban affirmative action programs through a referendum.In 2003, the high court upheld the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action policy. The next day, opponents of affirmative action launched a referendum campaign to bar such programs, and in 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs in higher education.Michigan's state colleges and universities promptly abandoned any use of race or ethnicity to promote diversity, and minority enrollment plummeted. In 2012, a federal appeals court ruled that the referendum itself was discriminatory, and the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to decide the issue." (

Now here we see what happens when race and ethnicity don't play a role, and what a surprise, Minority enrollment went down. Why did it go down, because race no longer played a role so if your a minority you don't get special treatment. If you continue reading the article and follow the link, you'll see that minorities are challenging the decision of Michigan calling it unfair treatment, but you saw and they did they took race out of the equation. That's not unfair that IS fair. And since the minority enrollment went down they are fighting to bring racial preferences back, now that sounds pretty silly to me, especially to the definitions you showed me. However the best part is it seems as if the Supreme Court will uphold the Universities decision and then allow state bans on racial programs based on state votes. If our Supreme Court sees something wrong with these programs, there obviously is something wrong.

I almost missed the argument sorry for your wait, I thank Con for taking the up the debate and enjoyed the conversation.


Many thanks Pro for the debate, and congratulations on finishing his first one!

In this debate, I have argued, with supporting evidence from the actual Dept of Labor regulations, and the founding executive order that created Affirmative Action, that the policy does the following:

Requires applicants for federal contracts to agree not to discriminate on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." [1]

Any action by any recipient of federal funding that does not fulfill this promise is not behaving in accordance with the Affirmative Action policy, and is subject to loss of contract and possible court sanction. [2]

In this Debate, Pro has conceded that:

Affirmative Action is critical to opening advancement opportunities for women, minorities and veterans. (By arguing that minority enrollment in universities plummets when Affirmative Action is implemented by the University.)

Institutions and Contractors face the potential for serious consequences when they violate even the spirit of the Affirmative Action regulations, proving that the system is self-correcting. (This includes court action, according to Pro.)

Persistent, entrenched stereotypes and prejudices continue to survive, in spite of all of the progress of the past half century.

If Affirmative Action were banned, women and minority participation in our economy would "plummet."

Throughout this debate, Pro has illustrated the entrenched, almost unconscious prejudice that justifies the need for Affirmative Action.

Pro drops my statement that the Affirmative Action law seeks to limit discrimination against "qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans."

Pro suggests that Affirmative Action, in restricting the use of (specifically) race-based, discrimination in hiring, itself brings racial discrimination into the subject. He uses this logic to argue that trying to use racial discrimination to limit racial discrimination is absurd.

This is tantamount to arguing that abstaining from alcohol as a way to combat alcoholism is absurd because it uses an "alcohol-based" strategy to stop alcoholism. Or trying to say that avoiding junk food as a means to get healthy is trying to use a "junk food" plan to improve your health. The fact is, banning racial discrimination is not racial discrimination.

Pro also makes the strange argument that limiting discrimination and bigotry represents a form of discrimination against white men. This assumes that bigotry is a necessary part of being a white man.

In conclusion,
Pro has conceded almost all of the critical debate premises. I have supported my contention that Affirmative Action is substantially different than the simplistic caricature that opponents portray it as. More importantly, Pro has not fulfilled his burden of Proof, and has not shown that the only recourse to Affirmative Action's flaws is to ban it rather than simply improve it. Pro has also failed to explain how it would be repealed, but has argued that repeal would have serious and negative impacts on our nation. This is a major concession.
Pro has also never explained why Affirmative Action's policy: "For federal contractors and subcontractors, affirmative action must be taken by covered employers to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans." ... is a bad thing for America. He has said that mistakes have occurred, but not why this goal, as stated in the law, is a bad thing.

Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by STALIN 3 years ago
Good arguments. I can't vote though and I'm not sure who I would vote for.
Posted by Epiphron 3 years ago
No its ok, today was my last two exams so we can finish
Posted by Beverlee 3 years ago
Hey I noticed that you said you were tight on time. Do you want to cancel this debate, and pick it back up later? Or start it over? It's cool if you do - just send a message to AirMax and I'll agree. We just have to do it before I post the last round, or I'm not sure it counts.
Posted by Beverlee 3 years ago
Hey I am trying something new on this debate. If my Round 1 argument comes out all messed up let me know. It was glitching pretty bad, but I think I found some workarounds.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: I was going through this entire debate but it was pretty even with both sides of arguments. Both refuted the other decently well. No noticeable spelling or grammar errors. The one thing that stuck out to me were sources which clearly went to con. Just for sheer presentation and the amount and accuracy of the ones posted.