The Instigator
s0m31john
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Demosthenes
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Private entities ought to be able to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, etc.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Demosthenes
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,614 times Debate No: 6840
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (5)

 

s0m31john

Pro

Private entities ought to be able to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin without hassle from government or law enforcement.

I am not interested in a semantics debate. If any confusion regarding the resolution exists please ask about it in the comments section and I will clarify.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In recent times and times past people have taken private entities to court over various forms of discrimination. In many cases the defendants were required to pay out large sums of money to the alleged victims.

Nikolai Grushevski filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit after Hooters denied him a job as a server at the chain restaurant. [1]

In 1997 a similar case resulted in Hooters paying out a $3.75 million settlement to reconcile the matter. [2]

If a private company on private property can not be run how the owner sees fit, so long as doing so does not deny anyone else of their privacy or property, then the whole concept of privacy is moot.

In order to harm someone one has to deny them something that belonged to them in the fist place. A job in a company they have no stake in never belonged to them, and they could just as easily take their resume elsewhere.

I'll stop here for now since this a 4 round debate. I wish my opponent luck.

[1] - http://www.industryfinest.com...

[2] - http://www.freerepublic.com...
Demosthenes

Con

Before I begin my argument, I just want to say good luck, and may whoever spins the best win.

I have two serious issues with what you want to do, and I think these are solid, immovable points.

1. Regardless of the arena, be it counting votes, hiring practices, or societal taboos and laws, there is no excuse for discrimination based on race, skin color, religion or sex because there is no reason to assume that any of those factors will have any effect on the prospective member/employee's ability to fulfill that which is asked of them.

There is no fairness in a hiring/ membership system that is allowed to make decisions based solely on appearances. I am a Catholic, and as such under your system I could be removed from consideration from a job at an abortion clinic based SOLELY on the fact that I'm Catholic. I could be PERFECT for the job in question, know everything there is to know, have all the skills necessary, and it wouldn't be relevant. Experience and education would become secondary factors to skin color and race. That is not a world that you should be interested in being a part of.

2. By your definition, private entities are possessed of some form of privacy.

This is wrong on every level of constitutionality. Firstly, and I don't plan on going too in-depth on this, there is no defined right to privacy in the Constitution of the United States of America. And if citizens are not given some form of privacy, then it is a logical progression that neither do the entities in question.

But, we will move forward (if you so agree) with the assumption that privacy FOR CITIZENS is real. In which case, I intend to prove that not only are entities not citizens and therefore are not imbued with rights under the Constitution, but that your plan would in fact be detrimental to the societal fabric and moral foundation of the United States of America.
Debate Round No. 1
s0m31john

Pro

I think I'll tackle your argument backwards and start with the second point.

The current status or constitutionality is not up for debate. The resolution states "ought to be able to". Even if there is no constitutional basis for the right to privacy for a private business, which I disagree with, it is not relevant here. If I were to take my opponents word on the claim of no right to privacy the resolution would mean actions should be taken to make it so. It could be done through a constitutional amendment or through the individual state legislatures. In order for my opponents argument to hold water the resolution would have to be along the lines of "There exists a constitutional right to privacy for privately owned entities."

I shall offer an example if you are still not following:

Recently in Saudi Arabia a woman confessed she "had a forced sexual intercourse with a man". [1] For this she was convicted and sentenced to 100 lashes and a year in jail. I think we all agree this is very sad, it may even be sad enough to spark a debate. For the purpose of this example let's say someone offers the resolution "Saudi women should not be punished for being assaulted and forced into sexual intercourse." During the debate the current Sharia law allowing it to happen would not be a valid argument because the debate is on whether or not it "should" be that way. This debate is the same. We are not arguing the situation now but how it "ought to be".

I believe that takes care of your second argument. Now, like The Jeffersons, I will "move on up" to your first. Harr harr.

My opponent say there is no excuse for discrimination based on race, skin color, religion or sex and I would have to disagree. Businesses are in the business of making money. In order to make money they have to offer a service or product that appeals to their customer base. That's all basic economics 101.

I do not want to come off as sounding racist in this debate, but it's a touchy subject, so please forgive me if you take something the wrong way.

A nice middle aged man and his wife own a convenience store in some cow poke suburb. Along with the products they sell they have to hire employees. Their largest customer base happens to be older while retirees. A fact of life is that older people tend to be more racist than their young counter parts [2]. This is not wrong, they just grew up in a different time period when society was different. The nice middle aged couple know this and also happen to have a job opening. They receive 2 applications:

1) Black, 21 Year Old, Male
2) White, 21 Year Old, Male

Both are college students and share the same experience for the job. Let's see what happens if they hire the black male.

Down on Old Folks Street lives little old Dorothy. Dorothy is an accurate representation of the convenience store's largest customer base. Just like how old people are more racist, they also have more time on their hands which make the quite the gossip. Dorothy goes down to her favorite little convenience store to get her Alcaselser Plus and to her shock at the counter waits a black man. Even though he's a fine member of the community she automatically has a negative connotation of him in her head. She quickly leaves the store to gossip with all her old friends over a cup of tea. They can't believe the store hired a black man and they gossip away creating wild stories about how he may be a robber or criminal. Dorothy convinces her group of friends, the stores main customers, to drive the extra mile to another store where no black men work. They all agree it's for the best, they want to feel safe after all.

All Dorothy's claims may be wrong, but the fact remains that she and the store's base think that way. The store is not in the business of changing how society thinks, they are in the business of keeping their customers. The best way to do so would be to hire the while male, even though the skin color will not affect his actual job performance.

The middle aged owners of the store have good intentions at heart, but let's look at an another example.

We have Billy Bob and he's just moved from Texas to a South Carolina suburb. Billy Bob is racist as all get out, he doesn't like anyone that does not have white skin. He opens a store and starts to look for employees, and because of the way he thinks he hires all white people. No one in the town catches on, but then Billy Bob decides he only wants to serve white people too. He puts up a sign saying "Whites Only" and refuses to service anyone else. This SC suburb is pretty modern, they have a mix off all nationalities and pride themselves in being pretty open minded. When Billy Bob hangs his "Whites Only" sign it angers not only non-whites but all the open minded white folk as well. Four Fifths of his employees quit because they do not want to be associated with a racist bigot. The others that continue to work there are gossiped about and ridiculed. Not only does Billy Bob lose his employees he loses a large chunk of his customers and sponsors. This ultimately causes profits to dry up and he is left with no other choice but to close down.

Through society pressure, not government action, the problem was fixed. He was not hassled by the law and yet the problem was still taken care of.

To back up my two little anecdotes here is a quote from Harvard economist Robert Barro:

"I believe the only meaningful measure of productivity is the amount a worker adds to customer satisfaction and to the happiness of co-workers. A worker's physical appearance, to the extent that it is valued by customers and co-workers, is as legitimate a job qualification as intelligence, dexterity, job experience, and personality.

Almost everyone can recognize that severing the link between wages and intelligence would reduce efficiency or lower the gross national product because brain power would not be allocated to its most productive uses. Yet outcomes based on intelligence are clearly unfair in the sense that, by and large, smarter people end up richer, and being smart is to a considerable extent a matter of luck. If one wanted the government to redistribute resources from smart to stupid people, then one would have to believe that the benefits from this redistribution would exceed the resulting losses in national product.

The same reasoning applies to physical appearance. This trait is highly valued in some fields, and reducing its importance to employment and wages would effectively throw away national product. The outcomes are also unfair, in the same sense as they are for intelligence. An interference with the market's valuation of physical appearance is justified only if the benefits from the redistribution of resources from more attractive to less attractive people are greater than the losses in overall product. Thus, it makes no sense to say that basing employment and wages on physical appearance is a form of discrimination, whereas basing them on intelligence is not. The two cases are fundamentally the same." [3]

In conclusion, the government does not need to handle a situation that will be taken care of by the society it is in. My oppoent does not give society enough credit, he claims "experience and education would become secondary factors to skin color and race." In some situations this may be true, but only in the areas where it is not a problem. If a town consists of mostly one type of people and their business make the choice to only serve those kind of people then so be it. In most areas people are decent enough to realize this behavior is wrong and will not buy or use any services from racist business owners.

[1] - http://www.saudigazette.com.sa...
[2] - http://glennsacks.com...
[3] - http://www.businessweek.com...
Demosthenes

Con

I agree we should drop the privacy portion of this argument.

Firstly, to deal with the idea that "business is out to make money and therefore is allowed to do whatever they please". Americans decided a LOOOOOOONG time ago that was a BAD IDEA, which is why we outlawed things like pyramid schemes and created anti-trust legislation - business will do ANYTHING to make more money, including things that are not acceptable to society or borderline inhumane. But society decided we didn't want to allow that, and so we used THE GOVERNMENT to change it. We created LAWS to stop it. And so the government stepped in and said "No, you are not allowed to do business that way."

Also, your hiring story holds almost no water. Those people that you mentioned, the older white women, are not going to change just because someone new works somewhere they go regularly. Most people will give the new guy a chance, so even though you attack me for having no faith in society it is in fact you who relies on the basest negativity of society to make your point. I'm from an extremely metropolitan area, and I can say with a fair amount of certainty that as long as the new guy does his job, men won't care what he looks like unless they are EXTREMELY racist. Women won't care as long as he acts well and is respectful. I think most of the businesses you mentioned would agree that good manners and a respectful, cheerful demeanor would go farther to keep customers happy then a guy who shares their skin color.

We've already seen recently how bad the economy can get without government action, and we've seen in the education just how effective "societal pressure" can be in terms of changing discriminatory thinking. When the Supreme Court ordered the schools of the nation to integrate, it took FEDERAL TROOPS to force it to happen. Those people you are talking about are the same people who cheered when the governor of Arkansas used his National Guard troops to keep the Little Rock 9 out of school.

You yourself admitted that if we follow your lead, intelligence, merit, and education will become secondary to appearances in some cases, but then completely avoid saying where it WOULDN'T be secondary.

"The outcomes are also unfair, in the same sense as they are for intelligence. An interference with the market's valuation of physical appearance is justified only if the benefits from the redistribution of resources from more attractive to less attractive people are greater than the losses in overall product..."

WHAT? Are you REALLY saying that if we have a choice between giving money to pretty people and giving money to ugly people, we should give it to pretty people because there is no benefit to giving it to ugly people? What kind of society do you want to live in? How can you possibly justify taking money away from ugly people JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE LESS ATTRACTIVE?!
Debate Round No. 2
s0m31john

Pro

s0m31john forfeited this round.
Demosthenes

Con

Demosthenes forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
s0m31john

Pro

Sorry for the forfeit.

I am not interested in what American's think is a "BAD IDEA". I am interested in maximizing personal liberty. In doing so you may go against the majority opinion. In the end it doesn't matter if it makes someone angry or if someone thinks it's unfair just so it is not taking away from their essential liberties. Again, we are arguing "ought" to, not the law or the opinion of society now. A person owns their property. If they start a business on that property it should be up to them how they want to run that business. They should be allowed to run it to the extent that they don't initiate violence or commit fraud on another party. You are allowed to pick and choose who you allow into your home why should it be any different for a person to pick and choose who they want to allow into their business? Banning a certain group of people for whatever reason, no matter how stupid, may be bad for business, but the ultimate decision comes down to the owner of the property.

My story holding no water is actually good for me. I am glad to hear most people will give a person a chance no matter the color of their skin. That only strengthens my argument that no government intervention is needed. If employers know that majority of people don't care about skin color they will not worry about who they hire and the problem won't exist. So, thanks for helping me out on that point. No bureaucrat needs to get involved when society will handle the situation.

You didn't refute my story of Billy Bob. If society is as accepting as you say then would you honestly expect people to buy and work at a store than has a "Whites Only" sign posted outside? I certainly wouldn't, would you?

"We've already seen recently how bad the economy can get without government action"
"economy" "without government action"

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
*catches breath*

You honesty think the government hasn't had their hand in the economy for the last, I dunno, 80 to 90 years? And you call yourself a Libertarian? This debate is not on the economy, but I'd suggest you visit some sites like the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Cato Institute if you honestly believe our markets have been without heavy government intervention.

As for the Little Rock 9, I agree government intervention was acceptable. I'm not a fan of public schools but since they are a government entity they should not be allowed to discriminate. This is a debate regarding private institutions.

I am not saying we should transfer money to pretty people. I am saying pretty people tend to be better for certain jobs and will get hired over an ugly person solely for their looks. Because most jobs involve working with other people a company would want a pretty face to represent them. As a result pretty people may tend to be more successful. I'm saying it should be entirely up to the market what characteristics are desired by what employees.

TL;DR

Private property means private. The owner of said property ought to be allowed to use it how they see fit, just so they are not initiating violence or fraud on another party. Denying a job position for whatever reason, no matter how dumb or bad for business it is, it not force or fraud.

You yourself said people really don't care about skin color. That's a good thing, That means the majority of the people opening businesses won't hire based on stupid reasons like skin color. If a handful do I'd expect all those good people not to be a part of their business. I wouldn't buy from a store with a "Whites Only" sign out front, would you? No government intervention is required to take care of the problem. And even if it was needed it doing to would be taking away the right of a person to do with their property as they see fit. Remember though, that doesn't mean just because a person owns a gun they can do with it what they please a shoot someone. In that sense they would be taking another parties right to life. A business can force violence or fraud someone, but anything else ought to be fair game, even if it doesn't seem so "fair".

VOTE PRO for freedom.
Demosthenes

Con

I'm going to base my response on what you've said after the 4 lines of laughing, because everything else was pointless bluster.

And I'm going to ignore your attack on my ideological positions, because there's no way you could've known that my stances have changed and alignment modified.

"You honesty think the government hasn't had their hand in the economy for the last, I dunno, 80 to 90 years?"

Don't treat me like an idiot. I know the government has had its hands deep in the economy for the last 100 years. That doesn't mean it was meaningful action. I don't know how much of the news you watch, but we're in a bit of an economic pickle right now and many people with a better understanding of the crisis and far more information on the subject agree that it is the result of inadequate government regulation and a failure to act when the warning flags went up.

"A business cant force violence or fraud someone, but anything else ought to be fair game, even if it doesn't seem so "fair"."

No. I'm sorry, but that's not how it OUGHT to be. It OUGHT to be set up so that fully QUALIFIED applicants are not being rejected based on purely aesthetic grounds. It OUGHT to be JUST, which means people get what they deserve. That means people who worked hard, gained an education, made a clear and decisive effort to better themselves, deserve a position EVEN AT A PRIVATE FIRM more than someone else who shares a certain irrelevant similarity with the employer. Being black has nothing to do with how capable of a lawyer one is. Being white has nothing to do with how effective a police officer one is.

You want to discuss how things OUGHT to be? I'm perfectly fine with that.

The world OUGHT to be perfectly fair. People OUGHT to ignore racial and/ or religious differences and just go by how the person acts. Employers OUGHT to select the most qualified, prepared applicants to fill the jobs they applied for.

Here's your argument in a nutshell -

1. The way a person looks/ the deity they worship is the biggest factor in how well they will perform.

That's what your opening statement said, condensed greatly. You said that the way a person looks could be the determining factor because it might affect how well they can do their job. But that's not the way it OUGHT to be. People don't ignore things like religion and skin color, so the government HAS to step in to prevent racist and bigoted employers from ignoring qualified applicants to open positions in government, and in the private sector. Race is still an issue in America, so there needs to be a way to keep the hiring practices fair FOR EVERYONE.

You spoke shortly about freedom. What more essential freedom is there than to be allowed to provide for a man and his family? How can you place the freedom of an employer to create a racially pure business over the rights of a man to put food on the table and clothes on his child's back?

2. Government intervention isn't necessary because it is wrong.

People aren't perfect. They have faults, and often those faults are carried over into the way they do business. And when those faults, like greed, lead to people acting in a way CONTRARY TO THE COMMON GOOD, the law has to step in. If Tommy Hilfiger, a self-admitted racist, were to tell his stores to never hire a black man, never to sell to a Hispanic man, the law would have to do something about it. By your logic, he can be allowed to never hire a black man. All he has to do is say "Oh, he's black, my upper white class clients won't respond well to him. Therefore I should hire this white man who applied weeks after, is less educated, or barely speaks english because he's white and therefore my customers should respond better."

I believe that just about covers it.

Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent doesn't realize it but his idea is simply a change that would allow bigots and racists to hire based on their own personal biases, not on how qualified the applicants are. He mentions how things OUGHT to be, and repeats that word many times. Now I'm going to do it one last time. People OUGHT to ignore things like race and religion and just go about their business, but they don't. So the law has to step in.

And that's the bottom line. The government OUGHT to be able to step in and prevent private entities from acting in a way that violates a man's liberty or his civil rights.

My opponent says vote pro for freedom, but I say vote pro for bigotry.

Vote Neg for freedom, justice, and the Constitution.
Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
I have NEVER heard a good argument for the CON side of this debate.
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
No one ever said the modern world was big on civil liberties, they like to take them away under the guise of civil rights.
Posted by Demosthenes 7 years ago
Demosthenes
Different and HIGHLY irregular example.

And that law wouldn't prevent bigots, because they'd break the law.

Breaking a constitutional amendment meant to protect the rights of a SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF AMERICAN CITIZENS is slightly different.

"A person does not have a right to shop in someone's privately owned store more than they have the right to go in your private house whenever they want."

Ok Jim Crow. Build a time machine and go back to the 60's. Atlanta welcomes you.

Ever heard of the Atlanta Heart Hotel? Tried to deny service to a black man? Got SLAMMED by the United States Supreme Court. Welcome to the MODERN WORLD.
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
A person does not have a right to shop in someone's privately owned store more than they have the right to go in your private house whenever they want.
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
Ok. The government has a new law. By decree you must have 3 black friends and 2 friends of Asian decent. IT PREVENTS BIGOTS.
Posted by Demosthenes 7 years ago
Demosthenes
Debate's over john.

It doesn't take away ANY rights, it prevents BIGOTS from taking away the rights of others.
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
s0m31john
It does those things by taking away an individual's right to chose to not associate with those people if they don't want to.
Posted by Demosthenes 7 years ago
Demosthenes
How does it not?

My side opposes legal racism, sexism, and the handing out of jobs based on aesthetic traits and ridiculous minutia.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
"Vote Neg for freedom, justice, and the Constitution."
CON, how does your position support freedom?
Posted by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
is this not simply a retarded cousin to affirmative action
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by sydnerella 8 years ago
sydnerella
s0m31johnDemosthenesTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by regperez 8 years ago
regperez
s0m31johnDemosthenesTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by lordjosh 8 years ago
lordjosh
s0m31johnDemosthenesTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
s0m31johnDemosthenesTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Demosthenes 8 years ago
Demosthenes
s0m31johnDemosthenesTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07