The Instigator
Scruggs
Pro (for)
The Contender
devcoch
Con (against)

Racial diversity is not a strength.

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,149 times Debate No: 99807
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Scruggs

Pro

This debate concerns whether or not racial diversity is a strength in the United States. This debate specifically focuses in on the United States, but feel free to pull examples from other places if you find it useful. I will be arguing that racial diversity in the United States is not a strength and, by accepting this debate, you will be arguing that racial diversity is a strength in the United States.

Structure:
Round 1 – Acceptance
Round 2 – Initial Argument(s)
Round 3 – Rebuttal(s)
Round 4 – Closing Statement(s)

No one should be able to accept this debate. Please voice your desire to accept the debate in the comments section and I will approve of you. The only criteria that I take into consideration is how long a user has been on the website and how many debates they have done (I do not want an opponent who will forfeit). First come first serve.

EDIT:
I was thinking about it and I believe I should probably provide a defintion for "strength." I will provide it below:

strength - on balance, a positive influence on society

devcoch

Con

I believe Racial Diversity is a strength in the U.S. and hope to show how. I look forward to debating with you.
Debate Round No. 1
Scruggs

Pro

I would like to start by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate and I look forward to a fruitful dialog. Is racial diversity a strength in the United States? Many of us would blindly say “yes” without really considering the implications of diversity. My argument will be twofold. We will examine (1) diversity in private life and (2) diversity in public life.

I. Diversity in Private Life

I have had many friends throughout my life. I have had many family friends throughout my life. However, I have only ever had two minority friends. I have never had any minority family friends. It came as a shock to my family’s household when my older brother decided to marry a minority. I can distinctly remember the day that my brother’s wife (then girlfriend) was first visiting my father’s house. I was in the car with my father and he said “no wetback jokes tonight, huh?”


I was most certainly raised in a racially conscious household, as most kids are. Most kids are very aware of their own race and who is not a part of it. Dr. Erin Winkler from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee wrote that “research clearly shows that children not only recognize race from a very young age, but also develop racial biases by ages three to five that do not necessarily resemble the racial attitudes of adults in their lives.” [1] What does this mean? Why are we born with an innate sense of race? Why are children, even if it may contradict the beliefs of their parents, raised with a consciousness of race? These are questions that must be addressed if we are to accurately understand whether or not racial diversity is a strength.

How diverse if your social life? I do not mean speaking with coworkers, classmates, etc. I mean the people that you speak with on a regular basis for your own enjoyment. People who you speak to outside of an institution such as work or the classroom. Odds say that you either don’t speak to people of another race or that if you do then it is a very small number. A 2013 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 40% of whites in America have no close friends who are non-white. It also found that only 20% of whites said they had five or more close friends who were non-white. [2] Of course, these numbers play into another statistic: interracial marriage.

I have already stated that many of us blindly accept racial diversity as a strength without really considering it. That is why one poll found that Americans ages 18 to 29 nearly unanimously accepted interracial dating and marriage within their own families. The numbers become different as the age bracket is moved up. [3] Yet in 2008, only one in seven new marriages were interracial. [4] This just shows the contrast between what Americans perceive to be a strength (i.e., racial diversity) and what they actually choose to do with their own free will.

What about schools? Many in the civil rights era believed that if only the schools could be desegregated then it would not take long for the rising youth to rid themselves of racial consciousness and move past this archaic social construct. But that has not been the case. Schools in the United States have in almost every instance segregated themselves voluntarily. Business Insider put out a wonderful set of maps that display just how this sort of school segregation works. [5] An article put out by the New York Times about the “resegregation” of Charlotte, NC schools said the following:

“Under the new ‘Family Choice Plan,’ students were largely made to attend the schools in their neighborhood. But most neighborhoods in Charlotte are deeply segregated and racially homogenous communities […] and so schools that were once integrated and high-achieving soon became stratified by race and income. […] When Charlotte-Mecklenburg eliminated race as a factor in student assignment, it not only meant less diverse schools; it also created a feedback loop that made the problem worse. Families with the means—most often white families—started to move into whiter neighborhoods, where they knew their kids would go to whiter schools. As a result of the relationship between race and wealth, the social, political, and economic capital became ever more concentrated in a small number of very white neighborhoods.” [6]

You see, white parents want their white children to go to white schools. And who can blame them? African Americans score lower than whites in almost every subject. They also perform wrorse on tests that measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence. [7] One article highlights the difference in criminality in schools based on demographics.

“When broken down into racial/ethnic categories, 82 percent of schools that are more than 50% Black have recorded at least one violent crime compared to 77% of majority Hispanic schools and 71% of majority White schools.” [8]

It is no-brainer for white parents to want their children to go to white schools. But how do the students themselves interact on their own in schools? The most common way to analyze this is by observing student behavior in the cafeteria. In most schools, there are no assigned seats in the cafeteria. There is nothing preventing a white and a non-white sitting together and eating lunch. Yet study after study shows that students naturally segregate themselves in the cafeteria. One study concluded:

“Multiple processes of segregation were found to operate in the cafeteria. To begin with, interethnic exposure at the level of social units—the spaces where customers chatted as friends or acquaintances whilst eating a meal—was consistently lower than would be expected under conditions of random mixing.” [9]

I will conclude this section regarding diversity in private life by addressing segregation in housing. A wonderful set of maps put out by the New York Times break down regions by ethnicity. It is not hard to see the high levels of segregation that occur in our society. [10] If diversity is such a strength, then why is it that people naturally drift away from it? Why do white people want to live with white people if they can benefit more from living in a diverse neighborhood? Why would white parents send their white children to white schools if it would be more beneficial to the children if they went to a mixed school? Why do children naturally identify race and segregate themselves if it is not beneficial for them to do so?

II. Diversity in Public Life

Since I covered schools in the section of private life (perhaps a bit too hasty), I will only really cover prisons in this section. I say that prisons are “public life” in the sense that they are a public institution (I acknowledge that there are private prisons, of course). Other than the fact that blacks engage in significantly more criminal activities than whites and Asians, prisons themselves are riddled with race based violence. [11]


The New York Times published an opinion article regarding California’s policy of segregating new inmates for sixty days. It reads:

Prison officials argue that the practice reduces racially motivated violence. […] When inmates arrive at California Department of Corrections facilities, either as new inmates or transfers, they are temporarily held in double cells at a prison ‘reception center.’ When cell assignments are made, the inmates are divided into four general categories: black, white, Asian and other. Inmates are almost invariably assigned cellmates of their own race. The State of California says its policy, by which hundreds of thousands of prisoners were segregated last year, reduces violence in the cells. After 60 days, the state says it has enough information to decide whether particular inmates are dangerous.” [12]

Jared Taylor, writing on the issue of race in prisons, wrote the following:

Gangs are segregated in the most obvious way–by race–and race permeates every aspect of prison life. The balance of gang power determines the order in which the different races go through the chow line, what parts of the prison yard are their exclusive territory, which benches people can sit on, who can use weights or basketball courts at what hours, etc.” [13]

The reality is that prisons have to be segregated. There are countless black, Hispanic, white, and Asian gangs that naturally formulate and compete with each other within the prison system. If they are not forced apart, they will naturally drift that way. And if they are not forced apart, they will violently attack one another. Why would this be the case if diversity is such a strength? Why would the inmates not embrace the strength of diversity?

Conclusion
My presentation is clear. If racial diversity were a strength, then people would not naturally oppose it through their actions. I challenge my opponent to find one real example of diversity strengthening the United States.


Sources:
[1] https://www.academia.edu...
[2] http://www.nbcnews.com...
[3] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org...
[4] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org...
[5] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[6] http://www.newyorker.com...
[7] http://www.nytimes.com...
[8] http://blackdemographics.com...
[9] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...
[10] https://www.nytimes.com...
[11] https://2kpcwh2r7phz1nq4jj237m22-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com...
[12] http://www.nytimes.com...
[13]
https://www.amren.com...

devcoch

Con

Addressing Diversity in Private Life:

I fundamentally disagree with many of your points. First, I would like to address the assumption that being white means you have very few if any friends of other race. I went to a school in a college town and had friends whose families are from all over the world. I interact and have many close friends of other races. I actually honestly cannot fathom not growing up with people and friends of other races.

"You see, white parents want their white children to go to white schools. And who can blame them? African Americans score lower than whites in almost every subject. They also perform worse on tests that measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence."

Children being aware of race is much different than rejecting it. You mention schools, and I am glad you brought that up.

"Other research has examined academic outcomes of racially segregated and diverse schooling that are closely tied to students" post-secondary careers and college trajectories. The gap in SAT scores between black and white students is larger in segregated districts, and one study showed that change from complete segregation to complete integration in a district would reduce as much as one quarter of the SAT score disparity."

(https://tcf.org...)

Really, that entire article is a good read as it goes into detail about how desegregation and integrated schools actually improved test scores and many other areas.

You ask why white people want to do this. I have to stop you there. Because it is most certainly not all white people, it is a section of them who reject other races and are for some reason, probably because of history, adverse to being around other races. It in no way shows that separating races makes America stronger.

"This notion is a popular one: that people like to live among their own. But it's highly misleading, because research has shown that it is far more true for white Americans than for black Americans."

You see, it is not all races. It has actually been found that it is far more prominent among just those who are white to have a desire to live only with those of their race. You conflate people (mainly white) who still do not want races to mix and therefore removing their children from certain schools with voluntary segregation.

"A number of different studies (my own and others)" demonstrate that the desire for more diverse neighborhoods is driven importantly by concerns about discrimination in neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly white. I would not call that a truly "voluntary" choice, given that it is inextricably tied up with past and present circumstances of racial violence and discrimination towards blacks who move into neighborhoods that are all or very predominately white."

(http://www.citylab.com...)

Having people from different backgrounds and cultures strengthens us through having different perspectives, different world views. Really, I wonder why some are so defiant and against another human who literally is only different because of their Melanin.

We are in an age like never before where races from around the world can go many places. And it is something to be celebrated. It strengthens us by teaching us new things, helping out children as that article points out.


Addressing Public Life:

I would like to start by saying your reference to the statistic in the "The Color of Crime" is released by a group known to be biased to wanting things like white separation and supremacy.

Why would the inmates not embrace the strength of diversity? To that I have to say, that is an issue that has to be addressed in society first. If people are saying, as you are, that it is better to stay with people who happen to be the same skin color as you then that mentality is perpetuated and will not stop until people quit alienating and being scared to embrace other cultures that may not be familiar to them. By doing this, it creates animosity and then violence is perpetuated because we have said one race is better than another or not fit to mingle with another. History has shown us that saying one race is better is NOT a strength for society.

"Inmates are almost invariably assigned cellmates of their own race. The State of California says its policy, by which hundreds of thousands of prisoners were segregated last year, reduces violence in the cells" You quoted. But therein lies my point. They are assigned cellmates of their own race. The prison system separates them immediately, creating a divide, creating separation and an immediate you versus others mentality. Then you wonder why they stick with the people they just met? That seems very counter intuitive.

Also! You conveniently left this key bit of information out of your quote from your article, "California produced little evidence to support its segregation policy," So, your argument there does not hold water seeing as they did not even produce evidence that this initial segregation was effective or changed outcomes.

The reality is, they don't. There is not actual evidence California doing this was more beneficial. They actually just helped segregate and create divides. That is a way to specifically not strengthen. Also - I would like to ask if you are under the impression, let's say if there was an all white prison, gangs would not still form and violence would not still happen? Because I think that is extremely incorrect.

Let's talk about companies. It has been shown a more homogeneous team is not as good at handling issues. Therefore, racial diversity has a positive influence on our society through strengthening industry:

"One of the most interesting recent findings in the area of work-team performance," says Neale, the John G. McCoy-Banc One Professor of Organizations and Dispute Resolution, "is that the mere presence of diversity you can see, such as a person's race or gender, actually cues a team in that there's likely to be differences of opinion. That cuing turns out to enhance the team's ability to handle conflict because members expect it and are not surprised when it surfaces." A more homogeneous team, in contrast, won't handle conflict as well because the team doesn't expect it. "The assumption is that people who look like us think like us, but that's usually just not the case," Neale says."
(https://www.gsb.stanford.edu...)

My position is clear. If it was not a strength it would not be good for out children's learning. The majority of Americans do not voluntarily separate, prisons do not need to be segregated, and it strengthens our companies.
Debate Round No. 2
Scruggs

Pro

I would like to clarify that my opponent has broken the structure of the debate. The previous round was for initial arguments, not rebuttals. However, we will move along.

Rebuttal: Addressing Diversity in Private Life

My opponent points out that she has a very diverse social life. I do not dispute this as I have never met her. However, her own personal experience does not refute the polling that I provided. She would be a part of the minority of whites who have five or more close friends of another race.

In response to me showing that children have an innate sense of race, which my opponent does not appear to dispute, she has said that “children being aware of race is much different than rejecting it.” I cannot say with any honesty that I understand what she is trying to say. If children are aware of race, then they would be foolish to reject it. It would be the equivalent of being aware that you had cancer yet rejecting it. Surely this is not what my opponent meant, so I must request for a clarification.

Moving on to schools, my opponent quotes an article that cites a study. I visited the study and it concluded with this:

“Taken as a whole, our results indicate that segregation matters for black relative achievement. [...] [O]ur tentative conclusion is that the neighborhood composition matters more than school composition.” [1]

As can be seen, it is neighborhood composition that matters more than school composition, according to this study. I have to say I disagree with this finding. School composition has been shown time and time again to greatly impact student performance. The U.S. Department of Education released a study that revealed “Achievement for both Black and White students was lower in the highest Black student density schools than in the lowest density schools.” But what of socioeconomic status, which would play into neighborhood composition? The same study found that “The Black–White achievement gap was larger in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.” [2]

So the achievement gap between black and white students, when accounting for socioeconomic status, is larger when the school has a higher black density. This seems to contradict what one would expect to find should diversity truly be a strength.

In regard to my statement that white parents want their kids to go to white schools, my opponent said that “not all white people” do this. Of course they don’t. There are white people that go out of their way to send their kids to highly diverse schools. However, I am speaking for the majority of white parents. [3] Let’s explore some examples of what diversity can really mean.

Los Angeles, California is perhaps the most racially diverse city in the United States. The demographics read like this:

  • 49% Hispanic
  • 28% White
  • 11% Asian
  • 9% Black
  • 3% Other

I could quite literally sit here all day showing example after example of racial violence in America’s most diverse city. This violence often enough does not include whites. It is most standard for racial violence in L.A. to be between blacks and Hispanics. [4] [5] [6] [7] Schools are not immune to this racial violence despite their high levels of diversity:

“Up to 600 Black and Latino students were involved in racially tinged violence at the Locke High School in South Los Angeles. The riot was described as the worst violence many of the faculty had ever seen in a high school plagued with violence and what the L.A. authorities are euphemistically calling ‘tagging crews.’ It took 60 officers, some in riot gear, to restore order and only four arrests were made.” [8]

It is genuinely difficult for me to imagine a 600 person fight when my high school did not even have 600 students in it! Now there is a phenomenon known as “re-segregation.” This is in reference to the fact that whites are not moving into integrated neighborhoods. Michael Bader from American University said the following in regard to his study on the issue:

“For example, if a neighborhood is all white in 1980 and African-Americans begin to move into that neighborhood, those white families already there aren’t fleeing. But other whites will more than likely not move into that neighborhood as well. So in time the neighborhood will become all black. It will re-segregate.” [9]

Who can blame the whites for making such sound decisions? My opponent seems to be a bit confused as to where they stand on the issues. They quote an article that not only verifies what I have been saying this whole time, but it also contradicts her own position. She quotes an article that says:

“This notion is a popular one: that people like to live among their own. But it's highly misleading, because research has shown that it is far more true for white Americans than for black Americans.”

Yet this has been my position from the very beginning. Whites do not desire to live among non-whites. This is not really a controversial point. And while blacks may not necessarily be as exclusive, they most certainly express in group preferences in various other ways. [10] [11] It is a cold reality that whites generally like to live among themselves. Ultimately, other races may not have an issue when it comes to living in the same neighborhoods as whites, but they still do not intermarry or form close relationships with them.

My opponent raises a point that I wanted to bring up in my initial argument but did not have enough room. She said that “having people from different backgrounds and cultures strengthen us through having different perspectives [and] different [worldviews].” This is only partially true. Acquired diversity (i.e., traits gained from experience) is a strength. Inherent diversity (i.e., race) is not a strength.

Rebuttal: Addressing Public Life

My opponent attempts to discredit my source without actually addressing anything in it. I do not particularly care who writes a study so long as the study is accurate. She would have to show that there are inaccuracies in the study in order to convince anyone that it should be rejected.

My opponent seems to be conflating race and culture. This is not at all accurate. There are multiple culture groups within one race. For example, the white race includes German, French, and various other cultures. So it is not a matter of being “scared to embrace other cultures.” It is a race issue. And I am not suggesting that one race is better than another. I agree that such a mentality is not a strength.

She also seems to be confused by the quote regarding California prisons. The prisons were segregated because of the violence that occurred by integration. The “us vs them” already existed prior to the segregation of inmates. My opponent then accuses me of leaving information out of my quote. This is simply not true. Is there truly little evidence that segregation works in prisons? Black mothers appear to believe it works:

“Tuesday, half a dozen mothers of inmates housed in Los Angeles County's Castaic jails spoke out against what they say are dangerous conditions that leave African American inmates vulnerable to attack. The women talked of their sons as though they were still boys and detailed their suffering in emotion-choked voices. With the support of community activists, they urged authorities to keep inmates segregated, saying that was the only way to keep their sons safe in a racially polarized environment in which African Americans are outnumbered.” [12]

Black prisoners at Pitchess Detention Center, also in Los Angeles, sued the Sheriff’s Department for not segregating the prison.

“According to the class-action suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, sheriff's deputies subjected black inmates to life-threatening situations by not ensuring the dorms at Pitchess were racially balanced and failing to search for weapons.” [13]

American Renaissance magazine wrote a magnificent piece citing example after example of prison violence directly caused by lack of segregation. [14]

Rebuttal: Diversity in Business

My opponent argues that diversity in the workplace strengthens an industry. The reality is that while diversity can drive creativity and innovation, it comes at a high cost. Roy Chua of Harvard Business School concluded with the following in his study:

Individual and organizational success in the 21st century depends on the ability to think creatively in a global setting. Recent research has affirmed the positive effects of exposure to multiple cultures on creativity. But intercultural disharmony in the workplace and societies at large are inevitable, and most is not directly under individuals control. This research represents an important step toward understanding how a disharmonious multicultural social environment can undermine individuals’ creativity.[15]

Sources:
[1] https://www.nber.org...
[2] https://nces.ed.gov...
[3] https://journalistsresource.org...
[4] http://www.npr.org...
[5] https://www.splcenter.org...
[6] https://www.splcenter.org...
[7] http://www.foxnews.com...
[8] http://www.red-alerts.com...
[9] http://www.pbs.org...
[10] http://www.cbsnews.com...
[11] http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu...
[12] http://articles.latimes.com...
[13] http://articles.latimes.com...
[14] https://www.amren.com...
[15] http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg...

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Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Scruggs 11 months ago
Scruggs
You should be able to accept it now.
Posted by devcoch 11 months ago
devcoch
I have not been in many debates but I would like to debate on this. I will not disappear!
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