The Instigator
youmils03
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
pantai_rhei
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Resolved: Affirmative action is in the best interests of the United States.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
pantai_rhei
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,651 times Debate No: 29371
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

youmils03

Con

I strongly negate resolved that affirmative action is in the best interests in the United States.

Here are my terms and conditions.

Round 1: declaration of sides, introduction, agreement to debate
Round 2: definitions, values, burdens, and contention-level arguments
Round 3: refutations to the claims and arguments made in Round 2
Round 4: responses to arguments from Round 2 and refutations from Round 3
Round 5: summary round to crystallize arguments and weigh voting issues

With that in mind, there are a few specific observations:
1. NEITHER side may begin to refute arguments in Round 2.
2. There are to be NO new arguments constructed after Round 3.
3. Round 1 (this one) shall NOT be used for arguments, definitions, or substance.
4. Neither side will troll, loiter, or be distracting to the opponent.

My goal is to argue that affirmative action is an immoral choice that creates an imbalanced system of reverse discrimination. However, I will elaborate on definitions, values, and arguments in Round 2, as demands the structure of this debate.

I look forward to an opponent in favor of this resolution!
pantai_rhei

Pro

Accepted. I therefore argue that affirmative action is in the best interests of the United States.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
youmils03

Con

I negate. Definitions:

affirmative action - the process of a business or governmental agency in which it gives special rights of hiring or advancement to ethnic minorities

best - of the most excellent quality

“Interests” and “United States” are relatively unequivocal terms, so I will only define them if I find my opponent’s definitions abusive or flawed.

My standard is NET BENEFITS FOR AMERICAN SOCIETY. The term “United States” in the resolution implies that we should look only to America. Furthermore, net benefits is an accessible framework that gives fair ground to both sides of the debate. Thus, vote for the side that has the most benefits for the U.S.

My plan is that businesses and agencies that use affirmative action to hire or admit people to positions have their tax benefits suspended for a short period of time. The accumulation of money from this fee will work to improve the economy and send the message that skin color should NOT be a factor in admission or employment.


The Pro burden is that the benefits to American society of implementing affirmative-action procedures in institutions, businesses, and agencies overwhelmingly outweigh the costs.

The Con burden is that the benefits to American society of monetarily incentivizing businesses and schools NOT to consider gender in decisions (my plan) outweigh the costs.



Contention 1: Reverse discrimination is morally flawed. Affirmative action drives out discrimination with more discrimination. The historical assault on ethnic minorities (like blacks and Hispanics) CANNOT be solved with a present assault on majorities (ex: whites and Asians). The warrant for this argument is that slavery and gender inequality, while deplorable, occurred in American society over 100 years ago and cannot be blamed on current majority groups. College and employment applicants of ethnic majorities should NOT be punished for or limited by the questionably discriminatory actions of their ancestors. This violates equality of opportunity, a keystone of our American system. John Mearsheimer, an analyst of philosophy, notes that “punishing one group to compensate for another is inherently wrong, particularly when the wrongs are generations in the past”. Given that most people in the present have never been harmed individually by government (in the sense of institutionalized racism), it is simply impossible to compensate them for harms that never occurred to them personally. Louis Pojman, an American philosopher, notes that “Respect for persons entails that we treat each person as an end in him or herself, not simply as a means to be used for social purposes. What is equally wrong about Affirmative Action is that it fails to treat White males with dignity as individuals”, judging them by the actions of their ancestors. To ensure that all Americans of the current generation have the same economic and educational opportunities in society as one another and that no one should be punished for crimes beyond her control, businesses that use affirmative action programs should be penalized. Putting an inherent disadvantage on majority groups in the current generation is analogous to depriving a child of privileges because his great-grandfather stole an automobile.


Contention 2: Affirmative action is socially and economically detrimental. In an effort to not be racist, consultancy groups may reluctantly employ an analyst who they know will not produce as many great ideas, hospitals may reluctantly employ a surgeon who they know will not be as effective in the ER, and universities will admit students who they know will not be as diligent. This proves that affirmative action could potentially be an assault on businesses, medical centers, and academic institutions, respectively. Essentially, affirmative action creates a system where less able applicants fill positions. The impact is that employers lose the flexibility to employ the BEST candidates. This is inherently bad for both efficiency and productivity. The prosperity of small businesses and public colleges in the United States is key to global competitiveness and economic success. Considering race in college and employment admissions weakens productivity by selecting members who may be less equipped to solve problems. Affirmative Action helps to weaken the productivity of the United States. Preferred groups have less incentive to perform well because it is not needed, and non-preferred groups do not perform as well because they don’t feel it will help them. This hurts everyone, especially in tough economic times such as these. Affirmative action is a form of charity that hurts the workforce and the economy. It punishes people who have worked for what they have and gives other people opportunities they have not earned.

Contention 3: Affirmative action undermines achievements. It creates the impression that success has been unearned. Some members of minorities see affirmative action as patronizing and as tokenism on the part of the majority, which is altogether unethical. Through simple cause and effect, affirmative action programs prolong the stereotype of minority students finishing near the bottom of their class by encouraging enrollment in universities beyond an appropriate level of difficulty. According to a federal study, just 39% of enrolled black students finish their degrees compared to 54% of white students. Attending a university where the pace of learning is too difficult is just as counterproductive as attempting to lift too much weight at the gym. Trey Tepichin, an attorney, explains his experience as a minority who was accepted to Duke University: “Affirmative action serves not to elevate minorities but instead functions as a tool to undermine their accomplishments. To set the record straight, I was born and raised in Mexico City -- I am not white. When I got into Duke I remember comments directed to me such as, ‘I bet affirmative action helped you get into Duke,’ or ‘Duke needed to fulfill their Hispanic quota.’ Simply because I am Hispanic and affirmative action is practiced, the value of my accomplishments were lessened in the eyes of many.” To stop the attribution of minority success to the imbalanced programs of affirmative action, businesses and institutions who continue these programs should be incentivized to stop.

Contention 4: The capitalist system in America demands merit-based hiring practices. Aiming to improve minority representation in high-profile positions does not mean that the United States should sacrifice emphasis on merit and ability. In a meritocracy, equal opportunity is critical. Everyone must have the opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities and gain rewards on basis of talent. Affirmative action simply creates race as a factor in providing individuals with these rewards. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed that one day we would live in a society where individuals would be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. The grade a student scores on an exam is arguably determined by how well he/she has prepared for the exam (ex: variability of study methods, amount of time spent on the content, participation in class, etc.) People are elected to Congress on account of how well they are perceived to perform their jobs. For instance, Bill Clinton was reelected to presidency in 1996 not because he was white, but because society approved of his spending-cut / progressive-taxation balance. In our American system, people are rewarded based on merit, not race. The color of one’s skin is completely arbitrary and should have absolutely nothing to do with admission to a position in a college or business.

Remember that it is not my burden as the Con to argue that affirmative action should be eliminated. My plan is to limit the presence of it in American society, because it is inconsistent with our ideals. My plan is valid, because it is a way to achieve net benefits without putting affirmative action in the best interests of the U.S.

Thus, I negate.
pantai_rhei

Pro

I would like to start off by giving a slightly different definition of Affirmative Action as I think the definition given by the negative side is not absolutely accurate. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [1]:

“Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.

Refutation 1: First we need to look at the question what is the fundamental aim of affirmative action? I would like to quote President Lyndon B. Johnson, who said in his speech in 1965 [2]

“You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race, and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

I think from this it becomes evident that the aim of affirmative action is not to punish anybody but to offer equal opportunities to everyone. Thereby the first contention which deals with punishment becomes irrelevant.

Refutation 2: Yes affirmative action means that a certain number of college and employment admissions will happen not exclusively on the basis of skill and capability but also on the basis of other factors. And yes, as a consequence of that the average productivity level of the nation might be affected temporarily. But it will help to level an uneven playing field that is the legacy of centuries of racism and sexism and I argue that the long run benefits for the society of reducing these inequalities significantly outweigh the temporary reduction of productivity.

Refutation 3: Going back to the analogy given by President Johnson:

“You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race, and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

To consider helping the previously enchained back on his feet as patronizing would reflect a very superficial view on the issue. This attitude has to be corrected in the society.

Refutation 4: I agree that equal opportunity is desirable. But I have to come back to the same analogy. If you have been enchained for centuries as certain groups of society have been and then are supposed to race against someone who has been enjoying all kind of privileges then we cannot talk of equal opportunities. Equal opportunities means we as a society have to somehow compensate for past discrimination. This is not only in the interest of the minority but of the society as a whole.

My main argument:

Much of the inequality that is prevalent in the US today is a result of past discrimination of certain minorities. It is in the best interest of the whole society of the United States to reduce these inequalities as they give rise to tensions and are a hurdle for the progress of the society. Affirmative action is able to reduce these inequalities. Thereby affirmative action is in the best interest of the United States.


[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[2] http://www.civilrights.org...

Debate Round No. 2
youmils03

Con

I negate. Let's start with the definitional debate:


My opponent tries to define affirmative action as positive steps to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas from which they have been historically excluded. The fact of the matter is that you should prefer MY definition because it is more TOPICAL to today's debate. My opponent doesn't interpret "positive steps", and any positive steps that I can think of are ultimately going to lead into my definition. Giving women and minorities higher pay in jobs because they were discriminated over 100 years ago is, in my opinion, morally unacceptable. Allowing women and minorities to apply for more colleges and at lower costs because they were discriminated over 100 years ago is, once again in my opinion, morally unacceptable.

But even if you don't buy that, prefer my definition because it is from the U.S. Legal Dictionary, which is arguably an unbiased source. The Pro side brings a definition from Stanford, but remember that Stanford is located in a very liberal state that may favor affirmative action more highly than other states. Finally, you should prefer my definition because it is more consistent with people's intuitions. Prop 209, which was intended to ban affirmative action in some environments, involved around the idea that hiring some people because of skin color was wrong. Hiring ethnic minorities like Hispanics, blacks, and Pacific Islanders over more qualified applicants was made illegal. Since my definition of "affirmative action" is less biased, more topical, and more intuitive, please prefer it to the Pro definition.


My opponent tries to refute my first contention, calling it “irrelevant”. He quotes President Lyndon Johnson. The problems with this refutation are that: 1) once again, Lyndon Johnson was a Democrat and may have been biased in support of affirmative action, so the evidence against my contention is not necessarily valid. 2) I find Johnson’s quote inaccurate and partially offensive. People need to be treated as ends in themselves, according to American philosopher Louis Pojman (see my contention). There is nothing “unfair” about realizing that a man in slavery is in a desperate situation and putting him back on an equal playing ground. Lyndon Johnson makes an analogy to a [competitive] race and says that it is not completely fair to put a minority to the starting line after having been locked up in chains. I completely disagree. All of the progress made on the racetrack needs to be earned, not “deserved”. If I (hypothetically a white man) were running in the race, why should God pick up a black man at the starting line and place him directly in front of me? Why should I have to be punished for something I did not cause, something I did not support, and something for which I am not responsible? Ultimately, my opponent’s refutation does not make sense because he doesn’t sufficiently respond to the argument that it is immoral to grant people favorable advantages over us if we were not involved in creating the disparity in the first place. Again, inequality and slavery are deplorable. We solve them by taking occasional time off to think about society’s assault on minorities. We solve them by offering psychological and, voluntarily, academic help to minorities who may not have those supports at home. But we do NOT solve them by punishing whites, who have gotten what they have earned and have earned what they have gotten.


In response to my 2nd contention, my opponent says that a reduction in economic productivity of the United States does not matter. (He also claims that it would be temporary, but I would not count this argument because my opponent fails to make in a plan in his speech that addresses for HOW LONG or UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES affirmative action would come into effect, and Round 3 will be too late for that.) My first response is that economic productivity is more important than fixing relations by about 4-fold. Who benefits from economic productivity? Who benefits when the U.S. is globally competitive and starts creating small businesses internationally? Who benefits when the U.S. climbs out of debt by eliminating wasteful programs and cutting health care entitlements? Everyone in the U.S.!! Judge, in this impact calculus, you should compare the benefits of aiding every single individual in the United States (with a cost to no one) with those of aiding JUST minority figures (with a cost to the other 70% of the population). My second response to my opponent’s refutation of my 2nd contention is just a cross-application to my first contention. My opponent wants to level an “uneven playing field”, but I argue that generations have passed and that the impact cannot be undone by inflicting the same harm on the several-times-removed descendants of those who were being racist.


It is very possible that my opponent does not understand my 3rd contention, because he refers back to the same quote from a biased former president as did he in the first contention. My argument is that giving affirmative action to minorities is bad for the MINORITIES, because it undermines their achievements and attributes them to colleges and businesses that provide affirmative-action programs. I give one example in my 3rd contention of a very brilliant man who was accepted to Duke but who received no merit or acknowledgement for having gotten HIMSELF into the college because of an attribution to affirmative-action programs. Take another example. A young black woman named Taylor scores a 2290 on her SAT, engages herself in three extracurriculars for all four years of high school, has completed nine AP or honors courses by the end of high school, and has worked interning for a biotechnology company over the course of two summers. She applies to Tufts University in Boston, MA (a very competitive engineering school) and is accepted. When she gets there, she is bullied by other students. A white college freshman named Zach goes up to Taylor and says, “YOU are the reason my friend Richard, who scored a 2400 on the SAT, was denied. What a backwards society we live in.” It is not MORAL for Taylor to be bullied. My opponent says that this attitude has to be corrected in society, but it can NOT be corrected if we continue policies of affirmative action. The only way people will stop undermining the achievements of ethnic minorities and women is if we eliminate or reduce affirmative-action programs, which is illustrated in my plan for the debate as pronounced in my Round 2 speech.


My opponent does not really respond to my 4th contention; he just repeats his refutation to my 1st argument. Please extend my 4th contention throughout the debate, which says that America has historically prioritized capitalism over just about anything. Affirmative-action programs are inconsistent with the U.S.’s intuitions, values, and morals as a nation because they incentivize skin color and not hard work. They incentivize race and not merit. A historical example is that the U.S. was under the “chains” of Great Britain for a long time and broke away through two wars. But 100-200 years after the American Revolution, we did NOT go back to Britain and start taking their jobs, money, and opportunities. What Britain did was deplorable and arguably naive, but since every single person living there now is different from every single person living there in the 1770’s, discrimination cannot be passed from generation to generation. America ought reward hard work, and everyone should have access to equality of opportunity. “All men are created equal.”


My opponent’s one contention, which has no warrants or evidence, says that the inequality in the U.S. is as a result of past discrimination of certain minorities. He’s right; it is. Affirmative action breeds inequality. Its goal (of restoring equality) is different from its effect (of spawning inequality). We need to REMOVE affirmative action programs, not keep them.


Thus, I negate.
pantai_rhei

Pro

As requested (see comment section) I will not refute any of the negative side's arguments in this round but only give my own arguments. This is to compensate for the fact that I have started with refutations in the last round and thereby violated the rules of the debate. Therefor to restore the balance the negative side will be at a privileged position in this round. It might be possible to consider this as a form of affirmative action :)

So here my contentions:

1) Affirmative Action helps to compensate for past wrongs and to achieve equal opportunity. Centuries of discrimination have put the black group of society at a disadvantaged position. This reminds me of the scene in the movie Gladiator where Commodus stabbed Maximus before the last fight. I'm sure nobody would argue that this was a fair fight with equal opportunities. Affirmative action means just this: To give Maximus the opportunity to recoup from this harmful act and get a fair chance for the fight.

2) Affirmative Action helps to reduce inequalities in the society and thereby helps to restore a peaceful society. Studies [1] show a significant correlation between income inequality and crime rates in a society. Since it is in the best interest of the US to live in a peaceful society it is also in their best interest to reduce these inequalities. To see the level of inequality let's look at a few statistics: In 2008 the number of doctorates awarded to black citizens was 824 [2], while 13,894 doctorates have been awarded to white citizens. This means that 17 times more doctorates have been awarded to white citizens than to black citizens while white citizens only make up 5.5 times the number of black citizens in the US [3]. Also in 2009 the median wealth of white households was 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households [4]. This shows that there is still a huge level of inequality in the American society. Since the university is an important factor determining job and salary, affirmative action helps to reduce inequality.

3) Affirmative action compensates for current forms of discrimination. Apart from the discrimination that has happened in the past there are still numerous privileges enjoyed today by wealthy, predominantly white kids. According to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education [5] "as many as 15 percent of freshmen at America's top schools are white students who failed to meet their university's minimum standards for admission. These kids are people with a long-standing relationship with the university, or in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians." According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who had benefited from affirmative action.


[1] http://www.nbcchicago.com...

[2] http://www.nsf.gov...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org...

[5] http://socialistworker.org...

Debate Round No. 3
youmils03

Con

I negate.


I appreciate my opponent's adherence to the rules of this debate. (It is NOT a form of affirmative action, because my opponent is NOT being punished for something for which he/she was not responsible.)


My opponent's 1st contention is about how affirmative action allegedly compensates for past wrongs. He/she says that blacks were consistently been put at a disadvantage for centuries. My main response to this is that inequality is a deplorable thing that cannot be fixed with more inequality. The fact of the matter is that slavery and gender inequality are terrible, but they should NOT be fixed by punishing generational descendants of the people responsible for that injustice. Cross-apply my first contention, where I talk about how it is not possible or morally sound to punish me because my great-grandfather stole an automobile or held a slave as possession. I argue that we fix these inequalities by providing ethnic minorities with social programs and chances to succeed in school. However, this should NOT be a detriment to or burden on ethnic majorities because giving minorities special privileges as the expense of majorities doesn't maximize net benefits; it minimizes them.

The second response that I have to my opponent's first contention regards the evidence/example. My opponent references a movie but fails to provide any logically consistent evidence from any philosopher, professor, or unbiased source. I personally have not seen Gladiator and refuse to give his/her opponent any validity in a movie example that wasn't necessarily intended to endorse current affirmative action policies.


My opponent's 2nd contention is about how affirmative action allegedly helps to reduce societal inequality and increase peace. I have several responses to this contention as a whole and will number them appropriately:

1. his/her first study is a correlational study, NOT a causational study. In debate, it is a logical fallacy to assume that A CAUSES B just because B generally is higher when A is higher as well. All my opponent says is that there is a CORRELATION between income inequality and crime rate. I could say that there is a significant correlation between number of computers in a household and IQ of each person in the household. Does that mean that the computers CAUSE intelligence? That would be hard to prove, and my opponent doesn't have sufficient evidence to show that my plan (of limiting affirmative action) would increase crime.

2. My opponent says that the frequency of getting doctorates is lower among blacks than it is along whites. I would point out once again that this is NOT a reason to put affirmative action policies in place. It may just be typical of blacks to be less interested in getting doctorates because they would rather pursue Master's degrees and spend less money on education. The fact of the matter is that affirmative action is not the answer to simple inequalities in society that could be attributed to a number of different causes. It may just be typical for blacks and Hispanics to culturally be less interested in education. They might put more prioritization on building strong social relationships and exercising personal traits. White people may culturally just have a better work ethic than blacks, but that shouldn't be the FAULT of whites in our society. If blacks and Hispanics, the two minority groups that my partner points out, want to succeed, they should have the SAME educational and social opportunities that whites have (ex: AP courses in their high schools, recreational clubs, sports, etc.), NOT more. As is one of the key points in this round, discrimination cannot be driven out with more discrimination.


My opponent's 3rd contention is less clear than the other two, but I think it basically says that whites currently have more educational opportunities than blacks and Hispanics and that the inequality did not JUST exist in the past. He/she brings up a statistics that says that 15% of freshmen in top colleges are white who did not meet the standards for acceptance. I would like to point out that my opponent is still blaming the actions of a select group of white students on an irrelevant majority. He/she says that since a small portion of current colleges have white kids who didn't earn their positions in those schools, ALL minority groups should have priority over ALL people in the majority groups. This is a fundamental attribution error, because while it is deplorable that a few kids are accepted into colleges because of "alumni and politicians", the vast majority of them earn their positions in their institutions on the basis of merit. Thus, if I am part of the vast majority of white students who DOES meet the minimum standards for admission, why should I have to be punished by having a minority figure with lower scores come take my spot? Cross-apply my 4th contention. My opponent has a tendency to blame the actions of majority groups as a whole on the actions of either groups from 150 years ago or very tiny groups of unfairly advantaged people. Just because there are a few people who got in because of legacy does not mean that affirmative action is automatically a moral choice. As is one of the key points by which I stand in today's debate, you cannot drive out inequality with more inequality. Instead, reduce inequality altogether by getting rid of those policies of legacy in the first place. However, I would be careful with interpreting Schmidt's analysis, because while legacy generally plays a small role in admission, the majority of the reason that 15% of students was accepted is probably because of merit, the way it should be in a capitalist society.


With the rest of the capacity that I have, I would like to extend my arguments and refutations to my opponent's refutations to my own arguments. In Round 5, I will be addressing voting issues and why I think judges should choose the Pro ballot.


Essential Idea #1: Generations have passed. Slavery and gender inequality are horrible aspects of a historically flawed American society. Abraham Lincoln spent lives and money to combat inequality and injustice of blacks. While we should recognize equality and balance in American society today, racial inequalities during the 1800's and reverse racial inequality in the present times do NOT cancel each other out. I should not be punished for something that my great-great-grandfather did. Blacks, hispanics, and other minority groups, particularly in public school settings, have just as many opportunities as whites do. They can enroll in AP courses, use office hours time, enroll in social clubs, volunteer, etc. Thus, affirmative action makes no sense in a nation that was but no longer is racially or sexually unequal.


Essential Idea #2: Affirmative action hurts the economy. Hiring people who are less skilled for particular positions decreases American productivity and makes the nation less globally competitive. This is bad for anyone who pays taxes in America, because he/she gets fewer returns on each dollar. If we employ the most fit people for the job as opposed to the people with the most interesting skin colors, we can abolish racism and simultaneously create growth, incentivize hard work, and solve national issues.


Essential Idea #3: Affirmative action undermines the accomplishments of minorities. Minority students who apply to selective colleges and get accepted, regardless of how much merit they actually had, are insulted. ALL of their hard work and achievements, as many in number and much in magnitude as they may be, go down the drain and irreverently attributed to affirmative action programs. If we get rid of these programs, we can attribute success to success and failure to failure.


Essential Idea #4: America is a capitalist nation. The idea here is that all situations of employment and admission in this society should be based on merit. The grade you get on a test is based on merit. We should keep this consistency.


Thus, I negate.


pantai_rhei

Pro

I start with my refutations:

Refutation of negative's argument #1:

The negative side contents that racial inequality is history and only existed in the past - more specifically during the 1800's.

I would like to point out that racial inequality was prevalent in the US until long after the 1800's. Racial segregation has been outlawed by the supreme court of the US only in 1954 [1] though this court decision didn't translate into significant change immediately. It was in 1960 when Ruby Bridges was admitted and "integrated" as one of the first back children into an all white school encountering incredible resistance - no teacher was initially willing to teach the class with a black child in it. And even today there is substantial evidence for racial discrimination. Studies [2] show that blacks are half as likely as whites to get a job offer presenting identical qualifications.

Furthermore the negative side contents that black students have equal access to AP courses as white students. However the data [3, Figure 6] clearly refutes this claim. It shows that 80% of black students were either left out of an AP subject for which they had potential or attended a school that did not offer the subject. This proportion was significantly higher than for white students. This in turn significantly impacts their chances for college admission since grades in college preparatory courses are the top factor that colleges consider in the admission decision. [4]

Therefore the lack of access to AP courses for black students puts them a step behind. In order to compensate for this, AA is needed.


Refutation of negative's argument #2:

The second argument of the negative was that AA hurts the economy.

First, it is not about race or skin colour as such. It is about compensating previously disadvantage parts of the society and making them fit for competing. It is because these people were systematically exploited and discriminated and still are at disadvantage today, that they are compensated for it, not because their skin colour is "interesting".

Second, the argument is based on the assumption that economic prosperity is the highest goal of the society. I explained earlier why I think that this is a very simplified, one-dimensional way of looking at the issue and that I think that there are many other desirable characteristics for a society. I gave the example of a peaceful society and I provided evidence that shows that there is a strong correlation between the level of inequality and the crime rates in societies. The negative's objection was that correlation does not translate into causation. So I offer another study which shows that crime rates and inequality are not only positively correlated, but that this correlation also most likely reflects causation from inequality to crime rates, even controlling for other crime determinants [5]. If we take these other factors into the equation, then the fact that AA might lead to decrease in productivity in individual cases becomes less significant.


Refutation of negative's argument #3:

The negative side contents that AA undermines the accomplishments of minorities and gave the example of a college student being bullied because another student thought he was admitted due to AA (which he wasn't).

I already refuted this argument earlier but will try to clarify again. If X bullies Y, because Y belongs to a minority and X thinks that he got admitted into college because of AA, then this doesn't necessarily mean we should get rid of AA. It could instead just reflect an attitude problem or a lack of understanding of X and instead we should maybe educate X.

The bottom line is, irrespective of what some students think, if we think AA is the right thing to do, then we should fight for it and educate those who might not yet understand it's significance.


Refutation of negative's argument #4:

"America is a capitalist nation. The idea here is that all situations of employment and admission in this society should be based on merit."

Two objections:

1) The argument rests on the assumption that a purely "merit"-based system without any consideration of something like equality is the best option and therefore AA is not desirable. But it is exactly that assumption which is up to debate here, therefore this is circular logic.

2) Even if a merit-based system would be preferable, the question arises how do we define "merit"? Can merit be reduced to SAT results or GPA without taking into account other circumstances? Is the "merit" of a kid growing up in very privileged circumstances, having visited a nice school with good teachers and access to AP courses and SAT coaching higher than the "merit" of a kid who grew up under difficult circumstances without access to these privileges simply because he scored higher in one particular test?


In the following I will defend my arguments from the last round:

1) AA helps to compensate for past wrongs and to achieve equal opportunity. Centuries of discrimination have put the black group of society at a disadvantaged position.

The negative side objects that inequality cannot be fixed with more inequality. I don't see the reasoning behind this. If you have two people racing against each other with x starting 2 min before y. Wouldn't it be considered reasonable to compensate y for that by stopping x for 2 min?

Furthermore the negative says that it would be unmoral to punish someone for the acts committed by his grandfather.

Again I repeat: It is not about punishment. It is about offering equal opportunities. I think it's impossible to deny that certain privileges are passed on over generations (example relay race). If let's say someone's parents were slaves and someone else was born as the child of the slave master, can we talk about equal opportunity here? Even though the level of inequality might have decreased over last couple of decades, it is evident that there is still a huge level of inequality existent today. I provided statistics in support of this earlier.


2) AA helps to reduce inequalities in the society and thereby helps to restore a peaceful society.

I already provided evidence indicating that this relationship is a causal relationship.

The negative's second objection was that inequality in education is not caused by unequal circumstances and furthermore that minorities should have the same educational opportunities that whites have (e.g. AP courses in high schools), but not more. I already gave evidence in my refutations that clearly shows that currently there are significant disparities in terms of quality of high school education, specifically in terms of access to AP courses. My point is that until these disparities are levelled and we can truly speak of equal access to high quality education, AA is needed as compensation.


3) AA compensates for current forms of discrimination.

I pointed out that approximately 15% of freshmen at America's top colleges fail to meet the minimum entry requirements and are admitted due to personal bonds with the University, i.e. mostly children of faculty, alumni, politicians.

The negative's objection is that this is a negligible minority and doesn't weigh much. I want to point out again that according to the source this group makes up nearly twice as many students in top universities than blacks and latinos who had been admitted because of AA. My point is again, as long as these kinds of privileges and current forms of discrimination exist, AA is but a small effort to level the playing field.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.princeton.edu...
[3] http://apreport.collegeboard.org...
[4] http://www.nacacnet.org...
[5] siteresources.worldbank.org/DEC/Resources/Crime%26Inequality.pdf

Debate Round No. 4
youmils03

Con

I negate. As this will be the last opportunity for me to speak in this debate, I will go over my opponent's refutations to my contentions, refute my opponent's defenses to his/her arguments, and state the voting issues for this debate.

My Essential Idea #1: Generations have passed.
My opponent tries to respond to this by saying that racial inequality existed up until 1954. I have two responses:1. 1954 was the year that "separate but equal" education was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Public education was still EQUAL (at least relatively) before 1954, and my opponent does not have any evidence that shows otherwise. Thus, racial inequality is a thing of the past.
2. My opponent says that the first time a black child was admitted into a white school was in 1960. Even if you believe that racial inequality carried on ALL the way up to that date, the fact of the matter is that 53 years, about two generations, have passed. Nowhere in the debate does my opponent counter the principle of deontology - the idea that people should be treated as ends in themselves. The United States could have supported affirmative action programs up until 1990 or 2000 to reverse the impact of racial inequality. But now, it is 2013, and the national population now is completely or almost completely different from the national population of 1960. My opponent has NO reasons not to prefer principles of deontology in today's debate.

My opponent brings up a statistic that shows that blacks are half as likely as whites to get a job offer presenting identical qualifications. It is a common trend for my opponent to blame the actions of either an archaic population (ex: the whites from 150 years ago) OR a very small group of people (ex: racist, white employers) on EVERYONE in the current majority group. With my plan, we would eliminate the ethnicity box on applications for education and employment so that the employers could NOT discriminate on race. But we cannot punish the actions of a few employers on everyone in the majority group.
My opponent shows a statistic that 79% of black students attend a school that does not have the AP class for which those students are best suited. My simple response to this is that African-Americans should attend schools that DO have the courses they are interested in. Any course denied to a black student at XYZ High School is also denied to a White, Hispanic, or Asian student. Furthermore, the statistics are also high for other races (63% for White and 74% for Alaska Native). Thus, my opponent's evidence falls on itself and is not valid in today's round.

My Essential Idea #2: Affirmative action hurts the economy.
My opponent is completely unable to respond to the fact that affirmative action policies are bad for national productivity and global competitiveness. He/she just says that it doesn't matter. So let's look at some of the specs.
Magnitude: a good economy benefits everyone, not JUST majorities and not JUST minorities
Timeframe: if my counter-plan came into effect today, the economy would begin to improve tomorrow
Impacts: A good economy creates more jobs, strengthens the military, improves the quality of life, and spawns new technology that makes life easier.

My opponent alleges to bring up a statistic that says that income inequality CAUSES increased crime. Here are my two short responses, one of which remains unrefuted from Round 4:
1. Nowhere in my opponent's evidence does it show a causation link. Thus, it is a logical fallacy. My opponent cannot necessarily attribute increased crime TO income inequality.
2. There are a lot of reasons that income inequality exists in America. Some people are simply less motivated than others. Some people look harder for employment than others.
Don't let my opponent say otherwise in his/her Round 5 speech, because I have no opportunity to refute.

My Essential Idea #3: Affirmative action undermines the achievements of minorities.
My opponent has left this contention entirely unrefuted, substituting real argumentation with defensive pleas that serves as appeals to emotions and pathos. The fact of the matter is that minorities should be recognized for what they accomplish in society. IF we have affirmative action policies in schools, THEN all successes and triumphs of minority students are mistaken for those policies of affirmative action. My opponent says that we should educate the students who perform these faulty attributions, however this is a new argument as of Round 4 that has no solvency or practicality in the scheme of today's debate whatsoever.

My Essential Idea #4: America is capitalist.
My opponent's only valid response to this is that merit is an ambiguous term. He/she asks me to define merit. Let me define it loosely in this way.
Dictionary.com defines merit as "the quality of being particularly good or worthy, esp. so as to deserve praise or reward". My interpretation of this is a high GPA, a successful SAT score, an abundance of extracurricular activities, strong letters of recommendation, and rewards from schools or clubs. Minority students can ACHIEVE these things if they desire to do so, but the merit of a minority student should not be worth any MORE or LESS than that of a majority student. Thus, we should reduce affirmative action.

I now refute my opponent's arguments one more time before going over voting issues:

Opponent's Claim #1: A.A. compensates for past wrongs. My opponent's only argument is that discrimination have put the blacks at a disadvantaged position. But now, they are put on equal grounding with whites, and it should stay that way. With respect to the x-y example, we aren't talking about x starting 2 minutes before y and therefore y being able to stop x for 2 minutes. I think that THAT is valid. What I do NOT find valid is M starting 2 minutes before N and therefore Y stopping X for 2 minutes. Generations change. People change. "IOU's" don't work as gracefully as my opponent would like. Gender inequality is over, and it should stay that way.

Opponent's Claim #2: A.A. reduces inequalities in society. I would say that there is equal access to high-quality education. If black students are unhappy with their course curricula at their high schools, they can transfer. Furthermore, as aforementioned, if an academic opportunity is denied to a minorty group, then it is also denied to a majority group by definition.

Opponent's Claim #3: A.A. compensates for current forms of discrimination. My opponent CONTINUES to blame the actions of a few people who benefit from legacy on EVERYONE in that ethnicity group. This is immoral for all of the reasons I have outlined in my case. Prefer deontology to any principles that my opponent has emphasized in his/her case.

I now state voting issues.

1. Which is fairer?
Answer 1: the Con side. Individuals who put more effort into their work should be rewarded correspondingly. This is the only way to uphold American ideals.
Answer 2: the Con side. Voting Pro would blame the actions of ancestors on their descendants. We do not do that with crimes like stealing cars or killing people, and we should not do it with a crime like slavery or gender inequality.

2. Which is better for society?
Answer 1: the Con side. Everyone benefits from a good economy, not JUST the members of a particular ethnicity group. Since A.A. is harmful to the economy, I cannot see a Pro vote as affirmative action does not protect net benefits, the standard for today's debate.
Answer 2: the Con side. The achievements of minorities are overlooked by racist affirmative action policies. I provide real-life examples of that in my Round 2 speech.

3. Which is more in-line with our intuitions?
Answer 1: the Con side. America, the agent of the resolution, is based on a system of merit. We should NOT judge people on their skin color but rather their ability to work well in a school or employment environment.

Thus, I negate and extend my plan of reducing affirmative action as outlined in Round 2 to the judges.
pantai_rhei

Pro

I will start with my refutations:

1) Refutation of Negative A1: Generations have passed

The negative side insists that public education was already equal before 1954 when the "separate but equal" doctrine was abandoned by the supreme court. This claim even contradicts the statement of the supreme court itself which concluded back then that "Racially segregated schools inherently unequal." [1] Furthermore there is plenty of evidence available that proves the negative's claim wrong and shows that the majority of all black schools were of a much lower quality (e.g. received old textbooks, used equipment, and poorly prepared or trained teachers) [2].

2) Refutation of Negative A2: AA hurts the economy

(i) The negative side keeps repeating that productivity would suffer under AA and fails to address my refutation that GDP is an one-dimensional, incomplete and unsatisfactory measure of welfare in an economy since it doesn't take into account other factors like, equality, social cohesion, education, overall quality of life (including happiness), etc.

(ii) The negative side fails to recognize and address the provided evidence in the last round, which gives strong evidence that the relationship between inequality and crime is indeed causal.

3) Refutation of Negative A3: Affirmative action undermines the achievements of minorities

I extend my earlier refutation.

4) Refutation of Negative A4: America is capitalist

(i) The negative side continues to follow circular logic. I repeat my earlier objection: His argument rests on the assumption that a purely "merit"-based system without any consideration of something like equality is the best option. But it is exactly that assumption which is up to debate here, therefore this is circular logic.

(ii) The negative side reduces "merit" to a high GPA and SAT score and fails to address my objection that it is significantly easier to achieve those in privileged circumstances (good school with good teachers and access to AP courses and SAT coaching) than under less privileged circumstances. It comes back to the analogy of a race with one of the contestants starting ahead of the other.

In the following I'm going to defend my arguments:

1) AA helps to compensate for past wrongs and to achieve equal opportunity

(i) According to the negative side blacks and whites "are now on equal grounding". He thereby ignores any evidence that I have provided throughout the debate which proves this wrong.

(ii) Furthermore he fails to address my contention that many privileges are passed on over generations (example relay race). "If let's say someone's parents were slaves and someone else was born as the child of the slave master, can we talk about equal opportunity here? Even though the level of inequality might have decreased over last couple of decades, it is evident that there is still a huge level of inequality existent today. I provided statistics in support of this earlier."

2) AA helps to reduce inequalities in the society and thereby helps to restore a peaceful society

The negative side says there is equal access to high-quality education. Again he ignores any evidence that I have provided that proves this wrong. He contents that black students could simply transfer to better high schools with better access to AP courses, etc. He completely ignores the fact that the type of neighborhood one lives in will determine to a large degree the quality of schools in that area because funding for public school is tied to local property taxes. Thereby someone living in an affluent area will end up in a better school. [3]

Therefor my argument remains: AA will help to reduce inequalities in the society and thereby helps to restore a peaceful and socially cohesive society.

3) AA compensates for current forms of discrimination.

This shall not be regarded as a sole-standing argument for AA by itself. Rather it shall remind us that by no means we can talk of equal opportunity for everyone in today's society. Therefor I repeat: 15% of freshmen at America's top colleges fail to meet the minimum entry requirements and are admitted due to personal bonds with the University, i.e. mostly children of faculty, alumni, politicians.

With regards to the mentioned voting issues:

1. Which is fairer?

Answer 1: The negative side assumes that the only determinant of the GPA or SAT score would be effort and ignores other previously mentioned factors like quality of school attended, access to AP courses, SAT coaching, etc.

Answer 2: The negative side keeps talking about blame and punishment and therefor completely misses the point which is creation of equal opportunities.

2. Which is better for society?

Again the negative side reduces the well-being of the society to GDP and therefore ignore other previously mentioned factors like equality, social cohesion, education, overall quality of life (including happiness), etc.

3. Which is more in-line with our intuitions?

Again the negative side reduces "merit" to GPA, SAT score, etc. ignoring any outer circumstances.


I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting debate and am looking forward to see the voting results :)



[1] http://law2.umkc.edu...

[2] Clark, Kenneth. "Segregation Ruled Unequal, Therefore Unconstitutional".

[3] http://sitemaker.umich.edu...

Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by youmils03 4 years ago
youmils03
pantai_rhei: Please refrain from making ANY refutations in your Round 3 speech. You may make new, unique contention-level arguments, but to restore the debate to my standards I think your Round 2 and Round 3 speeches should trade roles. If you do not abide by this norm, I will have the judges note your infringement of the standards.
Posted by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
So pro is arguing against skill based hiring because it is unfair? What happened to let the best man win!
Posted by pantai_rhei 4 years ago
pantai_rhei
I just realized that I violated the rules of the debate as I have started with refuting arguments in the second round. Please accept my apologies. I offer to skip the third round as a compensation. Please let me know.
Posted by youmils03 4 years ago
youmils03
You are at liberty in your Round 2 speech to define AA as you'd like and contest my definitions/burdens if you have good reasons to do so. Of course, I can also do that to your definitions.

To answer your question, the debate could boil down to either of the two.
Posted by The_Chaos_Heart 4 years ago
The_Chaos_Heart
Are we debating AA in it's current form, or the idea of AA in general? I wil accept if it is the latter.
Posted by youmils03 4 years ago
youmils03
Point of Clarification: I made a typo when typing the resolution into Round 1 of the debate. The resolution IS "Resolved: Affirmative action is in the best interests of the United States", NOT "in the United States". My apologies!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 4 years ago
OhioGary
youmils03pantai_rheiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Pro. Con initiated this debate but didn't bring any sources. Pro peppered with quotes and facts from the start. Con's line of the debate for me was "The Pro side brings a definition from Stanford, but remember that Stanford is located in a very liberal state that may favor affirmative action more highly than other states." What? Does that mean that liberals should invalidate anything coming from Texas because Texas is a red state? I don't think that line of argument invalidates Stanford. And where was the proof of the claim that Stanford favors affirmative action more? Argument to Pro. Conduct is a tie. S&G is a tie.
Vote Placed by LatentDebater 4 years ago
LatentDebater
youmils03pantai_rheiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources is the most obvious vote. Pro had lots of reliable ones whilst con had zero. Then con simply sticks to negating without evidence. All he does is play Devil's advocate whilst pro not only rebuts everything con can come up with, back it up with evidence and reasons why it is inevitably better for American Society but ALSO was the only one to have a successful conclusion.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
youmils03pantai_rheiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were more convincing. Pro would have us believe that state-sanctioned racism can make up for past racism. That is simply not the case.