The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Resolved: Affirmative action to promote equal opportunity in the United States is justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,566 times Debate No: 11273
Debate Rounds (5)
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Anyone can challenge!! Let the debate begin!!


Dear Pro,

I thank you for creating this debate topic and will gladly participate to the best of my abilities. As the role of Con, I believe that affirmative action promotes more inequality in the United States and has an unjustified place in government.

Since we have five rounds to duke this out, the first round will serve as our introduction. I challenge you to persuade me that affirmative action holds a spot in our government and promotes skill, the effects of consequences, and absolute equality or all. First points are yours. Best of luck!

Debate Round No. 1


I thank my oppenent for this round.

"If you don't like affirmative action, what is your plan to guarantee a level playing field of opportunity?" Because I agree with the words of Maynard Jackson I am in support of the resolution
Resolved: Affirmative action to promote equal opportunity in the United States is justified.
American Webster's Dictionary

Affirmative Action- A policy or program providing advantages for people of a minority group who are seen to have traditionally been discriminated against, with the aim of creating a more egalitarian society through preferential access to education, employment, health care, social welfare, etc

Opportunity- a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.

Justify - show to be right by providing justification or proof; "vindicate a claim"

This debate should be centered on the capability for humans to compete on educational, equal level. To promote equality in the United States, we must have affirmative action because for minorities, disabled, and challenged people we can't discriminate against any race, gender, or age or ethinicity. I'm not saying that we should focus on racism but why affirmative action is justified.

Contention 1- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION HELPS LEVEL THE EDUCATIONAL PLAYING FIELD Daily Illini ,"Keep Affirmative Action About Race," UNIVERSITY WIRE, April 1, 2008,npg.
To quote professor Dyson, "to understand affirmative action one must look at the historical context....since race was used as a demerit in the past, it is only just and logical to use it as a merit in the present." The purpose of affirmative action is to level the playing field. Since blacks were historically discriminated against because of the color of their skin, they should be given a preference today to make things equal.

One example is that many schools give credit for legacies. If your mother or father attended a university in the past, you are given preference. Blacks, who have historically been unable to go to college, are at a disadvantage. Affirmative action helps correct that scenario as well. In order for someone to have equal opportunities we must have affirmative action for their educational experiences to be met and leveled out with everyone else.
The direct clash in the round is that we need to equalize and give them an opportunity to every citizen in the United States.

SPA- It is against the constitution to reject equal opportunity. Therefore we need affirmative action.
In the United States Constitution Amendment 15, Section 1 The rights of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The 14th Amendment, Section 1 states "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States: nor shall any Senate deprive any person of life liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Thus by having discriminating people, we must have affirmative action for justification of being equal.

Contention 2- DIVERSITY AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS NOT IMMORAL -- IS JUSTIFIED ON MULTIPLE GROUNDS James P. Sterba, Professor, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND RACIAL PREFERENCE: A DEBATE, Oxford University Press, 2003, p.308-309.
Cohen also goes on to identify all diversity affirmative action with the pursuit of racial proportionality and to condemn it on those grounds. But this hardly does justice to diversity affirmative action. Racial proportionality has its applications in the context of remedial affirmative action. By contrast, diversity affirmative action is a nonremedial form of affirmative action; it claims to be justified on the basis of the future benefits that diversity provides, not as a remedy for past discrimination. Diversity affirmative action aims to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented minority students in order to attain the benefits of racial diversity in various academic settings. That critical mass is determined not by the percentage of underrepresented minority students graduating from the relevant high school populations, as would have to be the case if racial proportionality were the goal. Rather, the number of students admitted is designed to be "sufficient to enable under-represented minority students to contribute to classroom dialogue without feeling isolated."
In conclusion, affirmative action is justified because equal opportunity is important in every person's life. Due to the context of what is morally right for citizens in the United states we should be civilized and treat every citizen with respect under or own jurisdictions. .


Thank you, Pro, for the accurate definitions and introduction. We are here to discuss whether affirmative action creates a more egalitarian society through preferential selection.

Let us get at the true point of affirmative action: we are attempting to give everybody an equal opportunity (as defined above, a chance or prospect for advancement or a good position). The issue's main point boils down to a single question: what can we do to promote fairness and give everybody an equal chance?

It is natural that some are with handicaps, and this creates a natural dilemma. In order for everybody to have the same opportunity, it is only fair that we make sure that every individual is selected fairly, correct?

I believe that our recurring example will be college admissions. I acknowledge that there are other places where affirmative action is in place, but this is our current issue. Just as I have done for you, please assume I am speaking about admissions unless I state otherwise.

Retort to Contention One:
"Contention 1- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION HELPS LEVEL THE EDUCATIONAL PLAYING FIELD Daily Illini ,'Keep Affirmative Action About Race,' UNIVERSITY WIRE, April 1, 2008,npg."

Professor Dyson states that "to understand affirmative action one must look at the historical context....since race was used as a demerit in the past, it is only just and logical to use it as a merit in the present." You agree and state that because of racial discrimination in the past to African-Americans, the roles should be reversed; African-Americans should be given opportunities over the majority. When one -favors- the minority over the majority, reverse discrimination occurs. In your first paragraph of this contention, you state that affirmative action will make things equal.

You cite legacy admissions in your second paragraph as support for affirmative action. This is an oft-used example of the unfairness of admissions. When one uses this, however, they usually fail to realize the similarities between legacy admissions and affirmative action itself. Legacy admissions are a very unfair way of admission to college. This exists largely in part to satisfy donating alumni and to encourage other donations as well (1); blandly, it is largely greediness on part of the schools. Admission officers and counselors have agreed that if a parent has not contributed financially to the school, it will have little influence on a son or daughter's admission status; therefore, it is an issue of donations rather than of legacy. As this is examined further, we see the point drawn: it is donations, only with the title of legacy, that helps a hopeful student. Furthermore, it is a small group of people that are capable of donating enough to achieve any substantial recognition in these legacy admissions.

When this is drawn in parallel to affirmative action, one can see the similarities and unfairness of the two programs. Legacy admissions and affirmative action each select a minority group (wealthy and generally African-Americans respectively) and, despite sub-par credentials, allow them in. Although there are clear, noticeable differences in the two programs, the basic tenet remains the same. Is this admission really fair game? Legacy admissions is a separate debate, but is relevant for this reason. Legacy admissions, instead of supporting affirmative action, reveals its flaws and holds no ground for support.

In regards to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, we would most likely be able to agree that denying one by "race, color, or previous condition of solitude" is unlawful and immoral. Furthermore, it is illegal to deprive one of his privileges. The Fifteenth Amendment states that, under the law, you cannot be charged because of your race or color, and it is so. Applicants are not denied BECAUSE they are African-American, Asian, White, Latin-American, Croatian, etc.; thus, the Fifteenth Amendment doesn't allow for affirmative action. This amendment gives protection to those who are having their rights denied -- not those who are less fortunate.

Retort to Contention Two:
The term "diversity affirmative action" is unfamiliar to me, so please correct me if I am assuming the wrong definition with it. From the context, I understand diversity affirmative action as taking a stance for the future rather than taking a stance on the past. In this type of affirmative action, minorities would "contribute to classroom dialogue without feeling isolated." The goal is to create racial diversity in classrooms in an attempt to allow minorities comfort; however, this idea is very neglectful to real-world problems. Because admission standards would be lowered for minorities, their ability to participate in classroom discussions is most likely underdeveloped. To reach this "critical mass" that Professor Sterba developed, the classroom minority would need to be large enough so that the students would feel at ease; only by seeing a majority of minority students in the classroom would a minority feel more at ease. Simply put, this critical mass is -not- a small, select number. It is possibly a majority, that would, as stated, create reverse discrimination. Standards would be half-followed and the old majority is now the minority whose hard work seems futile.

I would ask you to provide more evidence regarding diversity affirmative action. Solid facts regarding this critical mass and the benefits/cons of racial diversity in the classroom would be necessary to continue with this point.


I present to you a short case that will undoubtedly be expanded for our next round:
Point One - Enacting affirmative action: short term vs. long term

When one refers to affirmative action, the aspect of time is often forgotten, as it is for many laws. What exactly is planned for this set of ideas? Is this a long-term proposal whose results will bring about equality for all? Or is this a short-term plan that will benefit the future? I am interested in how you think affirmative action could be a viable solution in the long term, if you so believe so. Would negligence occur from minorities who are more-so guaranteed a spot than the majority? What would the majority's reaction be in response to minorities gaining benefits?

Point Two - Reverse discrimination. Coal miner's son vs. neurosurgeon's son

Imagine that the term "affirmative action" does not exist. Pretend that the rules are well in existence and minorities are preferentially selected over the deserving majority. For the sake of this example, we are assuming that this is how the law was created and it is followed. The white male majority must follow the rigorous standards that have been set, while the minorities enjoy a more relaxed standard that gets them accepted because of their race. Is this equality? No. The white majority is clearly discriminated against because of the lowered standards for minorities.

At this point, it is a clear step to mention the example of a white coal miner's son and the African-American son of a neurosurgeon. Christopher Edley, an assistant to Bill Clinton and having a public talk, asked which a college admissions agent should choose -- and under what grounds. Although the coal miner's son comes from poverty, he has worked very hard to get into college. On the other hand, the neurosurgeon's son has been able to live a comfortable life, but does not quite have the grades of his opponent. Who would the admissions officer choose?

The ones that affirmative action directly affects are often brought to the forefront. Often, these are the individuals who need little assistance; affirmative action affects the more fortunate of the minorities, not the lowest part of the spectrum. That said, why is affirmative action justified in helping out those already at the top?

---I am out of characters, but am excited to continue this debate. I have more points that I'd love to make, but do not have room.

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Debate Round No. 2


debate11 forfeited this round.


I hope my opponent is well and nothing traumatic has happened. I will give you another opportunity to post rather than retorting with my own points.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks! I had some acacdmic work to catch up on!

next round will be final!!


HiOedipus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


debate11 forfeited this round.


HiOedipus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by debate11 6 years ago
Hey I had some academic work to catch up on... so after my opponents time is up. I'll re post my arguements.....
Posted by debatergreat 6 years ago
U guyz should cite all your sources at the end...otherwise ur speech is just full of claims but no warrants...which means there are no impacts...
cite all sources exactly (with the exact url) so that your opponent can rebutt to that article...
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