The Instigator
ScarletGhost4396
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
OMGJustinBieber
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Resolved: Governments ought legislate anti-bullying policies focusing on sexual orientation.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
OMGJustinBieber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,507 times Debate No: 24802
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

ScarletGhost4396

Pro

I'm really not getting much luck in the scope of opponents with this resolution. First round acceptance.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I must stand on the PRO side of this debate and affirm the resolution. In this debate, the overarching themes that I'm going to focus on are morality (with a strong focus on consequentialism) and societal welfare. With this ideal in place, I will move on toward my contentions.

Contention 1: Anti-bullying legislation focusing on sexual orientation is practical.
Because bullying leads to negative effects for the individual as well as society and bullying as a result of sexual orientation is so heavily common, a piece of legislation from government focusing on sexual orientation is heavily preferrable. The resulting effects from such legislation show us the practicality, and analyzing

Sub-point 1a: Bullying is common against members of differing sexual orientation, and this has severe negative effects.
Sexual orientation is certainly one of the largest reasons for bullying in the United States: "According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey, which polled more than 7,000 self-identified gay and straight students between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one from all fifty states and the District of Columbia from 2008 to 2009, 61 percent of all students felt unsafe at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation whereas only 9.8 percent of all students felt unsafe because of their gender and 7.6 percent of all students felt unsafe because of their race or ethnicity (Kosciw et al. 2010)." The methodology of this survey, by the way, is legitimate considering the largeness of the sample and how widespread it is throughout the United States, but the actual population size of the United States is still 10 times larger than the sample size. Other surveys conclude the idea that this is a problem:
"LGBT youth regularly face insidious verbal and physical abuse. A recent nationally representative survey of LGBT teens by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 84.6% of those surveyed had been verbally harassed, 40.1% had been physically harassed (pushed or shoved), and 18.8% had been physically assaulted (punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon) because of his or her sexual orientation in the past year." The effects that come from such bullying are incredibly negative: "The detrimental impact of this climate is apparent in the host of negative outcomes that attend gay youth: LGBT children and teenagers report dramatically higher levels of depression and anxiety, as well as decreased levels of self-esteem relative to their heterosexual
peers. Of course, gay students are not inherently more likely to experience mental and physical harm; rather, it is “a direct result of the hatred and prejudice that surround[s] them.”

Sub-point 1b:
Legislation is effective, and alternatives are few.
The many legislations in the United States after the suicides of 2010 prove the effectiveness of legislation against LGBT bullying: "Over the years, a small number of states have chosen to extend explicit protection to victims who are bullied based on enumerated personal characteristics. Although enumeration remains a minority position, the most recent spate of anti-bullying statutes offers a promising indication that this may be shifting. Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington—over half of the states enacting statutes in 2010—provide a list of prohibited bases for bullying behavior, including sexual orientation. These lists are uniformly nonexclusive,to highlight for teachers and school officials certain types of bullying as absolutely prohibited while still reaching bullying based on unlisted characteristics. New York’s statute, for instance, encompasses but is not limited to “conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.” Gay rights organizations strongly support enumeration, and research indicates that statutes that specifically identify sexual orientation as an impermissible target for bullying lead to a greater decrease in LGBT bullying than those statutes that do not. The Supreme Court, too, has stated that statutory “[e]numeration is the essential device used to make the duty not to discriminate concrete and to provide guidance for those who must comply.” Similar numbers of students report hearing homophobic remarks frequently in
schools with non-enumerated anti-bullying laws (74.3% of students) as in those with no laws at all (75% of students).
However, those enrolled in schools with enumerated policies experience less bullying, feel safer overall, and report that teachers are significantly more likely to intervene in instances of anti-gay bullying. These statistics underscore the tremendous potential for enumerated anti-gay bullying legislation to positively impact the lives of LGBT youth." Alternatives are few and ineffective: "The impact of an unwelcoming school climate is aggravated for students who lack a protective buffer of social support. Studies showthat positive parental practices protect adolescents from involvement in both bullying perpetration and victimization, but sexual minority youth are less likely to receive this support at home. Approximately one third of gay and lesbian teens have suffered verbal abuse or physical violence from a family member as a consequence of coming out, and one half have experienced some form of parental rejection. Although some theorists argue that being an “anonymous and diffuse” minority is beneficial to sexual minorities, it can also make it more difficult for LGBT youth to identify similar individuals, particularly within their own age group. Facing rejection at home and school because of their sexual orientation, LGBT youth may experience a “narrow view of the options available to deal with recurrent family discord, rejection, or failure [that] contributes to a decision to commit suicide.”"
Connolly, Lisa C. "Anti-Gay Bullying in Schools--Are Anti-Bullying Statutes the Solution?" New York University Law Review 87 (2012): 248-83. New York University. Web. <" target="blank">http://www.law.nyu.edu.........;.

OMGJustinBieber

Con

Thanks, Pro.

C1: This one might have got cut short on Pro's part as it ends mid-sentence. Pro really only states that it would be "practical" which in and of itself means little. I won't spend much time here since this really isn't a significant portion of Pro's case. The bulk of Pro's case rests in his sub-points, but it should go without saying that the practicality of X has no correlation with the desirability of X, i.e. bearing false witness might be a practical way of avoiding a lawsuit or criminal charge but has nothing to do with its desirability or morality.

1a: I'll actually give Pro the benefit of the doubt here and concede that GLBT students are disproportionately bullied by their peers. However, are GLBT youth the only group that face disproportionate discrimination due to a variation from the norm? Of course not, one study concludes that obese children are 63% more likely to be bullied [1] and childhood stutterers report a whopping 83% [2]. Common sense should tell us that disadvantaged groups face much greater obstacles that individuals not in those groups and this is representing in bullying statistics. The resolution states "Governments ought legislate anti-bullying policies focusing on sexual orientation" - in other words, Pro would like to promote the struggle of one group while unfortunately ignoring the various other groups that face similar if not greater difficulties. My case is not against anti-bullying legislation per se, but rather the singling out of one group to receive preferential treatment and a microscope on their own struggles.

Response B: I'm willing to concede even further and pretend that GLBT youth are the only group that is bullied disproportionately. In that case, what makes their difficulties of a fundamentally different nature requiring preferential treatment and "special sensitivity" than other children who are getting picked on for one reason or another?

1b: I don't feel this is entirely relevant to my case since I'm not against anti-bullying legislation as already mentioned, but I do feel that the link Pro draws is dubious. Pro cites a study which apparently cites a decrease in bullying over a 2 year period (2010-2012?) and attributes it not to, for instance, social trends or natural fluctuations in data collection but anti-gay bullying statutes which have supposedly petrified bullies in middle and high school from targeting gay youth. Regardless, this isn't a main point in my case. Moreover, it's likely that students in districts with enumeration policies were already more gay friendly places that those without but this is admittedly beside the point.

Conclusion: My case is simple and it rests on the premise of equal treatment. Singling out the plights of one group as Pro's legislation would is a clear violation of that principle and relegates the struggles of other disadvantaged groups. I would support any general anti-bullying legislation that would not hyper-focus on the exact reason of the torment but rather halting the torment all together. Until Pro has proven that GLBT bullying is of a fundamentally different nature that bullying towards the obese, disabled, short, stupid, etc. his case remains inadequate.

[1] http://health.usnews.com...
[2] http://urbandojo.com...
Debate Round No. 2
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

Normally, I would go down the flow starting from my opponent's case and down to mine, but in this debate, my opponent doesn't necessarily have an established case written supporting her end of the resolution other than what she contends in the rebuttal and conclusion. Therefore, I'm only going to focus on the rebuttals in my case.

[PRO Case]
Sub-point 1a: Judges, if you look through my opponent's evidence, you will realize that my opponent doesn't understand her own evidence. In Evidence [1], you will see that it only reports that 63% of obese children are bullied. It doesn't compare it in any way to the percentage of children bullied for being gay, so the first piece of evidence provides no objective evidence that they face more bullying. Her Evidence [2] completely contradicts what she is saying because it even explicitly states that gay students are even more likely to face bullying than obese children. It also doesn't compare the numbers to the amount of people who suffer from a disability. What this shows us is that my opponent hasn't really proven that these groups are more disadvantaged than homosexuals, so if my opponent is trying to look at critical groups for this legislation to be aimed at, her own evidence points in the direction of the PRO. Even if we validate what she's saying, however, and these groups are more disadvantaged, she's running under the assumption that I wouldn't want to accept any legislation for them. Of course these other disadvantaged groups should have their legislation as well. In fact, what really matters in this legislation is the enumeration of sexual orientation as one of the things schools need to work in order to prevent bullying against. This would provide the focus that the legislation would have for gay students. I believe that my evidence pointed this out. However, in the scope of this debate, the focus here is whether or not homosexuals should be given this legislation at all.
Response B: Well, for one thing, the bulk of my reasoning for trying to promote this legislation is because of the dispropotionate frequency of bullying done on gay people, so if my opponent tries to create this hypothetical world where LGBT youth are the only critical group, it would only add more fodder in my case because LGBT youth would be the single group that gets bullied the most. If it's a fundementally different nature that my opponent is looking at, however, gay bullying also would fit within this scope. Not only is LGBT bullying so frequent, but because so few gay students have parents at home that support their sexuality (my evidence points that out), gay students are more sujected to helplessness and suicidal thoughts. [1]
Sub-point 1b: My opponent is trying to imply that my evidence is not accounting for the lurking variables even though that it explained that teachers were more likely to intervene in cases of gay bullying because they had requirement by law. Nevertheless, if my opponent isn't really making a heavy point on this and still at the end supports anti-bullying legislation in general, I won't expound on this too much either.

[1] http://sdgln.com...
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Thank you, Pro. The debate seems to focus on 2 issues.

Response A: Pro concedes that other groups may be disadvantage similarly to homosexuals and advocates legislation in their cases as well. The question becomes now "where do we draw the line?" Let's go back to the resolution which explicitly advocates anti-bullying legislation focusing on sexual orientation - and I ask, how does one focus on an issue if not by discriminating against others? It's apparent that Pro wants to create a caste system of discrimination where certain types of bullying are treated as worse than others. This brings us to our next point where I believe the crux of the debate lies. However, before I go there I'd like to hear Pro state one group which would not be covered by anti-bullying laws and how such a view is justified. In essence, Pro can "open the floodgates" for any disadvantage I name without a problem - but to specifically focus on sexual orientation inherently requires discriminating against other forms of bullying and outright stating that the sufferers of that abuse - however severe - do not warrant the same attention as those who face bullying due to sexual orientation.

Response B: I'm still willing to grant the hypothetical world where GLBT is the only group that is disproportionately bullied. Would legislation in such a case then be justified? I'd say still no. Certainly since group A might be discriminated against at a higher percentage than B, C, D doesn't mean discrimination doesn't occur to B, C, D. Moreover, this says nothing of the severity of the discrimination/bullying. I would advocate legal evaluation on much more case-by-case basis rather than sweeping legislation that makes allowances for members of one group and not others regardless of severity. My point remains that non-GLBT bullying victims deserve the exact same treatment as GLBT victims depending on the severity and frequency. As soon as we begin targeting one group for special treatment we inherently ignore the plights of other groups.
Debate Round No. 3
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

Response A: This argument is a complete strawman evident that my opponent has absolutely no idea what I'm trying to argue for. I not only conceded that other groups can be disadvantaged as homosexuals are (even though I've provided evidence to say that homosexuals are more disadvatanged and my opponent's evidence points toward that same conclusion), but I argue that these other groups should have legislation done for them as well. The focus of this debate is the enumeration of bullying against sexual orientation into protocol for dealing with bullying in schools, and enumeration for bullying against obesity and people with deficiencies in speech or otherwise other impediments can be included as well. Should they be included? Absolutely. Are they the specific focus of this debate? Absolutely not. The essential question in this debate is whether or not sexual orientation should be included in this enumeration, and unfortunately, my opponent's rebuttals deviate from the true focus of this debate. Even if we were talking about a legislation that solely focuses on sexual orientation and nothing else, another piece of legislation can be made for other groups anyway if needed (and is needed). My opponent's arguments about discrimination are not a real issue.
Reponse B: First, my opponent obviously did not read my evidence in detail because it included a statement that said that bullying against gays is more intense than other groups. Needless to say, this response is only an extension of Response A's strawman, and I've already addressed this. My opponent completely misunderstands my case.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

This debate has turned into semantics. My claim is that Pro's interpretation of his resolution is misleading. Let's take an example.

Say a mayor of a town announces the passage of a special piece of anti-crime legislation that "focuses on jewelry store theft." Such a claim heavily implies that either extra resources or harsher sentencing laws are being enacted to counter thefts from jewelry stores. However, upon closer examination the law targets not just jewelry stores but all thefts in general under the given jurisdiction with no special protection given to jewelry stores in the context of similar thefts of that nature. Would it still be rightful to say that the piece of legislation "focuses" on jewelry store thefts? I'd say the claim is misleading at best and a gross misinterpretation at worst.

To bring this back to the issue at hand, how can one claim to "focus" on sexual orientation when every other possible discrimination claim is being treated as equally important under Pro's own terms? The term "focus" implies a kind of exclusivity. For instance, to "focus" in on an amoeba under a microscope is to apply special attention to the amoeba and to essentially neglect other pieces of matter outside the amoeba under the microscope. It would be disingenuous for Pro to deny this.

Pro insists that people with disabilities or the obese are not the subject of this debate, but clearly Pro has both mentioned them and accepted that they deserve their own legal protections. I would also like to note that Pro has never answered my challenge as to what groups should not be given protection. From this it's implied that Pro actually favors general provisions against bullying rather than the resolution which carries much different implications.

I would also question Pro's sources, but this is a whole other point that's removed from the central issue of contention. Even if we take the high 84.4% figure cited by the GLSEN study that is essentially equal to the amount faced by stutterers as cited earlier considering margin of error. Additionally, one much consider the degree of harassment, the subjectivity of self-reporting, and the pressures that GLBT students are under when answering these surveys.

In conclusion, it appears that we both agree on general anti-bullying provisions that would cover virtually all cases of harassment in schools. However, the resolution clearly states that Pro is arguing for special provisions that FOCUS in GLBT victims. Not – as he has tried to claim – that governments ought to legislate anti-bullying policies that merely cover or include discrimination claims based on sexual orientation.
Debate Round No. 4
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

extended.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by AshleysTrueLove 4 years ago
AshleysTrueLove
ScarletGhost4396OMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
ScarletGhost4396OMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.