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Resolved: The USFG ought to pay reparations to African Americans

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 12 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 315 times Debate No: 81335
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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Round 1: Say ONLY "I accept" Nothing else. Saying otherwise is a conceded debate.
Round 2: Opening Argument
Round 3: Attacking opponents case
Round 4: Rebuttals and Closing


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


"If there is a debt, it was created by another generation, another time and place in our history, and in America we do not embrace the notion that I am responsible for my father"s debts," said Ward Connerly, Founder of the Civil Rights Institute. What Connerly is trying to say is that we as a country need to move on from the idea of fixing the past. This year is the 150th anniversary of the abolishment of slavery, this year marks the year we said NO to a wrong. Now we need to move past that wrong. Like Ward Connerly I (as the negative team) know that reparations, as we will prove in our case, detrimental to society.

Thus I do not agree with the resolved: The United States Federal Government ought to pay reparations to African American.


Contention 1: Would prove alienating toward other persons.
Contention 2: Determining the recipient of reparations would be impossible.
Contention 3: There are already grants in place

Contention 1: Would prove alienating toward other persons.

According to Peter Flaherty and John Carlisle of the National and Legal Policy Center, "People are demanding government money based on some claim to African American ancestry, even light-skinned people with a trace of African American blood. Others are there to challenge having to pay for the reparations, such as recent immigrants, Latinos, Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans whose ancestors arrived in America long after slavery ended." What Flaherty and Carlisle are trying to say is that although the slavery towards African Americans was bad, reparating them at the expense of these other races would prove alienating. On top of that, many of these races also deserve reparations. For example, colonial America enslaved Irish citizens, never giving reparations toward the Irish Americans (Jane Walsh,, March 27, 2015). The Irish deserve it as much as the African Americans. Also, it should not be ignored that Africans were the primary merchants of Africans to the Europeans and Arabs(Why the Reparations Movement Should Fail, Gregory Kane, 2004) Reparationists are ignoring the descendants of the people who put their liberties on the line to help rescue slaves. Also, African Americans would partially be paying for their own reparations, because taxes apply to all races not just a few.

Contention 2: Determining the recipient of reparations would be impossible

According to David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic June 13,2014, "Under today"s racial preference rules, a nephew of the King of Spain or the daughter of the chairman of the biggest bank in Chile would both qualify for Hispanic preferences if they resided in the United States. Harvard can (and does) meet its African American diversity requirements with the children of recent African immigrants, whose families never experienced slavery or segregation in this country." What Frum means is that there is no viable way to determine the rightful recipient of the reparations. Furthermore, black Americans today aren"t the same as African Americans were during slavery, as researched by Arvind Suresh of the Genetic Literacy Project on January 7, 2015, on average African Americans are roughly 73.2 percent African, 24 percent European, and 0.8 percent Native American. So in a way, rewarding African Americans would be partially rewarding their captors. Therefore, there is no possible way to determine the rightful recipient of reparations for African Americans.

Contention 3: There is already grants in place.
The United States Federal Government has already put in place about 10 grants, including Student Loans Relief, Unemployment Aid, Support for Black Colleges, etc. All of these programs are only for black students or adults. The Student Loan Relief program is a program used to help African Americans pay off student loans, their remaining debt is forgiven after 20 years. These programs are already in place for African Americans, so why would give more money and benefits to a culture with several currently standing grants?


Resolved: The United States Federal Government ought to pay reparations to African Americans. We affirm the resolution.
We observe that American politics is centered around a flawed notion that we, as the United States, are the strongest and greatest country in the world. This idea is known as American exceptionalism.

Allen Ferreri of Brockport College writes in February 2014:

  • "... policies have created a sense of American denial. Americans are lulled into a state of trust, believing that American leaders will make the best decisions for the country, not just for themselves and their wealthy friends ... Americans are indoctrinated in the idea that they will have a job and be successful as long as they adhere to the American way of life and work hard. However, ... the next generation of Americans seems destined to not surpass the accomplishments of their parents and grandparent’s generations ... [T]his ... exuberant exceptionalist ideology created an America that through its actions is ... unremarkable at best"

In the status quo, America’s ability to deny past atrocities and not conform to standards of international law and human rights it claims to endorse is not only blatantly hypocritical, but allows the United States to continue to commit crimes against its own people and the people of the world. Although it’s impossible to deny that the US has done good things, policymakers nonetheless like to conceal the rougher parts of American history.

Damon Linker of The Week magazine writes in May 2014:

  • "American exceptionalismis a particularly potent form of ideological patriotism. The American longing to believe in the intrinsic ... goodness of the country — its ideals, its economic system, its military power, its global example — is so strong that it easily and often warps our understanding of the nation's history, leading many white Americans to diminish, ignore, and even outright forget the very significant evils that the country has committed down through the centuries. The worst and most enduring evil is almost certainly the ... 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate but equal, 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining."
Pew Research finds in July 2014:
  • "Few Americans (12%) say there are other countries in the world “that are better than the U.S.”"
What Pew is finding is that 86% of Americans think that the US is the best or is tied for the best nation in the world; showing that American Exceptionalism is still a massive problem throughout the US and should be stomped out (we will explain why it should be stomped out shortly)
Reparations allow us to criticize American history, setting the stage for a reimagining of the American government’s role both at home and on the international stage.

Framework: Vote for the team that best criticises the notion of American exceptionalism.

Impacts: The impacts of American exceptionalism can be disasterous.
First, an exceptionalist mentality creates double standards. Princeton’s Michael Ignatieff writes:
  • "The United States judges itself by standards different from those it uses to judge other countries, and judges its friends by standards different from those it uses for its enemies ... The United States criticizes other states for ignoring the reports of UN rights bodies, while refusing to accept criticism of its own domestic rights performance from the same UN bodies. This is especially the case in relation to capital punishment in general and the execution of juveniles in particular, as well as conditions of detention in U.S. prisons.Overseas, the United States condemns abuses by hostile regimes--Iran and North Korea, for example--while excusing abuses by such allies as Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Uzbekistan. It has been condemned for arming, training, and funding death squads in Latin America in the 1980s, while condemning the guerrillas as terrorists."
Second, the idea of exceptionalism allows politicians to downplay pressing social issues, hindering much-needed changes in policy. Stephen Walt continues:
  • " ... when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astrayby scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke ... countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results. Despite America’s many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century.
    Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it’s unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting — and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America’s role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made."
Alt+Solvency: Endorse reparations as a means of rethinking American history and undermining American exceptionalism.
The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in June 2014:
  • "we recognize our links to the past—at least when they flatter us. But black history does not flatter American democracy; it chastens it ... Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America ... that white supremacy is ... a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it. And so we must imagine a new country. Reparations—by which I mean the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences—is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely ... Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans ... What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices ... What I’m talking about is a national reckoning ... Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history"
Because reparations attack American exceptionalism, we affirm. We can only see a pro ballot today, thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Considering my opponent has parts of his argument that say "we" the judges can conclude he/she has copy pasted this from either online or otherwise.


Um, okay?
It seems my opponent forfeited.
Debate Round No. 3


I am not the one forfeiting. I am pointing out the fact that you copy-pasted you argument and therefore your argument has no validity. I wrote my debate and you haven't.


Maybe I wrote it for real life debate? ...

Anyways, con disrupted the flow of debate and didn't meet their round 3 burden nor their round 4 (and I passed these because of con). This is essentially a forfeit - giving up on the debate. Copy/pasting is allowed in debate so I don't know what purpose you are giving for stopping debate.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
>Reported vote: Sarai.K82// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Con (S&G, Arguments), 3 points to Pro (Conduct, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: On conduct, I awarded it to pro based on con's failure to continue the debate. I would have had no problem with con referencing the alleged "cut and paste" or even stating the judge's should take it into consideration. I didn't find any obvious plagiarism and pro argued well. In terms of spelling and grammar, this was very close, but I found that con won this area slightly after carefully going through both sides arguments. In terms of sources, I thought Pro picked out slightly more reliable sources.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) S&G requires a better standard than the one this voter is applying. Merely having slightly better S&G is not enough " an argument needs to be practically unreadable to award this point. (2) Sources requires more than just saying that one side had slightly more reliable sources. There must be a very substantial difference between the sources and how well they're used. (3) Arguments points are completely unexplained.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
I'd accept if you extend char limit to the max (I quote authors a lot).
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