The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Students should not be given preference in college admissions due to ethnicity or race.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 717 times Debate No: 70817
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




This house takes the side that students should not be given preference or higher consideration in college admissions due to ethnicity or race. Since the 1960s, minority groups, such as African Americans and, more recently, Hispanics, have been given higher consideration or preference based on the simple fact that they are African American or Hispanic. This is partially based on the argument of past misdeeds against these groups, but this house believes that in order for us to move on and become truly equal, students must only receive admissions based on their merits and not on their factors of race or ethnicity.

Main Body:
For example, on the SAT, being an African American student gives you a 230 point "bonus" and being a Hispanic student give you a 185 point bonus. To clarify, the bonus is only treated as one when universities see the score; it is not literally added to the final score. In the mean time Asian Americans receive a 50 point penalty simply for having Asian parents [1] " it is no fault of their own. This is exceedingly unfair on an exam that is considered by most American universities and becomes progressively more difficult the more points are earned (one question in writing wrong at 1300 may only result in a 10 point loss, but one writing question wrong at 2350 may result in a 30-40 point loss depending on the test administration). What makes this even worse is the extreme competitiveness to get into American universities, especially the elite schools and Ivies.

Many proponents of giving university preference and aid to students based on race argue that social misdeeds and segregation against certain minority groups entitles those students to receive special preference in universities as a way of "paying back". However, this argument fails to explain why groups, including Asian American subgroups and Jews, are not also given preference. In the late 1800s, Asian Americans were prevented from attending Californian public schools [2], yet we do not see the University of California giving Asian Americans preference.

In the previous paragraph I mentioned Asian American subgroups. This group is often categorized as one group, yet it is made up of many divisions " the Hmong, Laotians, Cambodians, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese as some examples. Hong women earn an average of $389 per week, while African Americans earn $634 [2], yet there are not nearly as many programs to help the Hmong in higher education and colleges as there are to help the African Americans.

This is also to say nothing of Japanese Internment Camps and Relocation. While part of the reason for Japanese-American citizen relocation during World War II was due to the fear of hate crimes against Japanese Americans, much of the reason was the fear of espionage [3]. Thousands of Japanese Americans, including those born and raised in America, were put into Internment camps, which sparked large constitutional debates and cases.

Asian Americans Subgroups are one example and I will provide more throughout the debate. My point is not that Asian Americans should receive preference in college admissions because of past misdeeds, but that no one should. Instead of elevating a few groups above the others in the name of equality, we can achieve equality by giving everybody the same equal preference.



When you declare preference, it is better defined as consideration, or "affirmative action". Due to the misdeeds of the past as you mentioned, these ethnic groups and races of minority, have shaped how the education system judges them on exams, or as you have said, their SAT's. But this is simply due to their own culture and heritage, and how they perceive education, and the environments they live in.

Affirmative action, the procedures that have been implemented in order to increase the representation of in individuals gender, and race in areas of "employment, education and culture from which they have been historically excluded." At times, affirmative action utilizes what others call preferential selection. From your side you see individuals getting better treatment, a better or lower chance for a better job, or education decided from that same individuals race than anything else.

What you, and we all should strive, for is equality. How equal or fair is it when racial prejudice decides the fate of the individual? the bonus points are there as a counter measure. Can you assure me,and others that the all those who mark the test have no racial biases? Biases that they are either aware of, or have blinded themselves to?

Racism aside, on a cultural stand, studies have shown that as a whole, these tests are skewed towards the favor of white people. This is not due to racial biases, aptitude or skill. This is simply because the questions are more geared towards the "cultural expressions that are prevalent in white society".The reading section of the SAT show that black students score an average of 429 points, 99 below their white classmates. In other words, it is about race, about ones culture, that helps determine their ability. but it does not necessarily point towards being favourable to ethnic and minority groups.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the debate. CON asked the question "How equal or fair is it when racial prejudice decides the fate of the individual?" It seems you may have missed the point of my (PRO) argument, which is that students should not be given preference in college due to ethnicity or race. As such, my side is stating the exact opposite of your question. I, the PRO, do not believe that racial prejudice should decide the fate of an individual. As such, the PRO believes that the CON is inadvertently attacking his/her own argument. By taking away racial bias and preference in college admissions, we allow all groups to be held at the same standard, which in fact, can allow us to become more equal.

The CON asks "Can you assure me,and others that the all those who mark the test have no racial biases?" I can never give you a 100% "yes" to that question, but I then I have this question for you - Can you be so sure that all those who mark the test have racial bias? I have taken the SAT myself, and have prepared for it - one of the first things that you learn is that the SAT will not discriminate against minority groups. This message is often clearly told by prep-centers because a passage from the member of a minority group is common on the SAT - the last thing they want is litigation claiming that their test service contains bias against a racial group.

Your Argument also has a very visible flaw - it assumes that certain ethnic groups score lower than others because the test is favored towards white people, yet the information on the test is standardized - meaning those in public schools have the ability to take the exam and all information and skills have been covered. In addition, the SAT is an aptitude test, hence the name Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is assessing the skills - your argument states that "the questions are more geared towards the 'cultural expressions that are prevalent in white society'". This implies that it is a content-based exam, yet it is inherently not so. Also, simply because African Americans score lower on the SAT does not mean that the test is at fault. It is a STANDARDIZED EXAM and is the same for every student. The portion about being geared towards white students holds no ground when considering Asian American students. Like African American students, they differ from white students, but they tend to score higher. Does this mean that the test is geared towards helping them? But this makes no sense as they are given a -50 point penalty. A 2100 for an African American student is the same as a 2330, but for an Asian American is the same as a 2050.

In addition, I would like to question the validity of your second source. Upon closer inspection, I found that the article was originally published in "The Black Commentator", which is not, as it seems, an official magazine or even credible news source, rather it is a heavily prejudiced online magazine that focuses only on African American interests. You speak of equality, but your sources do not - this flaw brings your argument into question.

Your argument fails to rebut many of points in Round 1. Asian Americans, such as the Hmong and in the past, Japanese, have had a hard time in society, yet they are penalized when going to university. Also, on the topic of the Hmong, I ask again - why do they not receive special aid or preference? They earn less than African Americans on average and face discrimination in society. In fact, it has gotten so bad for Asian American subgroups that the Princeton Review advises them not to attach photographs to university applications and not to disclose ethnic background or write the optional essay on ethnic background. [1]

In conclusion, you speak of equality and that is EXACTLY what I am advocating; students should not be given preference because giving them preference is unequal and unfair. The standardized exams are designed to be as equal as possible, and just because statistics show certain ethnic groups having more trouble than others on the exam, it does not immediately make the exam-makers and scorers at fault. I suggest you be more careful when deriving conclusions and be careful of some of the more questionable sources you have used.



PanadianCanda forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


The CON forfeited in Round 2, perhaps because he/she realizes that not giving students preference based on ethnicity or race is the best way to achieve equality in college admissions. I would like to make a disclaimer for all audience members - I have nothing against any racial group and do not value any ethnic, racial, or gender group over another. In this argument, African Americans are only an example - I highly respect this ethnic group and have nothing against them nor against Hispanics or any other group.

Giving equal admissions opportunities and considering students based solely on merit is the most equal way to hold college admissions processes. The CON speaks of equality, yet seems to support Affirmative Action - an inherently unequal and racially unfair system. Asian American subgroups must work harder than other ethnic groups, such as African Americans and Hispanics, to get the same placement in universities. If this is not unequal and unfair, then what is? How can we call Affirmative Action fair?

The opposing team seems to blame the exams for being in favor of "white interests". But on standardized aptitude tests, how can this be so? I am not saying that there is no bias - there will be bias against some ethnic group under any circumstance, especially when we all have different definitions of what is biased and what is racist - but I am saying that programs such as Affirmative Action only deepen and widen the racial divide by spawning hateful thoughts and pitting groups against one another.

Providing equal opportunities in which no one has special preference, including Asian Americans, African Americans, Whites, Hispanics, and all other ethnic/racial groups, makes for the most equal system. I am not denying that there will still be racial divides, but providing equal opportunities in a non-biased system has a much better chance of achieving social equality than giving preference to students based on ethnicity and race.

Vote PRO for true equality.


PanadianCanda forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jupiter1 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro- a little hypocritical to attack CON's sources, when you cite Fox News as your own. The Asian American argument and the SAT argument is overused. Con- did not give rebuttals to Pro's argument. Was seemingly confusing. At the end, I have to go on who gave me a debate. I vote Pro.