The Instigator
RenegadeIconoclast
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Mangani
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

The government has been complicit in spreading HIV in poor and black communities

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Mangani
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/28/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,528 times Debate No: 5564
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)

 

RenegadeIconoclast

Pro

I will argue that the premise of Rev. Jeremiah Wright that so inflamed Americans is actually true. He argued that the government has spread HIV or been complicit in its spread, especially in the black community.

My first contention is that the government, and their officials, make a lot of money from the drug trade. The drug war costs hundreds of billions when the money is all tallied up, and that money doesn't just disappear, it goes into peoples' pockets. Millions benefit from the prison system, including everything from guards to construction firms, and even agricultural firms. The CIA and FBI, Federal, and State police are paid many billions by the taxpayers. The drug war is a lot of peoples' livelihoods, and it is very lucrative.

Sharing needles accounted for an estimated 34k black people living with HIV in the USA in 2006, the highest of any racial category (see: http://www.avert.org...). At the very least, by not allowing an amnesty on needles, the US government is complicit in these peoples' illnesses.

My second contention is that the US government has been involved in the supply side of things, as well. This is an open secret, ex-officers and agents of the CIA have been spilling the beans for decades, describing tons of heroin and cocaine shipments from overseas, to ports unknown, known about to their superiors. Information about these activities is harder to come by, but it has been reported in reputable press, such as 60 minutes, and in respected alternative presses such as Playboy and Rolling Stone.

If the government is indeed, or has indeed been both involved in the supply side of drugs, and negligent in their response to drug abuse, to the point of allowing drug users to share needles, and doing nothing at all to stop it, then they are complicit. The evidence seems clear.
Mangani

Con

Hello. Thanks for starting this debate.

Complicit- Associated with or participating in a questionable act or a crime (http://www.thefreedictionary.com...)

What you are describing is negligence. The US Government has been negligent, if what you say is true.

The website you are referring to, http://www.avert.org..., shows that your facts are skewed. The 34K blacks you speak of who are infected with HIV only account for those who acquired the disease through intravenous drug use (third table down from top). In 2006 there were 134,683 white males living with AIDS in the US. There were 127,359 black males living with AIDS the same year. These numbers are pretty close, but amongst females the number IS much higher amongst black females than it is amongst white females (about 61k and 19K respectively). This can be for various reasons.

For one, the number of male to male homosexual contact reported amongst black males is much lower than in white males (almost double amongst white males), but the number of "high risk heterosexual contact" is 4 times as prevalent amongst black males than white males, and 4 times as prevalent amongst black females than white females. Because we are looking at totals similar in size amongst males, it is easy to speculate that there should be a more equal amount of homosexual contact as well as "high risk heterosexual contact" amongst both groups. These groups report for themselves, and homosexuality is more "in the dark" amongst black communities. Homophobia amongst blacks has been heavily reported on, and can attribute to many black males staying "in the closet", staying in heterosexual relationships, even marrying their girlfriends, and thus spreading AIDS more frequently through heterosexual contact. (http://www.republicoft.com..., http://tse.sagepub.com..., http://thevitalvoice.com..., http://articles.latimes.com...) (I could have provided upwards of a million references, but I thought that would be beating a dead horse).

I also think that the argument that the government is complicit is more detrimental to blacks than the argument of personal responsibility. When you give people an excuse it denigrates accountability. Blaming the government will not lower the prevalence of AIDS amongst blacks.

"At the very least, by not allowing an amnesty on needles, the US government is complicit in these peoples' illnesses."

-The government sponsors syringe exchange programs (http://www.cdc.gov..., http://www.nasen.org...). The government provides grants of up to $75,000 for programs in 90 days of operation.

The rest of your arguments are addressed under my argument for personal responsibility and accountability.
Debate Round No. 1
RenegadeIconoclast

Pro

If the government is aware of the consequences of a policy, and the government continues that policy, the government is complicit in those consequences. Some call this willful ignorance, but in fact, the government is quite cognizant of the human cost of the drug war, so ignorance is an incorrect charge. Complicit is more descriptive.

My opponent rightly points out that the statistics I posted were only on men. Many women are infected by partners who use IV drugs, some no doubt without their knowledge. They are the innocents caught in the crossfire of a not only misguided, but lethal government policy towards drug use. Zero tolerance is another name for deadly negligence.

My opponent points out that homosexual contact is a higher risk factor in the black community than IV drug use, but this does not bolster his point. In fact, the government has also willfully failed in its duty to contain a deadly sexual pandemic, despite the fact that cheap and effective means exist to significantly retard the infection rate. Condoms are not foolproof, but are the only weapon against sexual transmission of HIV, besides quarantine. The government has also failed its long recognized responsibility to contain a pandemic.

My opponent invokes personal responsibility as a remedy to this problem. This statement is akin to telling the tide not to roll in. Junkies are going to use junk, because if they don't, they could literally die from withdrawal. People are going to have sex, even if the government puts its hands over its eyes, its thumbs in its ears, and sings, "la la la la la."

Which is exactly what it has done, and is why it remains complicit in this heinous crime perpetrated on the public, and to the black community in particular.

My opponent will no doubt attempt to argue the meaning of the word complicit again, so I'd like to offer this analogy. A man is drowning, and you, an able swimmer, are within 30 yards of him. You stay on shore and watch him drown, then walk away. Are you complicit in his death?
Mangani

Con

Your first paragraph does not address any of my rebuttals, and you've lost me on the first paragraph. It seems you are implying that the human cost of the drug war is blacks acquiring HIV. You haven't made a link to that in your arguments, so I can only suppose that is what you meant, but I cannot rebut based on an assumption.

Your second paragraph attempts to make the same point, but you don't help the reader to make a logical connection though it may be in your head. The government's policy toward drug use is somehow responsible for women getting HIV from drug using men? You haven't made this point clear.

Your third paragraph, again, makes a claim with no factual references which would allow the reader to make a logical connection to your claim. Whenever I've used condoms I've purchased them. I don't know what the government has to do with access to condoms in America. I assume you are speaking of the black community in America, and the US Government when you say "the government". Otherwise this debate is moot because "governments" may be responsible for the spread of HIV in poor black communities, ie. African governments who refuse to properly allocate AIDS prevention funds provided by international donors; African governments who refuse to provide condoms where they are not available, etc. The US is a free and wealthy society where condoms are available in every "poor black community". Hey, they put a liquor store on every corner, and I've never been to a liquor store in the hood that didn't sell condoms. I don't see your point.

In your fourth paragraph you imply that invoking personal responsibility is akin to asking the tide not to roll in. The tide rolling in is an act of nature. Are you implying that blacks using IV drugs is a natural occurrence akin to the tide rolling in? If not, then lets assume you meant the junkies- those who are already addicted. You assert that withdrawals could cause death, but you are wrong. Even if you had a point- blacks will use drugs and/or junkies cannot quit- they can use clean needles. Heroin is expensive, needles are not. Should the government assume the responsibility of making sure a heroin addict spends his money on a new needle every time he buys a gram? That's ridiculous. As for people having sex- why should the government be involved? The statistics you provided referred to adults, not children who would need sexual education. Why should anyone be involved in the personal choice of a full grown adult?

You claim the government is complicit in a crime, but you don't identify the criminal. Who is committing the crime of which the US government is complicit?

As for your analogy, it doesn't fit. Some people don't know how to swim. I have already provided links with references to the US government's role in funding syringe exchange programs, which is your main concern. If you want free condoms visit your local Planned Parenthood, but don't expect them to bring the condoms TO you...
Debate Round No. 2
RenegadeIconoclast

Pro

My opponent can't see ill intent in inaction, and I believe that is the largest stumbling block in this debate, and perhaps will ultimately decide the, "winner." The problem that we're facing, however, is that we are all losers with zero-tolerance drug laws, and with the puritan ethic that ignores the real world consequences of apathetic government policy.

To clarify one point, as my opponent asked, women who have sex with IV drug users can be infected without their knowledge. This is certainly not a matter of personal responsibility on the part of women.

My opponent cites government sponsorship of private needle exchange programs, and defends them as adequate against my charge of neglect. The problem with this approach is that the government is still taking a hard-line against drug users, driving them underground, and making them a lot less likely to participate in these sorts of programs. Owning needles without a medical reason can lead to a felony drug paraphernalia charge. In this sort of environment, how can anyone expect chronic addicts to trust a needle exchange program?

The simple fact remains that the enforcement policy is not working, and it hasn't been working for decades, it has cost many lives, and the enforcement policy remains the same. We have proof that the enforcement is inadequate, because we have 100s of thousands of people infected, and we haven't changed our tactics.

My opponent also apparently doesn't recognize the long-held responsibility of government to contain transmissible diseases. At one time, people were locked into asylums for the crime of having TB, or cholera. Today, the government stands by while people get a lethal disease. I don't have the answer, but I know that neglect doesn't work. Anyone who looks at the statistics can at least agree with that. Freely available government condoms might be a start.

My opponent asserts that heroin withdrawal cannot be fatal. From the NIDH: "sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal." (http://www.nida.nih.gov...) This is tangential to the point, however, which is that heroin addiction is a serious physical illness, not a simple personal choice. The first time someone uses heroin is a choice, on that much I assume my opponent and I can agree.

In closing, we have a government that stands stubbornly to outdated policy, in the face of hard statistics that tell them (us) that their policy has a human cost. If a hurricane struck, and the government delayed relief for months on end, choosing to do nothing, they'd rightly be condemned as responsible for the devastation and consequences of that inaction. The fact that the HIV epidemic was not a sudden storm makes our government, and by extension, us, no less culpable.
Mangani

Con

Given that my opponent has failed to even attempt to prove his points, I am going to dissect his closing argument rather than attempt to make one of my own. He has made it quite impossible to debate against his position as he has provided no facts.

"My opponent can't see ill intent in inaction"- I invoked one program you claimed not to exist, and personal responsibility. The government is not here to hold anyone's hand.

"The problem that we're facing, however, is that we are all losers with zero-tolerance drug laws, and with the puritan ethic that ignores the real world consequences of apathetic government policy."- This debate is not about the drug war. My opponent invokes opposition to policies he knows are unpopular, but he doesn't address his own claims. He doesn't provide the reader with facts that would allow us to make a connection between his argument and the policies he mentions. Any assumptions are deteriorated by the facts I provided.

"This is certainly not a matter of personal responsibility on the part of women."- If protecting yourself isn't a matter of personal responsibility then nothing is.

"My opponent cites government sponsorship of private needle exchange programs"- I cited government Syring Exchange programs. This program is run by the Center for Disease Control. The program sponsors private programs through grants.

"and defends them as adequate against my charge of neglect."- Your claim was not of neglect rather of complicity. My charge was of neglect. Complicity and neglect do not have the same meanings.

"The problem with this approach is that the government is still taking a hard-line against drug users, driving them underground, and making them a lot less likely to participate in these sorts of programs."- First my opponent claims the programs are private, then he claims the programs drive the users underground. The fact is that the programs are set up in neighborhoods with high use. The programs are in those "underground" areas.

"Owning needles without a medical reason can lead to a felony drug paraphernalia charge."- This statement is contradictory to your position. Posession of a disposable needle is neither a felony, nor a crime. Posession of a reusable needle is an obvious sign of drug use. Heroin addicts keep their reusable needles as part of their inventory of gadgets... much like a pot smoker and his bong. It's his and he won't use another. Paraphernalia posession is not a felony. Your claim is moot.

"In this sort of environment, how can anyone expect chronic addicts to trust a needle exchange program?"- Chronic addicts could care less whether or not they have HIV. Even so, in case you've never been to these neighborhoods (which I grew up in), there are disposable needles everywhere and are often found in parks around the world. (http://www.capebretonpost.com...)

I have run out of characters. My opponent has proved there can be improvement, but no complicity.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
Umm... I never said intelligence wasn't required to effectively receive education. What I said was that a Master's Degree is in no way a measure of intelligence and intellectual prowess. You have continuously proved this point...
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
You obviously have low self esteem, a low sense of self, and you overcompensate for this with your exaggerated self-admiration. I bet if you could you would remove your lower ribs...

Like I said before, you can debate me on any subject. Your ridiculous claims are only evidence of your lack of self esteem and self worth.
Posted by phasto86 5 years ago
phasto86
"You are not intelligent enough to figure out what I am saying, nor are you making very intelligent arguments. So much for your Master's degree..."

you have intelligence, yet you do not have as much as i do to show for it, yeah good one Einstein

"We can debate any point you would like to, but your statements so far are bloated with ignorance"
...or you just cant come up with a sensible arguement to refute anything i said. Am I so racist that i fell in love with a black woman? what sense does that make? You've done nothing but make up b.s. as you've gone along

"I don't have a Master's as you do... yet I have a wealth of education in various technical areas that would really make you feel like a fool for your implication."

yeah, how to cut steel, weld, fix cars, fridges. Experience on how to manage a macdonalds, warehouse, bodyshop. . Yeah, a wealth of meaningful information.
I work for a nuclear power plant and got my master's at the age of 21 AND still managed to look the way i do <<<----(pic), how can you possibly say that isnt more than what you have done?

"Education and intelligence do not go hand in hand as you say."

i cannot believe someone would be stupid enough to say that intelligence isnt needed to effectively recieve education
so to you, all those gifted classes & accelerated programs for children are all meaningless, huh?
so those kids that get perfect scores on the SATs before hitting puberty are in the same intellectual level as you? you're f'ing kidding yourself... thats not healthy.
i hope you grow up and accept reality one day
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
You are not intelligent enough to figure out what I am saying, nor are you making very intelligent arguments. So much for your Master's degree...

Education and intelligence do not go hand in hand as you say. I don't have a Master's as you do... yet I have a wealth of education in various technical areas that would really make you feel like a fool for your implication.

We can debate any point you would like to, but your statements so far are bloated with ignorance...
Posted by phasto86 5 years ago
phasto86
"You gave evidence of your intellectual inferiority. You support this evidence further with your claim that educational superiority somehow is equivalent to intellectual superiority. Your own statements contradict this reasoning given the fact that your statements are childish."

now you are stating that intelligence and education don't go hand in hand
you amaze me

"Your statements imply that your personal belief is that blacks are intellectually inferior. Believing "they can fend for themselves" is not the same argument as they are intellectually inferior, as you made both points clear in your statment."

easy example to rebutt your point:
you walk across the street and see someone yelling obscenities and eating their own feces
anyone would assume they are mentally incapable. But are they? Perhaps it is me out there making a point...
(i hope you can figure this one out)

"He stated George Bush doesn't like black people in light of his failed response to black communites in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Your position is misinformed."
really? huh, i guess jesse jackson is on the same boat, correct?

"Again, your assumption was based on ignorance. "Con" is a member of the "black community", which is another ignorant characterization I will use to humor you."
you are right on this, i didnt read the debate, just the title and the first few lines
so when i read "Pro" it seemed reasonable that they were FOR their statement (title)

"The fact that people believe that does not make it true."
that's my point (see example)

"You think you are eloquent in pinning others thoughts as "I've heard", but here you admit they are your thoughts. Not very clever. I think you proved my point."
well, when they are thinking out loud and i am in the viscinity the sound waves traveled to my ears...
hmm.. i see no statement where i said "i admit ..." so that's also a incorrect statement

your point being?
that a 21yo doesnt need intelligence to get a M.S.?
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
Oh, and I'm a non-African-American "black"...
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
"i have a master's degree, a bit above you. And you called me inferior?
that's funny"

- You gave evidence of your intellectual inferiority. You support this evidence further with your claim that educational superiority somehow is equivalent to intellectual superiority. Your own statements contradict this reasoning given the fact that your statements are childish.

"i guess it shouldnt be surprising that some believe they are intellectually inferior"

"you know, since most creatures are intelligent enough to know to not reproduce when food is scarce"

-Your statements imply that your personal belief is that blacks are intellectually inferior. Believing "they can fend for themselves" is not the same argument as they are intellectually inferior, as you made both points clear in your statment.

"you know, the guy that claims George Bush is racist for not throwing money to special programs aimed at black people"

-Obviously I knew who you were talking about, and you have proven my point by stating your obvious misrepresentation of Kanye Wests' position. He stated George Bush doesn't like black people in light of his failed response to black communites in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Your position is misinformed.

"My assumption was that the "Pro" is a member of the black community who is complaining that there isnt enough extra help aimed toward blacks"

-Again, your assumption was based on ignorance. "Con" is a member of the "black community", which is another ignorant characterization I will use to humor you.

"I know for a fact that people complain about how "blacks expect to have everything given to them,""

-The fact that people believe that does not make it true.

"i've known a few non-american blacks who feel the same way as i do."

-You think you are eloquent in pinning others' thoughts as "I've heard", but here you admit they are your thoughts. Not very clever. I think you proved my point...
Posted by phasto86 5 years ago
phasto86
"...is evidential of your own intellectual inferiority"
i have a master's degree, a bit above you. And you called me inferior?
that's funny

"Your statement is much more loaded and bigotted than my opponents position could possibly be"

i could almost swear that my position was that black people, like anyone else, could fend for themselves... which is why i pointed out some beliefs certain people have, and reason behind them
it is quite clear you lack the perspicacity (i.e. intelligence) to grasp the point i was making

"Mr. West" was refering to kayne west.... you know, the guy that claims George Bush is racist for not throwing money to special programs aimed at black people?

lastly, upon re-reading my statements, i guess i wasnt clear enough for you. My assumption was that the "Pro" is a member of the black community who is complaining that there isnt enough extra help aimed toward blacks. I know for a fact that people complain about how "blacks expect to have everything given to them," which is why i am against feeding fuel to the fire. Oh yeah, and i've known a few non-american blacks who feel the same way as i do.
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
Phasto,

Your statement is much more loaded and bigotted than my opponents position could possibly be. Yes, I pointed out that his argument implies blacks lack personal responsibility, but your argument implies blacks are actually intellectually inferior. Your skewed assessment of both positions- that of my opponent's and that of "Mr. West" is evidential of your own intellectual inferiority, or at least inferiority complex.
Posted by phasto86 5 years ago
phasto86
wow, so the government has to hold the black man's hand all through his life?
are you, like mr. west, insinuating that black people cannot make responsible decisions for themselves???

and then you wonder why blacks are considered "society's children"

...then again, looking at the state certain black nations are in (ethiopia for one), i guess it shouldnt be surprising that some believe they are intellectually inferior (you know, since most creatures are intelligent enough to know to not reproduce when food is scarce)
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