The Instigator
JKK
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
rdjsak
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The use of positive discrimination to increase diversity in the university should not be allowed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,212 times Debate No: 15985
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

JKK

Pro

Affirmative action can be defined as actively favoring minority groups when choosing candidates for positions such as jobs or slots at a university. The term originated in the United States in 1961 during Kennedy's presidency and was used to refer to non-discrimination practices. Four years later President Johnson issued an executive order which required that people be hired "without regard to race, religion, and national origin." Later, gender was added to this list. Affirmative action is an attempt to promote equal opportunity among all citizens. At least, that was its original purpose.
Now, affirmative action has been taken to an extreme. When I was applying to college and looking for scholarships it was almost impossible to find a single one that applied to me. Because I was not seen as a minority by any standard, I was out of luck. Now this may sound like a personal problem and that I am just complaining, but I worked myself to the point of having a non-existing social life in high school and a good case of sleep deprivation because I knew that if I did not get a scholarship, I would not be going to college. My 4.63 GPA and ten page resume of volunteer activities, awards, and work experience was not acceptable to almost 90% of the scholarships I researched.
Positive discrimination is not a fair practice in regards to talented students from non-minority groups. When commonly accepted standards like exams and achievement tests are overlooked because precedence is given to new criteria irrelevant to academic performance, it undermines the work and effort that some students have put into their studies. Under the affirmative action system, students from the majority groups are required to achieve more and work harder to get the same rewards or placements.
While affirmative action preferences are said to promote the advancement of minority groups, they do not do this without severely discriminating against the majorities. Justification for this is that the minorities are being compensated for past persecution, but why should the punishment fall on a generation who is not to blame? When two similar candidates are up for a spot but one is chosen over the other due to their minority status, where is the justification for the blatant discrimination against the majority group member? In a society where minorities press for equal treatment, I believe the system should be just that: equal. By handing or not handing out positions just because of ethnicity, we are not really being equal.
rdjsak

Con

I gladly accept this challenge.
My opponent claims that majority member students are required to work harder to receive the same rewards that minority members do. However, it must be mentioned that students from majority groups typically have a higher probability of coming from better schools than a minority student. And, as supported by research, the schools that students are coming from do make a difference in the eyes of admissions boards. Also, random non-school related factors do significantly matter. A minority student is more likely to come from a less stable home or an environment that does not emphasize the importance of a college education. The likelihood of a majority member student coming from a home that stresses educational importance is much greater given historical culture precedence.
It is also mentioned that discrimination is shown towards the majority member students. I would like to point out that having a diverse mix of ethnicities in a college environment would actually help those majority member students that are there. It exposes them to different cultures and different lifestyles and helps them become well rounded in a global environment. According to Max Kasriel, a graduate from Oxford University in the United Kingdom, affirmative action leads to a good mix of students who can facilitate "character development" and "broadening of the mind" whereas a group of majority students with little minority presence cannot accomplish this.
Debate Round No. 1
JKK

Pro

There is no question that a diverse group of students is a good thing as far as social interaction and open-minded thinking goes. In fact, I agree that it is a good thing to have representation from all ethnicity groups for this very reason. What I am pointing out though is that these representatives should all be placed together in the university setting because they all worked equally as hard to get there. I have no doubt that a minority student can be just as capable as a majority member in his or her achievements—especially in today's society as things have been progressing. I argue, though, that because of affirmative action measures some minority students will not work as hard as they could and will not see a need to maximize their full potential because they see their status as a coattail upon which to ride into their desired slot. No, I am not saying that minorities slack off because they think they can. I am sure that many work extremely hard to get where they want to be. But I feel like handing positions out to minority students undermines the hardworking minority students even more than it does the majority member ones. If one minority student earns a spot fairly, should they not expect their fellow minority members to have to work equally as hard to do just as well?
By emphasizing that minority groups need so much help to be placed in a university, the universities are basically saying, "this group is so academically far behind the rest that they need discrimination in their favor." I personally feel like this is belittling the efforts of the mentioned minority, especially the students who would have been accepted for their achievements without the extra help.
Affirmative action is just masking a problem. If you want to argue that it is poor schools systems, family environment, and historical discrimination that creates a barrier for the minorities then that is what we need to be targeting. Better funding for minority schools and more attention as far as teacher quality and curriculum standards are concerned should be addressed. A non-profit organization or neighborhood volunteer efforts designed to promote a sense of educational importance among young children and families in impoverished areas could help the progress towards positive family influence. As far as historical discrimination is concerned, I believe there have already been huge strides made by the current generation. Cultural acceptance has become a norm. While there are still some that discriminate, they do not account for the majority of people. The movement towards total acceptance of different ethnicities in the United States has taken large strides. If we start focusing on improving things from the roots the theoretical need for affirmative action in the future will all but disappear.
rdjsak

Con

It would be ideal to approach the issue from the where the problems occur, but feasibility needs to be considered. There is currently much debate and work being done in regards to the American school system so to come in with a "one size fits all" solution such as better funding is not an effective solution.
I do not argue that minority students are incapable of reaching a standard of achievement that is comparable to their minority and majority member peers, but I do stand by assertion that affirmative action measures are necessary. Many exceptional minority students who realize that there is a status quo may decide to not even try in the college setting. Whether it is because they feel like will be discriminated against or because they are not comfortable attending a school where they would be an overwhelming minority, affirmative action can help relieve either stress. The positive discrimination measures make significant efforts to even out the student mix which creates a welcoming environment to other minority students and therefore a more scholarly and culture-rich atmosphere for all students in attendance.
Debate Round No. 2
JKK

Pro

A scholarly and culture-rich atmosphere is certainly something that universities should strive for. However, members of every group or ethnicity should be in the environment because they worked for it. Surely it is arguable that unless one works for something, they will never truly appreciate it. How much better would it be for a student to surely say they have gotten where they are because of their mind and their motivation as opposed to always wondering if it was their race that set them apart from others? On the other side, how discouraging would it be for a majority member student to feel as though no matter what he or she did they would never get what they deserved because they were being discriminated against? The term "discrimination" came into this world with negative connotations. Just because activists put the term "positive" in front of it does not make it a good thing. In a world where it is accepted that any one person is just as capable as their neighbor, should we not just competency based on intellect and achievements? I have no doubt that my diverse peers are just as intellectual capable, perhaps even more so, than myself. When they are chosen over me, I would like to be happy for them as well as for them to be confident in themselves that they were chosen based on their talents.
I advocate a "color-blind" philosophy when making selections. Certainly minorities should not be discriminated against, but I also do not believe they should be discriminated for. When you discriminate for someone, you are inevitably discriminating against someone else. And who should be the judge on which groups should get the worse end of the bargain.
In summary, equal opportunity should be just that: equal. Injustice towards one race can never be undone by reverse injustice towards another. Race-conscious programs do not foster an environment of academic competition and excellence. As Stanford Magazine authors Davis Sacks and Peter Theil put it, "If preferences were truly meant to remedy disadvantage, they would be given on the basis of disadvantage, not on the basis of race." Chose students on the basis of achievement. Reward an individual for their hard work so that when someone is given an honor, they can believe they truly deserved it and they can be justifiably proud of their success.
rdjsak

Con

I still believe that the affirmative action programs help to compensate for those students that have not had the opportunity to rack up a list of accomplishments. The culturally diverse environment among students that positive discrimination promotes adds to an ideal environment in the university setting.
Until anything is proven effective about addressing the issue from the ground up, a system must be in place to correct the current minority attendance at universities. Implementing programs such as the ones mentioned will do nothing for high school to college age students right now. Affirmative action is a necessary step to advance diversity in the school setting and encourage ethnic academic equality in the future.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Ryanconqueso 6 years ago
Ryanconqueso
rdjsak, on the subject of poor schools wouldn't the students whom do put forth an effort still be notable by that school seeing how the gpa is accumulated through the testing of presented information to the students? Alternatively put even if a school has outdated or little material their personal gpa would be based upon their retention of that knowledge. As for standardized state tests there does lie a flaw for poor schools, however we can't deny that there is help for those who do truly seek it, libraries etc., and colleges do take more than standardized test scores into consideration. There's also the option of 2 year community college to 4 year university transfer. Though it isn't ideal to some it is still available. Do I necessarily agree that the selection process of students for universities is flawless? Not at all but dismissing grants and scholarships to people who have put forth tremendous time and effort seems more like a slap in the face rather than being fair.

I only present these ideas to you because I've personally come from a broken home with no help to my benefit because I am denied financial aid until I am proven independent, although I've been out on my own around the age of 17. However if I was able to submit to scholarships that aren't available to me I would be able to get a jump-start as opposed to playing the waiting game when I could have graduated by the time I'll be able to receive help.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ryanconqueso 6 years ago
Ryanconqueso
JKKrdjsakTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro assessed current conditions and regulations also pointing out that the argument of positive discrimination is still discrimination nonetheless. I understand con's compassion but, the efforts put forth by individuals should never be dismissed with no reward. Personally I believe the standard needs to be enforced throughout the education, and workforce fields entirely.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 6 years ago
darkkermit
JKKrdjsakTied
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Reasons for voting decision: JKK shows that it is unfair that if someone works hard, then he/she should not be treated unfairly based on race. She addresses that positive discrmination does not address the real issues.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
JKKrdjsakTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "Until anything is proven effective about addressing the issue from the ground up, a system must be in place to correct the current minority attendance at universities. " - why if they can not meet the same academic standards