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RFD - Affirmative Action is Desirable

dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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12/31/2015 2:26:55 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Much has already been written about Con, so I'll only focus on Pro's arguments. First, I'd like to say that I remain skeptical of both sides of the debate and will refrain from awarding points to either party. I think overall Pro argued his case better, but at the end of the day I found his case to be little more than a collection of vague, unsubstantiated slogans which add nothing to the discussion since they contain virtually zero information (they could be used to pretty much the same effect whether or not they correspond to reality).

1) Reparatory Justice

It is inarguable that blacks have been, and in many cases continue to be, the victims of racism. What's not so clear is the extent to which their history of racism can account for their current underperformance. Racial groups in the United States differ for many reasons. For example, Asian Americans earn more money than the average white. Obviously whites are not discriminating against themselves and have no history of discrimination, so there must be some other reason for the gap. The same forces which keep white income below the levels attained by Asians might also apply in the case of blacks. After all, blacks underperform whites in every country, not just the United States. Unless we have some way of determining what portion of black underperformance can be attributed to their history of racism, affirmative action programs run the risk of going too far. Moreover, if the competitive disadvantage of blacks is captured by their low income and poor schooling, why not just give preferential treatment to all economically disadvantaged kids regardless of race? Why focus on race at all? Does it make sense that the child of two black surgeons should get preferential treatment over a poor white farm boy from Nebraska when applying to an elite college?

2) Diversity

"Nobody disputes the value of diversity. It is repeatedly emphasized across academia, the government, the military, and America"s leading businesses."

Let's leave aside the fact that this is just an appeal to consensus and ask ourselves "Is it true"? Does everyone value diversity? Not according to a poll conducted by Pew Research. Nearly half the respondents said they would prefer to live in a community with less than maximal diversity. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org...
Of course, this doesn't mean they don't value diversity at all, but it does contradict the idea that everyone values all forms of diversity in all contexts. Thus, when Pro says "nobody disputes the value of diversity", he's obligated to demonstrate that racial diversity at colleges is valued by "everyone" (or virtually everyone), and that this benefit outweighs all the downsides that go along with it. He tries to support the latter assertion by pointing to evidence that diverse groups are better at problem solving than homogenous groups. Two problems with this. First, he doesn't actually explain the study. The mere existence of the study doesn't prove anything. Second, even if it's true, it can't *always* be true. That is, diverse groups of people won't always outperform more homogeneous groups. In order for this argument to be viable Pro has to show that the benefits of a racially diverse student body outweigh the downsides of achieving it (the fact that people with lower grades and test scores take the spots of more "qualified" candidates). What's more, received wisdom - "Diversity is a source of strength and unity" - often turns out to be false. We should be particularly skeptical of received wisdom when it happens to comply with society's ideological preferences and what's politically convenient to believe.

(3) Integration

Pro argues that a functioning democracy requires all groups to have adequate representation in government. Otherwise, their concerns will go unheard. However, the vast majority of issues have nothing to do with race. It thus makes little sense to ensure that our government reflects the distribution of races in the country as a whole, since most of the time minorities would have no unique perspective to offer.

(4) Ongoing Racism/Sexism

1. "The most visible example today is police shootings: young black males are at 21 times greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts."

It's impossible to meaningfully interpret this statistic. There's no way to know how much is due to police racism and how much of it is due to differences in black behavior.

2. "And blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though usage among blacks and whites is comparable."

Again, hard to interpret. Blacks tend to live in more crime-ridden neighborhoods where more police are assigned. Blacks tend to disregard police presence more than whites do - "You don't scare us!". Blacks are more likely to be stopped for other reasons (they tend to speed more, for instance) and thus are subject to more searches.

3. "Or consider this fact: full-time women only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, a significant gap with significant consequences over a lifetime of work."

That statistic is bogus: http://www.debate.org...
ben2974
Posts: 767
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12/31/2015 6:31:24 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/31/2015 6:14:50 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 12/31/2015 4:17:23 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
This RFD is idiotic.

Well, there's not much to say to that.

I haven't read the debate or anything, but i'm assuming it's because your RFD consists of strictly your personal analysis of Pro's arguments, and not taking into account the functions of pro's/con's arguments, or measuring them against each other, etc etc...?
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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12/31/2015 6:48:11 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
I should also point out that FourTrouble's characterization of Philippe Rushton is totally unfair. I'm not an expert on Rushton, but I've read enough of his stuff to know that he doesn't think the differences between blacks and whites are very large. Example: https://youtu.be...

Either FT just made it up or heard it from one of Rusthon's hysterical critics.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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12/31/2015 7:02:19 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/31/2015 6:31:24 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 12/31/2015 6:14:50 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 12/31/2015 4:17:23 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
This RFD is idiotic.

Well, there's not much to say to that.

I haven't read the debate or anything, but i'm assuming it's because your RFD consists of strictly your personal analysis of Pro's arguments, and not taking into account the functions of pro's/con's arguments, or measuring them against each other, etc etc...?

The merits of his case can be analyzed without bringing in the arguments made by Cassie. But if I was assigning points I would have covered both sides. It's hardly a reason to dismiss my criticism as "idiotic".