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

Affirmative Action is Good

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 886 times Debate No: 100085
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I am reopening an interesting debate. I recently viewed a debate of this topic which was forfeited after two rounds and very much neglected to get to the heart of the matter.

My position is that affirmative action aims to create balance in society, but in doing so is necessarily discriminatory and creates greater imbalance.

How can society strive for equality if people are treated differently?


may the best facts win
Debate Round No. 1


If we look at the broader picture, we see that education is but a cog in the whole economy. Nobel winning economists such as Friedrich Hayek have noted the importance of freedom and competition in the economy. It leads to greater choice, higher quality products and greater opportunities.

The reverse therefore is true when, through human intervention, we start narrowing down this freedom and competition. We saw this in the financial crisis. Banks, businesses and even industries that were propped up by political affirmative action in the form of tariffs, tax relief and other legal incentives, could no longer sustain themselves. Sometimes you have to cut the weeds to allow the vegetation through.

Darwin talked about survival of the fittest. It fared humans and all other species of the planet well for the past few billion years. Should we now break this universal law?

You may share statistics which show the increase of blacks and latinos in universities after the introduction of affirmative action and their decrease after affirmative action was banned. But what does this really show? If you remove the teeth from lions there will be an increase in antelopes, likewise if you return them their teeth they will soon be put to good use.

Back to the real economy: should recruiters hire people based on their gender, skin colour or race? If you applied for a job and were refused because you are female, would that be fair? What if they said they have too many females working in the company and so they want to use "corporate affirmative action" to establish a gender balance, therefore, you will not be considered.

Looking at this more deeply, this will not only be harmful for you, but for the company and its customers too. Why? Because, what if you were the best person for the job? You could have helped them produce products that were: better, cheaper, and more innovative. Customers could have had more choice, better products and for lower prices.

When we apply this to universities we see that in a free and open economy, if a university had 100 places, all of those places would be filled by the best applicants. If we now intervene in this process, what we get is some of the deserving applicants are refused and some of the non-deserving are admitted.

Does this benefit the deserving students who are refused a place? The students who work hard to get good grades. The students who stay in rather than go out and practise one more time for their next examination.

Or does this benefit the non-deserving students? Who may also have worked hard, but on paper did not perform well enough to be in the university. Who may sit in auditoriums filled with some of the most academically gifted people in the country. Who know they are only in the same room as these people because of their gender, race or colour.

Does this benefit our future economy by promoting the lowest performers to the top and the top performers to the bottom? If this has never been witnessed in nature over the course of billions of years, one can only wonder how it will fare for us over the next 100 years.


This policy is a way to make sure that diversity is achieved and maintained in workplaces and schools, thus helping create tolerant communities as it exposes individuals to various ideas and cultures that are different from their own.
iversity is desirable and will not always occur if left to chance. The ability to interact with other nationalities and races should be part of the education process, which can alleviate problems experienced by many students who live very segregated lives. Normally, opinions of other groups of people are based on stereotypes, but interaction would allow students to learn that members opposite races are people too, more or less just like themselves.

Since most people desire diversity, it is important to make sure colleges and universities will represent a wide range of backgrounds, but without Affirmative Action, this diversity is much less likely to occur. It will even be possible that schools become segregated like the ones in the past. Elite schools might once again become increasingly dominated by students from majority groups. Take note that diversity is so important, and we cannot leave it to chance.Students who started at a disadvantage need a boost, and this policy has made it happen. Generally speaking, these involved mostly minority students. Usually coming from lower-income families, they would have lesser opportunities to attend private schools, unlike white students. However, we should take note that sincere and hard-working minority students are every bit as capable as white students, but because of the disadvantages they experience, they were not having the same paper qualifications. Now Affirmative Action makes sure to even the playing field a bit for these students.
Debate Round No. 2


The decision to emphasize diversity over fairness is one that affirmative-action proponents have long made and it is reflected in your argument.

Firstly, I think these arguments are based on a false dichotomy. Going back to the perspective of the economy, most economies in the western world live in free, open and fair economies. Is there a lack of diversity? No, the opposite. In fact, we often find we have too much choice. People can buy products from their own country, from neighbouring countries and from countries on the other side of the world.

Was affirmative action required for this? No. What was required was policies based on freedom, on open trade and competition.

The original idea of affirmative action was about disadvantage, not racial and gender diversity. As President Lyndon Johnson said in 1965, "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say you are free to compete with all the others, and still just believe that you have been completely fair."

Unfortunately, institutions could not feasibly claim to be bringing everybody " rich and poor, white and black, native and immigrant " up to the same starting line, as in Mr. Johnson"s formulation. They instead fell back to racial categories, and this is when they forfeited fairness.

Even proponents of equal opportunities, such as Martin Luther King, warned against this: "Many white workers whose economic condition is not too far removed from the economic condition of his black brother will find it difficult to accept," he wrote in a private letter, "special consideration to the Negro in the context of unemployment, joblessness, etc. and does not take into sufficient account their plight (that of the white worker)".

Affirmative action now boils down to a diversity program and it finds itself in retreat. Five of the six states that have held referendums on racial preferences have banned them, including California and Florida. The Supreme Court limited the legal forms of preferences in 2003 and suggested that they had only 25 years left.

If the courts and voters continue to restrict racial preferences, supporters will have three options: they can give up, they can quietly subvert the law, or they can attempt an overhaul of affirmative action.


This policy was designed as a means of helping to compensate for the fact that because of many years of oppression, some races are being "held back in the race". Again, the policy makes sure this does not happen.During the first several centuries in the US, white people were seen enslaving and oppressing Native Americans, black people and other minorities. These minority groups had their lands taken, had given decades of unpaid labor, subjected to brutal punishments and denied most of the Constitution"s fundamental rights. Now, Affirmative Action is implemented to also provide a way to compensate their descendants for the wrong-doings suffered by their ancestors.

8. It lets minority students get into advanced education.
Students with ethnic minority backgrounds need a helping hand to enjoy privileges that are generally ignored by other races. With the policies behind Affirmative Action, all deprived students are encouraged to enter an advanced educational system.

It assures equality in the workplace.
When implemented inside the workplace, this policy will be the most effective way to ensure the candidates from ethnic groups are provided with the chance to prove themselves as having efficient capabilities as the candidates from other races.

It offers protection from hatred.
Though nothing can shield every individual from all the hatred they would encounter in life, Affirmative Action can at least help tremendously by enforcing strict and even harsh punishments on anyone who is found guilty of personal assault due to race, gender or sexual orientation. The law makes many people think twice before committing an act that is filled with hatred or violence.

Affirmative action is a way to ensure that diversity is obtained and maintained in schools and in the workplace. In so doing it also helps create tolerant communities because it exposes people to a variety of cultures and ideas that are different from their own.
It helps disadvantaged people who come from areas of the country where there are not very many opportunities be able to advance where they otherwise could not. In other words, it gives everyone an equal playing field.
Affirmative action is a way to help compensate for the fact that, due to many years of oppression, some races "started late in the race." Again, it helps level the playing field.
Debate Round No. 3


The focus nowadays seems to be strictly on racial categories, in fact a study in 2005 found that:

"being an underrepresented minority increases one's chance of admissions by 27.7 percentage points; that is an applicant with a 40 percent chance of admission has a 68 percent chance if she is black, Latino, or Native American. By contrast, being in the bottom income quartile (relative to the middle quarters) has no positive effect".

What we are seeing then is that the middle and upper-class black, latino and Native Americans are benefiting significantly. However, the people whom affirmative action was designed to help, the economically disadvantaged, are having no real benefit. In fact:

"the representation of poor and working class students today is lower, not higher, than if grades and test scores were the sole basis for admissions, the researchers find".

"As a result, Carnevale and Rose found that on America"s most selective 146 campuses"virtually all of which practice race-based affirmative action"74 percent of students came from the top socioeconomic quarter of the population, and just 3 percent from the poorest".

Further to the above:

"Sander also notes that racial affirmative action racial affirmative action in legal education has done little to indirectly promote socioeconomic diversity. At the top twenty law schools, 89 percent of African Americans, and 63 percent of Latinos come from the top socioeconomic half of the population (along with 92 percent of Asian Americans and 93 percent of whites)".

"Astoundingly, Sander found that just 2 percent of students at the top twenty law schools come from the bottom socioeconomic quarter of the population, while more than three-quarters come from the richest socioeconomic quartile".

It seems clear that the only students affirmative action has advantaged are those whom are already advantaged.

Therefore, what is the solution? Stop looking at racial categories and start looking at socioeconomic categories. These are the categories that show those whom are advantaged and those whom are disadvantaged.

Kahlenberg and Halley Potter found that "seven out of 10 leading public universities were able to maintain, or even increase the proportion of African American and Latino students among their ranks by replacing race-based preferences with strategies that target socio-economic inequality".

Kahlenberg, R. (2012) A Better Affirmative Action: State Universities that Created Alternatives to Racial Preferences.


Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination.
Affirmative action lowers standards of accountability needed to push students or employees to perform better.
Students admitted on this basis are often ill-equipped to handle the schools to which they've been admitted.
It would help lead a truly color-blind society.
It is condescending to minorities to say they need affirmative action to succeed.
It demeans true minority achievement; i.e. success is labeled as result of affirmative action rather than hard work and ability.
Once enacted, affirmative actions are tough to remove, even after the underlying discrimination has been eliminated.

Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination. Affirmative action is designed to end discrimination and unfair treatment of employees/students based on color, but it in effect does the opposite. Whites who work harder and/or are more qualified can be passed over strictly because they are white. Contrary to many stereotypes, many minorities fall into the middle or upper class, and many whites live in poverty. Unfortunately, the way things are set up now, a poverty-stricken white student who uses discipline and hard work to become the best he can be can be passed over by a rich minority student who doesn't put in much effort at all.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by desttoyer 2 years ago
start round 3
Posted by mschechtel17 2 years ago
I just think it's interesting to point out that Affirmative Action tries to address the issue of racial discrimination with racial discrimination
Posted by desttoyer 2 years ago
hurry up for round 2
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Social-Justice_Carnist 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: Jesus.