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The Contender
Con (against)
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Affirmative Action

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,098 times Debate No: 21593
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing for affirmative action while Con will argue against it


Hello Yarely,
first, I am probable shooting myself in the foot by accepting this challenge given the odds are stacked against me. Second I stress that all views represented here is based on the principle of academic freedom and should not be taken out of context.

Now that done, please extend your argument :)
Debate Round No. 1


Okay btw I love your bunny picture
I really want a mousey as a pet but whatever uh...
this debate is experimental. As of now I am undecided about affirmative action, but hopefully this debate will help me make up my mind

1) Diversity is needed
One of the main goals of Affirmative Action is to increase cultural diversity

"'We, and all colleges, are under pressure by industry to increase diversity,' Stephen W. Director, dean of the College of Engineering at the Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, told the Chronicle. 'We constantly hear from companies that they appreciate what we have done, and would like to see more.'
Bob Jerich, a spokesman for Lucent Technologies, is unequivocal in an interview with the Chronicle: 'It is important to understand that diversity is really a critical piece of our overall business strategy. As a global company, we really feel that our employee body needs to reflect the diversity of our markets and customers.'"

2) Affirmative Action has been practiced wrong plenty of times, which is why everyone gets the wrong idea about it.
One of the goals of affirmative action is to expand multiculturalism. America was built on immigrants and America was always the land of opportunity. America was THE land and still is to have an opportunity in life that an immigrant couldn't achieve in their own country.
It is false to say that affirmative action promotes terrible job performance because people will rather hire a minority with no credentials than a white man with more merit.

A scenario of an IDEAL affirmative action job hiring:
There is a black man and a white man both wanting to get the same job. The black man is poised, professional and polite. He has all the right merit to get into the job.
The white man is also polite, poised and professional and has all the right merit to get into the job as well.
But what if the company lacks cultural diversity? The company works like supply and demand. The company is trying to recruit more minorities because there is a demand for more diversity and one of the merits that will fill that supply and demand, is being a minority. So technically in the company's eyes, the black man is the person with more merit.
Saying this is unfair wouldn't make sense
Since companies need more cultural diversity, then it would make sense for the company to hire the black man over the white man since it is what they need.

3) Saying that Affirmative Action is "reverse discrimination" is a straw man fallacy
The main point of Affirmative action is to provide less privileged groups the same opportunity as the more privileged white middle class.
"'Do affirmative action programmes in colleges and universities ask for more leeway on things like test scores? Yes, they absolutely do, and there's a reason for that: People in oppressed classes are less likely to do well on standardized tests, for a whole lot of reasons ranging from unequal access to educational opportunities to biases built in on the tests themselves. This means that, yes, when an applicant identifies as poor, for example, that the school will weigh that in the student's application and will consider the impact that poverty might have on test scores and academic performance. The school won't say ‘oh, we should let a clearly unprepared student in because she's from a lower class background,' but the school will say ‘this student clearly has potential, even if she's not there yet, so let's give her a chance, given that she's had an uphill slog to get to the point where she can even apply for college.'"

4) It is false to say that "they all have the same opportunities so it is unfair to give preferential treatment to them."

This is what opposers think affirmative action is like:
Joe is Black and Frank is White, but they both have the exact same opportunities, it's not like Joe has any obstacles in his way or any negative history pertaining to his background, he has it easy just like Frank.

See how ridiculous this is? It is like a denial of history by saying that Joe and Frank have the same exact opportunity and that there is absolutely going to be no prejudice in job opportunities. It is denial to say that they are in the exact same playing field: this includes minorities, women and people with disabilities.
Truth is that frankly, they aren't.
Affirmative action's goal is to level the playing field so that everyone, no matter what background they are from has a fair push up and equal opportunity as a person with a more privileged background.

5) Affirmative action improves the society of America
Affirmative action when practiced correctly temporarily, will level the playing field and provided underprivileged groups with opportunities to be highly successful. Not by solely their background, but by the extra lift done to provide the underprivileged person an opportunity to increase their highest potential.

America is the land of opportunity, and Affirmative Action will work its part to increase that opportunity for everyone


Hello Yarely,
Apologies for the delay, so far you have pre-empt my arguments and I wanted to consolidate my thoughts before replying.

1.0 Diversity

1.1 In response to your first point, I do not dispute that diversity is needed. However, I would argue affirmative action isn't the way to go about it.

2.0 Affirmative Action has been practiced wrong plenty of times, which is why everyone gets the wrong idea about it.

2.1 In your argument, you assess that companies are already judging my merit "company lacks cultural diversity? The company works like supply and demand." this is in akin to my assertion that affirmative action is unnecessary.

2.3 Indeed, in the ideal version, affirmative action is not necessary. In the real world, it may work as a bias by distorting the merit of both participants. Employers who are looking for diversity also need to consider the ability of the participants. For instance, both participants are graduates, however one may enter by his or her merit while the other because of quota, naturally one would not be able to perform which eventually will cost him or her the job.

3.0 Affirmative Action is "reverse discrimination" is a straw man fallacy.

3.1 Again, I do not dispute the claim that biases are built into the tests and exams. However, shouldn't the focus be on revising the tests and exams to be fairer or providing a standard starting point, such as mandatory education from young, rather than cutting leeway without addressing the real problem.

3.2 Going back to your example that schools should give a chance to students with complication defeats the point that they could not cope with the additional stresses as their foundation are weak (Steve S. 2010). Indeed, a research by New York University, shows gaps in early cognitive skills are highly predictive of gaps at later ages, setting off a trajectory of cumulative disadvantage for black children over time (Wei-Jun J.Y., Kathryn M.P., 2009)

3.3 The fact that it is reversed discriminatory is apparent when you consider that you are using the condition of their weaker background as a condition. Making a decision apart from random is to discriminate one part from another. Meritocracy demands discrimination and to weigh disadvantages in a favourable light is reversed discriminatory.

4.0 False to say that "they all have the same opportunities so it is unfair to give preferential treatment to them."

4.1 I believe I made the point in 3.1 - 3.3 where affirmative action do not address the real problem. Still, if you request further explanations I will be happy include it in the next round.

5.0 Affirmative action improves the society of America

5.1 I would argue that affirmative action deteriorate the society. First, by allowing less than able people into collage, you are removing the same number of vacancy for those who want to enter by merit. In the best case scenario, you would have achieved an economic transfer where there are no losses and no gains. However, if these people do not perform as well as those who do on merit (which is most likely the case – see Steve S. 2010) the economy suffers as a result of not producing at the optimum point.

5.2 When students enter college under affirmative policies, there is a higher possibility for them drop out because of mismatching (Vikram A & Richard H, 2007). This means resources spend are unrecovered by the economy while the personal blow to the individual pride may destroy him or her completely.

America is the land of opportunity, and the dream "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" focus on ability and achievements rather than failures and pity.

Steve Sailer (2010) PISA Scores Show Demography Is Destiny In Education Too—But Washington Doesn't Want You To Know.
Wei-Jun J.Y., Kathryn M.P (2009) The black–white test score gap and early home environment. Social Science Research
Vikram Amar and Richard H. Sander (2007) Does affirmative action hurt minorities? Los Angeles Times
Debate Round No. 2


2.1) Why, can you tell me, that since you agree that diversity is needed, would affirmative action be unnecessary? You never addressed the reason why exactly you think affirmative action is unnecessary since you do seem to agree that diversity is needed

2.3) How come in the ideal version it is not necessary? Ideally, it wouldn't distort the merit of both participants. It would just get ALREADY QUALIFIED or potentially qualified participants, a push for assistance since they are naturally oppressed and since, as you agree with as well, that biases are built into the tests and exams etc. which prevents them from having a good opportunity to compete in the work force.
Affirmative action is indeed still necessary
The playing field is still far from level than 20 years ago. Women remain to acquire 77 cents for every male dollar, Black people perpetuate to have twice the unemployment rate of White people, twice the rate of infant mortality, and just over half the proportion of people who attend four years or more of college.
Without affirmative action the percentage of Black students at many selective schools would drop to only 2% of the student body. This would surely obviate Black access to top universities and severely restrict progress toward racial equality.

"Here's what affirmative action is: A policy and programme adopted in many regions of the world to encourage employers and educational institutions to consider the history of discrimination against certain classes of people when it comes to admission and hiring decisions. Such policies usually cover women, people of color/nonwhite people, and people with disabilities. The goal of affirmative action is to counteract the effects of centuries of discrimination to create more opportunities for oppressed groups of people by not shutting them out of education and employment opportunities, acknowledging that prejudices are often deeply internalised and people can't overcome them by sheer force of will. Here's what it isn't: A demand to always hire/admit the marginalised person, no matter what."

3.1) While I do agree that revising the tests and exams by providing a standard starting point might able to work, Affirmative Action does not distract the problem, but provides a temporary fix to a huge problem that cannot be fixed very easily. Affirmative action also addresses that there is a problem that needs to be fixed

3.2) Their foundation is weak because of complications that white privileged kids never had to face. Affirmative Action gives students with a weak foundation, the chance to rise up to their potential by giving them the tools to rise to it instead of not admitting them because of their weak foundation. They shouldn't just give up on them by automatically assume that the students are incapable of anything because of their test scores, which as you agreed are clearly biased, or their background and difficult history of prejudice.

"The problem with this myth is that it uses the same word -- discrimination -- to describe two very different things. Job discrimination is grounded in prejudice and exclusion, whereas affirmative action is an effort to overcome prejudicial treatment through inclusion. The most effective way to cure society of exclusionary practices is to make special efforts at inclusion, which is exactly what affirmative action does. The logic of affirmative action is no different than the logic of treating a nutritional deficiency with vitamin supplements. For a healthy person, high doses of vitamin supplements may be unnecessary or even harmful, but for a person whose system is out of balance, supplements are an efficient way to restore the body's balance."

4.1) Yes I would like further explanations. There are plenty of myths about how Affirmative Action doesn't address the real problem. Here's an example:
Myth: A large percentage of White workers will lose out if affirmative action is perpetuated.
Regime statistics do not support this myth. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, there are 2.6 million unemployed Black civilians and 114 million employed White civilians. Thus, even if every unemployed Black worker in the Amalgamated States were to displace a White worker, only 2% of Whites would be affected. Furthermore, affirmative action pertains only to job-qualified applicants, so the actual percentage of affected Whites would be even more diminutively minuscule. The main sources of job loss among White workers have to do with factory relocations and labor contracting outside the Amalgamated States, computerization and automation, and corporate downsizing

5.1) Affirmative Action does not deteriorate society. You wouldn't be allowing "less than able" people people into
college by making leeway since the test scores are clearly biased, which you agreed with.

5.2) See the above rebuttal

The focus IS on ability and achievements, not failure and pity since the main goal that affirmative action wants to achieve is to give people who, by their obstacles have it much harder that privileged kids, the tools to fulfill their full potential instead of refusing them unfairly without considering their disadvantages


Hello Yarely,
6.0 Why affirmative action is unnecessary

6.1 Response to counter 2.1; when I said diversity is needed, I was reflecting on the view that companies want a diverse workforce (for reasons you gave in point 1). This means companies themselves already want to draw on minorities for their inputs. To make a law requiring those companies to hire minority seems redundant.

6.2 Response to counter 2.2; yes bias are built into tests, but society need some of these biases. To claim that because your family has some social problems doesn't mean tests need lower their standards to accommodate them (and by that definition is bias). After all, tests are made such a way that suites the employer needs rather than for those who are under-qualified.

6.3 women earning lesser is again subject to economics, if their value are lower than male, it because they are compensated by non-salaries benefits such as maternity leaves.

6.4 The disadvantages African American still face (unemployment, infant mortality, lower education) all points towards the ineffectiveness of affirmative action despite being in place for about 47 years. In fact the racial disparities in income, education and home ownership are seen to be increasing (Associated Press, 2006)

6.5 Btw, and aren't neutral sources as their objectives are to promote feministic and racial policies.

7.0 "Affirmative Action does not distract the problem, but provides a temporary fix"

7.1 Response to counter 3.1; to believe that affirmative action is temporary is a misconception. For 47 years that affirmative action has been put in practice, minorities groups are still clamouring for greater efforts. Even when affirmative policies are no longer needed, minority groups would still want it to stay as it gives them an upper hand when competing with others

7.2 response to counter 3.2; I am not advocating that we should "give up" on those who couldn't performed, but rather that admitting them into higher education where they are more likely to drop out (Associated Press, 2005), we could address the root cause by not admitting them thus, forcing them to build up their foundation.

7.3 Response to counter 3.3; by saying that companies discriminate because of prejudice runs counter to your 1st point "'We, and all colleges, are under pressure by industry to increase diversity,'. Therefor to weigh in favour of race other than merit isn't meritocracy.

8.0 "large percentage of White workers will lose out if affirmative action is perpetuated

8.1 Response to counter 4.1; I have never state that a large percentage of whites will lose out. However, even with just a small percentage loses their jobs, is it fair for them? Especially if they are from poorer families too who struggle to get in based on merit only to be side step by richer minority who aren't working as hard.

9.0 Affirmative Action deteriorate society

9.1 Response to counter 5.1; test scores are clearly biased, yes. However, some of these biases and needed by society (see point 6.2). I thus, advocate a base starting point rather than tilting the scales to compensate.

9.2 Your point that because of bias, we need to compensate doesn't address the concern that they are dropping out of collage since affirmative policy only affects intakes. This again shows that the resources used become deadweight as they are left no better than before yet lost the money spend on college education.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed that one day we would live in a society where individuals would be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. The affirmative action policies of today are both unnecessary and detrimental to minority success. Moreover, they are significant barriers to the establishment of a racially-blind meritocratic society. Justice for all requires the end of affirmative action.

Thanks again for this wonderful debate and I would happy to answer any further questions you have regarding my points. Once again, best of luck for the vote.

Associated Press (2006) Census report: Broad racial disparities persist.
Associated Press (2005) U.S. college drop-out rate sparks concern.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Yarely 6 years ago
@Fusionized -Yeah I know that comment didn't make any sense
Posted by Fusionized 6 years ago
Lol @ having to be racist in order to disagree with affirmative action. Are you serious?
Posted by ejh238 6 years ago
I'm curious why anyone on here would actually take this debate. Are there actual racist people on here?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con proved that affirmative action is not needed in society and proved that it was actually discrimination. Further more he refuted pros case well. Con stated first round that affirmative action was not the way to obtain diversity, I think he showed this well later in the debate. I also think he showed well that it is reverse discrimination and we should not judge based off of race. I also liked his its bad for society arguments as it causes drop outs and less people attending college.