Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Affirmative Action & Reverse Discrimination - part 2

This is part two of an online debate about Affirmative Action which took place in 2010. To get all of the background information and start at the beginning click here.

Day 2

Apparently you missed my definition for AA so I will repeat it:

Affirmative Action is the network of law and public policy developed in the post–World War II era to allocate resources such as jobs, educational opportunities, procurement and construction contracts, and voting strength to African Americans and, beginning in the late 1960s, to women and other minorities. The purpose of affirmative action, to remedy the underrepresentation of women and minorities in workplaces, business ownership, and educational institutions, has been articulated through a variety of formal and informal approaches, including presidential executive orders, administrative guidelines, judicial decisions, and personnel practices, that apply to the nation's public and private institutions.

As you can see it is nothing specific. It is a framework that recognizes an injustice, establishes rationailty and legal support to address it and a series of EO's which mandate it. The policies and methodologies are not given so we can not and should not debate it. If some one does it wrong, it doesn't matter It is an action that an institution takes to remedy disproportionality. I have already given analysis why simply not discriminating now and in the future, does not remedy the situation.

I will address the remainder of your post since I feel I must answer some of the rebuttals in your last post on the other thread. Afterwards, I will discuss the justice of AA.

Ok, so AA was supposed to allocate resources to minorities. That alone is discriminatory (even in a positive sense) because it's giving resources to a specific group; it didn't just make it so that everyone can get resources, it allocated them for a specific group. And the purpose of AA was to remedy under-representation. Ok. Cool. It did that. But it's not just for all the reasons I've submitted.

Recap: the resolution is:

Resolved: Affirmative action to promote equal opportunity in the United States is justified.

Since we have other methods that promote equal opportunity - even if they're less effective, according to you - they exist and do the same thing. When AA works to not only promote equal opportunity, but also to ACT on it, it's no longer just an idea. If AA weren't mandated, then there wouldn't be policies and criteria to meet this idea of AA, and we wouldn't be worried about adverse side effects. If I were to say that "Do no harm" is good in principle, but everything I do goes against it (but it's decided to be legal), then "do no harm" is obviously a failed framework, even if there are no guidelines that tell me how to implement it.

What are the other methods? Would they have worked without the mandated AA from the executive branch? Were they successful prior to the 1960s civil rights protests?

Addressing each of your points in your last two rebuttals, I wish to address the specifics of "what is just" later because I think the topic is too big to address in this answer to your points.

You have conceded AA does work to increase proportionality which is exactly what it is supposed to do. You claim that forcing proportionality is unjust so really according to your point of view, no matter which kind of methods are used to promote proportion, it is unjust. I want to point out you make this claim based soley on a few cases which the court ruled were illegal. Then you turn around and and claim my many examples where the court does uphold AA methods, you state it only proves AA is legal but not just. So if the court is not an adequate standard to determine whether something is just, you cannot use the court to determine that something is unjust. That is abusive. Therefore you are left without a legitimate warrant to claim AA is unjust. It is only your opinion.

Next you throw up the straw man of social injustices and conceding my point that AA does not address these issues, you obfuscate the debate to no real purpose. We already agree that current laws are in place to address many of the social injustices.

Finally you make the incredible claim that AA is intended to discriminate and then claim I agree that it does discriminate unintentionally and you claim I maintain that discrimination is just since it redresses past wrongs. This is another strawman. I have never argued nor would I ever agree that AA is discriminatory in the negative sense of the word. Discriminiation in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Requiring certain qualifications for potential hirees is a kind of discrimination. for example. No one would say that form of discrimination is a bad thing. Certainly one wants skilled employess to possess the required skills.

The first day of this debate (which is not posted since we started in school) I claimed that discrimination which is bad assumes that a class of people is considered inferior based on race, ethnicity or sex. This is bad discrimination and AA does not do this. This is why reverse discrimination cases arising from affirmative action have little chance of being won. (I can cite several warrants for this statement).

The bright line for diversity was not given because I did not think you would challenge the idea that diversity may be desireable in some situations and not in others, so in this context, I did not want to take a lot of computer resources to elaborate on it. Think of this, however: Studies show that having an ethnically diverse campus enhances education. I can cite from own experience that I have been enriched by attending a scoially diverse school. On the otherhand, no would argue for example that the Boy scouts of America experience can be enriched by increasing sexual diversity in the Scouts. Some things are common sense and don't require warrants.

Some kinds of businesses are best served by males - for example a business which sells male clothing or intimate products. Does it make sense to require all forms of diversity in such contexts? (There is also a female counterpart for this)

Finally to claim the government does not use AA is not based on any real fact is it? The executive orders beginning with the Johnson administration specifically address this. Even today any contractor hoping to work for the government must meet certain proportionality and EEOC criteria.

I cited the example of reparations for the descendants of Japanese internment camp victims as an example of how the government does promote making up for past wrongs so it should not be considered unique that the goverment would require redress for denying opportunities to minorities. There is no direct similarity however between what happened after WWII and what has happened for 100s of years to other minorities. It merely illustrates the principle and precedence of redress.

This brings us to your latest post which again claims AA is discriminatory but this time in a positive sense. (So there IS a positive kind of discrimination) So if I have been giving you pennies for years and now I want to give pennies to your brother because he never got any, you would say I am being unfair to you because I am not giving to pennies to both of you, right?
Yet if I did give start giving pennies to both of you, equally you would have have many more since you've been getting them all along, but this is fair, right? Yeah fair for you perhaps but would your brother also say its fair?

Finally before specifically addressing the justice of AA, I need to answer your last point about the AA framework. Your example says if the framework says "Do no harm" and everything you do is harmful even though it is legal, then "Do no harm" is a failed framework. hahaha. I would say if that's the case you have bigger problems than a failed framework - you have a failed legal system.

No, I don't make the proportionality claim based on a few court cases; I base it off of what is just. I alluded to Kant a few times throughout this discussion. I've already said that using SCOTUS is flawed because they only tell us what's LEGAL, not just; I never agreed to using SCOTUS as our standard. Rule #1 for LD: SCOTUS proves legality, not just-ness. (I think that's a modifier there) Just because this is a PF round doesn't mean I'm going to try to pull the is/ought fallacy when I'm still debating what's just or unjust. But yes, any method that forces proportionality (because it would obstruct someone else's ability to get a position just for the sake of diversity) is unjust - not just some methods, ALL. And just because something works doesn't mean it's just. Slavery is an excellent way of maximizing profit, but we still say it's unjust. That's the whole point of this resolution, as it specifically questions whether AA is just, not legal or legitimate.

You specifically say at the top of thread 2, "It has been agreed there is intentional and nonintentional discrimination and this resolution addresses unintentional, institutional discrimination, which exists even today inspite of laws." And I proved in thread 1 that unintentional discrimination occurs. I defined inferior and applied it to your definition of discrimination and proved that discrimination has the "side effect" of unintentional discrimination (at best). Thus, if we both agree that it occurs unintentionally due specifically to AA, then in order to uphold AA you have to be ok with it, which is my point. Thus, no straw man. The intentional discrimination was not directed at you saying that it was ok; I've maintained, however, that regardless of whether it's intentional or unintentional, discrimination is unjust. Read my earlier posts on that. I believe that both forms exist, but since you refuse to agree to that standard (which is ok), I'll argue against the unintentional (as I've done) and say that that is still unjust.

The government argument isn't for contractors, it's who REPRESENTS the people in government. We have one black senator. One. We have eight total Asian Americans in the entire Congress. One Muslim. For all you preach about diversity in places, there's certainly no proportional diversity in Congress. AND we can do something about it; this isn't a men's clothing store where men would probably know more than women; proportional race/ethnicity is a problem for Congress. That's my point, not the contractors.

Reparations: fine. Give reparations. Money. Food. Whatever. Don't punish others for something they can't control. I can't help it that I'm white, just as a minority can't help that she's a minority. Don't be hatin'; treat us equally. Giving preference to a minority who hasn't been discriminated against is unjust. You define justice as giving each his or her due, and say that it's legit to give the edge to a victim; ok, if a person wasn't a victim of discrimination, you're NOT giving her what she's due. It does not fall under the "reparations" umbrella that you set up. (I'll get back to this with the pennies analogy.)

In the sense I used it, positive =/= good. It's like positive and negative peace. There's no such thing as "bad" peace; it's how it's achieved. "Positive" discrimination is discrimination that benefits the person. Sorry for the confusion, but I wasn't conceding anything.

Your pennies analogy is irrelevant; it goes back to the idea that a minority today (say, 18 years old) hasn't been discriminated against, but will still get pennies. I will also get pennies. But, according to your logic (and AA), because the minority's race/ethnicity/gender/whatever was discriminated against at one point in time (but not THIS PARTICULAR person), she deserves extra pennies. This goes against your rationale for AA being just. This is how AA is applied today, NOT just for victims of discrimination.

"Do no harm" was an example but I'll try for a better framework example. If my framework were to give everyone cake, but I gave some people moldy cake and others fresh, moist cake, people would still be getting cake regardless, but a certain group is getting the better end of the deal. Under a loose interpretation (as you advocate) it'd be ok as long as I'm promoting cake-giving. In fact, as long as the people who maybe got moldy cake before get good cake now while the old "good cake receivers" get moldy cake now, I'm actually creating a better situation. AA does the same: as long as we're promoting diversity/proportionality, it doesn't matter if someone gets the moldy cake. I say give everyone good cake and be done with it. (Does anyone else want cake?)

Tomorrow I will prove that AA is just by showing how it conforms to a specific and generally accepted concept of justice. In the meantime, I request you think about justice versus morality. Are they the same? Are you willing to defend that idea that society for thousands of years has operated unjustly by allowing slavery and only now in this enlightened age do we see that slavery was unjust? I claim you can have four conditions:

1. An act is just and it is moral
2. An act is just but it is immoral
3. An act is unjust but it is moral
4. An act is unjust and immoral

Tomorrow when I want to wrap this up becasue I have stuff to work on.

I will ponder the first part of your last post.

I also have stuff to work on tomorrow - studying and work in the evening.

And I agree with the last part. Notice, though, it took us like 3 days to get to this point though, so haha. (So we could've reached this point anywhere from instantly to a period of 6 days, evidently.)

For part 3 click here.

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