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Saturday, August 14, 2004

Battle Affirmative Action - Closing Argument - Challenger

To begin this final statement, I wish to thank the Chairman and the judges for the opportunity to debate this topic. I wish to thank the IBG for her time as well.

Throughout this debate, I have strived to maintain a semblance of decorum. I have attempted to remain above petty sniping and snide remarks about issues that do not touch upon the topic at hand. I feel I have fought that battle alone.

As we end this debate, I feel more certain than ever that the removal of affirmative action is the right course if we are to achieve true equality for all Americans.

Because I see a color-blind society as more than a myth. A color-blind society should be the goal toward which we strive. Rather than see every problem through the prism of race (and certain races at that), we would do better to focus our collective efforts as a society to ensuring that ALL people who labor under adverse life circumstances have access to the opportunities that exist in America. A color-blind society is truly more aligned with the American ideal as expressed in the declaration of independence, from which I quoted in my opening statement.

In order to achieve such a goal, preferential treatment based on race alone cannot be a part of the equation.

But instead of moving toward a goal that even Dr. King advocated in his "I Have a Dream" speech, affirmative action advocates fight a battle of semantics - redefining the ideal to suit their belief in the entitlement (for that's what it is) to preferential treatment through AA. Those who seek to maintain preferential treatment programs must accomplish some tall feats, indeed.

They must argue against the ideal of a color-blind society. They must turn their back on the very "dream" that resonates among people of all races in America - that individuals would be judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. They must argue against individual differences in opportunity between members of each race, and between racial groups. They must argue that preferential treatment based solely upon the race of the individual is somehow different from, well, preferential treatment based solely upon the race of the individual. They must argue that 20 points on an admissions application for a person of color is qualitatively different than a "Whites Only" sign at a lunch counter. They must argue that "good" racism can reverse the effects of "bad" racism.

 They must argue that racism is in the DNA of the American system, that it cannot be addressed through alternative measures (like punishment for actual instances of discrimination - you know, actual justice), and that individuals of certain races MUST have these preferences in order to succeed. They must argue that advancing opportunity for one race at the expense of another race - or sex - trumps the need for individual members of a race or sex to have an equal opportunity. They must argue that people who do believe that race should not be an issue in these areas are actually racists. They must argue that "justice" is defined as a redistribution of opportunity based on race.

I admit that up to this point, they've done a pretty good job. As I have researched this topic, I have been amazed to see an entire industry of people whose sole purpose in life seems to be the perpetuation of racial division in society through the advocacy of white (primarily male) guilt and black entitlement.

They explain away the differences in preferences between races by saying "blacks have it harder than you do" to Hispanics, native Americans, Asians, and Indians. They say to white women, "yes, you've been oppressed, but not as much as this black man, so you lose." Such victimization one-upsmanship is truly sickening to behold. It is saddening indeed to watch AA proponents attempt to put greater or lesser value on the sufferings and mistreatments of various statistical groupings.

Whereas the calculus I propose is pretty simple: no race or sex should receive preferential treatment based solely upon those characteristics, the calculus of affirmative action is incredibly complex and loaded with racial overtones.

At its bare minimum, you get 1 point for being a woman, one point for being "not white," and another point for being black. To deny that such a calculus is not inherently racist is to deny that 1+1=2.

In each of my posts on this topic, I have quoted extensively from black scholars (more than one, lest I be dismissed as relying on a single source) who disagree with affirmative action. Their voices highlight what is a crucial point in the debate: even all blacks don't agree with preferential treatment based on race. As you have seen as well, these voices of disagreement are dismissed as "Uncle Toms" or "hit m(e)n for organized racism."

Rather than acknowledge that races are not monolithic entities acting in consort to advance or deny one another, affirmative action proponents dismiss the independent thoughts of members of their own race. Perhaps Dr. Sowell, LaShawn Barber, Justice Thomas and others are merely recipients of "white privilege." As well, they tacitly denigrate the millions upon millions of white people who never owned slaves, and actively worked to end white racism.

None of which is to say that different racial groups fare differently within society. There is much to do to ensure adequate treatment for people of all races. Unfortunately, affirmative action addresses none of these areas.

 Preferential treatment in college admissions doesn't address failing primary schools. Preferential treatment in hiring decisions doesn't address adequate access to health care. Preferential treatment in contract decisions doesn't ensure that our laws are enforced equally among races. Preferential treatment does nothing to reverse the trend toward single-parent households within the black community, many of whom end up in poverty (along with single-parent households in the white and hispanic communities).

 Rather, preferential treatment (nee affirmative action) whispers the thought that is truly damaging to equitable treatment: "You can't make it without our help." I am amazed at how AA advocates cannot see the paternalism of their own ideology.

IBG states in her final rebuttal that affirmative action is "anti-racism." In doing so, she highlights the post-modern tendency to redefine words to mean what they don't mean. Racial preferences that serve my aims are not really racism. They are what I say they are.

In my opening statement, I made three arguments against affirmative action: It is contrary to the spirit of the American ideal, it furthers division rather than alleviating it, and it fails to acknowledge true diversity.

In polling results, ballot referendums and lawsuits, there is ample evidence that affirmative action policies have not created unity, but further division among races. In the cries of "Uncle Tom" and "hit man for organized racism," AA advocates have shown their disdain for diversity of opinion, and in redefining "equal" as "equal plus some," they perpetuate the violation of the American ideal.

Again, I thank you for your time.

Respectfully submitted,

Bryan S.

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