Position paper about affirmative action

  SHOULD IT BE LEGAL IN THE U.S. FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO CONSIDER RACE AS A PLUS FACTOR IN MAKING ADMISSIONS DECISIONS? Note that your position paper on this topic is due in this class and to Turnitin.



1.       BACKGROUND: C. Magid, “Background on Affirmative Action…” (Course Documents/Blackboard)

2.       BACKGROUND:  Grutter v Bollinger Excerpts from the Supreme Court Decision and Dissents (New York Times)(Course Documents/Blackboard))

3.       IN SUPPORT OF “NO”: C. Cohen, “Race Preference is Morally Wrong” (Course Documents/Blackboard)

4.       IN SUPPORT OF “NO”: Terence Pell, “Racial Preferences and Formal Equality,” Journal of Social Philosophy Summer2003, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p.309-325. (Course Documents/Blackboard)

5.       IN SUPPORT OF “YES”:  General Motors Legal Brief in Support University of Michigan Use of Race in Admissions. (Course Documents/Blackboard)

6.       IN SUPPORT OF “YES”:  Roger Wilkins, “Racism Has Its Privileges.” (Course Documents/Blackboard) 



Note: when you have prepared your debate paper, you should be prepared for the debate!



·         You MUST submit the papers BOTH as a hard copy in class AND to turnitin.com on the course website.

·         You should write these assignments as answers to the questions asked below—answering each in the order given.    (If you find you need to repeat information from answering a previous question, you can reference what you have already said and indicate how it is relevant again.)

·         Except for short quotations, the essay should be in your own words. (I do suggest you quote the authors’ basic principles and then explain them.)

·         Plan to write about 1200 words (or more as needed) to cover all parts of your debate topic paper.

·         Please use type of this size and single space with double spaces between paragraphs.


·         This assignment is asking you to find and present arguments FROM ASSIGNED COURSE TEXTS (listed with the debate information.)  Please be sure that you are using these course texts where requested. If you don’t find and cite arguments from the required texts, your paper will not be adequate.

·         FOR ASSIGNED COURSE TEXTS:  cite all quotes  (author and  page number, if available, in parentheses). 

·         FOR OTHER SOURCES: you MUST provide a full citation using any standard method.  Also note:

 any sources you rely on for factual content must be named individuals who have some qualifications to write on this subject or reputable organizations that make their organization’s goals clear. When you cite sources for factual content, you must also indicate how they meet these conditions.


POSITION PAPER TOPIC: answer questions 1 and 2 from the perspective of your side in the debate. Write about 1200 words (or more if needed).                                                                                             Note that the list of texts for the debate designates some as background and the others as on one side or the other.  The background texts are not covered in the essay.  You will be expected to cover the other texts in your essay, as indicated below.

1.       Make the best argument you can make in support of your view—drawing on assigned debate texts on your side, and other material as well if you choose.( Your argument needs to show that you understand and can present major arguments from both texts on your side and explain how they support your debate position. Feel free to add other ideas as well.)

2.       For EACH of the two assigned debate texts on the other side), explain the main arguments and say how you would argue against them.

3.       Looking back at what you have said in parts 1 and 2, do you think any rational person would have to agree with what you are saying?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

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