Affirmative action – and, in particular, the use of admissions preferences in higher education – has ranked high among contentious social issues in America for over fifty years.  Yet (to our knowledge) there has not been, throughout that time, a place where those interested in these issues, including interested citizens, scholars, journalists, jurists, and policy makers, can go for dispassionate information about the terms and parameters of the affirmative action question, or for wide-ranging but well-curated debates on its contentious issues.  Affirmative Action Debate seeks to meet both of these needs.

Our Editors, Staff, and Board of Advisors reflect a broad range of views on the underlying merits of the key issues.  But we all agree that discussions of affirmative action are often polarizing, and that objective background information, data, and careful debate can help all of us understand the issues and develop reasoned positions.  Our initial focus will be on affirmative action in higher education; as we expand the site, we hope to include sections on affirmative action in contracting, employment, and K-12 education. 

Throughout, we will be guided by these principles:

  1. We will aim to convey not only the wide range of opinion that exists on the issues the site covers, but also provide references and resources that will allow the user to explore the key reasons underlying different views;
  2. We will carefully fact-check data presented on the site, with links, where possible, to original sources;
  3. We will eventually provide annotated bibliographies on major issues;
  4. We will clearly identify and distinguish “reporting” and “data presentation” from debates, opinion, and advocacy.

We further discuss how we foster neutrality on the site — while maintaining our roles off-site as active participants in the debates we cover — in the “Advocacy versus Reporting” section.