Open to Debate / Intelligence Squared U.S. Podcast Asks: Is Affirmative Action Unfair To Asian Americans?

7 December 2022
Frank Racioppi

Affirmative action is one of those issues that nags at people, irrespective of their view on its efficacy. For some, affirmative action offends their sense of fairness and raises their emotional thermostat because someone’s cutting in line. For others, affirmative action is a remedy for a long-standing societal illness — discrimination against a group or multiple groups. Finally, other people view a college campus as a “Cobb salad,” where many different ingredients are tossed into one bowl and one delicious food item results. To them, a college campus of, say, only one kind of cheese is just wrong.


It should never be said that the people at the Open to Debate formerly, Open to Debate formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S. have shied away from a debate on a contentious issue. In fact, they know that it’s these issues that make for the most lively and edifying debates.



In real debates, people don’t yell or scream or call each other names. For millions, it will be an alien concept.


But listening to a true debate is a cleansing process. It’s like your intellect gets a good deep scrubbing. Lies are washed away. Alternative facts are not allowed. Insults have no place. Suddenly, your entire belief system is hosed down and then rebooted back to its factory default.


With that preface, the new episode of nonpartisan debate podcast Intelligence Squared U.S. asks a provocative question: “Is Affirmative Action Unfair to Asian Americans?”


The Supreme Court is likely to issue a ruling related to this topic in the coming months, having recently heard arguments in the case Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.