While affirmative action may not have been the racial panacea that some had originally hoped, it has been one of the most successful programs for helping combat the end-effects of racial discrimination in education and employment that we've tried. Multiple studies have shown that affirmative action programs increased the percentage of people of color in jobs in the public sector and drastically increased the number of people of color in colleges and universities. And while the arguments around affirmative action often come down to race, white women have been by far the biggest recipients of the benefits of affirmative action.
Yes, affirmative action, when fully implemented, can make a measurably positive impact on the socioeconomic outlook for women and people of color who are in the position to benefit from it. Is it the final answer we've been waiting for to end racial oppression? Absolutely not. In truth, even if implemented across the public and private sectors, even if vigorously enforced, affirmative action will never be more than a Band-Aid on a festering sore as long as it's still just trying to correct the end effects of systemic racism.
-From so you want to talk about race chapter 7
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Source: "Affirmative Action: Crash Course Government and Politics #32" by CrashCourse, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.