Abstract Fred Pincus explains what affirmative action is. He dispels the conservative truism that affirmative action is about reverse discrimination against White Americans. Affirmative action has benefited the overwhelming majority of people who have ever applied for work or applied to a college or university because it established a procedure for fairness and makes decisions less arbitrary. Intentional interventions into the racial practices and outcomes of institutions are the only effective way to correct historic and contemporary racial inequalities. New affirmative action-type measures will have to be taken to reduce racial and other inequalities.
Keywords Affirmative action • Racial discrimination • Employment • Higher education • Racial inequality • White Americans