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Who are the Intended Beneficiaries of Affirmative Action?

Contrary to popular belief, African Americans are not the sole, or even the primary, beneficiaries of affirmative action. Rather, a wide range of groups have benefited from these policies which promote equality by directing resources, outreach and other opportunities to targeted under represented communities.

These groups include women, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Other underrepresented groups include veterans, disabled veterans, veterans who served on active duty during a war or campaign, veterans who participated in a military operation for which an armed services medal was awarded, pursuant to Executive Order 12985; and recently, separated veterans.

According to the United States Labor Department, the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action are white women. The Department of Labor estimated that 6 million women workers are in higher occupational classifications today than they would have been without affirmative action policies.

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