In this thread there seems to be a serious disagreement over the factual question of what affirmative action is. (The question of whether AA is right or wrong is another topic, obviously suited to GD).
I claim that affirmative action, in its original concept and current usage, constitutes various methods by which governments and other organizations attempt to increase the proportion of certain ethnic and gender groups over what already exists, on the theory that the status quo is somehow inadequate or unjust. These methods range from “outreach” programs to explicit preferences to quotas.
I offer the following nonpartisan supporting links. We cannot appeal to any official definition of AA, because none exists, so we must look at how people actually use the term.
I also submit the following poorly reasoned rationale for saying that AA does not equal preferences. As far as I can tell, the argument seems to be that there are other preferences in the system that are not recognized as such, so we shouldn’t equate AA with preferences. Whether AA actually includes preferences is not addressed.