No two applicants, even on paper, are equal (but they could be equivalent, differences being insignificant). While there were never any quotas, we did deliberately discriminate in favor of women and people of color in hiring. It was encouraged whenever well qualified candidate women and people of color applied they were given offers first before offers were made to white men. Promotions were also accelerated for women. HR staff was majority women and people of color.
Being a middle class conservative cis white male hetero Christian Anglo I have benefited from my privileged life but am having a hard time finding any white guilt. I also don’t suffer from survivors guilt (Katrina, multiple lay-off cycles, etc.). You have to play the hand you are dealt. There are people of color who start out life with advantages I did not have. My Mother did not finish high school, my Dad was disabled, I grew up in a dying Mill Town. At 18 years of age, I moved 1600 miles away to a place where I did not know anyone for an education and a Job I got despite Affirmative Action. I understood the need for Affirmative Action and only resented the EEO forms a little when they came back as a response to my resumes. I said I am middle class, I probably am upper middle class and I grew up upper middle class for where we lived but upper middle class in rural central Maine is a lot different than upper middle class in Boston or LA. You can try and accuse me of sins of omission but I don’t feel strongly moved to be a social justice warrior or even join the social justice movement. I have been vocal in opposition to obvious bigots and am sorry about the back sliding of late on equal rights but I am not an activist except in support of the space program and personal freedoms.