(Since nobody responded to my highly opinionated, highly confusing, stream of conscious post (I don't blame you), maybe I can make some of the same points through a hypo)
Imagine we lived in a communist country. All jobs pay the same. If one job is more strenous than another job they are compensated by having to work less so that a coal miner would work 1/4th the amount of time as a lawyer and ideally his extra free time would compensate for the tougher nature of the work. To sum up all jobs are equally desirable. What role does affirmative action have in such a society?
In a communist country you are directed where to work, based on your specialization (if any) and whether your parents are party members. You have no or little choice. This is how the "AA" works there. Everyone is equal (no need for AA) and at the same time some are more equal than others.
Different jobs do not pay the same. The same jobs, howver pay the same, regardless of the effort put. As a result workes learn how to imitate work.
Being a lawyer will provide compensation in the terms of knowing the people you need, such as TV repair, plumbing, party members, etc.