The public is wrong to oppose Affirmative Action. When done correctly it benefits both the intended individuals but also everyone in society as a whole. We need to implant the idea that everyone regardless of their station in life can succeed and overcome turmoil. To do this we need preferences for different kind of people at specific junctures. We shouldn't limit preferences to race, and gender, but instead expand it to meaningful categories such as people reared in rural areas, overweight individuals, political ideology, religious affiliation, and many more.
The idea should be to expand opportunity and eradicate barriers (real or perceived) that limit the potential of our citizens and us as a nation.