One of the interesting things about slavery and its progeny (such as bond servants and abusive share cropping) is that they created a legacy of economic morasses and stagnation. America was not only worse off morally for the slave trade, but the lingering legacy of slavery has made us all poorer as well.
I am not going to address academic or educational affirmative action. Outside of those, in the free market, those companies that have embraced affirmative action have profited economically. That indicates that in corporate entities, efforts to find equality result in workers closer to their most productive placement than proceeding without such efforts.
Discrimination, like slavery, built only a net economic loss, a smaller pie for everyone.