Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action

By Frederick R. Lynch | Go to book overview

PREFACE

For the past twenty years, a system of taboos has structured the analysis of race relations in this country. Fostered by intellectual, political, and media elites, these taboos suppressed stereotypical thinking about women and minority groups. The taboos also discouraged criticism of social programs designed to aid the occupational and social mobility of these same oppressed populations.

The taboos may have been well intentioned. Looking away from awkward matters was supposedly for a good cause. Initially, it was easy to do: accentuate the positive and suppress the negative. As the 1970s wore on, however, outright distortion was required to maintain the taboos. Large numbers of journalists and social scientists felt compelled to avoid close scrutiny of race-related topics, such as violent crime, forced busing, and affirmative action quotas. Important issues were perceived to be off-limits. Sociologists and political scientists who once craved the respectability and objectivity of the physical sciences caved in to political fashion.

The taboos became increasingly intense and violators were threatened with being labeled "racist." This New McCarthyism, as I term it, prevented recognition and discussion of race-related problems. For example, the deterioration of family structures in urban, black communities and the rise of violence and drug-dealing among urban, minority, youth gangs were ignored until these problems reached crisis proportions and burst into the national consciousness.

The New McCarthyism also masked the transformation of affirmative action programs from equality of opportunity for individuals to groupbased quotas. The original, individualistic ideals were replaced by the

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