How pervasive is reverse discrimination in the United States today? What exactly is ""affirmative action""? Fred Pincus investigates the nature and scope of reverse discrimination, questioning what effect affirmative action actually has on white men. Beginning with the early opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Pincus traces the evolution of the idea that affirmative action in itself amounts to a form of discrimination. He then examines the empirical evidence. He finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, white males' experiences of discrimination have little relation to affirmative action policies. Certainly, there are white men who have been victims of discrimination. But, as Pincus demonstrates, the concept of reverse discrimination is primarily a social construct generated by traditional beliefs about race and gender relations. In the end, it is people of color and white women who continue to carry the burden of bias.
Introduction. What Is Affirmative Action? The History of Reverse Discrimination. Affirmative Action Critics. Affirmative Action Supporters. The Social Construction of Reverse Discrimination. An Exploratory Study. An Empirical Study. A Look at Selected Court Cases. Conclusion. Appendix: A Dialogue with an Anti-Affirmative Action Activist.