More and more questions have surfaced in the past decade concerning the wisdom and fairness of affirmative action programs. In this book, Lynch takes a hard look at affirmative action policy development and the social and ethical implications of a system that promotes gender and race as criteria for vocational advancement and educational opportunity. He focuses on the experiences of white males who have been victims of reverse discrimination under such programs and explores the lackluster response from government, the media, and employing institutions. Lynch examines the political taboo that for two decades effectively stifled discussion of the issues that affirmative action raises in both public discourse and scholarly analysis. He reviews the original ideals and purposes of affirmative action and contrasts them with the program as it has actually operated in everyday work settings. In case studies based on interviews and other data, Lynch assesses the reactions of white males to affirmative action barriers, as well as their impact on co-workers, friends, and relatives. He describes the role of the mass media, the social sciences, and ideological elites in creating a conspiracy of silence concerning the hidden and unintended consequences of affirmative action policies. The only study that deals specifically with the impact of affirmative action on white males, this book will appeal to academic and general readers with an interest in public policy, law, political science, sociology, and social psychology.