This old paper presented at the Society for Business Ethics’ Annual Meeting in Vancouver,BC back in 1995 remains relevant in light of SCOTUS’ review of affirmative action, especially in view of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s presumption that black students are inherently ill-equipped to be academically competitive and the implication that the 4% admission of African-American students is too high if even one Caucasian-white student is denied. Never mind that if Ms. Abigail Fisher had been academically competitive, i.e., within the top 10% of her graduating class, her argument would be moot. I would posit that rather than affirmative action this case is about (a) maintaining systems of white supremacy and (b) Justice Antonin Scalia’s ongoing quest to reach escape velocity from being Italian to become fully white. Much like his mythological kinsman Pinocchio who wanted to become a “real boy,” the Justice resorts to bad behavior when his wish is granted. For more information on shifting definitions of whiteness See How the Irish Became White, @1995, Noel Ignatiev; Are Italians White?: How Race is Made in America @2003, Jennifer Guglielmo and Salvatore Salerno;and Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs, @ 2006, David R. Roediger. So yes, #StayMadAbby. But back to my old paper…
The Declining Value of Quantitative Analysis: Another Look at Affirmative Action
The primary purpose of this paper is to add another dimension to the discussion of affirmative action in business and the public service. The objective is two-fold. First, it examines the paradox created by the decline in value of quantitative analysis within an increasingly quantitative, technology-driven organizational environment and business climate. The second objective is to examine the source of the paradox, the concept of affirmative action, with its myriad, often conflicting allegations of inefficiency, inequity, over-reaching and insufficiency. This paper seeks to explore the intersection between government-mandated public policy, itself an oxymoron that cannot long endure, and the attendant cognitive dissonance developed when society’s stated virtues are de-valued in response to ideologies which are widely held and deeply encoded in the collective consciousness, yet not part of the open, public discourse. Positions put forward for review are presented as opportunities for an expanded, hopefully rational and ethical analysis of an emotionally charged topic.
Hypothesis & Premises
The hypothesis of this paper hinges on several interdependent premises. The first premise states statistical and empirical analysis of business and the public service, especially health, education, employment and housing highlight two dominant points. One, the variable of race is outcome determinative. Two, the outcome determinative variable of race creates unearned privilege and merit for Caucasian/white Americans. Within the United States Americans live in an increasingly diverse society with various racial, ethnic and cultural dimensions, however, our fundamental source of balkanization remains black and white; this is the second premise.
Historically, these were the only racial categories recognized and tabulated in the U.S. through much of the 19th century. In the face of statistical and empirical evidence of continued, albeit marginally diminished, numerical racial superiority and domination by Caucasian/white Americans, the stated confidence in quantitative analysis is diminished. If quantitative analysis fails to support the current, common desired goal of presenting Caucasian/white Americans, especially Caucasian/white American males, as an unfairly penalized sector of society, then quantitative analysis becomes invalid. This necessary decline in the value of quantitative analysis is essential to justify claims of harm and disadvantage accruing to Caucasian/white Americans, especially Caucasian/white American males, thus creating the third premise.
The heretofore disdained qualitative, the ephemeral, the nostalgic yearnings for “the good old days” now must be elevated to the virtue status previously and exclusively held by the quantitative. The backlash against the perceived beneficiaries of the civil rights agenda, including affirmative action remedies, becomes justified through the emotional, irrational sentiments of the most vociferous segment of the Caucasian/white population. This is the fourth premise.
The sum total of these premises leads to the conclusion that affirmative action fails, because in its statistically small way, it interferes with the requirement of race and gender-based privilege as the exclusive province of Caucasian/white males. Essentially, this is a qualitative “virtue” and as such, any encroachment, no matter how statistically minute, is “ethically” unacceptable. The most widely voiced argument supporting the removal of affirmative action programs suggests that they inherently are unfair and unjust in their “creation” of unearned and therefore unmerited gender and race-based privilege. The paradox of affirmative action complaints is that they condemn gender and race-based consideration for women and people of color, especially African-Americans, while insisting upon a return to and shoring up of the status quo, where race and gender-based considerations accrue to Caucasian/white males. For any other group to receive even infinitesimal consideration that smacks of unearned privilege is, a priori, unacceptable and un-American, historically, currently, statistically and empirically. The unwillingness to so state the obvious while consistently acting upon it creates the cognitive dissonance that is so unique and prevalent within these United States.
The Foundational Analysis
A discussion of affirmative action in any dimension cannot be separated from a discussion of race. Race, arguably, is the single most compelling issue facing the United States. As such, the impact of racial issues on the landscape of American business and the public service arena cannot be overstated, internally, externally, domestically or globally. On an internal plane, the changing “face” and racial identity of employees and managers is matched and, frequently, exceeded by the demographic shifts of existing and prospective consumers, clients and customers. The ideologies that support and/or spring from these internal and external shifts create challenges for U.S.-based multinationals operating abroad. This also applies to companies, corporations and institutions operating domestically and those organizational operations that create and provide public services that stabilize the nation. The public debate around affirmative action has focused on the ethical and moral challenges of fairness, equity, merit and justice. A fuller and more informed analysis would show that the catalytic issue which shapes, stimulates and drives the debate about affirmative action is the issue of race and its intersecting issue, color.
Race is such a powerful motivator, that it resonates with alarming resilience within the ethical parameters of legal, business and public policy analysis. As U.S. society has moved from agrarian to industrial to technology-driven structures, the significance of objective, quantitative analysis has increased in striking ways. It may be argued that quantitative, statistical analysis has attained the ethical dimensions of a value in a society where mathematics, science and technology are more highly regarded than humanities and the arts. Compensation disparity among members of the academy teaching in business, law and medicine as opposed to philosophy, history and literature is but one example of the preference for that which is quantitative and statistically based. Quantitative analysis and statistical reporting have created a new normative standard of validation and proof that has transcended mathematics, economics and the “hard sciences.” It may be argued that the reliance on quantitative analysis, begun in the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, supports and sustains dominant ethical theories of contractarianism, utilitarianism and even existentialism. This is true especially in Eurocentric communities, where the axiological focus and value placement is on the acquisition of the object. In such a context, measurement standards for the desired object must have a quantitative component. This reliance on the objective, the statistically verifiable, the quantitative, consistently has been posited as a “proof” of ethically valid motives, goals and behaviors in instances of racial imbalances that disproportionately are adverse in their impact upon African-Americans. Businesses historically have explained that the source of racial imbalance in employment was the statistically verifiable fact that objective measurements of academic attainment and years of experience precluded the recruitment, hiring or promotion of women, African-Americans and other minorities or people of color in any numbers that accurately reflected their presence in the population.
It should be noted that the expressed reliance on objective, statistical and quantitative analysis as proof of race-neutral consideration in fact, may have been perceived as valid. Race and gender biases may be so deeply ingrained as to be invisible to the conscious mind. The encoded collective conscious awareness of race and gender bias forms the foundation for cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs when behaviors contradict stated values and espoused virtues. For us, as Americans within the United States, cognitive dissonance occurs collectively when we tolerate, participate in, and/or benefit from behaviors that contradict our stated belief in the inherently equal value of all people. More practically, the conflict arises not in espousing our motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” “Out of Many One”, but rather in our unstated definition of what constitutes that “one.” Initially, our collective lack of inclusiveness in the definitional analysis of that “one” as Caucasian/white male may have been reasonable, as that was the only voting segment of the republic. Further, until 1860 the only statistically tracked racial groups in this country were white and black. In that context, the enormous statistical superiority of whites to blacks, both enslaved and free, possibly justified the quantitative exclusion, particularly given the United States Supreme Court’s mandate that people of African descent statistically were part chattel property and part human. In 1860, the U.S. population was composed of 85.7% Caucasian/white, 12.6% enslaved African-Americans and 1.7% free African-Americans. Interestingly, the statistical relationship between the Caucasian/white and African-American segments of the U.S. population has not altered radically with the passage of time. According to the 1990 Census Report, Caucasian/whites represent 80.3% of the U.S. population, African-Americans are 12.1% and “others” i.e., Asian, Hispanic/Latino(a), etc., collectively represent 7.6%. Even more interesting than the statistical analysis of the demographic breakdown of the population is the analysis of health, education and employment statistics and the black/white variable.
The best thing one can be in this society is a Caucasian/white, upper middle-class, heterosexual, male. These attributes, listed in priority sequence, ensure overall better health, education, employment, and social acceptance. Most importantly, those attributes are essential for access to economic power and policy-making positions. Women hold 6% of director positions at Fortune 500 companies. African-Americans, men and women combined, hold only 2% of the approximately 7,198 corporate board seats. Politically, the Republican leadership in the House is following its corporate brothers: 17 of the 18 committee chairs are held by Caucasian/white males. The fact that they are in the House clarifies their socio-economic position, if not their sexual orientation. So, it would appear that [qualitative assurances of political correctness notwithstanding] being a “white guy” really is not such a tough row to hoe.
A sizeable segment of discontent, disappointment and stated disagreement with the policies and practices of affirmative action emerges from the argument that affirmative action unfairly and unethically is limited to the concerns of black people. As the demographic shifts in immigration and birth rates alter the complexion of America, the urge for broader inclusion is focused not on upper echelon policy positions, but on the minimal positions “set aside” for minorities, specifically African-Americans. The rationale for the urge to expand this view is that the United States is not, nor has it ever been an exclusively black/white nation. This is true. What also is true, however, is that no other classification of people in the United States and possibly in the world has carried with it such multi-generational issues of economic, ethical and sexual taboos as the American black/white conundrum. The dimensions of the conflicts and challenges are heightened by the close proximity of black and white Americans, one with another. Yes, there are other distinct, identifiable racial and ethnic groups within the United States, and yes many, historically and currently, have experienced malicious and discriminatory barriers to the full development and cultivation of the individuals within those groups. Nevertheless, the balkanization existing between white and black Americans is not duplicated amongst other segments of this multicultural society. Just one example of that fact is the albeit minimal apologies and reparations offered to indigenous Americans, Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans which stand in sharp contrast to the dearth of recognition much less apologies and not a nickel in reparations proffered to formerly enslaved Americans whose unpaid labor created the bulk of the nation’s foundational wealth.
In fact, it has been argued that other racial and ethnic immigrant groups and people of color have been used by the dominant culture as examples of “model minorities” in a blatant, but generally ineffective, effort to shame African-Americans into better behavior. In Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile and Unequal, @1992, Professor Andrew Hacker describes this buffer layer of “honorary white people” currently asked to fulfill the historical position of the traditional, so-called “mulatto class” of African-Americans. This group, with its frequent intersection with “the talented tenth”, articulated the necessity of exemplary behavior, impeccable manners, unquestioned academic excellence and economic independence within the group. The concept of the “talented tenth”, the top segment of the community of African-Americans designated to act as “a credit to the race”, a presumably rational response which would lead to the demise of racism, ultimately failed. W.E.B. DuBois, one of the talented tenths’ most prolific proponents and a Harvard graduate, B.A., cum laude, 1890, M.A. 1891 and Ph.D. in 1895, died in self-imposed exile in Accra, Ghana on August 27, 1963. He had renounced his American citizenship both in favor of Pan-Africanism and in response to his recognition that racism is not rational, cannot be countered with rational arguments, and cannot be removed without a dismantling of American society. His death, on the eve of the famous March on Washington, oddly was a harbinger of the decline in the impetus for self-improvement within the “Negro” race. Many other racial and ethnic immigrant groups are finding that model behavior notwithstanding, they too ultimately will feel the socio-economic impact of racism. In Portraits of White Racism, by D. Wellman, the unique and modern aspect of racism as a social construct is expressed. “Instead of being a remnant from the past, the social hierarchy based on race is a critical component in the organization of modern American society. The subordination because of the color of one’s skin is a primary determinant of people’s position in the social structure. Racism is the structural relationship based on the subordination of one racial group by another. Given this perspective, the determining feature of race relations is not prejudice towards blacks, but rather the superior position of whites and the institutions-ideological as well as structural-which maintain it. ”
These institutions, ideological and structural, create opportunities for ethical analysis in business and the public service. It is intriguing that only rarely is such an analytical opportunity seized upon by ethicists. In the growing dialogue of stakeholder interests and theories of rights and duties, the balkanization of American business and the public service generates alarmingly minimal interest. Those topics that do not generate prolific writings are, by their exclusion, highly indicative of the moral and ethical challenges of the environment in which business and public service ethicists function and feel intellectually comfortable. In such a venue, the work of the traditional ethicist, a priori, is to accept, validate and then clarify the status quo, not to question it.
Racial balkanization and the unearned privilege and merit flowing to Caucasian/white American males from it, is a critical element of American business. At both a normative and descriptive level, it is a value, a virtue and a right accruing to one segment of the population. Metaethically, balkanization and the privilege accruing from it cannot be justified except by those in the process most consciously engaged and aware of the inherent “good” in the domination of others. Arguably, this is a minuscule segment of the population. Rather, balkanization continues, due to the largely unconscious participation in and validation of preferential treatment. Sometimes, the assumption and anticipation of preferential treatment is wholly unconscious. For example, within the academy, its own unique blend of business and public service, there is a general belief that African-American students bear the responsibility for collegiate integration, and that it is a responsibility they largely have shirked.
Yet, a University of Michigan survey of 209,000 first year college students showed that minority students are more likely than white students to interact outside their racial group. The study revealed that 75% of Mexican-Americans, 69% of Asian-Americans and 55% of African-Americans dine with friends of a different ethnic group, while less than 25% of Caucasian/white Americans reported doing so. Inter-racial dating reports indicated similar comparisons. The results indicated that 42% of Asian-Americans, 24% of Mexican-Americans and 13% of African-Americans date outside their race compared to 4% of Caucasian/white Americans. Essentially, if Caucasian/white Americans chose to segregate themselves academically, socially and politically, which, statistically, they appear to do, no stigma attaches. Conversely, if other ethnic or racial groups, especially African-Americans, express a similar preference for their own ethnic or racial group, that is deemed as problematic. Essentially, the stigma of balkanization, both its existence and its perpetuation, squarely rests with people of color, especially African-Americans, while its benefits exclusively enure to Caucasian/white Americans.
The Decline of Quantitative Analysis
An essential, foundational premise of American society is the creation, maintenance and protection of supremacy by one segment of the emerging population. Caucasian/white male land owners were designated as the ideal, and, in fact, the only segment warranting recognition, affirmation and protection under the law. All other segments of the population, indigenous, slave, female, indentured or poor, legally were sanctioned as “less than.” The parameters of that single, superior, segment generally were not porous. Class or socio-economic status, was and remains the one exception. Theoretically, it was possible for a Caucasian/white male of “ignoble” birth to transcend the limitations of his birth and amass capital, thereby catapulting himself into the superior class in which the benefits of unearned privilege and merit reside.
From our nation’s inception the cultivation and protection of that segment of the population created the functional parameters of economic and ethical development. The paradox evidenced through cognitive dissonance began with the articulation of an ethical premise, which presumably was incapable of supporting a viable, agrarian-based economy. Economic necessities facing the fledgling republic mandated a class and caste segmented societal structure, notwithstanding the conflict such a structure created for the lofty ethical and moral sentiments articulated by the founding fathers. Americans are accustomed to, comfortable with, and in being deemed worthy, the inherent superiority of Caucasian/white males. Any encroachment upon that ethical foundation, even if statistically shown to be “de minimus” is, in effect, a call to arms. This is true especially in business and the public service, and it is from this ethical foundation of domination and oppression, that our national sense of rights, duties, values and virtues emerge.
The designated stakeholders in stakeholder interest theories are Caucasian/white males, internal and external to the organization. They are, or control the institutional investors, owners, officers, managers, union leaders, politicians, government regulators, lobbyists, community activists, and the media, electronic and print. They also are the voice in the academy purveying business school and public administration education. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that when a possible shift in the status quo, i.e., affirmative action, emerges, there appears to be a “universal” call for change. The statistically verifiable fact of Caucasian/white male superiority becomes irrelevant in the face of Caucasian/white male discomfort. The qualitative nature of feelings, so long mocked and scorned in our national quest for linear thought, deductive reasoning, and technological advancement, is to be lifted up now as the new measurement standard. As once presidential hopeful Senator Robert Dole said, “The race-counting game has gone too far.” He sought to ban preferential treatment on the basis of race and gender by federal employers. Mr. Dole, the senator who helped establish the bi-partisan Glass Ceiling Commission in 1991, is well aware of the statistics. For example, while women and minorities comprise 57% of the labor force, 97 % of senior managers at the biggest industrial and service firms are Caucasian/white, and roughly 95% are Caucasian/white males. This is an outrage! Caucasian/white males presumably should have at least 99% of those positions. In all seriousness, the seemingly irrational sense of national alarm over encroaching affirmative action, is qualitative and speaks to our true national code of ethics.
Our true national code of ethics, as reflected in business and the public service, springs not from Judaic/Christian tradition, nor from any teleological or deontological suppositions. The Judaic/Christian tradition argument fails, because it is based on religious ideologies of altruism, while our national and collective interpersonal behavior from inception, classically has been atheistic and utilitarian. Teleological and deontological theories fail because they are based upon “right reason”, and our national and collective interpersonal behavior has been, and continues to be, irrational and un-reasoned. The total disregard for quantitative and statistical analysis, once hailed as the purveyor of neutrality and the proof of triumph of science over superstition, highlights our true ethical foundation—Herrenvolk coupled with hegemony. Herrenvolk, the Germanic concept of superiority of Caucasian/white males, and hegemony, i.e., leadership and dominance, unite to establish a basis of credibility for the superior status position of Caucasian/white American males, a queerly Americanized version of Ubermensch. When that status is threatened, even marginally, and that status dimension is accompanied by economic decline, a backlash is inevitable.
This creates a unique ethical dilemma for American business. CEOs, directors and institutional investors are generating enormous personal profits in the midst of shrinking corporate revenues and employee compensation packages. This decline in personal earnings is true especially for blue collar workers and many first and second level managers. American business has experienced several shifts in the last two decades. Internal funding declines in the areas of research and development have left many U.S. industries feeling the pinch of global competition. The pinch should elicit feelings of shame given the loss of enormous technological advantage the U.S. enjoyed at the close of World War II. Burgeoning, but generally low-paying, service industries rapidly are replacing better-paying, manufacturing industries as the primary sources of employment, especially in U.S. cities. Gone are the days of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when American workers could expect to double their standard of living every 25 years; it takes 65 years now, and by then it’s too late.
The merger, acquisition, and arbitrage phase of American business did not result in greater efficiencies, productivity or profit margins. As the divested, down-sized pieces and business units of U.S. multinationals were dismantled and sold off, more and more jobs were eliminated or relocated off-shore. In effect, U.S. workers’ standard of living, long hailed as the greatest standard of living in the world, has declined miserably, and the end does not appear to be in sight. Wealth increasingly is concentrated into an increasingly smaller segment of society. Who or what is responsible for this decline? Herein lies the ethical dilemma of American business, and to a lesser extent, the public service sector, which also fails to acknowledge the reality of the quid pro quo.
Is the fact that NIKE can sell more than $1 billion dollars worth of shoes in the U.S. with fewer than 3,500 U.S. employees a result of affirmative action? Is the relocation of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the automobile industry to Mexico the result of affirmative action? Those CEOs, directors and officers receiving enormous compensation packages while jobs are being eliminated, are they women and minority recipients of affirmative action? Clearly, they are not. Why is the focus of attention, particularly the attention of business ethicists, not on those individuals and institutions responsible for the admitted decline of the U.S economy? All ethicists, whatever their teleological or deontological proclivities, presumably are united in their commitment to truth-telling. So why isn’t the truth being told, or even alluded to, even by those most seasoned in the rigors of moral reasoning—ethicists?
An admittedly unorthodox application of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice offers provocative answers. Under Rawls’ veil of ignorance, theories of rights and duties are established with a presumption of fairness; no one knows where he or she may fall out in the vast food chain of life, yet everyone hopes to end up on top. The conflict emerges when what Rawls describes as expectations which cannot be realized, collide with economic realities. The U.S. has never experienced a class-based revolution, because most Caucasian/white Americans believe that eventually they or their progeny will become part of that most wonderful segment of society, “The white man.” This belief, itself an unrealizable expectation, acts as a stabilizing force both in business and society as a whole. As long as Caucasian/white Americans maintain a statistical majority and can be convinced to identify not with the realities of self-interest, but the illusion thereof, the status quo remains inviolate.
The tendency to identify with the illusion, rather than the reality, is illuminated in confusion around the use of the articles “a” and “the.” “A”, an indefinite article, references one of many, while “the”, a definite article, refers if not to one, certainly a specific grouping. The triangulation of American business organizational structures is a microcosmic representation of American society. As in the larger societal triangle, the apex of the American business structure is occupied almost exclusively, by “The” white man. All other Caucasian/white American males are part of the indefinable, and much larger group, “a” white man. Many a Caucasian/white American male has been persuaded to identify, on the basis of race and gender, with that narrowest and most insular segment of American society, almost always to their chagrin. Race and gender alone have never and can never create admission to this most exclusive cadre; class also must be present, and two out of three won’t do. “The” white man only seeks identification with his poorer and less influential brothers in times of great need and crowd control. In the 1993 movie, Gettysburg, one of the most illuminating scenes focuses on the seemingly hypnotic soliloquies by several Confederate generals. As the ground troops, the infantry, many of them without shoes, lined up and prepared for battle, their generals rode up on beautiful steeds of white and commenced to remind them why they were fighting: for their land, their homes, their way of life. Never mind that these men owned no land, lived in shacks and enjoyed the lives of sharecroppers. Essentially the larger numbers comprising the sector of “a” white man once again sacrificed their all to protect that which only belonged to the smaller sector, “The” white man.
This phenomenon is seen in American business as the backlash against affirmative action. Essentially, “the” white man, in a critical effort to divert attention from an abysmal, 50-plus year management track record and the economic disaster flowing therefrom, once again has gathered together the troops of “a” white man on their behalf. This is the modern manifestation of what Kant termed “the lying promise,” a most egregious unethical act. Where does the lying promise fit in an ethical analysis of American business? Do business ethicists have any obligation to inform their clients of the moral danger of the lying promise, express or implied; that affirmative action is not what’s wrong with this economy? Affirmative action is not the source of decline in the American economy or American business; as a logical consequence, the removal of affirmative action will not stem the tide. Affirmative action is not the reason the majority of Caucasian/white Americans are experiencing a decline in their standard of living, why most of their children will not be admitted to any of this country’s Seven Sister or Ivy League colleges and universities, or why they would be unable to pay the tuition if they were. Socio-economic status, class, is and remains the insurmountable barrier for all Americans, whatever their racial, ethnic or gender identification. By a slow and painful process of elimination, that will eventually become glaringly apparent. What happens then, will the shock kill us, or will we turn one on another?
Some function of business ethics must include truth-telling. When U.S.-based multinationals transfer licenses and other intangibles to their wholly-owned, foreign subsidiaries the corporation illegally becomes enriched. U.S. tax is avoided or reduced, U.S. jobs are lost and frequently, the Internal Revenue Code, Section 482, the U.S. transfer tax is violated. Crime, at least at the corporate business level, dominated by Caucasian/white males, pays. This combined corporate theft, assault, rape and murder committed against U.S. jobs, its tax base and economy is deemed “civil” rather than “criminal.” Corresponding attacks on the U.S. citizenry by “unincorporated associations” inherently are criminal, designated as ”gang violence” engaged in disproportionately by males of color, especially African-American males. This we will not tolerate much less reward although this conduct perversely enriches the economy. The fastest growing industry in the U.S. is the joint venture of law enforcement and prison construction. M. Parenti, a noted criminologist, made some very intriguing observations about the U.S. proclivity toward crime, particularly its punishment and racial dimensions in Democracy for the Few. The United States locks up more people per capita, for longer times, than any other advanced industrial nation except South Africa. By 1985, there were more than twice as many Americans in prison than in 1970 and the numbers of police more than doubled between 1957 and 1977, yet during this period crime rates increased over 400 percent. Nor are the more punitive states, like Texas, safer than others.
The public outcry about affirmative action may be described as the last gasp of frustrated and angry Caucasian/white males who have been forced to watch the world as they have come to know it change without their input. Presumably being out of the loop is not the problem, either within the larger societal context or the narrow constructs of American business. Our weakening economy is the problem, and the earnings of most Americans are on the decline. Lashing out against affirmative action and its statistically pitiful results is much easier than squarely facing the sources of decline of U.S. business in the global market. The value of quantitative analysis must decline when it neither can validate nor support the feelings of discomfort and oppression of Caucasian/white American males.