Ethnic considerations have often played a part in the development of U.S. public policy, even for policies not directly targeting ethnic groups. This book surveys the impact of specific legislation on ethnics, particularly European ethnics, from a historical perspective. Its primary focus, however, is the contemporary body of legislation and regulation based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which laid the foundation for a conscious and comprehensive racial and ethnic policy intended to aid disadvantaged minorities.
One of the major outcomes of the 1964 act was the implementation of affirmative action programs, mandated by the federal government for its own agencies, for federally funded institutions, and for private enterprise. Implementation depended on data collection based on federally developed racial and ethnic categories. Because European ethnics were not included as an identifiable category, many, discovered Dr. Lescott-Leszczynski, felt that preferential treatment for certain other ethnic groups operated to their disadvantage; ethnic tension inevitably resulted.
Through a systematic review of laws, executive orders, federal agency directives, and related jurisprudence, Dr. Lescott-Leszczynski conveys the extent to which social change has been effected by ethnic policies and explores the ways in which ethnic policy develops, how it is expressed, how it is implemented, and how it is challenged.