The dictionary defines a taboo as: "a prohibition excluding something from use, approach, or mention." I shall use the word in the last sense only; i.e., as referring to topics that one cannot mention or discuss openly.
In the past, many of the the strongest taboos regarded sexual matters. One can read almost the entire body of Victorian literature without seeing any explicit mention of that activity which enables the human race to reproduce itself, and which is a major preoccupation of the majority of human beings.
Today, one can freely discuss most sexual topics in public. (Indeed, although premarital sex was a major no-no fifty years ago, nowadays many TV programs seem designed to convince teenagers that they are fools if they decline to engage in premarital sex!)
A major taboo in today's world concerns any mention of genetic differences between the races, even when it is made plain that the differences are statistical rather than universal. The politically correct view is that the only physical difference between Negros and Caucasians lies in the color of their skin -- even though the differences in physiognomy are literally as plain as the nose on your face! There are, of course, many other statistical differences between the physical attributes of blacks and whites. (For example: eye color, hair color, amount of body hair, age at menarche, and frequency of fraternal twins.)
But the most serious taboo regards any suggestion that the well-known racial difference in average IQs is even partly due to genetic factors. Some of the scholarly books that discuss this matter openly are:
Race, Evolution, and Behavior by J. Philippe Rushton (Transaction Publishers, 1995)
Why Race Matters by Michael Levin (Praeger, 1997)
The g Factor by Arthur Jensen (Praeger, 1998)
A slightly earlier book, much shorter, and very readable is:
America's Bimodal Crisis (3d ed.) by Stanley Burnham (Foundation for Human Understanding, 1993)
The above article originally appeared in March 2000 at:
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