Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame
Dr. Clifton Wilcox
Outskirts Press (2009)
Reviewed by Vicki Landes for Reader Views (05/10)
Author Dr. Clifton Wilcox presents an in-depth and intelligently written analysis on the subject of scapegoating in his new book, “Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame.” Inspired by the subsequent events following a bad play during a football game, “Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame” explains the psychological and sociological reasons behind the phenomenon and why it continues to play a role in modern group dynamics.
“Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame” is a comprehensive look at the factors and conditions involved to qualify as a true scapegoat, the culture of assigning a scapegoat, and the other who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, and why’s behind this trend. Wilcox organizes his theories and findings very clearly while backing up each with information and documentation from outside sources. He utilizes a variety of Greek tragedies, most notably ‘Oedipus Rex,’ for illustrative purposes of scapegoating in practice. While “Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame” provides thought-provoking arguments, it seems to only serve as an informational source on the subject as there are no specific methods presented to minimize or curb the negative behavior. The ‘Final Word’ section, however, prompts the reader to action as the author describes having to pass the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum each day. Previously in his text, he notes that the Jewish race has been a seemingly constant recipient of the ‘scapegoat’ label throughout modern history. Wilcox’s final statement echoes in the readers mind as the book comes to a close, “…[the museum] is a distinct honor and a daily reminder that guides my conscious – that as a leader, I should forever be haunted by the bones of the innocent.”
“Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame” is a useful read for managers, teachers, or anyone tasked with directing groups of people. As previously noted, the book does not contain a ‘how to’ to stop scapegoating, yet Wilcox’s book may assist in quickly identifying the associated behaviors and actions. With additional resources and direct intervention, a supervisor could hope to minimize, alter, or otherwise stop the issue from becoming a much larger problem. As satisfaction in the workplace becomes more and more central in business mission statements, having information on such sociological quandaries like scapegoating can be essential in maintaining a healthy work atmosphere.