Efforts to probe uncomfortable truths should not be verboten. Maybe white men are more full of rage on average than other groups; maybe the nature of their rage is distinct in a way that justifies a racial designation; or (this is my guess) maybe their rage is indistinguishable from the emotions of other men, yet is received by majorities in distinct ways worth studying.

I’m open to any careful, rigorous argument. But the prevailing approach fails that standard. Many journalists are producing articles that presume rather than show the truth of a poorly defined thesis that much of the audience rightly regards as unproven at best; they are defining “rage” down at times to mean mere discernable anger; and their work shows no evidence of seeking critical feedback from skeptics.

What’s more, their current approach undermines longstanding, hard-won norms against casually attributing to an entire race or gender behavior pegged to an individual or displayed by some percentage of its members.

A renewal of journalistic values is overdue.