A federal court has ruled that the New York City Fire Department illegally discriminated against nonwhites in hiring by using an entrance exam which most of them couldn’t pass. The result: the FDNY has been ordered to implement an aggressive affirmative action program.
This decision is in contrast to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the New Haven Fire Department should have upheld the results of a promotion exam that proved too difficult for nonwhites, and that denying promotions to the top performers was illegal anti-White discrimination.
Unlike the New Haven case, in which the high-performing White applicants were being considered for promotion, the low-performing nonwhite applicants in New York were simply attempting to become firefighters. If considering the implications of both court rulings in tandem, one might come to the conclusion that high-ranking fire department employees have a legitimate need for the types of skills measured by a difficult written exam while ordinary firefighters don’t.
That is, it’s okay to keep nonwhites from being captains or lieutenants if they aren’t highly intelligent, but it’s wrong to keep them off the force altogether. But is it really true that firefighters don’t need strong cognitive abilities?
A firefighter needs to be able to follow complicated protocols, read maps, and communicate clearly with rescuees and other firefighters.
I’m sure you’ve had this experience more often than you would like: you place an order in a restaurant, speaking very clearly, yet you do not receive what you requested. The saying “good help is hard to find” is an understatement. Even the relatively simple task of filling food orders needs a certain level of communication and attention to detail, and there still will be errors on occasion.
But unlike serving food, human lives are on the line when fighting fires. A miscommunication, failure to follow protocol, or inability to follow directions may result in buildings and property being destroyed, or, worse yet, people being maimed or killed. There is no room for error.
There are many nonwhites who do have the requisite skills for this type of work, and it may seem that an entry level test for a fire department must be designed or administered in an unfair way if it excludes nonwhites altogether.
But, more correctly, nonwhites of high ability have every avenue open to them. Why would a bright young nonwhite person apply to the local fire department when he can receive a full scholarship to be a doctor, lawyer, or other prestigious and lucrative career, and be aggressively wooed by top corporations, all thanks to his skin color?
The establishment systematically prevents White students from achieving their highest potential, because nonwhite students are given preference in college admissions, even when they score lower on entrance exams than their White counterparts. White youngsters who are bright but who do not come from rich families, and who do not wish to carry tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, are more likely to pursue a noble blue-collar career like firefighting. This is why there are so many bright Whites on the New York and New Haven fire departments, and not because of any malicious discrimination against nonwhites.
There have been no lawsuits alleging that Whites have been discriminated against because they are underrepresented in certain professional sports. There seems to be a general acceptance that the athletes who are hired are the ones best able to do the job, irrespective of race. Why is it so easy to accept the possibility that blacks are better at basketball while it so difficult to accept the possibility that Whites are better at fighting fires?
We believe that Whites should not be punished for having higher capabilities in certain areas and that judicial legislation should not put lower-performing individuals in jobs where human lives are at stake.
Category: American Voice