Will the FDNY Remain Over 90 Percent White and Male?

A Society of Black Firefighters Hopes to Bring More Minorities to the Job

Deep in a Harlem housing complex's basement last Wednesday, hundreds of physically fit, hopeful young men (and a handful of women) sat in chairs on the floor of a basketball court with anticipation. Even after all the seats were filled, a table of black members of the New York City Fire Department continued to check people in until it was standing room only.

The gathered were overwhelming black, but there were about 50 white candidates, with a smattering of Hispanic and Asian faces. They had come to a tutoring session for the FDNY's latest written exam, which will be given for the first time by computer over several weeks starting March 15.

The results of the last firefighter written exam, given in 2007, were tossed out after Mayor Bloomberg refused to follow a federal judge's guidelines in applying affirmative action. The federal government has sued the city for four decades for not complying with the Civil Rights Act's Title VII provision "to assure equality of employment opportunities and to eliminate those discriminatory practices and devices which have fostered racially stratified job environments to the disadvantage of minority citizens."

More than 90 percent of New York firefighters are white males. In the past decade, it was George W. Bush's Department of Justice that initiated the latest phase of the federal lawsuit demanding that the city address this.

Unlike the last test, which was created by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (and, critics charged, written to benefit people from firefighting families), this new exam was made by an independent test maker in consultation with the city, the feds, and the Vulcan Society—the organization of black firefighters that is running sessions to help black candidates prepare.

"Some of you didn't register" for the class, FDNY captain Paul Washington, the public face of the Vulcans, said as he started Wednesday night's session.

Captain Washington made it clear that, though everyone who was there would be accommodated, he wasn't happy about it. They had enough handouts, he said, but "we might not always have enough resources, and we're going to make sure we use the resources we have to make sure the people we think should be on the job" get hired.

One white guy flinched. Another snickered. Everyone else stared blankly.

The Vulcans' goal to get more black firefighters on the FDNY—a job Washington calls "a path to the middle class," which will make you "set for life"—is a daunting one.

The Vulcans claim that nearly 60,000 people signed up to take the exam, almost three times as many as the record-setting 22,000 who signed up last time. About 20 percent of those who signed up were black.

The Vulcans say that 40,000 to 45,000 will actually show up to take the test. That means they have to make sure every black person they recruited actually takes the exam.

Of the approximately 9,000 current FDNY firefighters, only about 300 are black. The city might only hire about 300 firefighters in total for the next academy class, and there were probably more than 300 hopeful black New Yorkers on Wednesday night alone, with hundreds showing up at each of the almost 20 Vulcan sessions across the city.

The likelihood of any individual getting hired—like a 20-year-old black Air Force reservist who spoke to the Voice—is slim indeed.

To give them the best shot, for hours, Captain Washington walked through the types of questions that will be on the exam, including a Myers-Briggs-style personality-test portion, a video memory-retention portion (with one sample video on zombies and the other on astronomy), and a traditional math- and reading-comprehension segment.

In some ways, the job of firefighter is more sought after now than when the federal government first sued in the early '70s. Firefighters can't be outsourced, and the benefits and pay are far more generous than at working-class jobs in the private sector, which have steadily disappeared during the past four decades.

The odds of getting hired from this test are less than one in a hundred, even for the most dedicated candidate. Still, some are leaving nothing to chance.

"The city is also offering a class," one white attendee who is already employed as an FDNY EMT told the Voice. "But I figured I'd take this one, too. Captain Washington is very well-known, and he said this would be the best class, so I signed up."

sthrasher@villagevoice.com

 
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38 comments
leosnake
leosnake

"Some firefighters in the New York City Fire Department are actively opposing a federal judge's order to reform the department's long history of bad employment practices"

"They have started a misguided campaign called Merit Matters to stop the judge and the city from creating new exams for potential applicants and have distributed materials to various stationhouses"

NY Times - January 31, 2012

Editorial

Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 94

Bklynkey718
Bklynkey718

It's apparent that fdny is "colorless" and "dull" thank god for the Vulcan society.

Fdny man
Fdny man

FDNY Captain Paul Washington passed three FDNY merit based civil service exams to rise to the rank of fire captain (all before the extra 5 point NYC residency rule bonus was instituted by NYC DCAS) His statemenst seem contradictory at best considering his own success in the FDNY.

Fdny man
Fdny man

I am white and have no family on the FDNY and yet, through hard work and training, I passed the FDNY written and physical exams. Explain that. How can the FDNY be discriminatory when Captain Washington passed three FDNY exams with success?

<< Work at home, $60/h, link
<< Work at home, $60/h, link

In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affection, otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.

Shaiqua Jones
Shaiqua Jones

We should not promote affirmative action. We did that with the Presidency and look at what we got from that.

Guest
Guest

A strong back, not reading and writing skills are needed to be a fire fighter. But the fire chief must have the experience and intelligence to give the orders.

achillesserpent
achillesserpent

all these youth gangs are misdirected..they rather engage in violence at school rather than do a public service and go after politicians and lawyers and judges. I will award them medal of honors and give them a key to the city if they can take care of business. they should be ambitious and go to washington too and take care of business there. I`ll fight for their noble prize nomination.

Sean
Sean

It doesn't matter what race you are, it's if you can do the job. Plain and simple. If you want the job bad enough you will work hard to train and study for it. The Vulcan Society was going around forcing black men to sign up for the test that didn't even want to take it. This job isn't for everyone. It takes a different kind of person to willingly run into a burning building. And that doesn't come from the color of your skin but from a person's character. White black Spanish it makes no difference. What matters is the heart.

Payo Pow
Payo Pow

Affirmative Action was created by WHITES, due to lack of opportunities towards African Americans.

talientoiii
talientoiii

What happens when a (insert race here) man or woman isn't "represented fairly" in other occupations and the criteria for those professions have to be entirely revamped in order to accommodate those individuals that have not been able to meet the competitive standards in said profession? I don't think there are enough Native Americans represented in Sanitation, D.O.S. hiring process MUST be prejudiced against them. I think that there are entirely too many Asians in Medicine, that the boards must be unfairly skewed to accommodate them, and seeing as how there are a number of Dr's in any one family then their familial ties to that profession MUST be the reason that they do so well. And certainly the NBA is lacking in under 6' tall, overweight white men. We can certainly see more of them represented there can't we? They haven't worked as hard as those who've made it, they didn't prepare for a career in the NBA, no sacrifice, no tireless commitment, but merely because that demographic is lacking they MUST be discriminated against and therefore we absolutely will amend this injustice! Starting next season every Caucasian doughboy will have a new set of standards for trying out for a team, one which conforms to their short out-of-shape selves so that they can live the life of top athletes and share in the opportunity to earn what those athletes earn and enjoy the benefits that those athletes enjoy simply because, and for no other reason than, there aren't enough of them in the NBA. Sounds completely ridiculous doesn't it? But that's what's happening right now in the FDNY. There are those who have not succeeded in meeting the standards of the most competitive civil service job in NYC, and therefore the testing and hiring process MUST be racially discriminatory. No. Bet most of you didn't know that the FDNY, NYPD, and Corrections used the same type of model for each of their tests. So why is it that black candidates are well represented in the latter 2 departments. In short, the desire to do those jobs and not the former. Those who want the job will do whatever it takes to EARN the job. And some people, regardless of race, dedication, preparation, or lack thereof, will still fall short of the standards set, and in a profession where life and death hang in the balance at any given moment do you want to look at the Professional Firefighter answering your cry for help and wonder if they got there based on proving their ability or merely the color of their skin? There are excellent Firefighters of all races in the FDNY. Firefighters who are proud to do their job and even more proud because they earned it by meeting the highest standards. The FDNY is used as a model for departments worldwide. That's because the department produces the best firefighters in the world, and that's because those men and women WANT to be excellent at their jobs, not because someone insists on watering the standards down for the unqualified masses. Earn it, or keep it moving, too many lives depend on what the FDNY does for it to be any other way.

Stay Safe NYC...

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

It seems to me that what the Vulcan Society is attempting to do is the epitome of black self-help. I cant think of a better example of "Each one teach one". Yet, some of the same people whose rhetorical playbook dictates that they (disdainfully) say to black people, "help yourselves" are trying to prevent some black people from helping themselves. It's very, very telling

Carloscomacho
Carloscomacho

You're a unintelligent moron, with the emphasis on moron, and judging from your comment, you're obviously a TROLL..........

Mousey
Mousey

As a latino, I much agree with you as I don't believe in special treatment for me. If the FDNY doesn't want me, I will go somewhere else; plain and simple. There are plenty of jobs in the private sector that might want a gay latino male. I don't have to go around suing employers that don't want my kind around. What does bug me is your (and every other Caucasian and ignorant latino) usage of "spanish" to describe us latinos. You seem very articulate, which surprises me when smart people STILL don't call us latinos or hispanics. As much as I am against political correctness, this doesn't apply here. Spanish is a language as well as a nationality. Why can't people understand that?! I speak Spanish; I am not Spanish. If I were Spanish, I'd be a native Spaniard. We latinos might speak Spanish, but we are not necessarily Spanish (only descendant of Spaniards). I see whites and blacks commit this mistake all the time when asking of my heritage and its mind-boggling. It's sadder when I see hispanics do it, but they are usually young and ignorant. 

Jeanne1
Jeanne1

Not always so my friend........having a father, uncle, or brother, on the job will make your entry and rise a much quicker and smoother ride......

it would be really nice if the FDNY worked the way you propose.....it just ain't so

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

I suspect that it's more likely that the racist "Merit Matters" faction sent people to those classes who aren't even interested in becoming firefighters in order to disrupt and shut them down. It puts one in mind of the days when blacks were forcefully prohibited from learning to read and write.

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

I'm not going to try to read through that one huge paragraph, but you seem to be arguing about affirmative action. It's pretty obvious that the Vulcan Society organized and attempted to hold these classes with an eye toward taking "affirmative action" off the table as an issue. They figured they would try to prepare black applicants to pass/score high on the exam, and get into the firefighter's academy...on merit. The reaction of the racist "Merit Matters" faction is to disrupt and try to shut down the classes that would prepare black applicants to compete...on merit.

They've given themselves away. They don't give a damn about "merit". They just want to keep black candidates from succeeding.

Abie
Abie

I agree with most of your points, but the NBA is not supported by taxes therefore it discredits the point you are trying to make. Many of the affirmative action programs throughout the country do away with racial and cultural barriers which have nothing to do with intelligence or competency. The entrenched people got there exactly as you say because they were whtie and not due to any other special attributes. It has crossed my mind that a person is in a postion that he is in because of the color of their skin especially when I look around and everyone else is the same.

md
md

I would imagine that the group supposedly brought into 'make up' the test would have a greater 'feel' for the questions that will be on the test, if not the exact questions and answers on the test. Therefore their classes would have more pertinent information in them than ones given by those unable to make up the test. Affirmative action was considered illegal by the Supreme Court a while back, but I guess the rules and laws of the nation do not apply to the Vulcans and their cronies, Garafuis et al. One would also imagine it is illegal for any group to be able to go to a potential candidates home, after the filing deadline has passed, and make sure the 'brother' still files his form for whatever reason needed, even after the deadline has well passed! Yeah, a real even playing field!

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

Merit Matters is racist? Aren't they the only organization calling for race-blind civil service merit & fitness based exams? The Vulcan’s call for race based quotas. The facts don't support your accusations. Those people are individuals who are seeking to be the most prepared for the exam so that they may excel and do the best. It should be very telling that a video appears to show a FDNY Lieutenant in dress uniform excluding and grouping certain persons based on what appeared racial classifications. Actually and ironically the artificial barriers of a secret list that the Lieutenant claims is necessary for entry and the inability to explain how one can be placed on the list puts in ones mind the days or artificial barriers to voting erected by Democrat politicians in the Jim Crow South. Does the Vulcan Society not subscribe to Equal Opportunity?

talientoiii
talientoiii

How can I have a polite exchange of ideas with a person who won't bother to read a statement of 30 lines and then they have the notion that they can debate the topic and make an argument with no factual content?

You are in fact wrong. But you'd have known that had you read through the paragraph. My opinion had absolutely nothing to do with Affirmative Action. What I did was take all three of the nonsense points that the Vulcans used to convince a judge of their case and applied it to different professions and when you see it applied elsewhere then the absurdity of their claims becomes glaringly evident.

Merit Matter; of which I am not a member, is not a racist organization. They've encouraged all members of varied races to join their group and take a stand in the argument that merit indeed matters most when competing to become a NYC Firefighter. The president of MM has also gone on record in the press saying that the Vulcan society has the best prep course out there and all who are preparing should go. The Vulcans, as revealed by several news sources, denied white applicants from entering the prep classes throughout the city.

Once more, the point of my original post is that there are difficult professions, and not everyone despite their very best efforts can achieve positions in them. They should not have to change the criterion for them to accommodate those with lesser capabilities, let alone be labeled as racists in order to advance inappropriate changes. Especially in fields of service such as Firefighting where life and death scenarios are best handled by only the most dedicated and the most capable people.

Stay safe friend...

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

Why prepare just black applicants? Do NYS or NYC laws on anti-discrimination in public accommodation not apply? How can the Vulcan’s claim they desire Equal Opportunity but appear to practice explicit bias in excluding persons based on skin color? Something doesn't add up with your portrayal of events. Would you be so cavalier if the Emerald Society barred Blacks from a tutorial who invited members of the public to attend?

talientoiii
talientoiii

You're correct and you make my point for me. The FDNY is not the NBA, but that wasn't really what I was getting at. The fact that they are paid for by your hard earned tax dollars is even MORE of a reason that all New Yorkers should have the highest expectation for dedicated, well trained, and highly capable people serving them.

Affirmative Action might have opened doors during a time where it's application was necessary. And during such a time I'd agree that some people less deserving and less capable were given jobs solely because they were white. But this is 21st century America, and from the President, to professionals and hard-working blue collar men and women there have been no greater examples of what Black Americans are capable of when they are determined to achieve something. This is the spirit that should be used to drive men and women of color who want to NYC Firefighters, not lowering the expectations of them because someone of their own race said they weren't good enough to pass the test that was already in place. Standards that black men and women who came before them met and succeeded. Why can't others?

Stay safe friend...

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

How did Meritmattersusa.blogspot.com attempt to shut the classes down? Did they not merely pass on information about what they knew to be the only tutorial class that in 2007 has the same format and content as the actual exams. Even the City prep course didn't have this insight. It is suggested that at the time Vulcan officials claimed they received insight about the contents of the exam and structure. Affirmative action is very much still a goal...the Vulcan's desire quota hires based on skin color not qualifications...the judge attempted to utilize quotas based on race and ethnicity not qualifications or abilities. NYC civil service has created a city workforce that is "over-represented" by blacks and a number of city agencies that are more disproportionally black than the FDNY is supposedly over-represented white. (usually exaggerated by eliminating civilians and EMS from the count)

Where did the Vulcan's claim they were the only ones? They've been very clear that the city also offers tutorials but in 2007 it was clearly not the best one available to the public. Your argument is baseless and makes little sense, Affirmative action doesn't equal attempting to create artificial barriers to entry as it appears occurred in queens and might have occurred in Staten Island when a class was canceled despite students waiting in line and instructors arriving and being present.

Merit Matters stands is very clear they stand for equal opportunity, what does the Vulcan Society stand for?

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

Yes, Merit Matters is racist. The very act of trying to prepare black applicants to score high on the test and get into the academy by those means is in effect taking the issue of "affirmative action" off the table. Yet, that's not good enough for Merit Matters.It's obvious that they're trying to shut the classes down, so why do they not want these classes to be held? Why are they acting as if the Vulcan Society's classes are the only ones being offered? Does Merit Matters really want to have the issue of "affirmative action" to be taken off the table, of do they want to leave it there as false justification for racist actions against black people?

Merit Matters' actions regarding the Vulcan Society's classes smacks of Tulsa and Rosewood.

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

The only "ruckus" that is in question was involved when a group largely if not completely racialy homogenous was allowed to skip to the front of the line and others while those who were not of a similar background...many of whom arrived early and who even had confirmation letters were told they didn't have the required paperwork for entry.

The other classes (with the exception of the oddly canceled Staten Island class that had both instructors and awaiting students) all had similar groups but no "ruckus". So how is it these persons were sent by Merit Matters to cause problems but only issues arose at one event. Your tin-foil-hat consipiracies need some work.

Furthermore why would the Vulcan Society feel inhibited about holding a tutorial class if the group is comprised of applicants. They are offering a publically available course...why would having a large crowd of eager applicants be a reason not to hold the classes? They are charging for the class, they should be glad at the overwhelming response and addition to their organizations coffers.

What is "really going on here"? Let us all in on the secret. Do they truly not believe in the equal opportunity that they supposedly demand in court?

talientoiii
talientoiii

I'm stating what was done and I'm using facts. You're ranting on about your own made up opinions, as you're perfectly entitled to do.

If you don't want to read the post than don't but I'm not editing it. Be lazy if you want just be honest about it and don't blame it on the lack of paragraphs.

You're angry, I get it. But you're also deluded, and no longer worth talking to.

Stay safe.

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

Vulcan society has the best prep course out there and all who are preparing should go.

Well, of course he said that. What else would he say in the course of directing enough people to go there to cause a ruckus, and make the Vulcan Society feel inhibited about holding the classes at all? I guess you think I'm supposed to be so overwhelmingly, delightedly grateful over a white man dubbing a class offered by some black people as "the best", that I would forget all about what's really going on here. No, I'm not at all impressed by him calling it the best.

The Disqus commenting system has an editing function. Go back and separate those paragraphs, assuming they're meant to be separate paragraphs, and maybe I'll read it.

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

Perhaps you are not informed on the subject but the Vulcan agenda is more than just this one isolated issue. Perhaps that is why you think I'm the one speaking poorly of the blacks or reading from some script. Whatever the hell that means.

Just to be sure you are aware the Vulcans are the ones who have endorsed everything I've mentioned in above posts, perhaps you should visit the MeritMatters blog site and read. If you disagree they have an essay contest where they will welcome and publish your viewpoint. They've also challenged John Coombs to a debate at Vulcan HQ with a moderator of his choice...yet they don't want to make their case why we should not allow Civil Service merit & fitness to determine who gets public safety appointments in NYC.

It is interesting that I cite actually but a few of the many condecending comments from those that supposedly see blacks as fully capable and equal adults yet they need seperatist treatment that stereotpyes all blacks as being incapable of competeing against individuals from other groups. And we also see that if a few do apply themselves and succeed as individuals they are still considered failures by John Coombs because the others who didn't study hard and didn't prepare themselves for a competitive work place must succeed for the others to do so as well.

Yet you think that I who feel blacks are just as capable of performing well on Civil service exams (City records of all city agencies prove my view is correct) is biggoted and any black individual who exhibits indepenent thougtht and believes in equal opportunity but not equal outcomes are as you claim...."ass-licking toadies". Very interesting you must resort to marginializing any minorities who don't fall in line with your collectivist nonsense. Employing argumentative falacies and hateful rhetoric is no way to convience others your views are the correct ones.

I can only imagine what you would say to the applicants of Hispanics and Asian Descent that have in recent decades had a large surge in their membership despite all this racism that you and the Vulcans want everyone to believe exists in modern day NYC.

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

I misinterpreted them? Anti-black? Again I think blacks are just as capable as the next guy, I don't see them as you prefer to...as perpetual victims dependant on the benevolence and soft bigotry of lower standards & handouts.

There's the anti-black script again. Don't you know that most black people (including most of the relative few ass-licking toadies who are on the side of people like you, by the way) see through that? It's a prime example of the "colorblind racism" thing. In this case, you're using the language of feigned "concern" for black people. Yes, we know...every black person who doesn't like anti-black racism is a "victim" who wants "handouts".

Keep blaming everyone else for whatever failures you experience in your life.

There it is again. Are you completely incapable of reciting from the script? Any black person who doesn't like anti-black racism has "failed". Right. I can only imagine what sort of fear sustains such an obvious delusion.

You think pandering for lower standards and handicapping point schemes is empowering or helping...it is pathetic and sad.

Approving the Vulcan Society's effort to prepare black applicants to pass the exam on merit is "pandering for lower standards and handicapping point schemes"? Are from Opposite World?

Any applicant should be able to avail themselves of any publically available prep course.

Yes, any one that has spaces open. Every account of this incident I've read has said that there were non-blacks in attendance. It is what it is, and I feel no obligation whatsoever to act as if I don't see that action by the racist "Merit Matters" (is that sort of like calling a fat kid Tiny?) faction for what it was.

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

The "secret list" is the list that the uniformed officer refers too as to why certain people were allowed to the front of the line, excluded others and he seemingly can't explain how one ends up on this list. You can lie all you want...it is on video and it did occur. Keep denying the obvious...you are defending the indefensible.

You brought up history, I only highlighted your ignorance on the subject matter. Whether 100 years ago or 50 years ago if you want your claim to stand, the historical oppression of blacks for the sake of your argument no differnent that NINA movement against the Irish. Institutional Discrimination and oppression against any race/ethnicity within NYC is in the distant history..you can't cherry pick which aspects of it you choose to illustrate, but the only contemporary evidence we have of this is now a video with Vulcan Soc. members potentially excluding non-blacks.

The Vulcans campaign against Race blind Civil service merit and fitness that was specifically created to eliminate bias in municipal hiring. Merit Matters specifically believes blacks are capable of competing against any ethnic group and the blacks who are on the job today are proof of that. The late Augustus Beekman (Chief of Dept) even championed the system that you claim is racist today. However politics drives the Vulcan leadership to claim that such equal opportunity doesn't exist despite all evidence to the contrary.

I misinterpreted them? Anti-black? Again I think blacks are just as capable as the next guy, I don't see them as you prefer to...as perpetual victims dependant on the benevolence and soft bigotry of lower standards & handouts. What are your thoughts on these quotes:

"The fire department is lilly white" --Paul Washington

"This test isn't proving who's the best for the job — this test is proving who got a good education, There’s an education gap in this country, and everybody knows it. So to pretend, after 12 years of bad schooling, there's a level playing field and telling them to sit down and compete — it's disingenuous." --Paul Washington

"A couple stupid Negroes pass the exam and think the process is not flawed, in response to the firefighter who got a perfect score."- John Coombs

Now who is condescending to whom? Who is using biased incivil rhetoric? Who is using boilerplate anti-black rhetoric? I think the above is incredibly insulting to those blacks who did apply themselves and achieved personal success and are now on the FDNY today. A few of them are friends of mine and they feel this way.

If we were to believe the Vulcans all the written exams in school from K thru 12 are irrelevant and only serve to keep the black man down. This is why increasingly no one is taking them seriously.

Now where did I say I'm against blacks applying themselves and studying , nor have I seen where Merit Matters did this either...could you point this out? They and I encourage anyone to study...that is how one succeeds on any civil service exam, when we have equal opportunity but not equal outcomes. That is what will lead to any individual doing well on the exam.

However when history shows the Vulcan society has the most relevant and insightful prep courses and those courses are open to the public according to the laws as taught by none other than Vulcan Pres. John Coombs in EEO class, then there should be no reason the Vulcans should cancel classes or make attempts to preference certain individuals or you should be irritated that somehow others other than those favored by the Vulcan society showed up to take the exam. Again if you are suggesting blacks have some right to practice the very discrimination they wrongly claim kept them from obtaining these jobs for all these years....well you clearly don't understand the law my friend.

Any applicant should be able to avail themselves of any publically available prep course. Nothing is preventing blacks from studying or attending these sessions. To suggest that whites availing themselves of these opportunities is exclusionary towards blacks or somehow an example of explicit racism is silly and duplicitous. All of those kids are just motivated to avail themselves of any opportunity to gain an edge. If the classes offered by the Vulcans are limited, clearly they must take those who show up regardless of race. To suggest that blacks must study together and exclude Asians, Hispanics or whites to succeed is laughable. Just more ugly sepratist rhetoric from the ignorant.

You can use all the elegant sophistry you want and meaningless irrational arguments...it doesn't change the facts that the Vulcans desire patronage appointments not merit and fitness based race blind equal opportunity that exists in NYC today. Now there is video and reports which suggests there might be organizational bias within the Vulcan Society and incredibly we see persons like yourself who believe blacks should be judged differently based on the color of their skin. A more important question remains were any of them or the Vulcan organization receiving taxpayer money in any fashion during any of these events?

Keep blaming everyone else for whatever failures you experience in your life. You think pandering for lower standards and handicapping point schemes is empowering or helping...it is pathetic and sad.

The FDNY is just like any other city agency that has civil service titles...those who can demonstrate the most merit and fitness for the job are rewarded as such....regardless of race.

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

Your first statement is inconsistent with your claims that the Vulcan's are attempting to educate only blacks for the job. Did Paul Washington not create a hostile atmosphere to a group largely comprised of Whites, Asians and Hispanics who were not on the secret approved list?

No, he didn't. They just took steps to keep from being overwhelmed by all the people that the leader of the racist "Merit Matters" faction directed to the Vulcan Society's classes, even though there are other people offering classes. And...what "secret approved list"? The one that exists just because you say it does?

"Furthermore Affirmative action is not viewed upon as a positive solution"

One more time- this particular incident didn't have anything to do with "affirmative action", except in the sense that it grew from an attempt to get around anti-black factions' whining about "affirmative action". I wonder what your definition of "affirmative action" is. It seems to include black self-help. Does it also include the enforcement and very existence of anti-discrimination laws...if they happen to help a nonwhite person, that is?

Irish along with many other groups do have a history of enduring employment discrimination

In the NYC police department? Shit, LOL. If there was a history of that, it came to an end more than a century ago. Yet, there's still an "Emerald Society".

It is the Vulcan Society that claims that blacks are incapable of competing against other persons

No, that's just how you've willfully, rhetorically misinterpreted them complaining about racial discrimination. That's boilerplate anti-black rhetoric.

Why is it you feel the FDNY is the appropriate venue to correct the well established but yet unsolved "achievment gap"?

Do you think there should be any effort to solve the "achievement gap", in any venue? If you're against the Vulcan Society trying to close this instance of an "achievement gap" by more effectively prepping black applicants to take the exam and score high...on merit, then you must be opposed to black people taking any collective action to close it, anywhere. That's the only conclusion I can come to. That's also the only conclusion I can come to about the racist "Merit Matters" faction's effort to shut down these classes.

This controversy is something all black people need to take notice of. It shows that no matter what a black person does, there will be people out there who will attempt to check them at every turn. If "affirmative action", to the extent it still exists, is completely ended, it won't make a damn bit of difference to white hegemonists. They will still come up with excuses. A black woman could graduate from Princeton, marry a man who would become President, have both her children after she's married, and still be called a "baby mama".

Similarly, an association of black firefighters can engage in black self-help and still hear the cries of "affirmative action". Our enemies will just redefine black self-help as "affirmative action", and still tell us, in a cowardly, dog-whistle manner, that they believe we are inherently incapable of competing.

That's not to say that we shouldn't engage in self-help, both collectively and individually. We should do it, while resisting becoming so naive as to think our enemies will stop fighting against our interests, even when there's no seeming reason for them to do so.

Bob Tipton
Bob Tipton

Your first statement is inconsistent with your claims that the Vulcan's are attempting to educate only blacks for the job. Did Paul Washington not create a hostile atmosphere to a group largely comprised of Whites, Asians and Hispanics who were not on the secret approved list?

Furthermore Affirmative action is not viewed upon as a positive solution to the manufactured problem of disproportionate representation of subgroups in relations to larger populations from which they are to some degree drawn these days. In fact most of the country feels discriminating against persons of one group predicated on the supposed transgressions of individuals from decades earlier that only share their racial classification is only perpetuating racism not ending it or eliminating it. Your entire defense doesn't address the issue in the least. The percentage of blacks matters not, each individual of any skin color has the ability to demonstrate on the exam that they are the most qualified for the job. The blacks on the FDNY just as with all civil service titles have proven themselves the most qualified just as every other firefighter has. The notion of racism keeping them out of the job is a manufactured fraud and lie and Merit Matters I would say has the better argument. What of their facts can you refute?

Are we really to believe your tin-foil-hat claims that DCAS who writes all city exams somehow only writes exams to make blacks fail on FDNY tests but excel at Probation, Corrections and other Civil Service exams? That is laughable yet that is the logical end of what you ask us to believe.

It is the Vulcan Society that claims that blacks are incapable of competing against other persons of Asian, Hispanic or ethnic white heritage without lowering standards or providing handicap scoring. The Irish along with many other groups do have a history of enduring employment discrimination which is the reason why Race-blind civil service was developed. Yet they insisted their fellow Irishmen could compete on exams just as well as the next guy...the Vulcan's are an excuse laden organization who demonstrate self-deprication towards the people the purport to represent. The Entire Vulcan case is based on the theory that unless anyone can prove otherwise the failure of so many blacks on the exam is due to institutional bias. The Truth is the President of the Vulcan Society couldn't' point to one racist question. Their EEOC case is predicated on "disparate impact" and nothing else. Why is it you feel the FDNY is the appropriate venue to correct the well established but yet unsolved "achievment gap"?

The Vulcan Society demands Equal Opportunity, perhaps they should try practicing it themselves.

Plantsmantx
Plantsmantx

Well, because they weren't just preparing black applicants, what's the point of that question?

Would you be so cavalier if the Emerald Society barred Blacks from a tutorial who invited members of the public to attend?

If people of Irish descent made up some tiny percentage of FDNY personnel, and if people of Irish decent had a history of enduring employment discrimination based on their ethnicity, I wouldn't criticize them for doing what the Vulcan Society is trying to do...and I suspect you wouldn't, either.

 
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