June 29, 2009

SCOTUS Does the Right Thing

There is no one that is more of a champion of minority rights than I am, but I was always perplexed about the case of the New Haven Firefighters.

Over the years there have been plenty of racial discrimination cases, mostly involving minority plaintiffs. This one however had twenty firefighters with 19 of them White. Of course this got a lot of media attention because it boiled down to the men claiming they were victims of reserve discrimination.

After only knowing what I could read in the papers, I must say I was always overwhelmingly on the side of the Firefighters. I could not for the life of me understand how in today's society a test could be racially biased. I as a African-American felt insulted that the city of New Haven felt that the Black Firefighters could not somehow understand a promotion exam that every man, Black and White had resources to study for.

What kind of questions were on this test that made it racially biased?
  • What are favorite foods of White people?
  • Name the lead singer of the Beach Boys.
  • Name five NHL players that are not famous.
Yes these questions are silly, and even some Whites can't answer all of them, so how could a promotional exam for a firefighter be racially biased to where only Whites can pass? It can't in my opinion.

If this were 1950 I would easily be singing a different tune. Things were different, racism was right in face bold and alive. Blacks were restricted in their education, and were routinely discriminated against without lady justice even giving a damn.

Today however any determined man or woman, has the same resources and tools as their co-workers. There is no White study prep book and one for Blacks, Asians or Hispanics.

So I am ecstatic about the decision by the Supreme Court today to rule in favor of those firefighters. Justice has been served to those men and they can now enjoy the fruits of their labor. For those who did not pass the exam, I suggest you crack those books and study harder for next time.

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