Last week, in a move that is infuriating, frightening, and sad, Mayor Bloomberg has chosen to hire no new firefighters this year in order to ensure that Black and Hispanic firefighters remain nearly non-existent within the Fire Department of New York.
Bloomberg Remains Obsessed with Racial Discrimination
In May of this year, we addressed the Mayor's obsession with racial discrimination.
We discussed the Mayor's refusal to end race-based policing. Though more than 90% of those stopped and frisked by New York City police are people of color, though 90% of those stopped are never accused of any crime, and though the small number of white individuals who are stopped are twice as likely as the people of color to be in possession of illegal guns or drugs, the Mayor continues unremorsefully with his record-setting stop-and-frisk pace.
He used obnoxious racial imagery in his re-election bid in 2009; he endorsed the concept of making Rudy Giuliani the Governor of the state of New York, and he pushed our city's gifted educational programs out of communities of color into white communities.
The Mayor also was shown to have the most white-dominated administration in a generation. Eighty percent of the senior staffers in the Bloomberg Administration are white, while other major cities have persons of color represented in percentages that are twice (or more than twice) as large as what we experience in New York City.
FDNY Racial Discrimination Continues
Despite extensive and persistent efforts, the FDNY remains a racially discriminatory institution. Our city's fire department is more than 90% white, but Mayor Bloomberg has fought the addition of people of color to our fire department. After a decade of very credible complaints about the racially discriminatory hiring practices at the FDNY, Mayor Bloomberg remained committed to the racially discriminatory approach he led from City Hall. Finally, the Bush Administration's US Justice Department sued New York City in order to combat the racial discrimination that Mayor Bloomberg stubbornly promoted. The Bush Administration won the law suit, but the Bloomberg Administration refused to end its discrimination.
The courts have attempted to guide the Bloomberg administration away from racial discrimination, but they have failed. A federal judge gave Mayor Bloomberg five options for hiring a class of FDNY rookies this year and ending the pattern of racial discrimination. Mayor Bloomberg rejected all five options and decided to hire no FDNY rookies this year.
We are not surprised, but we are saddened to see Mayor Bloomberg put our lives in jeopardy in order to keep the FDNY more than 90% white. We need the additional firefighters, and we need an end to the racial discrimination at the FDNY.
When residents of New York City are facing the terror of a fire, they never demand that only white fire fighters participate in the life saving work that is needed from the FDNY. In fact, our city's residents have not demonstrated Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to racial discrimination. Perhaps the people of our city will raise their voices and demand that our city bring on board the additional fire fighters that our city had planned to hire - and demand that the new hires not be selected in a manner designed to prevent persons of color from joining the FDNY.