Last week was a week of bad news for Black men in New York City. The Village Voice detailed the City's commitment to prevent Black men from obtaining a fair chance to join the Fire Department of New York, and the Community Service Society showed us that only 25% of young Black men in New York City are employed.
FDNY - A Closer Look
The Village Voice showed us last week how the leadership of our city has invested heavily in preventing the 90% white Fire Department of New York from becoming more representative of the racial make-up of our city.
Though the article in the Village Voice focuses initially on the plight of Black would-be firefighters who scored very well on the FDNY entrance exam but who cannot join the FDNY because New York City refuses to accept any of the options for accepting new firefighters put forward by a federal judge, the truth of the intensity of New York City's commitment to racial discrimination in hiring at the FDNY is made clear.
The entrance exam has a history of resulting in higher scores for white applicants than for Black or for Hispanic applicants. The test also has no relationship to being an effective firefighter.
Because the test results have favored white applicants without any relationship to the jobs being filled, the test has been declared by the federal courts to violate the US Constitution.
The federal courts have offered the City multiple options for hiring new firefighters without discriminating based on race, but New York City has refused to accept any of the options provided.
Though 5% of the FDNY was Black in 1971, it is now less than 4% Black, and the 90% figure for white representation in the FDNY compares to approximately 35% white population in our city.
As we have stated in the past, Mayor Bloomberg has demonstrated an obsession with finding ways to discriminate against people of color in New York City and has essentially excluded people of color from his administration.
If we are going to make any progress in moving away from racial discrimination as the primary organizing principal of New York City, we'll need a new Mayor.
Only 25% of Young Black Men in NYC Are Employed
The Community Service Society has issued a new report examining unemployment in NYC, and it has found a troubling trend. During the current economic downturn, Black men have been the hardest hit demographic in terms of lost employment.
Unfortunately, young Black men now have only a 1 in 4 chance in being employed in NYC.
That horrifying statistic nearly matches the horrifying 28% of NYC Black males who graduate from high school.
Our city is failing to educate its young Black men, and those Black men are suffering in the job market.
Perhaps our city will start to show the type of dedication to helping Black males that is has shown to keeping them out of the FDNY, excluding them from the city administration, or stopping and frisking them in record numbers in a humiliating display of the abuse of power permitted by our city when the victims are Black members of our community.