Monday, October 10, 2011

FDNY Racism Confirmed By Federal Judge Part II

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg's dedication to racial discrimination was highlighted by a Federal Judge. This is only days after the same Judge focused on the intensity of the racial discrimination within our city's fire department.

Previous Judicial Findings

In last week's blog, we wrote that the Judge in the FDNY racial discrimination case stated:

The under-representation of black firefighters in the FDNY — a direct result and vestige of the city’s pattern and practice of discrimination against black firefighter candidates — is responsible for making blacks significantly less likely to apply to become New York City firefighters. The city’s culture of bureaucratic blame-shifting and accountability avoidance [exposes the fact that] the city does not want to be held accountable for the results of its recruitment efforts. This is unacceptable.
The Judge found that our city government kept the Black population of the FDNY at 3% or below through a practice of discrimination against Black applicants and would-be applicants.

The Mayor's behavior remains difficult to understand or accept. After many years of fighting such decisions, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to fight on in his efforts to retain his right to an all-white fire department in the nation's largest city. If he has evidence that our city's residents believe that only white fire fighters can protect our city, he should both provide that evidence and work to help our city's residents learn to evaluate talent and competence without a bias against non-white professionals. If he has evidence that having Black firefighters in our city will result in less safety, he should provide that evidence. Thus far, he has doggedly and unceasingly fought to avoid bringing racial integration to the FDNY without offering any evidence that an all-white fire department is a superior approach than the adoption of racial integration. If he is motivated simply by a psychological need to avoid racial integration, he needs to understand that there are Federal laws that will ultimately prevent him from implementing his racist approach indefinitely. Eventually, he will be forced to follow the law and allow non-white fire fighters at the FDNY.

There is anecdotal evidence that his obsession with racial discrimination is also very observant. When he learned that Black Community leaders were helping Black candidates apply for entry into the FDNY, Mayor Bloomberg changed the application procedure in order to undermine that assistance. He even made paper applications difficult to obtain.

What Next?

Last week, the Federal Judge issued a ruling that specifically focused on the Bloomberg Administration's pro-racism approach to the FDNY. In deciding that a court-appointed monitor of hiring practices at the FDNY was necessary, the Judge stated:
Though the city's use of discriminatory hiring practices has persisted through numerous changes in city leadership, the evidence adduced in this case gives the court little hope that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg or any of his senior leadership has any intention of stepping up to the task of ending discrimination in the FDNY.

The Judge called the FDNY a "stubborn bastion of white male privilege" and addressed Bloomberg's obsession with preventing racial integration at the FDNY.
Instead of facing hard facts and asking hard questions about the city's abysmal track record of hiring black and Hispanic firefighters, the Bloomberg administration dug in and fought back [against efforts to end discrimination]. Today - four years of litigation and two adverse liability rulings later - the city still doesn't get it.
Bloomberg, predictably, vowed to fight indefinitely for the right to avoid adding Black fire fighters to the FDNY. His lead attorney stated that Bloomberg will appeal the rulings "as soon as the law allows."

Bloomberg's commitment to racial discrimination reminds us of our reaction to Bloomberg's announcement of a $30 million donation to a $127 million effort to improve the lives of young men of color in New York City. Bloomberg's $30 million was matched by billionaire George Soros.
For now, the most powerful action Mayor Bloomberg can take to improve the lives of men of color in our city is an action that he can take without the help of George Soros or any of his fellow billionaires. He should resign.

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