Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

01 July 2009

Is fire racist?

Me? I think it burns everybody the same, whether their skin be white, black or fuchsia. But, as regular readers know, I've been posting here-and-there about how race gets thrown into the mix of fire-department hiring and promotion here, there and everywhere. I wrote a story about it in the City Paper in '03 and a column in the Metro about it earlier this month. So, I'm probably well-equipped to offer kudos to the Inky's Jeff Shields for his in-depth A1 piece about how the New Haven case echoes what had been a source of contention locally for a while now.
The City of Philadelphia this year quietly paid out $275,000 to settle claims by five white firefighters that they had been discriminated against in the promotion process.
Not only did the city pay five lieutenants between $30,000 and $40,000 each in the January settlement of a 2007 federal civil-rights lawsuit, but the Fire Department also agreed to address the officers' complaints that the promotional exams they took in 2005 were skewed against them in favor of minority candidates. ...
In the suit, the men alleged that the "raters" - fire officers from other cities brought in to administer tests, a practice in most departments - were told before the tests that the department "was 'in dire' need of minority and female fire officers," according to the complaint.
Of the 14 raters brought in for the 2005 captains test, 10 were African American, some of them members of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, which has advanced the cause of blacks in the firehouses nationally, according to the complaint.
The five white lieutenants lost points for such things as lack of "appropriate eye contact," mistakenly addressing a female rater as "Sir," and for "being too wordy," according to the complaint.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: Not even a Klansman, neo-Nazi or Black Panther cares what the color the firefighter who saves their life is. They just want them trained properly.


Blogger Leah Franqui said...

Have you seen this? It's an epidemic!,0,4414515.story

1:37 PM  

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