Affirmative action is just plain wrong....
In the US, they have all sorts of hiring quotas....we do much the same in Canada, except that we have the horrible term, 'visible minorities'...
Inside a burning building, fire doesn't discriminate between Matthew Marcarelli and Gary Tinney. Inside the New Haven Fire Department, however, skin color has put them on opposite sides of a lawsuit that could transform hiring procedures nationwide.Merit is the only principle we should use for hiring and promotion...
This week, the Supreme Court will consider the reverse discrimination claim of Marcarelli and a group of white firefighters. They all passed a promotion exam, but the city threw out the test because no blacks would have been promoted, saying the exam had a "disparate impact" on minorities likely to violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Besides affecting how race can be considered in filling government and perhaps even private jobs, the dispute also addresses broader questions about racial progress: Do minorities and women still need legal protection from discrimination, or do the monumental civil rights laws that created a more equal nation now cause more harm than good?
Also, beneath the specific details of the firefighters' lawsuit lies an uncomfortable truth: On most standardized tests, regardless of the subject, blacks score lower than whites.
Reconciling that reality with efforts to ensure "justice for all" remains a work in progress -- one that will be molded by the Supreme Court.
New Haven's population is 44 percent white, 36 percent black and 24 percent Hispanic (who can be any race). At the time of the 2003 test, 53 percent of the city's firefighters, 63 percent of lieutenants and 86 percent of captains were white. Blacks were 30 percent of the firefighters, 22 percent of lieutenants and 4 percent of captains.
The promotion exams were closely focused on firefighting methods, knowledge and skills. The first part had 200 multiple-choice questions and counted for 60 percent of the final score. Candidates returned another day to take an oral exam in which they described responses to various scenarios, which counted for 40 percent.
Tinney, a black lieutenant who has been a firefighter for 14 years, was seeking a promotion to captain when he took the exam.
He says both the test and his fire department have hidden biases against minorities: The department is historically white, with the first blacks joining in 1957, and jobs, relationships, knowledge and choice assignments are passed on from friend to friend and generation to generation.
"I just call it 'the network,'" Tinney says.
The white firefighters' attorney, Karen Torre, said they would not be interviewed for this story. In a conversation on Fox News' "Hannity" program, Marcarelli said it was "gut wrenching" to learn that he was No. 1 on the test but would not get promoted.