As black, white, and Hispanic firefighters in New Haven brace for the Supreme Court's decision, they're keeping their heads down and doing their jobs. But they're also tired and apprehensive. Almost no matter what the court decides, the ruling will mean more hard feelings and strife. No one we talked to can really imagine a way to resolve fairly who will get the promotions–which have been frozen now for six years. In this city at this moment, it's hard to imagine what fair would possibly look like.
No, it's not. Fair means promoting the people who passed the tests. It's not the fault of the white guys (and one Hispanic) who passed the test that no black firefighters passed it. Nor is it the fault of the people who devised the test. It's the fault of the people who didn't pass. I've written repeatedly that "The message of Griggs and "disparate impact" theory: if minorities fail tests at a higher rate than whites, it’s the test that’s wrong." But of course it isn't.