"The more egregiously any non-Western or non-white group behaves, the more evil whites are made to appear for noticing and drawing rational conclusions about that group's bad behavior."In the case of today's "intentional discrimination" ruling against the Mayor of New York in Albert Gonzalez's discrimination lawsuit against the Fire Department of New York, we could perhaps offer a Second Corollary:
"The more egregiously any non-Western or non-white group behaves, the more evil whites are made to appear for not noticing that group's bad behavior."From the New York Times:
Judge Cites Discrimination in N.Y. Fire Dept. By AL BAKERA federal judge ruled on Wednesday that New York City intentionally discriminated against black applicants to the Fire Department by continuing to use an exam that it had been told put them at a disadvantage.I wrote about the Vulcan case a million times last summer, so here are a few facts the NYT left out of the article:
It was not a â€?one-time mistake or the product of benign neglect,â€? wrote the judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn. â€?It was a part of a pattern, practice and policy of intentional discrimination against black applicants that has deep historical antecedents and uniquely disabling effects.â€? A remedy will be decided on later.
In his decision, the judge highlighted how â€?black and other minority firefighters have been severely underrepresented,â€? characterizing that as a â€?persistent stain on the Fire Departmentâ€™s record.â€?
City officials said that they intended to appeal the decision, but could not do so until the judge had determined what damages the city might face.
Legal experts, as well as lawyers for the plaintiffs and city officials, said the decision was the first in recent memory in which a court had found that the city had intentionally discriminated against a large group of people â€” racial minorities or women, for instance â€” in the workplace.
â€?I canâ€™t recall there ever being a finding of intentional racial discrimination in a pattern-and-practice case against the city,â€? said Elise C. Boddie, a professor of constitutional law at New York Law School who formerly litigated employment discrimination cases. â€?I would say this is pretty big.â€?
In July, Judge Garaufis â€” acting on a claim being pushed by the United States Justice Department â€” ruled that the Fire Department used a test in 1999 and 2002 that had a discriminatory effect on black applicants.
In his ruling on Wednesday, the judge found that the city intentionally discriminated against blacks in using those tests and in ignoring calls over the years to change the testing procedure. The suit was brought by three people who took the test and by the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of black city firefighters.
At the heart of the case is the Fire Departmentâ€™s persistent underrepresentation of minorities and the continued use, between 1999 and 2007, of the entrance exams. In 2007, there were 303 black firefighters, accounting for 3.4 percent of the departmentâ€™s ranks; black residents make up 25.6 percent of the cityâ€™s population.
The judge noted that while the cityâ€™s other uniformed services â€?have made rapid progress integrating black members into their ranks, the Fire Department has stagnated and at times retrogressed.â€?
Judge Garaufis stopped short of finding that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the former fire commissioner, Nicholas Scoppetta, had also intentionally discriminated against black applicants. But the judge wrote that he found strong evidence to suggest that they were made aware numerous times that the Fire Departmentâ€™s entrance exams were discriminatory, yet failed to take sufficient remedial action.
The mayor testified at a deposition in August that he did not recall receiving a report more than six years ago warning him about sharp differences in the pass rates between white and minority candidates for firefighter jobs, lawyers said.
The judge â€?let the mayor and the commissioner off the hook on the basis of a doctrine known as qualified immunity,â€? said Richard A. Levy, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. He said that doctrine exempts public officials from lawsuits that are based on their discretionary decisions. ...
Some city officials said they found the decision unexpected and deeply perplexing, in part because the judge ruled on plaintiffsâ€™ motions for summary judgment and the cityâ€™s motion to dismiss the case without a trial.
Mr. Levy agreed it was unusual to get a ruling based solely on documentary evidence and depositions, but he said â€?the evidence of a decades-long pattern of discriminating against black and Latino firefighter applicants was overwhelming.â€?
Ms. Boddie, the New York Law School professor, said such rulings against government entities were rare around the nation, adding, â€?To the extent there is a finding of liability, it is usually on disparate-impact grounds, not based on racially discriminatory intent.â€? ...
1. The discrimination lawsuit against FDNY was brought by the Alberto Gonzalez's Justice Department under the Bush Administration in 2007.
2. The white-black racial gap, as pointed out by La Griffe du Lion, was 1.04 standard deviations in 1999 and 0.96 standard deviations in 2002. In other words, the racial difference on the two test dates averaged exactly the one standard deviation difference that La Griffe calls the Fundamental Constant of Sociology.
3. You can take the tests yourself here.
4. Here's a sample question:
17. Which one of the following portable power saw blades must be put out of service?You can find the answer on the same page in this excerpt from a 250 word reading selection:
A) A carbide tip blade missing nine tips. B) A carbide tip blade with three broken tips. C) An aluminum oxide blade measuring 12 inches. D) A yellow silicon carbide blade measuring nine inches.
A saw blade must be put out of service (OOS) and sent to the Technical Services Division when the blade becomes worn or damaged. Carbide tip blades must be put OOS when eight or more tips are missing or broken.4. The NYT should profile some beneficiaries of this bias, such as firefighter Michael Cammarata (1978-2001).