Thursday, April 30, 2009

White Firefighters Discrimination Case

NY Times Story

Gods, where to even begin. Did you all SEE this story? There is just so much to talk about. Need an example of whiteness perpetuating and reinforcing itself? Look NO further.

First of all, I love how we are introduced to this exceptional fireman we're all clearly supposed to empathize with. Oh this poor guy, he gave up his second job! He paid someone 1000 dollars to help him study! He's dyslexic! (you don't hate disabled people do you? cuz if you don't think this guy deserve a promotion you TOTALLY do)

So let's set the reader firmly in the mindset of this poor wronged white guy.

Is there any equivalent for one of the Black firefighters? Nope.

I also like that they point out right at the outset that one of the white firefighters is "Hispanic". Ohhhhh, we have an "ethnic white" on our side, now you can't say it's racist! You racist ableist! *sigh*

Then the fact that the test has been thrown out is put out there with no explanations, no rationale. So, we've set you up with this oh-so-sympathetic white dude, who's apparently in solidarity with POC cuz, "Hispanic dude"! and oh gods, their dream, it's been taken away!

Yah, this writer isn't biased at all.

No counter opinions given, no real justifications for the actions of the city. Anytime a critique is mentioned (and if you'll note those times are few) it's sort of thrown out there like it has no context and always is represented by clearly race-based groups. Groups that, because of the whole way the story is set up, are immediately suspicious because we've already been put into the shoes of the wronged white men. And any validity the critiques might have retained are now undercut by the words of a city representative, who says that "fear of lawsuits" is what motivated them.

So we have these poor sympathetic white dudes who worked so hard and their tests aren't being honored because of those damned stupid sue-happy POC. For shame.

Totally elided in all this? Discussion of affirmative action. But don't tell me that means it's not there. It's implicit in the whole discussion. If POC can't pass these "objective" tests then they're just too stupid to have their promotion! Any argument saying otherwise is just advocating for the dreaded affirmative action. It's like a ghost (a white ghost) haunting this whole piece.

Let's not talk about all the studies which show that white middle class men do better across the board on standardized tests. Let's not talk about systematic racism within city institutions such as the police and fire departments. Let's not give any serious time to the interesting numbers of POC in the firefighting hierarchy. Nope. We're the NY Times, we're LIBERAL. Don't you know? So we can't be racist, we can't be reiterating our whiteness with every fucking word. Nope nope.

Those irrational, unreasonable "colored" people. It's got to be them, denying poor dyslexic white guys who worked so hard their due. I shed a tear.