Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
About two years ago I sat down for a conversation with TheGrio.com discussing the role of discrimination and testing in promotion and hiring in fire departments. While it may appear to some to be idiosyncratic, the battles being waged in America’s firehouses are harbingers of things to come regarding diversity and public employment. I talk about this more in-depth in this piece “Fire Department Discrimination Burns African-Americans.”
As a child, I can remember my favorite toy at my local New Haven Head Start was a firefighter helmet. I was convinced that when I grew up that I would be put on a bright yellow coat, red helmet, and save the lives of people, cats, and burning properties that were on the brink of disaster.
For me, those dreams of being a firefighter waned over time, but for many other African-Americans the dreams of rising as a firefighter have been forced to give way due to discriminatory promotion and hiring practices. While these issues are not new, they are now getting more national attention due to rising numbers of court cases and challenges to outdated hiring and promotion practices. Read More