September 27, 2013

Holder after another liberal city fire department

From the Associated Press:
EEOC: Austin fire dept. discriminated when hiring

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Fire Department discriminated against some minority job applicants, a federal review has found. 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which looked at the department's hiring practices since 2012, notified city officials in a letter received Monday, the Austin American-Statesman reported ( ). 
City officials learned of the review in April and said they welcomed the objective oversight. 
The EEOC found that some black applicants were discriminated against because of their race and some Hispanics faced discrimination due to their national origins. 
"The letter does not say that the city intended to discriminate against any individual or group, but rather that the difference in pass rates between African-Americans and whites was the unintended effect of a neutral testing process," the city contends in a news release. 
Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr said in a memo Tuesday to department personnel that the city will not debate the decision. The city has decided not to hire additional personnel from the 2012 candidate list as a result of the EEOC determination, according to Kerr. So far, 96 firefighters from the list have been hired. 
The Justice Department did not detail what prompted the investigation that led to the EEOC finding that nearly 40 percent of black candidates passed the cognitive written exam to become a cadet, compared with 68 percent of nonblack candidates.

A shocking differential in pass rates never seen before in the history of the world.

That the full weight of the federal government can be brought down, seemingly arbitrarily, upon any of countless institutions where the usual white-black gap in cognitive performance exists is hard to reconcile with the rule of law. Everybody who tries to hire objectively is guilty, so the government can crush whomever they happen to feel like. So, don't get the government mad at you. Especially, don't speak up about it.
One black candidate was hired from the approximately 736 black applicants, according to the federal review. 
Kerr, in her memo, said that 636 black candidates completed applications in 2012, not the 736 stated in the EEOC letter, and that only 328 of those candidates actually took the test. Three of those candidates were placed on the hiring list, she said.

Not many details seem to be available on either the EEOC letter or today's Justice Dept. letter announcing a federal lawsuit against the Austin Fire Department. Presumably, they are hiring from the top down among applicants. So, while lots of blacks "passed" the test, few scored at the top.

Firemen these days tend to be overpaid and underworked, so the quantity and quality of applicants is high. At least as of 2008, Austin paid firemen 20% more then other big cities in Texas, so being a fireman in Austin is a pretty sweet gig. So top-down hiring won't come up with many blacks.

I found this 2008 editorial in the Austin Statesman saying:
The department is facing a significant drain of its minority firefighters who are eligible for retirement, and it should be pushing for greater diversity to replenish those ranks. 

In other words, the Austin FD had become substantially integrated following a court order 36 years ago.

It's interesting (to me, not necessarily to anybody else) how the concept of disparate impact just doesn't seem to apply to in some industries (e.g., movie and TV film crews) while being a near-obsessive concern to the feds in other occupations, such as firefighting. Hollywood tends to have nepotistic or who-you-know hiring, while fire departments generally use objective tests designed by testing/diversity consultants to wring out all bias.

It would probably make the most sense to hire objectively, while just having a quota for African-Americans. But, how does that work as 50 million legally privileged Hispanics turn into 100 million?


Whiskey said...

Steve, Hollywood does in FACT have defacto "Gotta Have Blacks" hiring quotas. Hollywood is not very White any more:

1. Nearly every commercial MUST FEATURE Black people. Just watch and see and count.

2. Almost all prime-time dramas must have lead or semi-lead Black people. The most notable being "Sleepy Hollow" (twisting the "Elementary" pairing of a Brit who is highly verbal with Lucy Liu as Watson with another highly verbal, odd Brit with a Black female with "oh no you didnt" accent mannerisms -- TV being the sincerest form of imitation).

3. Newscasts are now White male scarce, with the (outside of KNBC Channel 4) pattern being Black or Hispanic of Asian female, with Black or Hispanic male anchor, blonde or hispanic/Asian reporter babes.

4. Movies MUST HAVE at least one Black lead or semi-lead actor: Pacific Rim, Avengers, etc. Even Norse gods are now apparently Black. As is Guinevere in the BBC King Arthur series and now Downton Abbey.

Hollywood just like every other place cannot escape religious demands for "diversity" any more than the Austin Fire Dept.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's deliberately only going after cities where the pols won't take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Government job. To a liberal, the government is the country, and there can be not the slightest whiff of discrimination against endangered species.

Other, private fields - well, it depends on who you are.

Power Child said...

Everybody who tries to hire objectively is guilty, so the government can crush whomever they happen to feel like.

Kinda reminds me of how a sharp cop can find something on your car that's in violation of some law, which frees him up to stop you so he can search for anything else he's got an intuition about.

This overlaps the Last Great Defense (now moot) of the war on drugs: that it's a handy proxy cops can use to get bad guys off the street.

Conservatives, even some paleocons, still support the use of that mechanism (everyone's guilty so the government can crush whomever it chooses) when it comes to drugs. Not when it comes to hiring, evidently...

Anonymous said...

Austin? Amazing. It is a bright blue dot in a sea of red Texas. I guess those doing the hiring figured if they hired an unqualified black over a highly qualified white, (s)he would be the one destined to rescue them in a nasty fire.

When your house is on fire, you tend to want the best qualified fireMAN there to rescue you. Period.

panjoomby said...

our tax dollars at work - to discriminate against the group that created this civilization. what a pitiful use of our tax money. disparate impact incorrectly assumes tests are biased - they aren't. these tests predict equally accurately for all groups. a low score predicts poor performance on the criterion & a high score predicts good performance. we are misled & reamed by the government-media complex of do-gooders. holder is a satan-wanna-be & a he is a poor use of our tax money.

Anonymous said...

This smacks of collusion - the city officials "reluctantly" agree to discriminate in favor of blacks because the Federal government has "forced" them to. So they can do what they want and have political cover.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

...the difference in pass rates between African-Americans and whites was the unintended effect of a neutral testing process,...

One of the best lines. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Wait til the feds find out who's driving those city buses.

Veracitor said...

The film industry has three defenses against racist-hiring charges. 1. it's just so cool and no politician wants to offend or even annoy Hollywood. 2. Nepotistic hiring doesn't leave a paper trail like civil-service hiring-- it's harder to prosecute any court case without evidence. 3. Hollywood hires per-production for comparatively short gigs-- no particular production is around long enough to be sued and it's impossible to pin anything on a studio or other repeat player.

Hunsdon said...

There are 636 black people in Austin?

d- said...

How I hate commissars like Holder, who never did anything more physically risky than cross a street.

NYC has a Victorian infrastructure, and needs strong, fit, reasonably bright men (and only men) to save lives.

(God rest his soul.)

I shudder to think what would happen if Holder went after the NYC Fire Dept, but I don't think he will. We'll get a pass, for now.

The Dept. does strike me as becoming gradually more Hispanic, but the majority is still white Catholic guys who live upstate or in the 'burbs. What will happen when the father-son tradition dies out, as it will? Anybody's guess, but...

I suspect the Dept. will become majority Hispanic, by natural attrition, and that will relieve the pressure from the Feds by the time they get around to persecuting us, after they've finished ruining a few thousand other towns, counties & municipalities. And the Big Apple is like Apple: we get away with a lot because we're too cool to ruin.

It's all a fix.

Anonymous said...

Just to add a chuckle here. Back in the late 60s or early 70s, I worked for a state agency. At one point the word went out that the upper levels of the agency were looking for an assistant commissioner, "preferably black". In due course, a black man, Mr. Brown, was appointed. He was always referred to as "Mr. Preferably Black Brown".

Harry Baldwin said...

The Marines have a motto: "We have now done so much for so long with so little, we are now capable of doing anything with nothing, forever."

Thinking about the coming amnesty for millions of Mexicans, and what this will do to our social fabric, I would rewrite that motto
for the US government as follows: "We have followed stupid policies for so long without disastrous consequences, we are now capable of following even stupider policies forever with impunity."

ben tillman said...

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Fire Department discriminated against some minority job applicants, a federal review has found.

Some of you, including Steve, may be tired of this pet peeve of mine, but everyone in Texas is a minority, and that's been true since 2003.

Atx muni said...

Like its Cuty government, Austin fire dept is very interesting.

Criticize its diversity if you wish but Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr may or may not be a lesbian. In 30 dept city government, at least 3 other dept directors/chiefs may or may not be lesbians. 10 % ?

Kerr's predecessor JJ Adame may or may not have resigned because of diverse substance abuse/sex harassment/sex scandal - no one knows why he suddenly resigned seriously.

Wer wis precious recruitment staff at Austin fire? All gone - they may or may not have been sharing answers to test questions with applicants so race percentage would be correct.

Former police chief Stan knee retired and went to work for the northern alliance in Pakistan.

A network of African American city manager and executives wield enormous power throughout city government. They may or may not be competent! Blacks comprise 10% populations and 30% + of high level execs.

Check out austinl weird city government - 7 at large council members including a mayor. Strong city manager. - may or may not work! May or may not be diverse!

Muni gov in america incredibly corrupt. Austin muni gov may or may not be very much so.

City employees get anywhere 1 - 3 % annual cost of living raises. Civil service protection kicks in within 2 years. Cash cow . . . Bubble growing, live music capital of the world!

Matthew said...

"Nearly every commercial MUST FEATURE Black people. Just watch and see and count."

A commenter here once called commercials the "Negro Insertion Point." A commerical is almost guaranteed to have a black actor if:

A) it has live actors, not animated characters;
B) there is more than one person/family portrayed;
C) it's an ad for a product, not a tv show or movie;
D) and the product is not a SWPL/liberal one (i.e., an Apple product, etc.)

I seriously doubt this is a legal requirement, however.

But TV shows and movies routinely get away without large numbers of minorities, or with minorities in only the most marginal of roles. "Big Bang Theory" has only one regular minority, and he's Asian. "How I Met Your Mother" has no regular minorities at all.

In "BBT" blacks only appear as incidental characters - generally bureaucrats - and Hispanics are non-existent, despite the fact that it's set in Pasadena. But "BBT" has the balls to portray scientists as they are - entirely Asian, white, and Jewish. It even portrays female scientists as they are - concentrated in the biological rather than physical sciences.

Generally, any particular show can get away without minorities, but networks are often pressured, by the government or racial agitators, to diversify the overall casts of their shows. Shows with large ensemble casts ("Grey's Anatomy") will have more minorities than shows focused on a small group of friends or family.

Matthew said...

"We have followed stupid policies for so long without disastrous consequences, we are now capable of following even stupider policies forever with impunity."

It's going to come as a rather rude awakening - to blacks and Hispanics especially - when it's discovered we cannot. Health services will be cut, food stamps will be cut, housing allowances will be cut, and school lunches and breakfasts will be cut.

Anonymous said...

Hollywood just like every other place cannot escape religious demands for "diversity" any more than the Austin Fire Dept.

I thought it was pretty clear that Steve was alluding to workers behind the camera. As for "diversity" in front of the camera, it's a feature, not a bug.

Anonymous said...

The answer is that old saying "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

Of course all fire departments are government funded, thus they are liable to be government bullied according to the prevailing dogma of the day. Hollwood, is of course, funded by movie sale income - a source which is rather hard for interferers to cut off.

Anonymous said...

"Nearly every commercial MUST FEATURE Black people. Just watch and see and count."

One of my favorite commercial memes is the "black and white buddy" meme. I suppose it's not terribly original if you look at movies made in the last few decades, but it's remarkable in its pervasiveness and consistency. In the world of American TV ads, young black men and young white men are high-fiving each other on couches all across the land.

guest007 said...


Latinos have been complaining about the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

Hunsdon said...

"It's Whiskey, Jake." That's like saying "It's Chinatown"----the regular rules don't apply. Like a blind hog, Whiskey occasionally has something interesting to say, but generally it's just "Steve, on this one you ARE SO WRONG."

Of course, when Whiskers steps up to defend Hollywood, he neatly elides the fact that Hollywood is imposing diversity based on an internal drive, not an external one.

d- said...

Big Bang Theory now has a semi-regular black woman: she's a diversity/HR officer, divorced, bitter and acidic. And don't you remember the one female physicist: Leslie Winkel, played by Sara Gilbert? She was a complete weirdo.

That show is brilliant. I don't know how they get away with it.

BTW I wrote, "God rest his soul" about the FF abovee because he died on 9/11.

Funny how this conversation veered OT to commercials. This subject strikes a deep nerve. They are a ubiquitous part of American life, and they are so distorted and didactic.

My own observation is that there is always a Wise Black Man instructing inept whites on how to do just about anything. Of course, black men have the monopoly on masculinity.

The latest in this genre is the one where the dweeby little rich white boy, with his dweeby white dad, get to visit Justin Tuck, who is represented as the height of everywhere cool and manly. I don't know if it's in the entire country or just runs in the NY area. Now, Tuck does appear to be among the few black football players who won't end up destitute and demented 5 years after he retires from the NFL, but I still find it irritating.

DJF said...

I wonder if any court or legislator has actually defined what a black or a white or a hispanic is? Could a business just say that they don’t put labels on their employees so they don’t know what they are.

We now have woman claiming to be men and men claiming to be woman so how is a business suppose to categorize them? Maybe what appears to be an all male workforce is actually 50% women trapped in men’s bodies? So what if the woman has pale skin, blue eyes, blond hair, maybe she thinks she is black.

E. Rekshun said...

@Whiskey: "Hollywood does in FACT have defacto "Gotta Have Blacks" hiring quotas."

House Hunters and the other home shows seem to have a 50% ratio of interracial couples, including many of the White male/black female variety seldom seen in the real world.

E. Rekshun said...

"Back in the late 60s or early 70s, I worked for a state agency. At one point the word went out that the upper levels of the agency were looking for an assistant commissioner, "preferably black". In due course, a black man, Mr. Brown, was appointed. He was always referred to as "Mr. Preferably Black Brown"."

My brother works for a local city government that recently advertised for and hired a new purchasing manager after the cranky old White guy retired. One city worker, a qualified, attractive 50-year White female thought she had a lock on the job, only to be bumped by an unproven black female (w/ multiple bankruptcies on her record) from the outside. Race trumps gender.

Michael Ryan said...

I think yes quotas by merit the best blacks get hired proportionate to their population then get stationed exclusively in black areas seems fair. they get what they want by any means necessary we get what we want safety

Anonymous said...

"There are 636 black people in Austin?"

Pretty much every city in the eastern half of the country is inhabited by large numbers of black people. And by "large numbers," I mean that, even though blacks might be a minority in a given area, they will be numerous enough that white people must deal with them on a daily basis.

And I'm not sure there's such a thing in the East as a city of over a thousand people with zero black people.

It's kind of amusing. I live in the blackest region of blackest state, per capita, in the US. White people from here often talk about the northeastern part of the state as if there just aren't any black there - when it's actually half black.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Hollywood does in FACT have defacto "Gotta Have Blacks" hiring quotas. Hollywood is not very White any more:

Whiskey, how many of those quotas apply to producers, directors, and studio owners? Hollywood may not be very white anymore when it comes to extras, just like pro football is not white anymore except for the team owners.

Belisarius said...

Why don't fire and police departments just make applicants take the SAT and have a minimum acceptable score, like universities?

BTW, there are 2 new TV shows I watched this season, Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome. They both sucked, but they had something else in common. In both, the police chief is an old white guy who is killed in the first episode- leaving a young vibrant female in charge. Hollywood to old white men: Die, already! We want our utopia NOW!

nobody said...

there were some white fire fighters from texas,
whose brains were unequally dexterous;
they did their best,
and scored high on the test,
but were sued for being so careless.

countenance said...

Why does the left love thumping fire departments?

Because it's one of the last refuges for working class white men of average to above average intelligence to be able to make a living at a fairly well paying job that has its risks, but is not exceptionally risky.

Keep white men out of FDs and you hinder affordable family formation for whites.

E. Rekshun said...

SS: "Firemen these days tend to be overpaid and underworked..."

I'll say, several firefighters from my mid-sized, east coast, low cost FL city recently retired w/ $100K per year pensions at age 45. Their pensions are more than their working salaries.

This is very common and even more outrageous in the bigger cities. Many cities and counties in FL publish their firefighter, and other employees', salaries on-line. The state of FL published pensions of state workers.

E. Rekshun said...

"I live in the blackest region of blackest state..."


agnostic said...

That's not even so wide of a black-white gap. Usually it's 1 S.D., but here it's only 0.7. The Austin Fire Department is either drawing from a slightly below-average group of whites or a slightly above-average group of blacks.

The explanation of why some industries are subject to diversity busting and others not is simple -- is the industry a major channel for elite status-climbing? If so, then hands off. If not, then go for the jugular.

Hollywood, all of higher ed including professional schools, the military, etc. -- all safe. Anything else -- look out.

However it may have started out, diversity busting has been co-opted by the Establishment for class warfare, pure and simple. They used to send "diverse" scabs to cross the picket line in order to lower wages -- now they feed the public some line about the wonders of diversity per se.

Immigration has always been an obvious tool of class warfare, but this diversity tactic is new.

Anonymous said...

"Why does the left love thumping fire departments?"

I think, as Steve has pointed out, they could be making a mistake. People may be clueless to things like diversity affecting firefighting but it's not something they want when the issue is pressed.

Then again, the diversity bureaucracy may be intentionally pushing their luck to see what they can get away with.

Forgive the unintended pun, but as the kids these days say Holder is throwing out a heat check

[(heet chek) noun. An occasion on which a basketball player takes a questionable (i.e., bad) shot in order to determine how "hot" he is, usually after hitting several shots in a row.

Usage example: After hitting on his last six shots, Paul Pierce did a heat check by launching an off-balance 25-footer with a defender in his face.]

Remember when some NYC NAMs decided to go after Stuyvesant, et al. for using fair entrance tests?
Bourgeois libs drew the line there. So it's back to the quieter but more substantial victories of sucking up millions of dollars because NYT whites are easy to fool with arguments like "There's no money for schools in the ghetto!"

*cue white person in park slope nodding his head as he sips his organic cappuccino while cutting another huge tax check, secure in the knowledge that he's morally superior because he cares about those poor, underprivileged urban youths in a neighborhood he wouldnt even ride a subway through -- what's he going to do, actually find out if some school in queensbridge has no teachers or books?*

countenance said...

Addendum. My eldest uncle, who died a little more than two months ago, was SLFD for 35 years. For about the first half of his tenure, he was on the third closest rescue squad to the Pruitt-Igoes. And yes, he had war stories.

I have a soft spot for firefighters, therefore.

Anonymous said...

Because the retiring mayor, Mumbles Menino, stopped negotiating a new contract, the cops in Boston were just awarded a 25% raise over 3 years by an arbitrator. Most of the justification he used was the insane pay the Boston firefighters make. The firefighters went 4 years without a contract until 2010, when they got a 4% per year bump for 4 years and a 19% RETROACTIVE raise for the previous 4 years!
The head of the Boston firefighters union is Ed Kelly. The head of the BPD union is Pat Nee. The Sons of Hibernia have fought tooth and nail for their continued dominance of the departments, and I think that, it being Boston and not some racist cracker city down South, they get a break from idiot Holder.

Even so, every single time you read about a cop or a firefighter getting suspended or fired for misconduct, it's one of the vibrant ones. The latest one was when a girl from Southie, Amy Lord, was kidnapped, forced to withdraw money from a variety of ATMs, and stabbed to death by one of our Spanish-speaking vibrants. This guy was still on the loose because a black detective, Jerome Hall-Brewster, didn't bother to follow up on this guy's previous assault on a woman who managed to pull his wallet, with ID, out of his pocket when he was escaping. After the Lord killing, the story came out and Hall-Brewster was demoted. Of course, the minority LE organization asking for arbitration, saying that Hall-Brewster is being discriminated against. The Boston Police Minority Officers Assn. voted no confidence in Police Comm. Ed Davis. The Aaron Hernandez murder case pushed all of this off the front page.

The upshot is that last week Comm. Davis announced that he is stepping down, ostensibly because the mayor is retiring and he wants the new mayor to appoint his own guy. The reality is that, after the Marathon Bombing, he's had a lot of offers, including high up in Homeland Security, and after 7 years he's sick of being the top LE guy in such a PC place.

Black Black said...

@countenance: "I have a soft spot for firefighters..."

I don't.