This eventually led to our discussion on race. Like my 2 brothers, my sister is born again and hard right, so conversations with her can be similar to those I had with my father before he passed away. We talked about Rodney King, and the New Haven Firefighters, and how my Sister believed that the Firefighters were "victims of reverse discrimination because the were white". She was disturbed because I disagreed, and that I sounded like a ?Racist? or someone who was ashamed of being white because I supported Affirmative Action. She quoted Martin Luther King, and judging people by the "Content of their Character". And when I tried to explain about segregation de facto rather then de jure, she did not get it.
Anyone who has read any of my previous post's on women's rights, civil rights and voting rights knows where I stand on these issues. The New Haven decision became a rallying cry for the followers of the Southern Strategy, but an article in Slate.com shows that when Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected the New Haven firefighters' claim she was following established precedent:
- ...the city (New Haven) rejected the firefighter exam because the test violated Title VII..Title VII requires employers to consider the racial impact of their hiring and promotion procedures in order to prevent discrimination that's inadvertent as well as intentional. Ricci's claim is that the city's effort to comply with Title VII is itself race discrimination...
An employer can also discriminate by using a selection process that has a disparate impact—in other words, that screens out a particular group for no good reason...Eight black, 25 white, and eight Hispanic firefighters took New Haven's test for promotion to captain; three black, 16 white, and three Hispanic candidates passed. Nineteen black, 43 white, and 15 Hispanic firefighters took the test to become lieutenant; six black, 25 white, and three Hispanic candidates passed. This result counts as discriminatory under the rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. New Haven was right to worry about the possibility of a lawsuit from black firefighters if it accepted the results of the tests.
The city was also in a bind because its agreement with the firefighters union required that the exam count for 60 percent of the decision about whether to promote each candidate and because a city charter rule required that every promotion go to one of the three top-scoring candidates. These rules magnified the disparate racial impact of the exam—no black candidate and only one Hispanic candidate was eligible for promotion, even though several of them passed the test. More reason for the city to worry about a lawsuit by the African-Americans who were to be passed over.
- The white firefighters who scored high on New Haven’s promotional exams...attract this Court’s sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them. New Haven maintains that it refused to certify the test results because it believed...it would be vulnerable to a Title VII disparate-impact suit if it relied on those results.
- By order of this Court, New Haven, a city in which African-Americans and Hispanics account for nearly 60 percent of the population, must today be served—as it was in the days of undisguised discrimination—by a fire department in which members of racial and ethnic minorities are rarely seen in command positions.