More Information Needed

The Department of Justice is suing the FDNY on the grounds that it “administered exams in 1999 and 2002 that, while not purposely or obviously racist, were littered with SAT-like questions that are do not test an applicant’s ability to fight fires.”

My first question is, are blacks and Hispanics not able to take the SAT?  After all, we’re talking about New York City in the year 2007: if there has ever been a melting pot in the history of our beleaguered world, The Big Apple is it.  Are we to believe that blacks and Hispanics are incapable of linear thinking and multiple-choice problem analysis because they are black or Hispanic?

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Granted, I didn’t grow up around a lot of Hispanics.  But as anyone who knows me will attest, one of my greatest prides is having grown up in a majority-black town.  And I’m pretty sure that black people can excel on tests–yes, even objective tests–if they study and do their best, just like everyone else.  And where are the other minorities prominent in this society? Do Asians not require the special protective shield of million-dollar lawsuits as well? Clearly not, and maybe that’s because they don’t buy into the race-grievance lawsuit industry currently benefiting so many shyster lawyers and pandering politicians. 

The main thing missing from this article is a description of exactly which questions, or what types of questions, render blacks and Hispanics helpless in pursuing their dream to extinguish fires.  As creative as I am, I’m at a loss to imagine  what type of objective, SAT-type question might exclude people belonging to a specific genetic/cultural ancestry.  Unless, of course, one assumes that blacks and Hispanics are essentially cripples who require stereotypical references in order to make the cut: e.g., “How did the author of the preceding passage erroneously characterize the preparation of chitterlings?”  Is that what objective tests should be: a sop to each artificially created group’s sense of cultural self?  A symbolic nod to cultural balkanization? 

The thing about objective tests–SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.–is that they’re not supposed to test one’s specific abilities in a field.  They test one’s general aptitude, which is different.  That aptitude is a sign not only of one’s inherent capacity for learning (what we call IQ), but one’s level of intellectual achievement so far; in other words, what you know from doing your homework and working hard, as opposed to slacking off and not using your mind.  Maybe the argument here is that firefighters don’t need to be intelligent; they don’t need to have shown a work ethic in school; who cares if they have higher thinking skills.  But I disagree.  People’s lives are in firefighters’ hands, and their job requires risking their lives as well.  You want someone with that kind of job to be sharp, brave, and to have bona fide good judgment.  If that weren’t the case, we could train monkeys to do what they do.  Right?  Right.  I know that the LSAT had nothing to do with practicing law, but my score on it had everything to do with my ability to go head-to-head with brilliant people every day in a highly selective law school.  I don’t think anyone would’ve done me a favor by putting me in a law class where I had no chance to keep up.

Also, my Bullshit Radar positively shrieks whenever some wannabe do-gooder or money/fame-grubbing lawyer or bureaucrat tries to expose “inadvertent” or “latent” racism.  It’s too much like those personal-injury or medical malpractice lawsuits based on claims that require 20 days in court to reveal.  Real negligence, malpractice, and yes, racism, reveal themselves clearly and do not require such posturing and puffery.  And unlike an errant scalpel or slightly misaligned anesthetic injection, an objective test administered yearly to hundreds or thousands of people is a bureaucratic animal that has been watered down (and probably rendered ineffective in the first place) by its passage through various lanes of approval and editing.  Were no minorities involved in developing this test? 

This kind of lawsuit decreases my hope for the future.  What we have here is the federal government suppressing the efforts of our nation’s largest city to ensure basic intelligence and aptitude in its firefighters–post 9/11, at that.  And this is all to safeguard the precious, tender feelings of people who simply can’t cut it.  As pissed as I am, I can’t imagine how pissed I’d be if I were a black or Hispanic candidate who worked his/her butt off and passed with flying colors, on their own merit, and then had some puling assclown DOJ paper-shuffler undermine my efforts by implying that “my people” can’t pass a test.

Major Boo from the Queen.

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~ by lewdandlascivious on May 21, 2007.

8 Responses to “More Information Needed”

  1. Don’t forget that the racial demagogues have been kvetching about the SAT for over a decade now as racially biased. Apparently if the test isn’t written in Ebonics it isn’t fair.

    In all seriousness, I think they actually complained that the questions didn’t deal with subjects familiar to black people.

  2. The SAT is also “sexist,” because women don’t do as well on it. It also apparently proves that men are smarter than women (but no one really suggests a confidence differential).

    I know that standardised tests are somewhat b.s., but they do test some very real skills and logical abilities. Face it – every person you would consider to be smart does well on those things, and every person whom you don’t think is very bright does poorly on them. The SAT is actually an IQ test – divide the math + verbal score by 10 and you get a very rough estimate of IQ.

    Anyway… as a woman engineer, I really really resent when people say that I need special help. First of all, it’s not true (women engineers have higher grades and SAT scores, on the average, than their male counterparts), and, more importantly, physical phenomena don’t care about my gender. Gap sealant isn’t going to conduct better because I’m a woman and I made it and I need special help. Fires aren’t going to burn slower for minorities, women, or the disabled. Criminals are not going to lose their ability to run fast when chased by a female cop.

    GRRRRRR.

    FYI: I loved your Iran post. I concur completely and laughed really hard when reading it. Good on you, lassie!

  3. they must ask things like this:

    Which cocktail goes best with madras at a polo match but would entirely be out place at the country club after labor day (assume golf membership, not just pool)?

  4. and here are the choices:

    a) Maddog
    b) Martini
    c) White Russian
    d) Gin and Tonic
    e) Bourbon

  5. Interesting lesson I learned at the tender age of sixteen. There were three National Merit finalists at my high school: my two best friends (one black, one Hispanic- I know, soooo PBS) and me. Friend 1 won a scholarship as a National Achievement Scholar, Friend 2 won a scholarship as National Hispanic Scholar. Little ol’ me? nothing but a plaque (and it was not even real wood, it was MDF!!). The kicker? I outscored both of them.

  6. And ironically, it was a competition with the word “merit” in the title. If I won over someone who beat me, I’d be humiliated and angry and would refuse to accept the award. But that’s just me.

  7. Dad just gave me some of the best advice ever: Get used to it Princess. This is just the first of many times you are going to get screwed.
    Mom was not to happy about his turn of phrase, but he had a point.

  8. Hahaha! Your dad sounds awesome.
    My brother in the military always says BOHICA–Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

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