Racism, or just needing to try harder?

Its Wednesday, May 18, 2011, all's fair in love and way, and if its not you can always get a lawyer, and this is The Side. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just really, really naive. I understand that life is not fair. There's people out there stronger, smarter, faster, and more skilled than me. But I do try to give myself what advantages I can. I try to pay attention. I try to implement tactics that play to my strengths. I identify my strengths so I know what tactics will work best for me. I identify my weaknesses so I can try to fix them, or at least have a back up plan in case those weaknesses get preyed upon.

So it does kinda tick me off to hear people whine about something not being fair. Of course there is injustice in the world, but it gets hard to spot sometimes amidst all the claims of injustice. If you want fair, play "Chutes and Ladders". That's about as fair as the world is gonna get.

But you can't tell some people that.


So let me get this straight, Chicago has to hire 111 black firefighters and pay out buckets of money because of racist hiring practices? A bunch of people take a test. 64% is considered passing. They have a limited number of positions to fill. They randomly select the number of people they need from those scoring 89% on the test or higher. Now because most of the people that scored 89% or higher weren't black the hiring process must be racist and the city has to stroke out checks?

Just when you think society had a prayer.

Screw this. Screw this on every level. This is the most idiotic, patronizing thing I've seen in a long time. People keep saying its what's on the inside that counts, and we're all the same under our skin, but when there's a check to cashed from accusations of racism folks still line right up. Was there a question on that test anywhere asking "Hey, are you a black guy?" that if answered "yes" knocked their score down a few points? I kinda doubt it. But this isn't the first story of "test bias" that I'm heard. There was a case in Florida back in 04 where the police department was accused of having their hiring practices being biased. It was the swimming test of all things. They said the black candidates were having trouble with the swimming test, so they dropped that test as a requirement. So, for those of you in North Miami, ya better be wearing your floaties.

Now, this differs significantly from the Chicago case. The Miami case happened because they were understaffed and couldn't get people through the test. That's kinda scary that the lack of qualified people was to the point where they had to lower the qualifications. The Chicago case is really different in that the Chicago Fire Department had plenty of qualified applicants. More than enough people passed the test. More than enough people did so well on the test that they were able to hire strictly from high scorers. And that's what they did. They hired the amount of the people that they needed randomly from the pool of high scorers. They didn't factor in skin color.

Which is why they're getting sued.

I'm a white guy. If I was told that standards didn't apply to me because of my skin color I'd a be pretty damn insulted. If I come up short on a level playing field, that's how it goes. I shouldn't get special considerations over people who perform better than me based solely on race. How does that work? "Oh, you're white. You don't have to do as good on this test. We understand you're not as good as other people who aren't white. Have a cookie."

Even worse, imagine being a citizen of Chicago! If there's a fire or emergency, you aren't getting the best qualified people coming to your aid! But you better not have a problem with that or someone might call you a racist.

I thought we were past this. I thought it was supposed to be all about doing your best and trying to better yourself. You didn't get a good enough score on the test? Study harder and try again. My cousin didn't whine about his SAT scores when he knew what college he wanted to go to. He didn't demand that the college lower their expectations. He kept retaking the test until the score was good enough. That college was Harvard, so it wasn't a walk in the park.

But the case in Chicago is going forward. I guess there's a lesson here. You don't have to man up when you can lawyer up. Hope no cows get near any lanterns any time soon.


Ironically, these guys seem a lot more realistic than Lady Gaga.

That's my bit for today. See y'all Friday. Hope you don't have to take any racist tests.

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