“There’s no question that there is something very wrong with how the FDNY adds new employees. For nearly 40 years, various courts have issued injunctions to correct the miserable record of non-white hiring. New York’s fire department may, in fact, be the whitest large institution run by a major city in the United States. Your chance of becoming a firefighter in New York if you aren’t white, Irish, or Italian, and come from a family of firefighters has traditionally been very slim.
But is the entrance exam really to blame? And can it be called racist simply because blacks and Latinos don’t score as well as whites, even when the questions have no discernible racial component to them at all? And why is it taking decades for the city and the courts to come up with some way of recruiting new firefighters that reflects the kind of success of the NYPD and other city departments?”