By Selwyn Duke
What do you think of this reasoning: If a given group doesn't perform as well as other groups on a test, then the exam is by definition discriminatory and should be discarded? This is the rationale that was applied to police-department exams in the 1970s in a bizarre application of government civil-rights legislation. It was part of a social-engineering effort to get more women and minorities on police forces and is why we now have a diversity within the ranks that has given us, among other things, miniature cops. I'm not even kidding. Some years ago in New York City I saw a 12-year-old girl going to a costume party dressed as a police officer. Or at least I thought I did, until I got closer and realized she was a member of New York's, uh, Finest.
Now, in Houston, Texas, a lawsuit has been filed by some black firefighters based on the same outcome-indicates-discrimination logic. Writes Chron.com:
"This is systemic discrimination," said the firefighters’ attorney, Dennis Thompson. "Selection rates for African-Americans are abysmally smaller than for white candidates."
. . . Firefighters trying to attain the rank of captain and above in the Houston Fire Department must take a 100-question multiple-choice test. Numerous studies show that blacks as a group do less well on high-stakes tests, Thompson said.
You know, I think I figured out why they say that a good start is 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea.
Then we have this excerpt from the article:
"'We don’t do as well on these multiple-choice tests,' said Capt. Otis Jordan, president of the Houston Black Firefighters Association. Jordan and the HBFA are not part of the suit. 'I compare fighting a fire, riding an apparatus, to playing football. Your best athlete might not be the straight-A student.'"
So, blacks don't do as well with multiple choice . . . .
Well, that explains why they filled out their ballots the way they did in November.
In all seriousness, what would happen if a white person said, "They [blacks] don’t do as well on these multiple-choice tests"? I think he'd be the next Al Campanis or Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder. But isn't it funny how stereotyping not only becomes acceptable but also is aggressively practiced when filing lawsuits and seeking advancement? "Oh, you know lil' ol' us can't figure out this complicated stuff." Yes, that's when feminists want chivalry and some blacks want to become Amos 'n Andy.
Someone ought to remind Capt. Jordan that the test in question is for officer promotions, meaning, positions wherein you work in a capacity that isn't like playing football, but coaching football. It's about brains more than brawn.
As for Counselor Thompson, he is correct -- tests do discriminate. They differentiate between the adept and the amateurish, the informed and the ignorant, and the smart and the stupid. The one exception, it appears, is the bar exam.
© 2008 Selwyn Duke -- All Rights Reserved