New York Population 26% Black, But Only 3% Represent For Firefighters

August 16, 2011  |  

by Selam Aster

Considering that New York’s population is 26% Black, the fact that Blacks only constitute 3% of the firefighting force is pretty dismal. Certainly, there are enough Black men looking to enter the in-demand field of firefighting.

FDNY captain Paul Washington recently testified in federal court about the rampant racism in the fire department. Citing an example following 9/11, Washington said that someone defiled a flyer announcing a memorial service for black firefighters.

Somebody scrawled, “What about the white guys?” and added a list of black entertainers, including The Jackson 5, Gary Coleman, Fat Albert, Tupac Shakur and Sean Combs.

The word “black” was written over the request that guests wear a dress uniform “with white gloves.”

“It speaks for itself,” said Capt. Paul Washington, 49, former president of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization for black firefighters.

He said that after he intervened, a white firefighter came forward to take responsibility and was punished “in an unofficial manner.”

(Source: New York Daily News)

News of discrimination is not new within the FDNY. A federal judge previously ruled that the last two FDNY exams were discriminatory. Fire commisioner Salvatore Cassano recently testified the department is working to improve diversity in hiring. It’s certainly needed.

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