Friday, May 26, 2023

Seattle (King County) Firefighters Now Drilled on Ibram Kendi Before Promotion

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Of all the jobs in a standard fire department, a lieutenant’s is among the most difficult, according to firefighters.

When a fire truck approaches a blaze, the lieutenant decides how to tackle it—what windows to breach, which floors to prioritize, and how best to deploy the truck’s three or four firefighters against a shifting, inanimate enemy.

However, now we're learning that to be promoted to lieutenant in the Seattle area fire departments, the lieutenants’ test includes “How To Be an Antiracist,” “Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter,” and other woke notions.

When a house is on fire and people's lives are in danger, should we be focused on whether the firefighter is well schooled in "antiracism" and "well schooled in a transgender's memoirs"?

Be informed, not misled.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting this:

To see if they’re up to snuff, most departments administer a written test, typically multiple-choice, to prospective lieutenants. Candidates must score above a cut-off to be considered for the job, with higher scores increasing the odds of promotion. The exam, which covers a litany of topics from building construction to medical techniques, is designed to ensure that the people making life-and-death decisions know the bare minimum to make them well.

So firefighters in Seattle, Washington, were surprised when their department’s lieutenant exam focused almost as much on social justice as on firefighting.

The test, which has both written and oral components, is based on a list of texts assigned by the Seattle Department of Human Resources—including, as of this year, How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and Both Sides of the Fire Lane: Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter by Bobbie Scopa, according to a copy of the exam bibliography obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Along with "A Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias and Fighting Fire", a memoir by a female firefighter, the books about race and gender span over 800 pages—a large fraction of the total study material.

Wayne Johnson, a retired Seattle fireman who helped write some of the city's promotional tests, says, "This stuff has nothing to do with firefighting. It has everything to do with social engineering."

The exam is part of a much larger effort to diversify a department that, as Seattle fire chief Harold Scoggins lamented last year, is "overwhelmingly" white men. Those efforts, critics say, have made the promotion process more about ideology and less about merit, politicizing a public service where competence can mean the difference between life and death.

In fact, in 2021, local officials, including Scoggins, commissioned a report on diversity in the fire service. One of its recommendations: avoid tests that "rely heavily on knowledge of firefighting."

So "knowledge of fire fighting" is not the most important thing in Seattle's fire department.

"[T]ests that focus on how well applicants know the system and the job tend to favor those who make up the overwhelming majority of the fire service workforce, white men," the report says. "Questions that ask more about the candidate’s character and values, rather than knowing the ins and outs of the job, can be beneficial in advancing more women and people of color."

Seattle (King County) appears to have taken that advice.

An upcoming test for fireboat engineers, who operate the pumps and nozzles used to douse coastal fires, will quiz candidates on Robin DiAngelo’s Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, according to the exam bibliography. The fire captains exam likewise assigns DiAngelo’s book—along with handouts on the "structural interplay between all oppressions"—while the exam for battalion chiefs assigns the 2021 report on fire service diversity.

Is this normal?


The Free Beacon says, "Seattle’s tests are an outlier. In most cities, even Democratic strongholds like Boston and New Haven, written fire exams test only tactical knowledge. But in Seattle, where Scoggins himself helped protesters seal off the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in the wake of George Floyd’s death, promotions hinge on mastering these ideological tomes."

Beyond raising questions about competence, former department members say, the ideological screening has worsened a staffing crisis caused by the city’s vaccine mandate, which put nearly 80 firefighters—almost a tenth of the department—out of work. At a time when the city desperately needs first responders, the fire service has grown more hostile to the sort of people who typically join it: big, burly men whose politics tend to be to the right of the average Seattle bureaucrat.

"These woke tests are making it harder for the macho guys to get hired," said Steve Collins, who, along with other firefighters, lost his job in October 2021 when he refused the COVID-19 vaccine. "They weed out people who are not politically aligned."

The emphasis on equity has even bled into physical evaluations. When women fail the Candidate Physical Assessment Test—a standardized fitness exam all recruits must pass—the department has been known to offer them an immediate do-over, according to Josh Gibbs, a former member of the department’s special operations team. Men, on the other hand, must wait until the next testing cycle.


The result is a high rate of attrition among new recruits, which has, at times, forced units to stop operating. 

The blunder reflects what Collins says is the fundamental design flaw in the city’s social engineering schemes: "Mother Nature," he quipped, "is not an equal opportunity employer."

This country was founded on the biblical principle of  "merit." 

Equality provides equal opportunity for all.

Equity provides equal "outcomes" for all.

And that's a sick version of socialism---cultural Marxism.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.