Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

07/03/2009 (10:56 am)

Ricci and the Stench of Racial Politics

In my arcanely-worded and overly-long post yesterday regarding the Ricci case and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, I left out any mention of the real heart of the case: the Mayor who, seeking the support of a race-hustling cleric, rigged the hearings of the Civil Service Board to produce the result he wanted.

Reading Michael Barone’s editorial from Wednesday and Justice Samuel Alito’s concurring opinion (you have to scroll down to find it) corrected the error for me, so I’m passing it on to you all today.

kimberMayor John DeStephano of New Haven apparently relies on the political support of the Rev. Boise Kimber, a headline-grabbing and corrupt African-American pastor who routinely threatens opponents with racial demonstrations, a la Al Sharpton. Kimber showed his stripes when appointed chairman of the New Haven Board of Fire Commissioners by announcing to the firefighters that certain recruits would not be hired “because they just have too many vowels in their name.” When that statement was made public, Kimber had to step down as chairman, but he remains on the board of commissioners — and apparently, his intent still colors that of the board.

Justice Alito’s opinion describes a seamy, cozy collaboration between DeStephano, Kimber, and managers within city government to manipulate the hearings of the Civil Service Board (CSB) to ensure that the results of the testing be thrown out, while making it appear that real hearings were going on. Read:

Taking into account all the evidence in the summary judgment record, a reasonable jury could find the following. Almost as soon as the City disclosed the racial makeup of the list of firefighters who scored the highest on the exam, the City administration was lobbied by an influential community leader to scrap the test results, and the City administration decided on that course of action before making any real assessment of the possibility of a disparate-impact violation. To achieve that end, the City administration concealed its internal decision but worked — as things turned out, successfully — to persuade the CSB that acceptance of the test results would be illegal and would expose the City to disparate-impact liability. But in the event that the CSB was not persuaded, the Mayor, wielding ultimate decisionmaking authority, was prepared to overrule the CSB immediately. Taking this view of the evidence, a reasonable jury could easily find that the City’s real reason for scrapping the test results was not a concern about violating the disparate-impact provision of Title VII but a simple desire to please a politically important racial constituency.

Short version: New Haven did not discriminate against white firefighters out of fear of violating the Civil Rights Act; they did it to satisfy a race hustler, so he would support the Mayor politically.

Alito points out that the District Court that upheld New Haven’s decision to discard the test results knew all about these machinations — and ignored them. They were present in the District Court records, so the 2nd Circuit also knew about them — and ignored them. This Circuit Court decision was signed and concurred with by President Obama’s putative nominee to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

What we’re looking at is the machinery of leftist racial politics in a leftist-controlled, college town. They have a goal of numerical racial parity or superiority. Parity itself is not a bad thing, except that they do not take merit into account, and they also do not take the law into account. They are willing to ignore the law, ignore clear violations of the law, and ignore the starkest racism, in fact to do anything within their power, legal or illegal, fair or foul, to achieve this parity. And in the process, they will trample on the hard work and discard the deserved promotions of men whose expertise may determine the life or death of their customers.

Their victims are guys who still believe they can get ahead by hard work. Listen to Alito’s description:

Petitioners are firefighters who seek only a fair chance to move up the ranks in their chosen profession…Petitioner Frank Ricci, who is dyslexic, found it necessary to “hir[e] someone, at considerable expense, to read onto audiotape the content of the books and study materials.” App. to Pet. for Cert. in No. 07–1428, at 169a. He “studied an average of eight to thirteen hours a day . . . , even listening to audio tapes while driving his car.” Ibid. Petitioner Benjamin Vargas, who is Hispanic, had to “give up a part-time job,” and his wife had to “take leave from her own job in order to take care of their three young children while Vargas studied.” Id., at 176a. “Vargas devoted countless hours to study . . . , missed two of his children’s birthdays and over two weeks of vacation time,” and “incurred significant financial expense” during the three-month study period. Id., at 176a–177a.

Let’s be clear, racism is racism, regardless of the skin color of the person committing it, and racism in judgment discourages the excellence that we need in crucial civil services — really, that we need in everything. Ultimately, though, racism of this sort hurts those it intends to help. Barone finishes:

We ought to reserve some of our sympathy for the purported beneficiaries of this wretched discrimination, the black firefighters. Their champions — Kimber and DeStefano, Bazelon and Judge Sotomayor — are telling them that their way up in life should not be determined by the content of their character or by mastery of their worthy craft, but by the color of their skin. Not by a fair and unbiased test, but by dishonest wire pulling and threats of political retaliation.

This is what Barack Obama has nominated to the Supreme Court — one of the engines of this machine. Welcome to Barack Justice.

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July 3, 2009 @ 1:09 pm #

RE: The two posts on Ricci.

This whole thing stinks so badly it’s hard to believe (not really, but in a sane world…)that Democrats aren’t running from Sotomayor like flies buzzing away from dog mess that’s about to be shoveled up in the pooper scooper.

Amazingly enough, I think they will stick with her, label any critics or dissenters as racist, and that she will be confirmed. The best hope, and it’s not much of one, is that this might provoke a little bit of honest dialogue. Where people fom both sides actually speak their minds and maybe break a few eggs. Not “dialogue” like Obama’s AG suggested, where anyone who dares question liberal sacred cows like quotas or illegal immigration is lectured to as a bigot.

As for the Civil Rights Act – Phil, I think your post, although true enough, is the stuff of fantasies. I wish the Phillies could trade their 46 year old pitcher, Jamie Moyer, to the Giants straight up for Tim Lincecum; and that is far more likely to happen. Where is Hubert Humphrey’s quote along the lines of how he would disavow his own mother if the legislation were ever, ever used to foster quotas?

Truly amazing. What is even more amazing, scary, whatever, is that literally not a day goes by that I do not read of something coming from this administration that almost defies belief.

A horrendous economy with higher taxes for the productive and ever increasing government ownership in private business. Socialized medicine. Political correctness run wild. A Supreme Court packed for the next generation with justices liberal enough to make Souter look like Ann Coulter. A nuclear Iran. Coddled terrorists and a philosophy of accepting a certain amount of terrorism on our own soil as a neccessary price of diversity. On and on.

And I think there are about 20% of us that are even talking about it. The rest are submerged in Michael Jackson broadcasts or thrilled to see the new vision of America unfolding. Sorry to go OT, but these are huge changes being enacted in months.

July 3, 2009 @ 4:20 pm #

What is it with these black preachers that turns them into race hustlers? Is it the liberation theology kool-aid? Have they lost all sense of traditional Christianity? This is the act of a false shepherd if ever their was one, and the consequences for a false shepherd are not pretty.

I hope that the Senate will remember that the American people are watching very closely now when they get to the Sotomayor confirmation vote. Congress has done incredible damage to the country recently, and I certainly hope that many people are watching closely and will remember what is done when the 2010 elections come up. One third of those folks can be replaced at that time and probably should be in any case for the damage already done.

July 3, 2009 @ 6:18 pm #

Dr. D,

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the black community, and among black preachers. The black community is not like the white community; if you want influence, you pretty much MUST be a preacher. Consequently, the guys who want to become movers and shakers, who love power and the perks that go with it, don’t become attorneys or lobbyists like the white boys, they become ministers.

Just because all the race hustlers you know about are ministers, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all black ministers are race hustlers. They’re not. There are quite a few good ones. You just don’t see those on the news very often.

July 4, 2009 @ 9:57 am #

Barack Justice…

More on the Sotomayor nomination from Plumb Bob Blog:
Short version: New Haven did not discriminate against white firefighters out of fear of violating the Civil Rights Act; they did it to satisfy a race hustler, so he would support the Mayor political…

October 6, 2009 @ 5:06 am #

[…] Someone I’ve heard of added an interesting post today on Plumb Bob Blog Ricci and the Stench of Racial PoliticsHere’s a small reading […]

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