Three firefighters from New Haven, Connecticut, are celebrating after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that they were victims of discrimination and racism.
The shocker to many was that these firefighters are White, making this case one of reverse discrimination. Because we don’t see too many cases like this going as far as the Supreme Court due to lack of tangible evidence and a confusing thin line when it comes to Black and White racism, it’s got people up in arms.
According to the Associated Press, New Haven stopped administering a promotional exam because no African Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the city of New Haven was wrong and the three white firefighters were unfairly denied promotions due to the change.
In Monday’s ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer’s reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions."
In rebuttal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the White firefighters “understandably attract this court’s sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."
This decision is not only a disturbance in employee practices nationwide, it is a critical look at how and why African American’s and Hispanics aren’t passing the test as well as a change of the times. We won’t be surprised to see more sensitive and controversial cases like this popping up.
– Christina Coleman