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And Al Qaeda discriminates, too

On Tuesday, the New York Times, in an otherwise sensible (if banal) editorial about necessary reforms in the management structure and processes of the New York Fire Department, couldn't resist pandering to their baser liberal instincts:

This turnover in the ranks will also allow the department to take on a critical problem not emphasized in the report: diversity. White men still make up a staggering 93 percent of the Fire Department's 11,112-member force, according to figures released last year. As long as a reform effort is under way, the city should do its utmost to ensure that the Fire Department not only protects, but reflects, the people of New York.
You'll note that there's no claim that the Fire Department actually discriminates in any way; the Times is merely upset that the department doesn't "reflect" the people of New York.

That might have been an aberration, slipped in as space filler, except that the Times decided to print this letter to the editor in response, from an expert on fire safety:

To the editor:

"Fixing the Fire Department" (editorial, Aug. 20) raises an important point about diversity. The New York Fire Department record on women is particularly troubling when compared with other urban fire departments.

Women make up 16 percent of the firefighters in Minneapolis, 15 percent in San Francisco and 13 percent in Miami. In New York, that figure is an abysmal 0.2 percent.

Facing a staggering number of retirements, the Fire Department needs to recruit from as wide a pool as possible to find the best candidates. The early indicators are profoundly disappointing: since Sept. 11, more than 1,000 people have been hired, yet only one was female.

There are thousands of women who want to join New York's bravest and can do the work. It's past time for the department to overcome its history of exclusion.  
President, NOW Legal Defense
and Education Fund

Again, note that there's no actual claim of discrimination. No argument that qualified female applicants were being turned away. Just the idea that every institution must be run by quotas. I wonder if NOW is upset that not enough women firefighters were killed on 9/11.


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