Hardball with Chris Matthews on the New Haven “affirmative action” case


The debate that we all heard on Tuesday between Pat Buchanan and Joan Walsh further convinced me that I was actually right regarding that so called “affirmative action” case.

Here’s a brief analysis of the debate between Pat Buchanan and Joan Walsh:

Joan Walsh: Here we are – three Irish Catholics talking about one of the toughest, I think, affirmative action cases in the country.

My comment: Here’s Joan Walsh telling the viewers that she is about to talk about that case defending… nobody, just because that case is about lack of applicants for these higher firefighter positions being representatives of minorities.

Joan Walsh: There’s a reason that we have these ugly cases and that’s the failure of our politics to really resolve some of these ugly conflicts. We have fire departments all around this country – God bless them – they are still disproportionately not just white but Irish Catholic… majority of New Yorkers are black or Latino and only 10% are firefighters… so what’s happened in a lot of these cases, Chris, is that these Irish Catholic dominated unions have really fought efforts to make the tests more fair.

My comment: First of all, Frank Ricci is Italian American, not Irish American. So her argument about the disproportionately many Irish Catholic firefighters is a big blunder. As to New York City, the majority of New Yorkers are white: 44% are white, 26% are African American and 27% are Latino. The Census Bureau is there to confirm that. I will assume that these results haven’t changed dramatically for the last nine years. In this case, 53% are African American or Latino and 44% are white, so she is right in that regard. However, that’s still not enough to convince any reasonable person that firefighters in New York City must be more than 10%. The criterion for African Americans and Latinos – and representatives of any other race – to become fireghters should be skills. I can’t understand why a lot of people give that argument in regard to all types of jobs but those of a doctor, for example, although Pat Buchanan gave an example with Alan Bakke who was turned down for admission to a medical school for the same reason. As I said in my previous article, being a firefighter is no joke. Therefore, using that argument, that is, about the demographics, is as irrational as using it when it comes to doctors. And I think that nobody would prefer to be treated in a hospital where doctors are employed solely on a multicultural basis. In terms of her last statement – the one about the unions – I consider it a speculation by her part just so that she sounds more convincing. I am not aware of the way these tests are made but I don’t think that they are all about Irish Catholic. If I want to become firefighter and study for it, I can’t see a way not to know the answers because I am not Irish Catholic. It’s rather because I don’t know the answers.

Pat Buchanan: There’s rank and ugly discrimination here and it’s against a man who studied thirteen hours a day and got rid of the second job listening all in tape because he is dislexic… His American dream is taking a test with 17 other guys and coming in top so he can be promoted to lieutenant. He succeeds and wins, and the only reason he is not promoted is because his ancestors came from Italy and this guy is white. This is a rank act of discrimination which is an outrage… it’s not a tough case at all. It’s a simple case. You denied the guy a job, he deserved… because he was a white man.

My comment: There’s a great difference between Ms Walsh comment and Mr. Buchanan’s comment. The former is almost entirely populist while the later is entirely reason. When one passes the test for a job, especially one that has as great responsibility as this one, in a constitutional state, the most reasonable consequence is that that one gets the job. Besides, it’s not about somebody being discriminated, but rather about the absence of candidates who are representatives of a minority. Should Frank Ricci wait all his life for 3-4 more such contestants and see them get promoted then because of diversity. Because the way New Haven and the two federal courts reacted to his passing the test implies that they want representatives of a minority being promoted at each cost.

And, as Pat Buchanan would say later on, “There’s no evidence this test wasn’t fair.”

Joan Walsh: There are plenty of black and Latino and female firefighters who can do the job, who can meet requirements for the job, but these tests have often historically been rigged and the entire promotion system…

Pat Buchanan: You have not shown me any test that has been rigged. If a test has been rigged that gets all the Irish Catholics in and no Italian Catholics, no blacks, no Hispanics, no Polish Catholics, I would say take a hard look at the test. Nobody has said this test was rigged at all… they threw it out because of race… it’s like what they have done to Jackie Robinson… because he was black.

Chris Matthews: This kind of Supreme Court rule, if they go in that direction, is going to sell that idea that the only way a minority gets a break in this country is because somebody gave them a break, and that’s not healthy.

My comment: Listen to Chris Matthews’ comment carefully. Affirmative action might have worked up until yesterday, but it’s not healthy today, and it will not healthy tomorrow – not just to the white people – but also to every representative of a minority. There are already some representatives of minorities who don’t like affirmative action because of that flaw, and, in my opinion, as long as there is reverse discrimination and/or affirmative action, it will be least likely that the people will get rid of any type of racial discrimination. In brief, affirmative action cannot be functional anymore at all.

And the most interesting part is:

Joan Walsh: Hey Chris… I have firefighters in my family, don’t race-bait me… please, Chris… they are brave…

Chris Matthews: But why are you accusing them of bigotry?

Joan Walsh: Because the fact of the matter is they have protected those jobs for their brothers, for their sons and their public sector jobs. This isn’t a family business, Chris… Bravery comes in all colors. Bravery comes in all colors.

My comment: First of all, for the sake of political correctness, through her statement she insulted not only every Irish American – and white, I assume – firefighter, but her family as well possibly for the sake of convincing people that she was winning the debate. Second of all, like everyone familiar with the job of a firefighter, being a firefighter is not just about bravery. Following her logic, we must all assume that being a bodybuilder is all about pumping iron. If you pump iron and not recover the way you are supposed to recover after having pumped iron, that pumping is useless, just like bravery in a firefighter is useless, if that firefighter is not educated enough to do their job. Once again a very weak argument presented by Joan Walsh.

Watch Hardball with Chris Matthews today

Frank Ricci will be interviewed today at 6 o’clock in the evening, ET. I am looking forward to that interview, and if I miss it, I hope that it will get uploaded on Youtube.

1 Comment

Filed under Civil Rights and Liberties, Politics

One response to “Hardball with Chris Matthews on the New Haven “affirmative action” case

  1. Pingback: John Payton: Test was discriminatory « Evolution is the key!

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