Racialicious Responds to the Firefighter Reverse Discrimination Case

A Racialicious Roundtable, compiled by Latoya Peterson and Thea Lim


On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Ricci, et. Al, v. DeStefano, et al., a case brought by seventeen firefighters who claim that they were discriminated against by the City of New Haven after the City decided to throw out the results of a required advancement exam. The New York Times story notes:

Mr. Ricci did well, he said, coming in sixth among the 77 candidates who took the exam. But the city threw out the test, because none of the 19 African-American firefighters who took it qualified for promotion. That decision prompted Mr. Ricci and 17 other white firefighters, including one Hispanic, to sue the city, alleging racial discrimination. [...]

The city says it was merely trying to comply with a federal law that views job requirements like promotional tests with great suspicion when they disproportionately disfavor minority applicants.

“The fact of the matter is it’s a flawed test,” said Victor A. Bolden, the city’s acting corporation counsel.

Mr. Bolden added that he had sympathy for Mr. Ricci. “There’s no question that there are people who are disappointed,” he said. “But disappointment doesn’t lead to a discrimination claim.”

The promotion exam was offered in the fall of 2003, and no one has been promoted since, Mr. Bolden said.

The suit brought by Mr. Ricci and his colleagues says that the city’s rationale for throwing out the test is illegitimate and that they were denied a chance for promotion on account of the color of their skin.

Since this made the Court’s docket, it officially became a matter of serious weight. I called together some of the other correspondents and we had a chat about what this case means, what it could mean for industries that seem to just stay segregated, and the unanswered questions we still have after examining the available briefs and news articles. – LDP

Fatemeh: So I don’t feel like I have anything to weigh in on this “reverse racism” fuckery.

Latoya: Why?

Fatemeh: Because I feel like there are angles I’m not seeing. But also because I can’t get past the technicalities: no one was actually denied from having a job because of his race.

Latoya: Makes sense. I wonder if that’s why everyone else is hesitating. Even Carmen is hesitant to comment.

Fatemeh: Yet “African-Americans held 32 percent of the entry-level positions in the Fire Department in 2007, according to data compiled by the city, but only 15 percent of the supervisory positions.” That makes it sound (to me) like there aren’t equal opportunities for advancement for black firefighters.

Latoya: Is the test racially biased? Because that’s part what is being argued. I wonder if the court will maintain that testing measures are colorblind, and therefore race should not be a consideration.

Fatemeh: I’m sort of skeptical that the test is colorblind. Some guy in the story is like, “You learn everything you need to know on the job here.” With that reasoning, everyone should have the same amount of knowledge when they take the tests, and everyone should do about the same, right? So a few outliers who have better training, or worked harder to study, or whatever, will get higher scores and be promoted. So if the test is not racially biased, then black firefighters would score similarly to white ones.

Latoya: True. And that’s what also makes this so weird. What I am concerned about is that this could easily set a precedent for hiring decisions and ideas.

Fatemeh: Exactly.

Latoya: If they decide whites are unfairly discriminated against for their achievements, what kind of messages will that reinforce?

Fatemeh: Straight-up white privilege. “I worked hard to get where I am!” Of course you did. But why did you advance, when your black coworker worked just as hard (or harder) and hasn’t gotten where you are?

Latoya: How will it impact the advertising industry, that has been hit with civil rights cases but still maintains a heavily white workforce? Are they off the hook now?

Fatemeh: I’m confused; how do you link the ad industry to this?

Latoya: A Supreme Court decision has long reaching effects. This isn’t just going to impact firefighting. It impacts anything with a racial disparity component. So in predominantly white industries, I am concerned that if the court comes down on the side of the plaintiffs, it will deliver other industries a get out of jail free card.

Fatemeh: Okay, I get you. The ad industry is a huge example of a racially disparate workforce.

Latoya: Industries that have been proven to be discriminatory may be able to take this law and twist it to maintain the status quo.

Fatemeh: I see your concern now, Latoya. Do you think there would be a way to prove that the test is racially biased? Could they offer up numbers of black supervisors compared to white ones, even though the black & white populations in the department aren’t drastically different?

Thea: I read this “The city says it was merely trying to comply with a federal law that views job requirements like promotional tests with great suspicion when they disproportionately disfavor minority applicants.” and I was glad that the city is so proactive about tests that produce racially disproportionate results.

At the same time – and maybe this is out of character! – I feel for the guys who studied hard, did well, and then had their tests thrown out. I don’t think it’s accurate for them to call discrimination; i.e. say that they have been disadvantaged on the basis of their race. However I do agree that it’s not totally fair. There’s a difference right, between something that is unfair and something that is unfair on the basis of race?

This just seems like such a mismanagement on the part of the system. It creates divisions between ethnic groups. Again I don’t think the white firefighters had grounds to call discrimination, but I think they had the right to be pissed off and complain about it.

I dunno, it’s a weird case and I see why people are hesitant to speak about it. Yes it was unfair, but I also agree with you Latoya that it could set precedents that will get twisted around.

Incidentally I’ve heard that the majority of the human rights complaints filed to the Ontario Human Rights Commission are filed by straight white male professionals…

Latoya: Thea, agreed. I can definitely feel the frustration there – but I’m not sold that in it self constitutes racial bias. Art, what do you think about the case?

Arturo: One thing that stuck out the most:

This test and the department handling of it seem to be very flawed going in — the minority failure rate going in should have been raising flags before this case went up the flagpole.

Latoya: Here’s something else that had me come up short, reading the [NYT] article:

“In a brief supporting the white firefighters, the National Association of Police Organizations saw the injection of racial politics into public safety. Promotion decisions should be based on merit, the group said. Race-neutral decisions foster camaraderie and a sense of fairness, it added, saying that people who work in public safety “are, in the main, effectively colorblind.””

Latoya: Maybe I’m just a little jaded.

Fatemeh: Red flags go off when I hear the word “colorblind.”

Latoya: But I don’t trust the fact that people who work in public safety are colorblind. Not police. Not social workers. Not the people who decide ecologically unsafe materials go into minority neighborhoods.

Fatemeh: Exactly! This colorblind bull isn’t really fooling anybody!

Arturo: I’d love to have seen somebody from NAPO get called to the stand to prove that remark.

Latoya: Yeah, especially post Oscar Grant. There are still major issues with discrimination.

Fatemeh: Mm-hmm. This whole case seems kinda sketch.

Arturo: Not to mention the Court it’s going to. I shudder at the thought of Antonin Scalia writing about this.

Latoya: Word.

Fatemeh: OH, sweet gawd.

Latoya: Justice Roberts seems to be of the mind that if we all ignore the issues of race and discrimination, they will magically vanish.

Arturo: Another question: why would NAPO, in effect, ignore the findings of the International Assn. of Black Firefighters?

Fatemeh: I wish we knew more about this precinct. Ricci was #6, so he wouldn’t be the in the top five considered for promotion. If he doesn’t even get to be promoted, why is he fighting for this? Are any of the “top three” in this class-action? I wonder if there are race issues in the precinct that we don’t know about. Why go to the Supreme Court?

Latoya: We should try to get a look at the actual brief, if possible – though reading it would be a pain. The court gets that stuff delivered in boxes. Let me do some poking around – continue discussing.

Arturo: I’d want to look at the test — even the story says it uses inaccurate terminology

Fatemeh: I’ve been watching a lot of CSIs lately. I feel all sleuthy!

Arturo: Fatemeh’s got her Caruso shades on!

Latoya: Do you both think that the people who brought the case were motivated by racial resentment?

Arturo: Odds are at least some of them are

Fatemeh: Exactly.

Arturo: But there’s a disconnect here: Where does “this test is flawed” take you to “this test is biased against white people”? And where did the plaintiffs place with their results? I’d hate to think they’re making Ricci the poster boy because of his condition, but people are strange …

Fatemeh: It goes back to the “reverse racism” idea: groups of color are being given extra handouts, blah blah blah

Arturo: I’d like to know about admission standards for the NHFD. How do you let people in if you don’t think they can work their way up?

Fatemeh: Frankly, I don’t like the way the NYT framed this case. “Here’s poor Mr. Ricci, who’s worked so hard but is being denied a promotion by the big-bad PC city!”

Latoya: Fox News is going to have a field day with this

Latoya: <---looking for the SCOTUS blog post on this

Arturo: Fox: “We interrupt our live coverage of the Tea Parties to bring you NEW HAVEN UNDER SIEGE!”

Fatemeh: TEA PARTIES! :D AHAHAHHAA

Latoya: lol

Fatemeh: I’d love to see this article written from the other angle. “Jeffrey Simmons has worked at the NHFD for eighteen years. He’s been angling for a promotion for seventeen of those years. But the city’s discriminatory tests have kept him from advancing for those same seventeen years.” Booyakasha!

Arturo: The test itself is the key. How is nobody passing it? I would have thought performance was the biggest marker in this kind of job. Or maybe I watched “Backdraft” too many times.

Latoya: Whoa, I need to read the SCOTUS blog more often

Docket:08-833 Title: Oliver v. Quarterman Issue: Does juror consultation of the Bible during sentencing deliberations deprive a defendant of Sixth Amendment rights and what standard of proof should apply in evaluating the possible prejudice to the defendant?

Latoya: Damn. Anyway, back to searching…

Fatemeh: It sort of tickles me that SCOTUS has a blog. I wonder if they’re on Twitter? (giggle)

Fatemeh: “RBGinsburg is rolling her eyes at Scalia for the 8,000 time today.”

Arturo: bwaha

Latoya: lol

Arturo: “Antonin Scalia would rather be hunting duck”

Latoya: lol

Fatemeh: HA!

Arturo: The more I think about it, the more NAPO supporting the plaintiffs bugs me. Nice message to send your members of color.

Latoya: The message they’re sending is “You’re next.” Remember, SCOTUS sets precedents.

Latoya: WTF? Reading Scalia’s opinion on the Navajo’s claim for compensation:

“For over 15 years, the Indian Tribe known as the Navajo Nation has been pursuing a claim for money damages against the Federal Government based on an asserted breach of trust by the Secretary of the Interior in connection with his approval of amendments to a coal lease executed by the Tribe. The original lease took effect in 1964. The amendments were approved in 1987. The litigation was initiated in 1993. Six years ago, we held that “the Tribe’s claim for compensation . . . fails,” United States v. Navajo Nation, 537 U. S. 488, 493 (2003) (Navajo I), but after further proceedings on remand the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit resuscitated it. 501 F. 3d 1327 (2007). Today we hold, once again, that the Tribe’s claim for compensation fails. This matter should now be regarded as closed.”

Fatemeh: That is fucked. Up.

Latoya: They go on to say the federal government cannot be sued without their consent. Damn. Who consents to be sued?

Arturo: WOW

Fatemeh: Wha…?

Fatemeh: I feel like my head is gonna explode.

Latoya: Let’s talk a little about the role of institutional bias in these kinds of decisions.

Arturo: Are we talking about bias from the city side, or within the FD?

Fatemeh: I mean, the nat’l firefighter association is backing Ricci, the chief justice is getting all huffy about ending racial discrimination by ignoring it…

Latoya: <---heading to the SCOTUS wiki

Latoya: SCOTUS wiki FTW! http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Ricci%2C_et_al._v._DeStefano%2C_et_al.

Latoya: all the docs, the brief, the overview

Arturo: I hate that the angle here is, “well, we just don’t wanna get sued.” (ironic, though, isn’t it?)

Latoya: LOL, very much so. And yes, this really isn’t a case motivated by justice.

Arturo: What the hell is a Concerned American Firefighter? Nevermind, i see it now: white people.

Latoya: The Anti Defamation league supports neither party. Interesting. Wonder why?

Latoya:

“The ADL has endorsed limited racial preferences in order to remedy specific discrimination, it has repeatedly opposed the non-remedial use of race-based criteria, except under highly limited circumstances in the educational context where the government can identify a compelling interest to justify them, and has narrowly tailored their use to meet those legitimate interests.”

New Haven thus far has not been put to its proofs as to whether it has a compelling interest in scrapping the test results – that is, whether, under the facts of this case, there was a “strong basis in evidence” that it would have been subject to Title VII liability. The record as it now exists leaves unresolved questions that require resolution by the District Court.

Arturo: Hm.

Latoya:

When government uses race as a decisive factor in allocating opportunity or benefits, and ignores merit and classifies people based on immutable characteristics, it violates core vales of equal protection. Even in higher education, one of the few areas in which this court has been willing to permit some limited use of race, the means by which it may permissibly be considered is far more nuanced than the approach New Haven used here. Thus, in Grutter, The University of Michigan’s Law School was allowed to take race into account in its admissions.

Latoya:

As one component of a “highly individualized, holistic review” that focused on each applicant’s talents, abilities and background. GRUTTER, 539 U.S. at 337. The process did not run afoul of equal protection because it used race as just one factor; the individualized nature of that inquiry being deemed of “paramount” importance. (In contrast, Michigan’s Undergraduate Admissions System, which essentially awarded “bonus points” to minority applicants, was struck down for doing just that, in the companion case of Gratz V. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003)).

Latoya: Good point.

Arturo: “Highly individualized” I get, but “holistic”? What an odd choice of words.

Latoya: It is. The ADL seems very pro-Ricci. I’m wondering why they have declined to support either party.

Latoya:

Another equal protection case involving public safety promotions, Cotter v. City of Boston, 193 F.sUPP.2D 323 (d.mASS. 2002), AFF ’D. IN RELEVANT PART, 323 F.3D 160, 172 & N.10 (1ST CIR. 2003), illuminates what that inquiry might look like. In Cotter, eight white Boston police officers challenged the promotion of three African American officers who received lower scores on the promotional exam for Sergent. Boston cited three interests it claimed were sufficiently compelling to justify its move: the operational impact of having a racially diverse police force, the need to remedy past discrimination within the Department, and the desire to stave off litigation it claimed would have been filed by a minority-officers’ association or the officers themselves. 193 F. sUPP. 2D AT 338. In analyzing the City’s claimed desire to avoid litigation, the District Court looked to Shaw II for guidence. 193 F. sUPP. 2D 351, citing Shaw II, 517 U.s. AT 908 N.4. 4

Arturo: And back to the lawsuits it goes. I mean, really, why would you make that public? What message does that send to anyone who *does* get promoted? You’re basically encouraging resentment against POCs with those kinds of statements.

Latoya:

Note, however, that in Cotter the record presented two significant factors in support of the City’s determination that this record lacks: 1) a documented history of past discrimination within the department and 2) expert reports showing that, under two different measures of statistical significance, the exam had a disparate impact on African-American candidates. 193 F. sUPP. 2D AT 346- 351. The record here contains no such evidence on New Haven’s behalf; indeed the City specifically declined petitioners’ request to have the test results validated. [...] New Haven thus far has not been put to its proofs as to whether it has a compelling interest in scrapping the test results – that is, whether, under the facts of this case, there was a “strong basis in evidence” that it would have been subject to Title VII liability. The record as it now exists leaves unresolved questions that require resolution by the District Court.

Thea: Is it like everyone is passing this around? Is that an accurate surmise?

Latoya: No, that’s how these cases work. They normally spend years going back and forth.

Thea: Yah, i was just going to say that’s prolly not out of the ordinary.

AJPlaid: Yep. My question is why. Why was this kicked up so quickly?

Latoya: That’s a good question. According to the filing, the lower court judges who dissented urged the court to take a look and as the NYT article stated, it’s been ages since the court ruled on race in hiring.

AJPlaid: Right. See, my instinct keeps going off.

Latoya: What’s your instinct saying?

AJPlaid: Again, this is the move that folks have been waiting for: that we don’t have to adhere to racial “preferences” anymore. And, with Obama, it’s the legal equivalent of the “post-racial” narrative enacted.

Latoya: Very true – post racial legislation and precedents. Oh, here’s something interesting. The Latinos have spoken.

Arturo: Did we leave a message?

AJPlaid: LMAO!

Latoya: Here’s what the International Association of Hispanic Firefighters Association had to say:

This Court should affirm the Second Circuit’s judgment that a decision to avoid potential discrimination is not itself discrimination. To reverse will exacerbate racial tensions in public safety departments in Connecticut and in other workplaces throughout the country by giving credence to the notion that racial justice is a zero-sum game with every win for a person of color representing a loss for a white person, or vice versa.

AJPlaid: Bingo! I’m with the Hispanic Firefighters Association with this one.

Latoya:

The City of New Haven was faced with evidence that its promotional tests had a serious adverse impact on Latinos, as well as African Americans. For the lieutenant’s exam, the pass rate for Whites was 58.14%, but for African Americans, it was 31.58%, and for Latinos, it was a mere 20%. Pet. App. 426a, 429a- 432a, 437a. The pass rate for Latinos fails the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s four-fifths rule by a wide margin, supporting an inference that the test created a serious disparate impact on Latinos, in particular. The pass rates for the captains exam were similar. On the captain’s exam, Whites passed at a rate of 64%, while African Americans and Latinos each passed at a rate of 37.5%, again, failing the four-fifths rule by a wide margin. Id. at 427a, 433a-436a, 438a.

Latoya: The briefs are fascinating. I need to read some more in defense of the respondent. But everyone is interpreting the idea of the law differently.

AJPlaid: So no one wants to say – as Thea astutely pointed out – the system or test stinks. Instead they’re saying ” AA stinks.”

Arturo: Hm. any stats on Asian applicants?

Latoya: Nothing standing out. Some of the briefs are joint filed, but nothing Asian specific.

AJPlaid: So, yeah–it would behoove the city to create a fairer *test.* The BS in the article about New Haven folks not knowing “uptown” and “downtown” is exactly that.

Arturo: It might have been a poorly-phrased way of saying those terms aren’t commonly used for specific parts of town. San Diego, for example, has neighborhoods called Downtown and Old Town. In Wichita, the downtown area *is* called Old Town.

AJPlaid: True. But, having been to New Haven…they know.

Latoya: Most of the pro-briefs are arguing that the test is race neutral and valid.

Arturo: I’d like to know who, exactly, came up with the test.

AJPlaid: Good point.

Arturo: I mean, if it was just 3 or 5 white guys …

Latoya: True, but that gets back to the ADL brief. The defendants didn’t get the test analyzed – they just chose to disregard the results. The ADL seems to want the test checked and verified with the results presented to that circuit court. So, is the onus on [the City] for this?

AJPlaid: Hmmm…I don’t think so. But perhaps, they want to be impartial arbiters before deciding which side they’re on.

Arturo: As leery as everybody seems to be of further litigation, that makes sense.

Latoya: True. I think this is as good as it’s going to get [for this discussion]. Y’all seem kind of *blech* about talking law. Which means readers will probably be blech about reading it.

Arturo: To be fair, I haven’t gone into much detail on the briefs

AJPlaid: Right, Arturo. I keep going back to this statement from Judge Arterton:

But the city’s motives were lawful, Judge Arterton said. They included fear of public criticism, the possibility of “lawsuits from minority applicants that, for political reasons, the city did not want to defend” and a desire to promote “diversity in the Fire Department” and “managerial role models for aspiring firefighters.” (NYT)

Arturo: But the argument itself is intriguing, even if there’s still a bunch of open-ended questions surrounding it.

Latoya: Right – And that’s where the two types of briefs split.

AJPlaid: Not so much *blech* , Latoya, just not on surer footing about all the angles. :)

Latoya: I suppose. The problem is it won’t be argued until the 22nd and it will be a while on a decision.

Arturo: That bit of evidence you presented earlier re: Latino test scores would seem to tilt things in favor of the defendants a bit.

Latoya: Well, it would depend though.

AJPlaid: On what?

Latoya: On what the court feels like is the real thrust behind this case.

AJPlaid: True.

Latoya: The petitioner supporters are all arguing that these types of hiring practices are, in fact, race neutral. And if we are willing to disregard the more race neutral forms of judging merit, then how is that getting us anywhere?

AJPlaid: But nuts-and-bolts of how AA gets implemented doesn’t appear race-neutral at all.

Latoya: Right – they are arguing that we are trying to override merit with quotas.

AJPlaid: Especially to those white folks who been used to racial preferences as a matter of course.

Latoya: Which is why some of the pro-respondent briefs were anti-quota. They argued that in this case, there was no quota – no one was promoted, so no harm, no foul.

Arturo: The counter to that argument is, if this is so “race-neutral,” why are black and latino applicants passing rates so low?

Latoya: Arturo, you know what they are going to argue in relation to that. You’ve been on this planet as long as I have. We’re *always* unqualified, even if we are.

AJPlaid: That’s it.

Latoya: And/or too lazy to study. After all, the guy with dyslexia could do it, because he *tried*

Aturo: except he *didn’t* — he wouldn’t have passed under the system, anyway.

AJPlaid: But I’d argue that’s not how AA is supposed to work. But that’s how it’s been used.

Latoya: Implication being blacks and Latinos either aren’t trying and just don’t have the aptitude. Art – also correct. We really need to try to find someone else involved in this case to get some stories from.

Arturo: Hm. Do we know if New Haven has any ethnic media?

Latoya: Not sure. Does someone want to check while I am rolling through the briefs?

Arturo: Well, there’s an “alternative” paper, the New Haven Advocate. Let me keep checking …

AJPlaid: Connecticut’s Ethnic Newspapers are here.

Arturo: Black Coalition Weekly. Hm.

Latoya: There also seems to be the assumption [in the pro-petitioner briefs] that the act of throwing out the test amounts to a race based preference, which is prohibited under the law.

AJPlaid: Still looking…

Arturo: that’s one question I’d like someone to ask: wouldn’t throwing out this test call for a re-test? And thus, wouldn’t our Mr. Ricci get another shot at making the top 3?

AJPlaid: Here’s a regional Black newspaper, coming out weekly: http://www.inqnews.com/Frontpage.php. Cursory glance: nada.

Arturo: I didn’t see anything, either.

Latoya: Ugh. This is when racial bias in the media blows me. Did they bother to interview any of the black or Latino firefighters?

Arturo: Obviously, it’s the NHFD’s fault for not having more dyslexic personnel to cover.

AJPlaid: I also see West Indian American and Inner-City News. Again, either jainky website or no website.

Arturo: I can’t even find a website for Black Coalition Weekly.

Latoya: <----sighs deeply

AJPlaid: Feel you.

Latoya: This is strange

Arturo: ?

AJPlaid: Uh-oh

Latoya: It's like everyone who is not a plaintiff vanished from public record.

AJPlaid: You know my favorite word for such things....

Arturo: Whitewash?

AJPlaid: Conspiracy.

Arturo: The FD site says the department isn't recruiting at the moment.

Latoya: I feel a mild level obsession coming on

AJPlaid: Of course not. Isn't it policy to not comment on cases, or am I dreaming?

Latoya: There has to be one person who went on record that is not a plaintiff. It's policy not to comment - but this is an old case. It was around for a while. Someone *had* to have said something before it went to trial.

AJPlaid: True.

Arturo: Maybe the BCW had something -- but without a site, it's a bit more involved to figure that out.

AJPlaid: But if the case is getting heard on 4/22, then the gag rule may be informally put on. And to break the roundtable, we'd need that info stat.

Arturo: Point.

AJPlaid: "break"=to go live

Latoya: Can someone check the Hartford Courant for information? They seem to have broke the original story that was picked up.

AJPlaid: On it.

Arturo: This is so NCIS. (Gods, I hate afternoon cable TV.)

Latoya: NCIS?

Latoya: <----watches TV once a week, at most.

AJPlaid: http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-firefighter-race-lawsuit.artapr06,0,5219178.story

Aturo: Hm. It’s a wire story. This story is definitely slanted more favorably toward Ricci.

Arturo: It’s like CSI, but covering the military.

Latoya: Wait, so is that like JAG?

Arturo: I would imagine so. JAG doesn’t have a gothy lab asst., so I don’t watch it.

Arturo: Nobody on record for the defendants

Latoya: Hmmm.

Arturo: No black firefighters interviewed

AJPlaid: Nope.

Latoya: [The LA Times reported that the plaintiffs] said Boise Kimber, an outspoken black minister, was a key political ally of Mayor John DeStefano Jr., and that he pressured the city civil service board into rejecting the test results.

Arturo: Although the mention of the Obama administration [siding with both the City and the ADL] is a new wrinkle.

Latoya: It is.

Arturo: Looks like the Times re-ran the Tribune piece

“Payton emphasized that New Haven had not rejected the white firefighters because of their race, but rather rejected the use of the written exam as the sole determinant of who would be promoted.”

Arturo: That’s a key distinction.

AJPlaid: Yep. But the Obama wrinkle: thoughts?

Arturo: I’d like to know *who* in the administration was quoted there.

Latoya: I’ll second that, though I doubt we’ll get an answer. Some of the cases in the briefs (specifically the Michigan decision) cite the Bush Administration, no further info.

Arturo: It’s not a bad addition to the piece, but to not have a firefighter of color mentioned in the piece is disappointing. I’m also not digging that in every draft, the story centers on Ricci. It’s coming dangerously close to exploitation.

Latoya: Word.

AJPlaid: yep.

Arturo: I feel for the guy, I really do, but Savage is making him into some sort of Tiny Tim. We also haven’t heard from any applicants of color who took the test. How do we know none of *them* didn’t work just as hard?

AJPlaid: We don’t–and won’t–know.

Latoya: Man, we need to take this to the streets.

AJPlaid: Perhaps the reporter did talk to PoCs, and the editors took it out.

Latoya: Can we work our networks? Someone reading has got to be in New Haven

AJPlaid: I know Kai Chang lives in CT. Maybe he knows or kept up with the case.

Arturo: I’d have to check my Facebook, but I think I have a contact in CT.

Latoya: Alright, let’s do that then.

AJPlaid: Maybe hop on Twitter and ask, too. Anything else, Madame Editrix?

Latoya: No, you all have been awesome.

AJPlaid: Witticisms, criticisms, etc., etc.?

Arturo: It’s what we do.

Latoya: We can snark at the court after they release a statement. I wonder how often they get heckled.

Arturo: It’s a miracle it doesn’t happen more often.

AJPlaid: I heard Justice Thomas was booed at the Inauguration.

Arturo: Of course, if the SC was based in Philly, it’d be different

Latoya: lol

Arturo: “YOU SUCK, SCALIA! YOU SUCK!”

AJPlaid: LOL

Latoya: LOL, we should go old school. Bring tomatoes.

Arturo: And TP his car!

Latoya: Spray paint his garage

AJPlaid: Not that I’ve done anything like that….mind you.:D

Latoya: lol

Arturo: I’m too new-school. I just defriend evildoers on MySpace.

Latoya: We’ll send Scalia a tweet to get on MySpace. Then we de-friend him.