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