This is the latest letter Deputy Chief Paul Mannix (President of Merit Matters) has had published in the Chief-Leader, October 1st, 2010, putting the most recent Nicholas Garaufis decision into perspective;
As ridiculous as it may seem at first blush, Humpty Dumpty’s dialogue in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” contains a fantastic explanation of political correctness that anticipates by quite a few decades George Orwell’s Newspeak.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
I thought of the above passage while reading the recent order issued by Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis relating to proposed interim hiring procedures for the FDNY. By changing what is or can be said, you eventually change what is or can be thought. Attempts to redefine words and take on the role of master of what can be said must be very carefully scrutinized if for no other reason than to prevent those in positions of power from taking a great fall in public esteem.
The most glaring attempt in the Judge’s order to change the meaning of a word is shown in the use of “quota.” A quota is defined by Webster’s as, “a numerical limit set on some class of things or persons” yet Mr. Garaufis claims that the proposals presented only “strongly resemble” racial hiring quotas.
Perhaps his perspective is skewed by his perch up on that, not wall, but bench, but all the proposals offered (in fact the entire exercise brought about by this lawsuit) are being considered in order to place a numerical limit on some class of persons—in this case, white ones. To be fair to the Judge, he is not the only one in society running from the word “quota”; other supposed masters of the language have developed numerous euphemisms to hide their support of the racist and/or sexist intent behind the use of quotas (“target,” “goal,” “timetable,” “hiring preference,” “applicant flow,” “proportional hiring”) but I’m a simple guy and have no need to trick anyone—so I’ll stick with quota.
Interestingly, Mr. Garaufis has indicated he understands the perniciousness of quotas by claiming in open court that, “I will not impose quotas. So I want you to tell your client that. You tell your client that. You tell your client that here. We are not going to have quotas in this litigation, but we are going to, should we need it, have some other solution as an interim solution.” As I’ve written before, Judge — a quota is a quota is a quota, and all of your proposals are quotas.
Almost as disingenuous, perhaps more so if you are a member of one of the groups whose status has been redefined in an almost unbelievable act of judicial activism—is the court’s proclamation that Asians, Native Americans and “other” candidates do not qualify as minorities. Now I am sure an obtuse legal reasoning can be raised to support this proclamation, but that just emphasizes Humpty’s point that all that matters is who is to be master.
Absurdly, when the original complaint that led to this lawsuit was filed, it concerned only blacks. Hispanics were added somewhere along the line because some master decided they, too, were aggrieved minorities, but I guess only these two groups are invited to this increasingly confusing and maddening tea party.
What of the term “race-neutral”? That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Warm and fuzzy, and something all reasonable people can support, right? Well, the problem is, when we read that, “(a)ll parties agree that randomly selecting candidates for processing from the entire applicant pool for Exam 6019 would be race-neutral and, therefore, a lawful hiring procedure,” some of us remember that random selection is only being considered because there are too many of one race and not enough of others, so its considered implementation is anything but race-neutral.
Those “some of us” who remember this realize that we might be upsetting the masters but we are definitely not neutral about that prospect— in fact you could say we eagerly hope to provoke some upset among them and among those who reject the nonsense that ensues when it is decided that discrimination is okay if it is utilized against a non-favored group.
We are also informed that race-conscious compliance procedures are lawful. This means that if you are the wrong color we are not going to hire you and, if the judge insists on pursuing this course of action, I just want to warn him that he can expect to incur the wrath of the FDNY Equal Employment Opportunity Unit. Its policy statement reads, “The Fire Department is firmly committed to maintaining fair employment practices for its employees and applicants and ensuring that employment decisions are made without regard to...color...gender...race...religion...” Sounds to me like they are not fooling around. If they raise objections to your race conscious compliance procedures (and I can’t imagine they won’t, as this concept flies in the face of their stated policy), don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I wish I could end this letter here, but Mr. Garaufis continues his campaign of re-definition, expanding from mere words and phrases to redefining the very intentions of others. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts wrote in support of a decision which ruled quotas cannot be used as a factor to increase racial diversity in schools that, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Justice Roberts’s point is clear—the use of quotas discriminates on the basis of race and is illegal. Mr. Garaufis, however, would have us believe that what he really meant was that we have to utilize quotas to avoid lawsuits and monetary judgments. It is my hope that once Mr. Garaufis issues his final remedy order in this case and the city appeals, it winds up in front of Justice Roberts so he can enlighten Mr. Garaufis on this point while voting to overturn his ruling.
At points in the ruling intentions that are too offensive or unacceptable are simply omitted. Two of the “Applicant Flow” (quota) proposals discuss classes of either 300 or 221 candidates but don’t make clear that in order to arrive at the proportion desired, 62 whites would have to be excluded for a class of 300 and 114 whites for a class of 221.
This shining example of obfuscation is understandable—the legal winds have shifted and there is considerably less tolerance for quotas in both society and courtrooms than in the past. Quota proponents understand they are hanging on by their fingernails, so they either ignore inconvenient truths (to borrow a phrase) or resort to some of the most pathetic and ridiculous arguments (reading comprehension ability is not important; upper body strength is overvalued) ever utilized in defense of a position.
Lewis Carroll discovered what writer Theodore Dalrymple called the greatest truth of modern political philosophy: “What I tell you three times is true.” For a long time it has been said that the FDNY has fought integration, when the complete opposite is true, and this is easily verified by facts. It has also been said that quotas are necessary to combat discrimination, ignoring that quotas commit discrimination. The time has thankfully come when now, no matter how many times false information is repeated, reasonable people throughout society are rejecting it and working towards a time when equal opportunity is accorded to all—regardless of race.
PAUL D. MANNIX
President, Merit Matters