Seattle firefighters must pretend to believe racist left-wing nonsense to be promoted

Seattle firefighters must pretend to believe racist left-wing nonsense to be promoted
Ibram X. Kendi, the product of critical race theory (Image: YouTube screen grab via CBS News)

The best-selling book How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi contains racist, communist nonsense. But you have to agree with the book — or pretend to agree with it — if you want to be have a decent chance of being promoted as a Seattle firefighter. The “key concept” in the book is that discrimination against whites is the only way to achieve equality: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” writes Kendi in that book. “To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. To love racism is to end up loving capitalism…Capitalism is essentially racist; racism is essentially capitalist,” the book says.  These atrocious statements have made the book a favorite of left-wing publications like Slate, which gushes that the book is a “comprehensive introduction to critical race theory.”

The Free Beacon reports on how Seattle firefighters now are tested more on the teachings of books like How To Be An Antiracist, than on the skills and knowledge needed to be good firefighters:

To see if they’re up to snuff, most departments administer a written test, typically multiple-choice, to prospective lieutenants. Candidates must score above a cut-off to be considered for the job, with higher scores increasing the odds of promotion. The exam, which covers a litany of topics from building construction to medical techniques, is designed to ensure that the people making life-and-death decisions know the bare minimum to make them well.

So firefighters in Seattle, Washington, were surprised when their department’s lieutenant exam focused almost as much on social justice as on firefighting.

The test, which has both written and oral components, is based on a list of texts assigned by the Seattle Department of Human Resources—including, as of this year, How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and Both Sides of the Fire Lane: Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter……in 2021, local officials including [Seatte fire chief Harold] Scoggins commissioned a report on diversity in the fire service. One of its recommendations: avoid tests that “rely heavily on knowledge of firefighting.”

“[T]ests that focus on how well applicants know the system and the job tend to favor those who make up the overwhelming majority of the fire service workforce, white men,” the report says. “Questions that ask more about the candidate’s character and values, rather than knowing the ins and outs of the job, can be beneficial in advancing more women and people of color.”

Seattle appears to have taken that advice.

An upcoming test for fireboat engineers, who operate the pumps and nozzles used to douse coastal fires, will quiz candidates on Robin DiAngelo’s Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, according to the exam bibliography. The fire captains exam likewise assigns DiAngelo’s book—along with handouts on the “structural interplay between all oppressions”…Firefighters who sat for the 2021 lieutenant’s exam said How To Be an Antiracist was an integral part of it, while basics like fire behavior took a back seat. “If I had only read that one book, I would have done really well,” said Andy Pittman, a former member of the Seattle Fire Department. “What we should be studying—high rise fires, water supply—wasn’t emphasized as heavily.”

Pittman, who is Japanese as well as an Alaskan Native, said he scored well on the tactics portion of the exam conducted via video. But he hadn’t expected the written portion, which received the most weight, to be so slanted toward race and identity. While technically above the pass/fail cut-off, his overall score was low—tanked in part, he said, by the political questions. That put him near the bottom of the department’s promotion register, meaning he was all but certain to be passed over.

Beyond raising questions about competence, former department members say, the ideological screening has worsened a staffing crisis … At a time when the city desperately needs first responders, the fire service has grown more hostile to the sort of people who typically join it: big, burly men whose politics tend to be to the right of the average Seattle bureaucrat.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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