Casting a shadow over the ceremony for 19 graduates of the fire department's training program, the reporter spouts statistics proving the diversity of the department is not reflective of the city's population. While the writer focuses on race, she fails to note the lacking diversity of women and that more than 16 percent of the population is over the age of 60. Do we want older firefighters, too? The "right" people can not be forced to apply for specific jobs.
One possible reason given for the imbalance is the fact that minorities are not passing the entrance exams. Applicants are required to answer half the questions correctly. Only 50 percent, folks! Most schools consider a grade below 60 as failing. I doubt the city is issuing SATs but if tests go beyond the scope of job needs, then revision may be appropriate. However, keep in mind that mathematical reasoning coincides with critical thinking skills. Firefighting is not just spraying water on flames. Precise science and related aptitudes are required.
Greensboro's fire department maintains excellent Accreditation and ISO ratings because of their operational standards, which includes hiring policies. I, along with a majority of other article commentators, want the best of the best coming to the rescue when flames are lapping at our heels and consuming our homes.
When someone is willing to fight for lives and property; when he (or she) puts his body and mind through extensive training; when he takes an oath and graduates with a class of others who comparably excel - that firefighter deserves recognition that goes beyond any demographic label.