(Robert Jonathan, Headline USA) For those looking to be promoted to lieutenant on the Seattle fire department, studying critical race theory is apparently up there in importance with having actual first-responder skills.
The test 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 by Bobbie Scopa, according to an exam study list. pic.twitter.com/2gmFVofzcC
— Aaron Sibarium (@aaronsibarium) May 25, 2023
According to the Washington Free Beacon, race- and gender-related readings form an integral part of the material that would-be lieutenants are expected to master for their written exam.
For test prep, the city’s human resources department reportedly requires prospective lieutenants to study Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be An Antiracist, a memoir authored by a transgender firefighter, and another book about “unconscious bias.”
Retired Seattle firefighter Wayne Johnson, who helped craft some of the prior tests, told the Beacon that “this stuff has nothing to do with firefighting. It has everything to do with social engineering.”
The exam for fireboat engineers and fire captains also includes a social justice component.
One firefighter, who lost his job for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, reportedly said, “These woke tests are making it harder for the macho guys to get hired. They weed out people who are not politically aligned.”
With reference to the Kendi treatise, a firefighter who took 2021 lieutenant’s exam said that “if I had only read that one book, I would have done really well. What we should be studying—high-rise fires, water supply—wasn’t emphasized as heavily.”
Separately, female recruits to the Seattle fire department who fail the initial physical fitness test reportedly often benefit from an immediate second chance—a privilege not extended to their male counterparts.
“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,” the Beacon asserted.
Controversy over the social-justice exam comes at a time when the department is short-staffed, due in part to a significant cohort of firefighters declining to comply with a COVID vaccine mandate.
Seattle’s police department is also undermanned for that and other reasons while crime continues to increase.