Fighting Fire

More

In its profile of William Battle, the first black NYPD officer, the Times offers a comparison:


Today, blacks are 23 percent of the city's population, and 18 percent of all police officers. Black, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers make up nearly 48 percent among all ranks, and among police officers they have been a majority since 2006. 

 Among higher-ranking officers, promoted on the basis of competitive civil service tests, minority officers constitute 39 percent of sergeants, up from 19 percent a decade ago; 25 percent of lieutenants, up from 13 percent; and 17 percent of captains, up from 5 percent. Of the 43 blacks who have passed the test for captain since then, nearly half have been promoted to higher ranks.

I was debating someone in comments a while back about the Times mixing stats. This is what I was talking about. It would be nice if they'd followed through on the black percentage of police officers up through the ranks.

But be that as it may, it seems like police departments have done a reasonably good job, in areas with diverse populations, of integrating. I've never understood why its been so much harder in the fire department:

In 1971, blacks constituted 32 percent of the city's population, but only 5 percent of the fire department. Almost four decades later, only 3.4 percent of the FDNY is black, and less than 7 percent is Latino. In a city with only a 35 percent white population, the FDNY is about 90 percent white... 

New York's fire department is also whiter than those in other cities. Of the fire departments in eight of the nation's largest cities, New York's is dead last in diversity.

It's not even so much that minorities are underrepresented in the FDNY as it is that they are almost invisible. 90 percent white is a really high number.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In