Society

The Normalized Racism from the F.D.N.Y.

For years, Black firefighters were silenced about the normalized racist remarks from the Caucasian firefighters at the Fire Department of New York. This was finally brought to light after the murder of George Floyd and the firefighters took their remarks too far.

“White firefighters shared racist messages and memes on their phones mocking Mr. Floyd’s dying moments. They gloated about how police could “legally shoot Black children.” And lieutenants discussed turning fire hoses on protesters, prompting debates about whether the tactic would work, because “wild animals like water””

From the New York Times article, “How a Racist Scandal at the F.D.N.Y. Led to Its Biggest Suspensions Ever”

These privileged “men” would also use excuses such as being stressed or overworked to justify their actions; however, how could such actions be justified? The contents of a private, anonymous text message exchange between a group of white firemen were leaked to individuals who had been purposefully excluded. Mr. Floyd’s death was the subject of blatantly racist memes, remarks, and jokes.

In one meme, a Sesame Street character dismisses a pay raise when he becomes a cop because “being able to legally shoot Black children is payment enough.”

Another picture depicted a fictitious Mr. Floyd dating profile. A white man’s knee was his “match.”

The stigma that developed was of a strict culture built of the department’s predominantly white and conservative members, one that has struggled with recent efforts to diversify the department and bring in new Black recruits at a time when racial and political division is at an all-time high.

The department silently suspended nine firemen without pay for terms ranging from a few days to six months after numerous Black firefighters received the texts and protested. The sanctions, according to a speaker, are the most severe ever handed out in the history of the agency, which seldom fires or suspends its employees for extended periods of time; however, many Black firefighters believe they fell far short of addressing what they view as deep-seated issues in a department that has fought for decades to reform its culture and has allowed racism, sexism, and harassment, according to officials.

Categories: Society