This piece in the Harvard Business Review is a couple of weeks old, but it’s still making the rounds on social media as people confront the idea that it’s a problem that the overwhelming majority of firefighters are white men.
U.S. firefighters are overwhelmingly white and male. Here’s why that needs to changehttps://t.co/llRGS1tAYd
— Harvard Biz Review (@HarvardBiz) December 18, 2018
Author Corinne Bendersky notes that a very small percentage of firefighters’ time is spent putting out fires; most calls to which they respond are medical emergencies — situations in which some female compassion could come in useful.
To succeed as a firefighter, stereotypically masculine traits like brawn and courage are simply not enough. Firefighters also need the intellectual, social, and emotional skills required to deliver medical emergency aid, support each other through traumatic experiences, and engage intimately with the communities they serve. In short, successful firefighters embody a complex mix of skills and traits. And yet, in my research on reducing gender bias and my work conducting training on general diversity and inclusion with fire departments, I find that, when evaluating fit and competence, firefighters tend to default to a reductive set of traits (physical strength evaluated through strict fitness tests, for example) that serve to maintain white men’s dominance in the fire service.
And forget about the number of openly gay men who serve as firefighters.
— Diana Allocco (@dianamee) December 19, 2018
I’d rather a bunch of reliable strong MEN show up if there is an emergency. Save the change for academic knuckleheads.
— Zzopit???? (@zzopit) December 19, 2018
Can we get a racial breakdown of the clowns at Harvard Biz Review?
— JWF (@JammieWF) December 19, 2018
It's not your race and gender that make you write something so preposterous.
— Anthony Bialy (@AnthonyBialy) December 19, 2018
Harvard Business Review overwhelmingly writes clickbait articles, for the sake of internet traffic & for their sponsors. Here’s why that needs to change.
— Francis (@YeahThisIsHess) December 18, 2018
— CareNotDude (@CareNotDude) December 18, 2018
The progressive mantra is if it's not broke just break it anyway.
— Robert (@TheAlchemist235) December 18, 2018
I always thought it was “if it’s not broke, fix it until it is. “
— Rodney McGilvray (@theSHARKT0PUS) December 19, 2018
You're so right – recently while my house was on fire I had to turn away the first fire crew because they weren't diverse enough to extinguish the flames in a racially sensitive manner.
— System11 (@System11b) December 18, 2018
“Remember kids, only YOU can prevent forest fires! ………if you’re adequately diverse enough based on immutable features, that is.”
— Andy from PWP (@andyPWP) December 18, 2018
Here we go again. Can someone Femsplain this to me? @CHSommers
— brown_bexar (@colonneh_020393) December 19, 2018
Honestly I just came here to check if this was a real tweet……
— Bill Knight (@BillKni95026647) December 19, 2018
I been saying for years that female Filipino midgets are overwhelming overlooked for firefighter jobs. THIS NEEDS TO END NOW!!!
— GrandMasterB23 (@grand_b23) December 18, 2018
Little people. Let’s keep it PC.
If they’re qualified to do the job and they do it amazingly, that’s all that should really matter.
I’ll take safety over diversity, thanks.
— GBA!/[b] (@TheGBADude) December 19, 2018
There’s also the fact that firefighters tend to go in line with family. It was predominantly Irish men doing the work way back when, and the tradition has held. Family follows family.
There’s really no problem with that whatsoever.
— GBA!/[b] (@TheGBADude) December 19, 2018
Whoever wrote this should run 100+ meters with another person in a fireman carry position, then talk.
There won't be the most qualified firefighters, there will only be those who fit into the diverstiy check list.
This is a perfect way to get people killed.
— El Bearsidente 江戸羆? (@Edohiguma) December 19, 2018
Alternative headline: Not Enough People are Burning to Death In Fires. Here’s How to Fix That
— John Emmett (@VSU_Voice) December 19, 2018
Absolutely terrible article.
— Cap Black (@Areasmac) December 19, 2018
Left out of the article (conveniently) is on average the number of applicants for firefighting careers by race and/or gender.
— Corey (@TheCorePortrait) December 19, 2018
Right. Cause preference doesn’t matter. We’ll get equality of outcome even if we have to force people to fire fight against their will. ?
— Bonnie Knoppe (@campbell_bonnie) December 19, 2018
My city just posted a recruitment for 18 firefighters. 2500 applications were received. The test math, problem solving, language aptitude, communication skills and physical ability. Should they take the top 18 or no?
— Bradford (@bradley_077) December 19, 2018
Only if you want the best people. But nowadays it's more important to engineer a diverse team with sub optimal abilities…because only diverse teams can put out fires and save lives in the community
— Joseph Smyth (@southpawking) December 19, 2018
Literally thousands of volunteer fire departments in need of people, what is stopping anyone from signing up? 20,000 volunteer and 5,000 mostly volunteer FDs out of 30,000 total FDs. Sign up, pass the test, get a cert and do the work.
— Greg Wrightsman (@GWrights13) December 19, 2018
I look forward to the deep dives from your ivory towers on breaking the patriarchy in these professions. Weave in some gender-pay-gap, too. That’ll garner more clicks. ??? pic.twitter.com/cT8DJAvKaJ
— S K (@sjkz) December 19, 2018
I think the words you were looking for are "Thank you."
— Dapper Bastard (@Dapper_Bastard) December 19, 2018
MIC DROP! Chris Loesch uses Chris Evans’ own tweet about diversity against him and it’s GLORIOUS https://t.co/fyEHNH5Dz3
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) September 11, 2018