A Brooklyn firefighter decided he was going to wear anti-Affirmative Action shirts while he was off-duty, and it didn’t exactly turn out the way he had hoped.
The New York Daily News reports that veteran fireman Thomas Buttaro, on the Ladder Co. 123 force since 1998, wore shirts with slogans such as “MADD – Minorities Against Dumbing Down” and bearing the “Merit Matters” logo while he was off-duty in the fire station. The shirts were in protest to a court-ordered outreach to increase the number of minorities working at the department that came under Mayor Bill de Blasio, which Buttaro and others believed weakened the department.
“He was creating a hostile work environment in the firehouse,” a source within the department told the Daily News. “It was so disruptive, it was causing problems.”
Ultimately, after Buttaro was seen in the shirts more than 50 times in a 10-month span, some of which people claim suggested that minorities didn’t earn their way into the department, he was let go. On Wednesday, he was served with termination papers from two members of the department, but Buttaro maintains he didn’t do anything wrong.
“Our attire, off-duty to and from work, has never been regulated,” the ex-fireman, who we should mention is white, told the Daily News.
“Rules are that at work, you have to be in proper attire,” he continued. “Our locker room is on the second floor. We have to be in proper attire by roll call. Not before, not when you get to work, not when you leave.”
Apparently, an administrative court judge previously recommended that Buttaro be fired for “malicious actions that were in the firehouse intended to harm and humiliate a fellow firefighter.” The internal document revealing this also stated there were other discriminatory reasons for firing Buttaro.
But Buttaro doesn’t think he was being discriminatory and blamed political correctness for the action.
“You’re supposed to respect differences of opinion,” Buttaro said. “You can’t just say you’re offended … it deflects a discussion.”
For those unaware, “Merit Matters” is a group that claims to be working to preserve the merit within FDNY testing by countering false claims and information disseminated by others and working with the FDNY on “issues of mutual concern.” Their website’s mission statement says their goal is to ensure that deciding who is hired, regardless of race, isn’t done so only to fill minority quotas.
“We believe in equal opportunity, not guaranteed results,” the statement reads. “We want standards to be high, meaningful, equally applied and blind to race, gender or ethnicity. Written and physical exams should ensure that the MOST QUALIFIED applicants are chosen; they should NOT be designed to have as many applicants as possible pass.”
Affirmative action has long been contested as a form of reverse discrimination, and rightfully so. To give a less qualified minority person a job over a more qualified white person is about as discriminating as it gets.
After all, the definition of discrimination is to judge based upon looks or some other physical characteristic, rather than a person’s character and skills. So, to hire someone based off of the same is discrimination in itself.
Do you think that Buttaro should have been fired? Let us know in the comments!
—Courtesy of Mad World News