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Racist and anti-Semitic tweets from a New York City firefighter shame far more than his father, who is the city’s fire commissioner. One of the more curious byproducts of living in the age of Obama is the renewed presence of racial insensitivity and the blatant lengths to which people are apparently willing to go to put it on public display. Just consider the case of Congressman Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who shouted “you lie” at President Obama during a state of the union speech.
It is a culture that trickles down from how the president is treated to less lofty terrain. We now have the sad spectacle of Joseph Cassano, the 23-year-old son of New York City’s fire commissioner, who recently resigned from the department after revelations that he had used social media as a platform to express his hatred for Jews, African-Americans and those who are poor. The discovery and public airing of those social media messages led to the anticipated reaction from father and son.

If nothing else, this would be a fine time for Cassano and his executive staff to study deeply the landscape of his department when it comes to race. Three years ago, a federal district court in Brooklyn ruled that a court-appointed monitor be called in to look deeply into the department’s recruiting and hiring practices with an eye toward making sure more Black and Latino applicants are hired. It is a department submerged in a culture of insensitivity and callousness toward some components of the city. BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. In a city where a quarter of the residents are Black, African-American firefighters account for a paltry 3 percent of the force.
It is a department that is steeped in nepotism where firefighting positions remain within families, like old silver.

Let’s face it, there is no reason for the firefighting personnel in New York City to look very much like the fire department of Fargo, North Dakota. Note that the commissioner’s 23-year-old son managed to get a job in the Fire Department while scores of Black and Latino applicants did not. And this would be a good time for the commissioner to do more than simply lament his son’s bad judgment.

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