Media Effects On Recruitment
Last year, my fire department went to great efforts to recruit. The reason being that there was concern over the department lacking minorities. Back then, (February 2005) I had recently returned home from the war in Iraq, and now had time to seriously think about how I wanted to live the rest of my life. Never did I think that I would end up a probationary firefighter in 2006, when All I ever wanted was to be a firefighter.
I am a minority(African American) and I was the only one appointed this year by the city, and now the only one in the department. About 3 weeks after my appointment, there was an article in the paper naming all of the appointees, and myself. The headlines focused on me and the one member of the city council who also is African American who started the recruitment effort. He was quoted claiming that hiring one wasnt enough... As I read this I became upset with the fact that this politician has not focused on the causes for only one minority being hired he slammed the department, and the chief, who has to work with the candidates available. I was embarrased for my name being in the paper tied to political slamming where I look at who is mostly to blame... The media and parenting itself.
Since I am a minority in the city, and I am young, smart, and I remember clearly what the process to become firefighter involves, not to mention the tasks a firefighter must perform. I have a clear understanding of why there has been a absence of minorities in our department. Here are my reasons...
1) Minority youth focus heavily on the media, everyone is either into rap music, or sports.This is where most of the minority fame is seen. Some rappers preaching things which can be considered immoral, with athletes making large sums of money for their hard work.
2) Money and selfishness is playing too big a role in minority life style. There are fewer youth in general who agree to the concept of risking their lives for others. We dont see Kobe Bryant, or Michael Vick, Or rapper 50 Cent rushing into burning buildings for the safety of others... We see them living the high life purchasing and driving cars we all would have to lease, and living in homes which we as firefighters could never afford without winning the lottery.
My main point here is that our media which praises our work, is effecting our recruitment. just shortly after My city annouced its recruitment effort, a neighboring city noticed that they too were lacking minorities, and started their own drive.
These recruitment drives have turned up some qualified faces. Its not any department's fault that there isnt an interest in the fire service or law enforcement in some minority communities. The culprit is parents, and the media. While they are great, they sometimes challenge our efforts, and it doesnt help when politicians ignorantly blame fire chiefs for the lacking, when documents go to show that there wasnt many answering the call in the first place.