1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Schenectady, New York

    Exclamation 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.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2000


    While I don't necessarily have the perspective to properly engage your stated reasons, I will offer the thought that one can develop a working relationship with the (many aspects of the) media, but one should not become too entrenched in trying to control it.

    The bottom line?

    The best recruitment tool we have is one another. When we welcome worthy and diverse candidates into our realm and serve as proper mentors, our efforts are returned a-thousand-fold.

    If you are the Commanding Officer of your agency, you can certainly fund and coordinate a media plan. For the rest of us, our best efforts may be spent one coffee-cup at a time with interested or intrigued young men and women at the Fire Station kitchen table.

    Just a little something to think about. Best wishes.

    Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Schenectady, New York



    Point taken, we as firefighters cannot bash the media for our recruitment faults. How ever think of the obvious:

    If you ask lot of black kids who they want to be like, they probably will tell you: Kobe Bryant, Randy Moss, Nelly, Mary J Blige, Eddie Murphy, Queen Latifah, or the Late Aaliyah. hollywood is great and so is professional sports, but I have seen in more minority familes a preaching the Idea of reach too high only for the jobs with money. What alot of kids are seeing and hearing is that Singing, acting and playing sports pays very well, but they are not being told that is pays well if you have genuine talent. We have lots of aspiring actors and athletes who make as much as a manager at a fine restaurant, which is probably not as much as anymember of FDNY or even LAFD, and to sum it up they are probably working another job to make ends meet when the performances stop or when they dont get a part or a position on a semi pro team. then they have to audition or tryout for a new part or position. Some parents ( I happen to be a parent also) often dont tell the bad side of sports, the injuries, the cuts, the career ending bad decisions. I played football, and basketball and ran track, I only really had a shot at track in short distance, but I can still run in a running club for fun while I fight fires, and even better represent my city and my fire department doing so. My parents always suggested a backup plan, something else I want to be which is more down to earth. The Movie "Hoop Dreams" reminded me of that and actually I just saw a movie last night which the writer (Comedian Tyler Perry) highlights some of the things destroying the futures of minority youth. Whats going on isnt any fire departments problem except for when the gong goes off and we need to do our job, its up to the people to fix, and in specific the people of the minority communities. This is one job that after to early years of a child's life, Doesnt get talked about unless a family member is a firefighter...
    Last edited by WR23SFD; 02-26-2006 at 03:21 PM.

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