REPORT: Seattle Firefighter Promotion Test Includes Questions About ‘Anti-Racism’ Book, Transgender Memoir

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Seattle firefighters were surprised to see their lieutenants exam would test them on a variety of ideological topics seemingly unrelated to their job, according to a Thursday report by The Washington Free Beacon.

The firefighters’ exam traditionally tests on topics including such as building construction and medical techniques, with test-takers required to score above a cut-off to receive consideration for the job, according to the Free Beacon. These topics purportedly help to filter for the applicants most capable of making life and death decisions. (RELATED: 2,000 FDNY Firefighters On Medical Leave Amid COVID-19 Vaccine Protests)

The Seattle firefighters’ exam for prospective lieutenants includes questions on social justice texts including “How To Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi, “Both Sides of the Fire Lane: Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter” by Bobbie Scopa and “A Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias and Fighting Fire.” These texts comprise more than 800 pages of reading combined.

“This stuff has nothing to do with firefighting,” Wayne Johnson, a retired Seattle firefighter told the Free Beacon, “It has everything to do with social engineering.”

A strategic report released in 2021 by Kings County, Washington about increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in fire fighting recommended departments avoid tests which “rely heavily on knowledge of firefighting.”

“[T]ests that focus on how well applicants know the system and the job tend to favor those who make up the overwhelming majority of the fire service workforce, white men,” the report says.

“Questions that ask more about the candidate’s character and values, rather than knowing the ins and outs of the job, can be beneficial in advancing more women and people of color.”

“How To Be an Anti-Racist” was reportedly featured prominently in the 2021 iteration of the exam, Seattle firefighters told the Free Beacon.

“If I had only read that one book, I would have done really well,” said Andy Pittman, a former member of the Seattle Fire Department. “What we should be studying—high rise fires, water supply—wasn’t emphasized as heavily.”

The inclusion of these texts has made it harder for the department to deal with a staffing crisis. The Seattle Fire Department spent $37.7 million on overtime pay in 2021 due to staff shortages, a 49% increase from 2019, according to The Seattle Times. The department continues to deal with “unprecedented staffing shortages,” the outlet found.

“These woke tests are making it harder for the macho guys to get hired,” said Steve Collins a firefighter who lost his job in 2021 due to his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine, “They weed out people who are not politically aligned.”