Firefighter Scorched over T-Shirt Smashing Affirmative Action

Michael Gartland, New York Post, September 12, 2014

The FDNY is hosing one of its own for wearing an ­anti-affirmative-action T-shirt–just a week after Mayor de Blasio told city employees it’s up to them how they dress at work.

Thomas Buttaro, a 12-year FDNY veteran who works at Ladder 123 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, faces disciplinary charges for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a “Merit Matters” logo while on duty.

Merit Matters

“They’re disciplining him for something they’ve never disciplined anyone for before,” said Buttaro’s lawyer, Adam Weiss. “It’s a First Amendment issue. This is about the right of someone being able to express an opinion. It’s not about discrimination.”

Buttaro, who is white, got into hot water in May 2012 after he and a black colleague argued over a lawsuit filed years earlier by the Vulcan Society, Weiss said.

The Vulcans, a fraternal group of black firefighters, won a discrimination lawsuit last March that resulted in a $100 million settlement to minorities after the FDNY entrance exam was ruled biased.

Merit Matters–self-described as “an advocacy group dedicated to preserving merit in FDNY testing”–is opposed to changing the admissions process to give minorities a leg up over white recruits.


{snip} An FDNY source noted the department has stricter rules than the school system because it’s structured along paramilitary lines.

“We have rules about what you can wear in the firehouse,” the insider said. “We’re a uniformed agency. You can’t wear this in the firehouse. Our lawyers are going to argue that this was intentional and designed to antagonize a colleague.”

The source also claimed Buttaro wore other, more offensive shirts, but Weiss says he only wore them off duty, including one which says, “MADD: Minorities Against Dumbing Down” and “getting it the old fashioned way–earning it.”


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  • Usually Much Calmer

    In Chicago, ‘merit’ is code for clout. So this is amusing.
    Chicago has always been corrupt, however.
    We were lying way before AA.

    • APaige

      Actually the City of Chicago paid a Black-owned consulting firm to design a bias-free exam. The hiring from the results of THAT test was similar to the previous test, and BOTH ended up in court. The White firefighters in Chicago MORE than earned their job.

      • Usually Much Calmer

        Well, thank you for telling me how things work in my town, I am always grateful to be corrected.

        I’ve heard a ‘chinaman’ is not actually a man from China, perhaps you could clarify for me?

        • APaige

          You are very welcome. (Its not your town and besides it is a city.)The White firefighters in Chicago earned their job on merit, not clout. You think that Whites who worked hard and studied hard somehow got the position because of ‘clout’?
          The term ‘chinaman’ was used to refer to a man from China and in particular those who were working on railroads in the west. I hope that clarifies it for you.

    • Ngati Pakeha

      Actually you are probably spot on. I read the full judgment in the New York FD case and there is a significant section in that judgment (pp 30-33 for example) mentioning the wink and nod method by which relatives and friends were given preferential treatment. This worked against mainly white candidates ironically as these were quite often the persons highest on the list who were being by-passed for no other reason than being ‘unconnected’. This type of legacy preference was brutally exploited as a cause of action that the Vulcan Society could use to demonstrate the existence of prejudice.

  • MekongDelta69

    I assure you, that under de Blackio, if you’re non-white, you could wear a black panther or la raza t-shirt and nobody would DARE say a thing…

    • JackKrak

      Just a matter of time before Muslim women in full burqas or whatever they’re called are required to make up ten percent of all senior managers in every FD in NYC.

      • MekongDelta69

        Hell – I hope Muslim women in full burqas are 100% of the FD.

        You do know how fast a raging fire affects clothing – right?

        • Bill Moore


          The Muslim women in full burqas won’t be in any danger because they will only be in a safe area ordering the Caucasian Males into the danger zones.

          We’re so screwed,
          Bill Moore

        • DNA Explains It All

          I am sure some “forward thinking” fashion designer will soon have asbestos FRC Burkas on offer.

  • dd121

    I don’t see how even the most jaded liberal mind could construe that to be offensive.

    • Alexandra1973

      Because if it goes strictly by merit, and everyone knows it’s by merit and not skin color, their precious “pets” would be left out.

      • DNA Explains It All

        Pardon the pun, but going on merit minorities are HOSED.
        Edit add: NAM’s I meant.

    • LHathaway

      He’s white. He’s speaking. He’s offensive to people of color. That’s the truth. They would generally prefer whites not speak at all. Haven’t you seen the planet of the apes movie, duh.

    • maxsnafu

      It’s easy. They create their own reality.

  • Of course blacks are offended by “merit,” because they know they lack it.

    A genuine meritocracy has a disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics. Just like preventing and punishing violent crime has a disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics.

    Merit, competence, interpersonal chemistry and camaraderie matters in pumper and rescue squads far more than most professions.

    • DNA Explains It All

      Underrepresentation of ANY minority in any area, you well know is due only to one possible cause, WHITE PRIVILEGE! Rocket scientists and neuron-surgeons are needing some serious blackening, we should be ASHAMED I tell you.

      • DNA Explains It All

        Then again NASA has done that and stopped reaching for the stars all together pretty much.

        • DNA Explains It All

          NASA, is, to quote one of my favorite WHITE singers, Leonard Cohen; “Reaching for the stars only to surrender”.

          • Spikeygrrl

            Love me some Leonard Cohen.

    • 1stworlder

      The good news is that low IQ can kill firefighters, like when everyone else drops to the ground to avoid dying to a backdraft. I worked with a black doctor who malpracticed himself to death, but it probably would be prevented with a fully computerized hospital/pharmacy system.

      • gemjunior

        Well, it’s not really good news when their low IQ kills good firefighters who truly merited their job and have been doing it, and doing it well for many years only to be endangered by the likes of these AA types coming on nowadays. My husband is retired from the FDNY but there are many who will face this kind of problem, which is probably why Buttaro feels justly enraged. This is another ruse to destroy and disenfranchise us. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. There are many ways to kill good white men. Unleash the low IQ dogs of endangerment on their lives and see what happens.

  • Truthseeker

    It’s heretical to think that White people on average might be better than non-Whites at anything, so of course this offends them.

  • The cops in Vegas got into similar trouble a few years ago.They had shirts with B.D.R.T. on them…baby daddy removal team.They said it stood for “big dogs run together”.

  • Mark

    Just quoting G. Orwell for the nth time:
    “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

  • Samuel_Morton

    We have gotten to the point where pointing out that people should be judged by their merit and not on the color of their skin is considered hateful and bigoted. How long will such cognitive dissonance be maintained?

  • Mack0

    More proof playing by the rules and trying your best serves no advantage.

  • OS-Q

    So if I made badges that said “Merit Doesn’t Matter” liberals would congratulate me on my forward thinking and (more importantly) buy them en masse from me?

    • nBmnp

      Excellent idea.

  • The city’s response is saying that merit does not matter when it comes to fighting fires? Then where does it matter?

    Sacrificing public safety for PC is where we southerners said the country would end up. We saw all this nonsense unfolding as Yankees made a hero out of a communist womanizer named MLK. Damn, were we right.

  • relanorma

    Merit matters when you are the one who’s in need of fast and efficient service. Merit matters when a wrong decision can result in death. The very fact that one need to be reminded of the “merit” of merit is a symptom of profound delusion.

  • TruthBeTold

    Merit Matters

    If it means ‘merit is important and the best deserve the job’ then I like it.

    If it means ‘we need to have a discussion on merit because minorities suffer from merit-based criteria’ then I don’t like it.

    It’s has two very different meanings depending on who is making the statement and why.

  • Who Me?

    Our lawyers are going to argue that this was intentional and designed to antagonize a colleague.
    This USED to be called “if the shoe fits…”

    • R L Buds

      Exactly. They would only be offended if what was expressed is true.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    The Vulcans? A black firefighers fraternity? Why is this allowed? I thought the rules were differenent since fire departments are “structured along paramiliary lines.” Segregation in the fire dept. but not in the military?

    Money is all these blue-gums care about. Money. At white taxpayer expense. After winning the lottery to the tune of $100 over the alleged “biases” of the FDNY, these bluegums were high-fiving it all the way to the bank because they know by hollering “racism” they could ring anything out of the white man they wanted.

    And how are entrance exams for firefighers BIASED? Especially when ALL firefighters have to TAKE THE SAME TEST?

    • Leon NJ

      Maybe only whites have heard of a ladder. Blacks may be unaware of such a thing because they climb up the gutter to go into peoples windows.

  • IKUredux

    Thomas Buttaro joins an ever increasing list of WHITE victims. This discrimination against we Whites must STOP! Holy crap, we have had fifty years of affirmative action. It is against the law to discriminate against blacks. This society has now put itself at risk by hiring incompetent blacks into key positions. This country has willingly elected to become a third world country. Actually, we did NOT willingly elect to become a third world country. It has been foisted upon us by our so called “representatives”, who completely ignore the wishes of their constituents. By the way, I would like to point out when I called my rep in Congress to express my opposition to amnesty, I was told that I was a xenophobe, and my rep would vote his conscience, regardless of how the people in his district felt. Because, hey, we were wrong.

  • ghettovalley

    When it comes to fire departments, police departments, the medical field, or the military, I wish that they would leave AA out of the equation. Pc madness in these cases can cost lives.

  • JohnEngelman

    If the t shirt had several obscene words on it, there would have been no problem.

    Liberals are in favor of free expression, as long as their favorite minorities are not criticized. They are in favor of diversity of race, and sexual orientation, but not opinion. They advocate a dialogue on race, while suppressing race realism.

    • LHathaway

      More than that, there’s an over-all assumption that only whites can say offensive things and that only whites are empowered or can be racist. Perhaps that might extend to conservatives, as you hint? They’ve found the truly evil force in this world, in and their neighborhood, conservative white men. AmRen must be the fountain from which all ill springs.

      In the other case, what was the black fire chief Really doing, by having American flag stickers removed from lockers? Was the display evidence he is really on our side, somehow? Did he really think stickers of American flags were ‘divisive’? Was he just aping political correctness, just repeating some kind of thing he has seen before, perhaps on campus, and was happy for it’s effect, the codifying of naked power and the intimidation of non-believers?

      People of color will often say very offensive racist things but people will usually overlook this, or even see it as fighting back against some kind of ‘oppression’ or stereotyping, or even think it is funny to insult whites. More than just that, many of them (if not all) may be racist in a non-verbal way (perhaps at least racially conscious). Sometimes their racism is out in the open and something they can be ‘proud of’, oftentimes they may be very racially conscious or racist centered in their thinking and their effect but they are very good about being racist while it is difficult to actually ‘accuse’ them of using some racist slur word. I don’t think it’s that whites are dumber than them, and can’t keep up (although all evidence points to this as being true). I suspect they’ve been given some kind of ‘permission’ to be racist.

      My main point is, if you were to be some kind of alien from another world, or a non-interested party, looking at this, the assumption would be that only whites can be or are racist or insensitive. One might say only white men can every be racist or insensitive. Everyone else is fighting against racism, massive oppression, hatred and stereotyping, I guess. I imagine they believe they are. They truly believe They are (brave and noble) victims of injustice. At least the black fire chief was actually aware of what is true and what is not? I truly believe many of them truly believe in things they know are not true. Some small part of their mind somewhere must know these things are not true. That must be the happy part.

    • TXCriollo

      Liberals favor their views and want freedom of speech for them only

  • LHathaway

    Well, if the argument is about genes and merit, as regards to firefighters, I would guess an average black would make a better firefighter than an average white. That doesn’t mean I would like ‘hate whitey’ to be the primary, main and only ideology exhibited in this country, as it is now. As it is, that is all that is allowed. Anything else would be ‘insensitive’.

  • TXCriollo

    Well the only people who support aa are people who need it. I can attest that the majority like 97 to 99% of people that are promoted or recruited due to diversity requirements usually are well below qualified for their job

  • Paleoconn

    Buttaro made a critical mistake: he thought he lived in a free country.

  • DNA Explains It All

    Woops, I stand corrected.

  • DNA Explains It All

    Ok, bit of hair splitting though. There will be a far greater percent of whites making the cut than blacks, in other words NAM’s are hosed in a meritocracy.