Want to be a Seattle firefighter Lt.? Best know your woke reading list!

(Liam McBurney PA via AP)

Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Antiracist,” “Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter,” and “A Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias” are now required reading for the test that makes you eligible to be a Seattle Firefighter Lieutenant.


I learned this little tidbit from my latest must-read reporter, Aaron Sibarium of the Washington Free Beacon. He has written some scorchers lately.

This story is wild for so many reasons, and believe it or not the contents of the reading list are not the worst part of it.

First of all, let’s get straight what a Fire Department Lieutenant does. Not only do they have to understand firefighting, but they have to understand how fires work, the engineering of buildings, the assessment of risks, and the management of people.

Failing to be good at any of these things means that people will die. Running into burning buildings is not for the faint of heart, but sending others to do so and being responsible for their lives is even more challenging. That’s why the testing to be considered for the job is so rigorous.

Except in Seattle. They have higher goals than merely saving lives and buildings. They have equity to consider.

To see if they’re up to snuff, most departments administer a written test, typically multiple-choice, to prospective lieutenants. Candidates must score above a cut-off to be considered for the job, with higher scores increasing the odds of promotion. The exam, which covers a litany of topics from building construction to medical techniques, is designed to ensure that the people making life-and-death decisions know the bare minimum to make them well.

So firefighters in Seattle, Washington, were surprised when their department’s lieutenant exam focused almost as much on social justice as on firefighting.

The test, which has both written and oral components, is based on a list of texts assigned by the Seattle Department of Human Resources—including, as of this year, How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and Both Sides of the Fire Lane: Memoirs of a Transgender Firefighter by Bobbie Scopa, according to a copy of the exam bibliography obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Along with A Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias and Fighting Fire, a memoir by a female firefighter, the books about race and gender span over 800 pages—a large fraction of the total study material.


Seattle is one of the Whitest cities in America, and no group of people in the world is more race-conscious than White liberals. The development of the current reading list and tests was spurred on by an effort to diversify the racial and gender mix of the Seattle Fire Department and the rest of the city government.

As a predominately White city, it turns out that their employees are, shockingly, predominately White.

This fact is as you would imagine horrifying and in need of rapid corrective action.

The exam is part of a much larger effort to diversify a department that, as Seattle fire chief Harold Scoggins lamented last year, is “overwhelmingly” white men. Those efforts, critics say, have made the promotion process more about ideology and less about merit, politicizing a public service where competence can mean the difference between life and death.

In fact, in 2021, local officials including Scoggins commissioned a report on diversity in the fire service. One of its recommendations: avoid tests that “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.”

Seattle appears to have taken that advice.

The city commissioned a study that told them to avoid asking questions about firefighting, and they took that advice.


Why they didn’t just decide to find a eunuch-identified non-binary Wiccan to chant incantations to extinguish the fire is beyond me.

No, it isn’t. The vast majority of eunuch-identifying non-binary Wiccans are creepy White women or drag queens, and that isn’t diverse enough. You need more melanin to qualify, I assume, although transgender is a good start.

Given that this is Seattle, where government appointees defend sex offenders and child rapists, there may be a remaining untapped resource for potential candidates. I know of a formerly homeless Native American child rapist who advises the city on policy already, and he probably needs a good job.

He hits all the marginalized community measures.

An upcoming test for fireboat engineers, who operate the pumps and nozzles used to douse coastal fires, will quiz candidates on Robin DiAngelo’s Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, according to the exam bibliography. The fire captains exam likewise assigns DiAngelo’s book—along with handouts on the “structural interplay between all oppressions”—while the exam for battalion chiefs assigns the 2021 report on fire service diversity.


We are long past the point of exclaiming “What is WRONG with you people?!” because the answer is clear: everything. Their brains are broken.

They are members of a cult.



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