A Chicago police officer, Mohammad Yusuf, is suing the city of Chicago to change his race.
No, he doesn’t want to change based on how he “identifies.” When Officer Yusuf joined the department, the only options for “race” were “Caucasian,” “Black” and “Hispanic.” Yusuf chose Caucasian as the closest option for his Egyptian/African American ancestry, but now that choice has come back to haunt him.
Mohammad Yusuf, 43, said in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week that he is looking to change from “Caucasian” as he “currently identifies as Egyptian and African American.” However, the Chicago Police Department is not allowing him to change his race.
The lawsuit comes as the department allows an officer’s “gender identity [to be] corrected to match their lived experience,” Yusuf’s lawsuit alleges.
And, the decision is impacting Yusuf’s professional advancement, he claims.
One might ask, how would his being identified in his personnel file as “Caucasian” possibly impact his professional advancement, in this world of white privilege? Well, it seems Officer Yusuf’s white privilege is broken.
According to the lawsuit, Yusuf alleges that he has been repeatedly overlooked for promotions due to his “Caucasian” race. These promotions, he claims, have been given to other minority applicants with only very few going to Caucasian applicants.
The 20-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department points in his lawsuit to CPD’s promotion system that “particularly” benefits “minority candidates,” even if they did not score well on promotional exams.
Yusuf specifically claims he “scored in the first promotional tier” on the sergeant’s exam in 2019. But, he was not promoted then and has still not received such a promotion.
Of course, with a name like Mohammad Yousef, this officer should likely be checking off at least a few diversity checkboxes. But apparently, the Chicago PD, when considering officers for promotion, isn’t looking past that identity marker. Recently that checkbox on the personnel file has expanded from three choices to nine, but that isn’t helping Officer Yusuf any.
Now, the department offers “over nine” different racial designations for incoming officers. But, it is stopping him from changing his race to more accurately reflect his identity due to a “blanket prohibition” against changing an officer’s race, the legal filing said.
After repeated rejections, Yusuf claims he was told he would first have to produce a DNA test before his race could be changed on his record. He then provided the results of a “23 and Me” genetic test, which showed his heritage and race, but the department ultimately said it was “not possible” to change his official record, he claims.
Perhaps Officer Yusuf would be better served by claiming he’s a woman; that seems to be acceptable under any circumstances with no genetic test required.
Of course, the key takeaway from all this is the giggle-inducing takedown of the very idea of “white privilege.” Here we have a police officer suing a major American city because he has been repeatedly passed over for promotion. His suit claims that, despite his scoring in the top tier of the sergeant’s exam, he was passed over in favor of other, less qualified candidates who checked off diversity checkboxes that Yusuf, due to what one might argue was insufficient granularity in the application process (which, honestly, should not be asking “race” to being with) did not.
And now he is stuck with the designation “Caucasian,” which he insists is holding back his career until he produces genetic proof.
So much for “white privilege.”