In 2021, United Airlines released the following statement:
“Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.”
In the past few weeks, a 2021 interview with United CEO Scott Kirby, in which he promoted United’s pilot-training policies, went viral.
The bottom line is clear: It will no longer be merit alone that determines who half of United’s pilots-in-training will be; it will be race and sex (or “gender,” as the Left prefers to call it). Despite the New York Times and the rest of the Left defending United, there is no other honest conclusion to draw.
As one who flies about 100 times a year, often on United, this worries me. Until now, I rarely worried about safety issues. I have certainly never feared flying.
But this is troubling enough that, although I will probably have flown a million miles on United by the end of 2024 and I am at the second-highest level available to United Airlines flyers (Premier Platinum), I will now do my best to avoid flying United. I am also giving up my United Visa card.
And I am asking all Americans who have a choice in airlines and a choice in credit cards to do the same. If you don’t fight this battle, you have no right to complain about the demise of our society, let alone of United or any other airline adopting similar policies. You have an opportunity to make a difference. United may be willing to compromise about safety, but it isn’t willing to compromise about its bottom line.
United is a particularly woke company. As one left-wing observer of the airline industry and defender of United, Gary Leff, writing on viewfromthewing.com, put it: “United was out way ahead of the Biden administration with vaccine mandates. This angered many pilots.”
It is important for me to note that until now I could not care less if my pilot was black, white, male or female. I have flown on planes with black pilots and female pilots, and I slept equally well on board. Those of us who oppose United’s affirmative action do not do so for race- or sex-based reasons. To cite a medical example, people of every color sought Dr. Ben Carson if they needed one of the country’s best neurosurgeons for their child. But if people know that a hospital was hiring surgeons using affirmative action criteria, they might well think twice before undergoing surgery with a minority surgeon.
Here’s a good test of whether opposition to United’s affirmative action for pilots is racist or not: Ask a black friend or colleague if he or she would prefer a pilot (or surgeon) who was chosen on merit alone or by also using affirmative action criteria.
We already know that colleges engaged in affirmative action have not helped black students succeed. Why should it work in the cockpit? Would anyone respect the decision of an NBA team to diversify its players by using affirmative action to hire more white players?
The woke DEI notion of companies, physicians and cockpits having to “look like” the rest of the population is as absurd as it is dangerous. In fact, I can think of no area of life where this matters to anyone who is not on the Left.
How, exactly, have all the black mayors, congressmen, and even a black president, helped blacks in any way? Has the virtual absence of Indian American, Taiwanese American, Filipino American or Pakistani American mayors, congressmen — or pilots, for that matter — hurt any members of these groups in any way? Those four groups are the top-earning ethnic groups in America (Census Bureau, 2021).
The notion that the cockpit or the mayor’s office has to look like the rest of the population is just foolish — as foolish as the idea that professional athletes have to look like the rest of the population. It is an idea, like most stupid ideas, that appeals primarily to college graduates.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His commentary on Numbers, the fourth volume of “The Rational Bible,” his five-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible, will be published in October 2024. He is the co-founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.