Economy

Ed Brodow: Is United's New "Woke" Hiring Policy Racist and Sexist?

My work requires a lot of airline travel. Based on where I live, the best routes are on United Airlines. I was upset to learn United has announced that its new hiring process for pilots will be based on racial and gender quotas rather than the best person for the job.

“Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day,” the airline tweeted. “Over the next decade,” said United CEO Scott Kirby, “United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United—and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of color.” From the sound of it, one might infer that United has no women or minorities on the flight deck. According to Newsweek, United acknowledges that 20 percent of its current pilot population is composed of women and people of color. What is an acceptable percentage? Should there even be such a thing as an acceptable percentage?

According to Western Journal News, United is receiving substantial backlash from angry customers. “When I'm 31,000 feet in the air,” tweeted one frequent flyer, “I'm not really gonna find comfort in knowing that my pilot was an affirmative action hire.” Another tweeted, “Men and white people don’t deserve discrimination because of their sex or race. Its sick that you’re proud of this.” A third person tweeted, “‘Diversity over skill and safety’ is one hell of a slogan for an airline.” Conservative author Brigitte Gabriel tweeted, "They are literally putting the lives of their customers at risk in the name of being woke."

A typical tweet in support of United’s decision read like this: “When folks claim only white males are qualified to fly a jumbo jet, that's racism. Diverse doesn’t mean unqualified." The error in this kind of thinking is that no one has claimed that only white men are qualified as pilots. Nor has anyone claimed that minorities or women are unqualified. It is not racism to suggest that pilots should be chosen from the most qualified applicants, regardless of race or sex. In fact, it used to be known as common sense until the woke crowd got their hands on it.

United says it wants its pilots to reflect the racial and sex makeup of the passengers. What happens if the plane is 90 percent full of white men? Do they kick off the female pilot and bring in a man from the bull pen (no pun intended)? What if most of the passengers are under ten years old? Does United have a room full of juvenile pilots in readiness? Questions like these expose the absurdity of race and sex-based criteria.

Hiring quotas based on race and gender violate basic notions of fairness and meritocracy. Such quotas are, in short, racist and sexist. You cannot say in the same breath that giving preference to white males is racist and sexist but giving preference to women and minorities is not. It has to work both ways. United is succumbing to “Critical Race Theory,” which argues that women and minorities have been oppressed and therefore it is justified to give them preference. Liberals want to judge everything based on race and gender. CRT and the allied notion of “equity” seek to abolish the important American value known as meritocracy. Using merit as the primary job criterion is responsible for our success as a nation. If we lose it, we lose everything.

“Equity” attempts to achieve its concept of fairness by treating people differently based on their skin color and sex. For equity to be achieved, skin color and sex must determine everything. The right kind of skin color is black and brown. White is the wrong color. The right kind of sex is female. CRT is unapologetically anti-white and anti-male. In case you didn't know, that's what your kids are being taught in public schools and at elite universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Yes, that's what the next generation of Americans is learning.

A good example of how “equity” is distorted can be found at the Oscars. No longer will a film be judged based on its artistic merit. Beginning next year, in order to qualify for a Best Picture Oscar, a movie must demonstrate it is practicing equity by having at least 50 percent women and minorities in its cast and crew. Classic Best Picture winners of the past such as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Hamlet, On the Waterfront, and The Sound of Music would be disqualified under the new rules. What about a Spike Lee film composed mostly of blacks? Would that qualify? Or would it be kicked out because it lacked a sufficient percentage of white actors in the cast? I doubt it—for the simple reason that CRT doesn’t work both ways.

CRT does allow certain exemptions. Affirmative action is not enforced in the NBA, which is 70 percent black. All that matters is how well you play basketball. What a concept! For the same reason, merit ought to be applied to airline pilots, Marines, and brain surgeons. When I am flying over the Pacific Ocean, I want the most qualified pilot sitting at the controls. As a former Marine, I appreciate that combat units should not have their standards lowered simply to accommodate women or transgenders. When I am being operated on for a brain tumor, I don’t want to look up and see the winner of this year’s social justice award.

Sadly, United has joined a growing list of woke corporations—Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Starbucks, and Nike, just to name a few—whose weak managements have succumbed to the new liberal playbook. It does not bode well for our country.

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Ed Brodow

Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator, negotiation expert, and regular contributor to Newsmax, Daily Caller, American Thinker, Townhall, LifeZette, Media EqualizerReactionary Times, and other online news magazines. He is the author of eight books including his latest blockbuster, Trump’s Turn: Winning the New Civil War.

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