British Royal Air Force nixing ‘useless white male pilots’ in quest for diversity, inside emails show

The British Royal Air Force is under fire for reportedly instructing staff to stop picking “useless white male pilots” for training courses.

This was discovered via internal emails that were handed over to Sky News.

In one email dated Jan. 19th, 2021, a squadron leader in the recruitment force wrote to a sergeant, “I would be grateful if you could provide me with a breakdown of the candidates awaiting boarding, by Br [branch – the type of profession, such as pilot, engineer or chef] and BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic]/Female.”

“I noted that the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy, if we don’t have enough BAME and female to board then we need to make the decision to pause boarding and seek more BAME and female from the RF [recruitment force],” he added.

“I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, lets [sic] get a [sic] focussed as possible, I am more than happy to reduce boarding if needed to have a balanced BAME/female/Male board,” he concluded.

That was email number one.

“Another email sent the following day by the same squadron leader to a more senior member of the recruitment team, entitled ‘BOARDING PROFILE UPDATE’, suggested a struggle to hit diversity targets,” according to Sky News.

“It also discussed how efforts were being made to load more ethnic minority and female candidates on to selection boards – which is the process through which new recruits are chosen for different branches at the training college for enlisted recruits, RAF Halton, or at RAF Cranwell, where officers are trained.”

These efforts reportedly included automatically cancelling boards that only contained white men.

There’s also a third email, dated Nov. 13th, 2020, in which a recruitment captain signaled that he was under pressure from the top of the RAF to improve so-called “diversity,” meaning more minorities and fewer white males.

“[Air Chief Marshal Wigston] observed that BAME course loading for officer training was significantly below the overall in-year requirement, which drove a discussion on the impact of lower recruitment and retention in this cohort. There was a need to review the systemic issues that were causing a shorter Return of Service for BAME Officers than their colleagues,” the email reads.

Speaking with The Telegraph, an anonymous RAF source said these emails demonstrate “the endemic culture that was created by the senior leadership to chase ridiculous diversity statistics that were patently unachievable.”

“This culture extended to issuing orders that were illegal,” the source said.

Exactly.

The RAF source added that these diversity requirements stunted the career progression of white males.

“If the selection board didn’t have any ethnic minorities and women, they were cancelling those boards, which meant the white males who were in the system and were going for the Air Force, were held up effectively because you’re pausing them,” the source said.

“If I’m due to be on a board tomorrow, but because I’m white male, and there’s no females and ethnic minorities and they cancel my board, then they are delaying me in the process. When they do come into the system, they are arriving into the Air Force later. Their commencement of paid employment is being delayed because they’re white males,” they added.

The good news is that the RAF has recognized its errors and is now paying compensation to the affected white pilots.

“[T]he air force is paying £5,000 each to 31 white men – a total of £155,000 – who it found had been unfairly disadvantaged by a recruitment policy that – under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the RAF – sought to boost female and ethnic minority ratios in the air force,” according to Sky News.

While only 31 received compensation, it’s reportedly suspected that hundreds more were also disadvantaged.

Sky News notes that the payments contradict Wigston’s claim that his diversity efforts didn’t discriminate against white males.

All this comes nearly a year after Group Captain Elizabeth Nicholl, who at the time was the head of RAF’s recruitment department, resigned to protest an “unlawful order” to stop picking white male recruits so that more women and minorities were recruited instead.

Wigston for his part recently kind of apologized for Nicholl’s resignation.

“One of the mistakes we made was that those aspirational goals filtered down into people’s personal objectives in-year which they found almost impossible to meet. That put intolerable pressure on them and I’ve apologized to the recruiting and selection organization,” reportedly said.

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