United Airlines joined other corporations and the US government in making identity characteristics a qualifier for employment. On Tuesday, the company announced that:
"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."
And they invited those who are women or specifically not white to apply to train for work with United Airlines.
The link directs would-be pilots to a training program. The site states that "United expects to hire more than 10,000 pilots over the next decade." 5,000 of those spots are dedicated to women and people of color by 2030.
The recruitment video features the voices of two pilots, one male and one female. United says that "Partner organizations will help identify and recruit top talent." The "financial barrier to entry for highly qualified and motivated candidates" will be tackled through a partnership with JP Morgan Chase.
OANN's Jack Posobiec said simply "Disastrous. Do not do this."
What makes the United program different from other corporate diversity initiatives is that pilots are not in board rooms, but flying planes with lots of people on them. It's the kind of job where a person should have skill and affinity. Skin color, or the lived experience that comes with a racial or ethnic background, has absolutely no bearing on how best to safely fly planes.
According to Zippa, a careers website, the current demographic of pilots is over 86 percent male, and over 88 percent white.
The emergence of this initiative led Joel Berry of satirical website The Babylon Bee to ask if United would be first trying to figure out why less women go into careers as airline pilots.
Are women just not interested? Is there a reason that American people of colour do not fill the ranks in pilot training school? Are these people barred from entry by racism or do they simply not attend of their own free volition?
Will the existence of United's diversity quotas create the circumstances under which women and people of color become more interested in piloting planes?
Berry suggests that these skin-color-based quotas will instead be filled by South Asian and Middle Eastern men who are interested in being pilots.
In September, Bloomberg reported that more and more companies are instituting diversity quotas in hiring.
United joins Wells Fargo, which determined to increase black leadership to 12 percent, Ralph Lauren that promised that 20 percent of its global leadership would be people of color, and Delta which is aiming for 14 percent of their officers and directors to be black by 2025. The black population of the US is about 13 percent.
Ryan Girdusky pointed out that United received a massive federal bailout last year, and with those funds they "laid off or cut the hours for over 15,000 employees," and "discriminate against white men."
Will Chamberlain, an attorney and co-publisher at Human Events, believes that United will face lawsuits for these discriminatory hiring practices and prioritization of specific races and ethnicities for training programs.
Gad Saad simply suggested that the real barrier to entry was to blind pilots, and that they should be prioritized next.
This new initiative also makes some wonder if United Airlines was actively discriminating against women and people of color prior to this quota requirement.
United Airlines also came out in opposition to the new voting laws in Georgia, which put them in the ranks of other corporations that have decried voter IDs. This earned them praise from the left, and further derision from the conservative right.