Diversity hires incoming at Alaska Airlines

You should probably stop flying Alaska Airlines:

Today’s flight deck is full of incredible professionals, but also lacking diversity. African American female pilots make up about one half of 1 percent of all professional pilots across the industry. At Alaska, we’re all about people and reflecting those we serve, but this statistic is a reminder of how far we have to go.

This morning, we signed a new pledge with Sisters of the Skies, a nonprofit committed to pilot diversity. We aim to increase our female African American pilots over the next six years across Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and support the path to expose and inspire more young women to get there.

“When we foster an inclusive environment that recognizes, respects, and visibly reflects allpeople, it makes us stronger,” said Andy Schneider, Alaska Airlines vice president of people. “Quite simply, creating an airline people love is not possible unless we walk the talk around diversity and inclusion.”

Today, we only have four African American female pilots at Alaska and Horizon combined, which is about 1 percent. It begs the question: why so few?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a pool of qualified African American women ready to be hired. And creating this pool takes time.

Would you feel better flying with a particular airline knowing your pilot wasn’t the best available option, but rather hired to fill a particular diversity quota?  It is time to move on to using a different company when their aim shifts from providing the best possible service or product and focuses instead on social justice initiatives.

Affirmative action is not only racist and unfair to those who are well qualified but are not accepted because they do not fulfill a diversity quota, but it also takes away from qualified candidates who are people of color.  Harvard University is currently in a law suit for alleged discrimination against Asians.  They regularly accept African Americans with far lower test scores than whites or Asians.  This happens when applying to medical and law school as well.  Now, knowing this, it is easy to see how one could discriminate against wanting a black doctor or lawyer knowing that some are admitted with lower scores and potentially perform at a lower standard.  Setting aside how awful this is to begin with, it also takes away from legitimately well-qualified African-American candidates who may have scored high on test scores and gotten in legitimately.  But knowing there is this bias, someone looking for a surgeon or lawyer may think they are less qualified knowing how the system works.

Whether it is hiring someone for a job or choosing a surgeon, it would be nice for people to be judged on merit rather than skin color or sex.  Those who think they are doing some kind of good by promoting diversity hires are the real racists and are performing a disservice to the very groups they are hoping to help.  Everybody loses in the end when you hire to fulfill some racial or sexual quota rather than hiring the best person for the job.

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