The “Bakke story” to FAA diversity danger.
One mistake by an air traffic controller can easily cause hundreds of deaths, and that grim reality has prompted the highest hiring standards for any federal workers. That all changed during the past administration when Federal Aviation Administration boss Michael Huerta accepted hiring standards that were politically correct rather than aeronautically correct.
“A group within the FAA, including the human resources function within the FAA, the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees, determined that the workforce was too white,” attorney and air traffic controller, Michael Pearson recently told Tucker Carlson of Fox News. “They had a concerted effort through the Department of Transportation in the Obama administration to change that.”
Carlson invited FAA bosses to come on the show or be interviewed but they declined. According to Pearson, the new FAA questionnaire and biographical assessment “was made to screen out people with experience,” but it was actually worse. Carlson had a copy of the assessment and the way FAA drones scored it.
Applicants get 10 points for being bad at science, and 10 points for not working. On the other hand, those who can demonstrate knowledge about air traffic control get only five points, and trained pilots two points. “We’re not talking about hiring a sociology professor or some other totally irrelevant job like that,” said Carlson, who called the test “insane.”
According to Pearson, who boasts 27 years experience, “they’re sacrificing, and have sacrificed, safety at the altar of political correctness.” This has happened before, as a landmark case demonstrates.
“Affirmative action is not about promoting or hiring unqualified women and minorities, admitting unqualified students, or awarding contracts to unqualified businesses,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy in April, 1996. “Affirmative action has paid enormous dividends,” said Kennedy, and he had a “perfect example,” in mind, Dr. Patrick Chavis.
“He is the supposedly less qualified African-American student who allegedly ‘displaced’ Bakke at the University of California-Davis in the landmark case. Today Dr. Chavis is a successful ob-gyn in central Los Angeles, serving a disadvantaged community and making a difference in the lives of scores of poor families.”
Allan Bakke held a GPA of 3.51 with a 3.45 in science. On the quantitative part of the MCAT he scored 94, with a 97 in science and 72 on the general information section, higher than the average for regular admits. Despite such distinguished qualifications, UC Davis twice rejected Bakke but admitted Chavis. His scores were much lower, but the establishment media made him a big star.
In June 1995, Chavis made the cover of the New York Times Magazine, and in a feature by Atlantic correspondent Nicholas Lemann, Chavis heroically posed under surgical lamps holding a newly delivered child. The Los Angeles Times had billed Chavis as a star who had overcome prejudice, and he landed a spot in the award-winning documentary Eyes on the Prize.
On June 22, 1996, not long after Kennedy’s tribute, Patrick Chavis performed liposuction on Tammaria Cotton, a 43-year-old court clerk and grandmother. Several hours after surgery, Mrs. Cotton was dead, and three other black women suffered at his hands. The California board suspended Chavis’ license, citing his “inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician.” To allow Chavis to continue practicing medicine, an administrative law judge ruled, “will endanger the public health, safety, and welfare.”
Unqualified air traffic controllers pose a greater danger, but the FAA is still good with it. As Pearson explained, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) “controls a large PAC and they fund a lot of politicians, and nothing will get past in aviation without the blessing of the controllers union.” During the previous administration, they got what they wanted, including lower standards.
The notion that air traffic controllers are“too white” does not invoke the Constitution or case law. It reflects the diversity dogma that all professions must reflect the ethnic proportions of the population. If they don’t, according to this orthodoxy, the cause is always deliberate discrimination and the remedy a government program of hiring or admission quotas.
Because of factors such as personal differences, effort and choice, as Thomas Sowell has shown, statistical disparities between groups are the rule rather than the exception. It is now a matter of record that diversity dogma can have deadly consequences.
Meanwhile, last year President Trump announced a plan to privatize the air traffic controllers system. That would take control from the federal government and hand it to a nonprofit corporation. The president might do the same with the National Transportation Safety Board.
In 2009, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed his stricken airliner on the Hudson River, preserving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew. After that miraculous event, National Transportation Safety Board bosses thought the veteran pilot should have attempted a return to LaGuardia. Had he done so, in all likelihood, 155 lives would have been lost. For review, check out the 2016 Clint Eastwood film Sully.