A shocking email trail pointing to a possible bias within the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) recruitment procedures has come to light. Squadron Leader Andrew Harwin reportedly used the term "useless white male pilots" to describe white male applicants, based on emails procured by the British press.
Harwin's comments appeared in an email thread discussing the recruit processing through training boards. "I noted that the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy... I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, let’s get as focused as possible," he wrote on January 19, 2021.
“I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, let’s get as focused as possible, I am more than happy to reduce boarding if needed to have a balanced BAME/female/male board,” he added.
An RAF source, who shared the email with The Telegraph, mentioned that this communication highlights the pressure on senior leadership to achieve “unrealistic diversity statistics.”
The saga continued as another email from the same day highlighted the scarcity of minority and female candidates. It stated, "From 336 candidates, we have about 10% female, 5% BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) which we will burn through quickly using the boarding profile proposed."
Sky News reported that the RAF is set to compensate approximately $6,000 each to 31 men whose training got delayed due to diversity quotas. The RAF confirmed in a statement, "These individuals have been contacted and all have received the payments that they were due."
Despite the controversy, the RAF reiterated its commitment to promoting diversity within its ranks, while still maintaining merit-based selection processes. "All individuals joining the Royal Air Force were and are selected on merit... There was no compromise of entry standards and no impact on the front line or operational effectiveness," it clarified in its statement.