Black like me? Not in the Navy
“I never thought about flying fighters, because people that look like me don’t fly fighter jets.” – Courtland Savage, who has the best name ever
It’s almost like it’s not 2018
Courtland Savage barely scored high enough to qualify for fighter jet training, and ended up getting slotted to fly FA-18 Hornets. A year later, he’d washed out of the training pipeline, struggling to put together what might be left of his career in the US Navy. Not the most remarkable of stories, since a lot of people have this happen to them: being a jet fighter pilot is not for everyone.
Here’s the thing: Courtland Savage is black. A lot of his fellow students and instructors? Not black. He felt like he was discriminated against because, well, he’s not white.
Look who’s dropping all the race cards
The story takes an odd turn with one Lt. Shaw, a navy flight instructor, who points out that as a white pilot with blonde hair, he too is in the minority in the navy’s fighter community. His point, though, appears valid: navy fighter pilots think white dude with brown hair when they think of other navy pilots. Courtland Savage, and his fellow black trainees, has the brown hair, but not the right color of skin.
Did none of you watch Red Tails?
Do put this one in the “read later” pile, because I, for one, thought we were done with this: white students (based on the outstanding reporting done for the story) get the benefit of the doubt in the often-subjective world of military pilot training.
Non-white (mostly black) students in the same situations do not. While it doesn’t appear to be much in the way of overt racism involved, there is definitely a lack of cultural understanding and a definite bias toward non-white students in terms of letting them get to the next level.
Snark aside: this kills me as a veteran, that we’re still treating minorities of any persuasion as anything less than equals. Maybe Savage shouldn’t be a fighter pilot. But he at least deserves the same chances to prove otherwise as everyone else.