". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


FAA Faces DEI Backlash: ‘It Doesn’t Matter If You’re a Purple Unicorn If You Don’t Tighten That Bolt Down’

February 13, 2024

As the U.S. Senate is advancing a new aviation bill, politicians and businessmen alike are warning that it does not adequately address growing safety concerns, especially those linked to an overemphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which committee chairwoman Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) touted as “deliver[ing] improvements to aviation safety and consumer protections that Americans have been demanding.” However, both her congressional colleagues and numerous other public figures are concerned that the legislation does not address significant failures brought about by DEI initiatives.

U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) appeared on Monday night’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to raise the alarm over FAA negligence. “The FAA should be about safe air travel,” he said, “and we’ve seen lately how that just isn’t the case. And we’ve seen the priorities with this administration is for the DEI, is for the politically correct, is for how many [trans-identifying employees] you have.”

Burchett’s comments come after a series of airplane accidents — such as doors being ripped off and windows blown out mid-flight, often forcing emergency landings — have been attributed to manufacturers prioritizing DEI mandates over customer safety.

“This is ridiculous,” Burchett added. “The criteria ought to be who is the most qualified. Period.” He explained that “red-blooded Americans, men and women who want to do what’s right, are continuously … being screened out by these processes, and we are not putting our best players in.” He continued, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a purple unicorn from New York, if you don’t tighten that bolt down — as we saw in these doors or what-have-you are flying off of these jets — if they’re not completed, we will have accidents.” The congressman quipped, “And it’s not like, say, you’re going [down] the highway — you’re up 30,000 feet, and we’re going to have a major catastrophe if we continue down this path.”

Last month, Tesla founder Elon Musk lambasted airplane manufacturer Boeing for explicitly prioritizing DEI mandates over customer safety. “Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety?” Musk asked. He added, “People will die due to DEI.” Musk’s comments followed a Boeing-made jet’s fuselage panel being torn off nearly 15,000 feet in the air. According to NBC News, “an initial examination of the panel showed that it had signs of fractured guides and missing bolts — although it remains possible that fasteners were lost during the accident.”

Despite Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s assurance that such accidents “can never happen again,” the company recently discovered further manufacturing flaws in its airplanes — namely, “improperly drilled holes” in some 50 airplanes. FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker later suggested that Boeing was prioritizing production volume over safety. Musk, however, pointed not to production volume goals but to changes the airplane manufacturer made to its pay and incentive program in 2022.

The Boeing filing Musk cited read, “While our 2021 design incorporated operational performance in the areas of product safety, employee safety and quality, for 2022 we will add two other focus areas critical to our long-range business plan: climate and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&l).” A separate “Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion 2023 Report” issued by Boeing said that “in 2022, for the first time in our company’s history, we tied incentive compensation to inclusion.”

As of 2022, the FAA has also been prioritizing DEI initiatives, particularly on hiring those considered to have various disabilities. According to the agency’s website, “Targeted disabilities are those disabilities that the Federal government, as a matter of policy, has identified for special emphasis in recruitment and hiring. They include hearing, vision, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability and dwarfism.” The FAA’s “diversity” program says, “Diversity is integral to achieving FAA’s mission of ensuring safe and efficient travel across our nation and beyond. … The mission of the FAA involves securing the skies of a diverse nation. It only makes sense that the workforce responsible for that mission reflects the nation that it serves.”

“When I walk in an airplane,” Burchett commented, “I’m looking at these things that they described, and I’m wondering if the people that are briefing me were put in that job — not because of the qualifications that they had or their brainpower — but because they were checking a box somewhere to satisfy some quota, left-wing quota criteria.”

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.