A new report has revealed racial disparities throughout the ranks of the U.S. Air Force.
The study was compiled by the military abuse advocacy group Protect Our Defenders and was released on Wednesday, May 27, reported USA Today. The group also accused the Air Force of staging a cover-up in response to a report it released in 2017.
Documents obtained by Protect Our Defenders report Black airmen are twice as likely as white members to face disciplinary action. Additionally, the Air Force “has the highest racial disparities of any military service branch for court-martial and non-judicial punishments.”
The paper accuses the Air Force of making “only superficial recommendations, none of which have apparently been implemented by Air Force leadership.”
“Instead, the Air Force has engaged in a multi-year effort to keep the findings and recommendations of its working group hidden, forcing POD to file suit in federal court,” the report continued.
Don Christensen, president of Protect Our Defenders, believes the findings speak to the Air Force’s culture.
“The significant disparities that young black airmen face compounds the belief their service is not as valued as their white counterparts,” Christensen told USA Today.
“They already face lower promotion rates and have very few black officers to serve as mentors. They can see with their own eyes how few black general officers there are in the Air Force. Now they are faced with an Air Force that knows they are being prosecuted at a much greater rate but has apparently done little if anything to reverse that trend.”
Racism is a problem across the military, according to reporting done by The New York Times. People of color make up 43 percent of the military’s population, but decision-makers are largely white and male. Only two of the 41 highest-ranking members of the military are Black. In 2019, Military Times conducted a survey of service members, and 53 percent of nonwhite service members reported they had witnessed white nationalist behavior.