America needs the type of ‘diversity’ that produced the Tuskegee Airmen, not the identity obsession that created Sam Brinton

America needs the type of ‘diversity’ that produced the Tuskegee Airmen, not the identity obsession that created Sam Brinton

America is at a crossroads when it comes to the issue of diversity. The “wider net” approach is what produced the first black aviators in the United States armed forces. The “lower bar” approach is what produced the first openly “gender-fluid” person in federal government leadership to resign his post for stealing women’s luggage at airports.

The direction we choose will determine what type of country we pass on to the next generation and whether access to opportunities will be determined by competence or by identity.

The Supreme Court is currently considering two companion cases involving the admissions processes at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. An organization called Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) is the plaintiff in both cases. The group argues the schools unlawfully discriminate against applicants – primarily Asian students – based on race.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a former biotech CEO, announced he is running for president in 2024 and made eliminating affirmative action one of his central policy goals. His declaration was, unsurprisingly, met with sharp criticism from people who see affirmative action as an essential part of higher education in this country.

There is something we all know but are reluctant to express: Applying different standards of performance to different identity groups will never lead to equality. True equality cannot be bequeathed to a group by fiat or osmosis. It only comes through the prolonged demonstration of competence and diligence.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where identity is the most important qualification for a job.


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President Biden has bragged on multiple occasions about having the most diverse presidential administration in history. He pledged to nominate a woman to be his running mate. Vice President Kamala Harris has rewarded the president with a long string of confusing public statements that have made people question whether she has always been such a bad public speaker.

And as is often the case, the focus on skin color quickly moved to sexual preference and gender identity.

President Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, is a black woman of Haitian descent who is in a domestic partnership with journalist Suzanne Malveaux. She is frequently criticized for her verbal gaffes and trembling answers.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, has been a media darling since his 2020 presidential run, but he has been harshly criticized for his slow response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

The president also hired Dr. Demetre C. Daskalakis to be his monkeypox czar. One of his social media posts included the caption “SLEEP WITH STRANGERS,” although I’m not sure that was official White House guidance.

The most prominent member of the historically diverse Biden staff is Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Levine – a man – identifies as “transgender” and is the public face of Joe Biden’s efforts to consign a generation of American children and adults to a lifetime of mental health issues, sterilization, and mutilation.

While the administration claims to support “gender-affirming care” for children who believe they are the opposite sex, the truth is that giving a confused 15-year-old girl a hysterectomy and double mastectomy is the most cruel attempt at “conversion therapy” imaginable.

But it is Sam Brinton, former appointee to the Department of Energy, who embodies the pitfalls of making an idol out of identity. Brinton is a cross-dresser who identifies as “non-binary” and is public about his puppy role-play fetish. He is no longer in the administration after he was accused of stealing women’s luggage on two separate occasions in 2022.

Recent revelations suggest his thieving ways go back much farther.

A Tanzanian fashion designer named Asya Khamsin now believes that Brinton is the person who stole her luggage from a D.C.-area airport in 2018. She posted several pictures of Brinton in clothing and jewelry she said were in the missing bag.

No one with a shred of common sense is surprised that a cross-dressing man who publicly displays his sex kinks has other psychological issues. But when superficial diversity is your highest ideal, you will overlook obvious red flags in order to make yourself look like a kind, inclusive person.

This is the ultimate low bar.

The diversity that has historically moved the country toward greater alignment between its creeds and deeds was the type that removed barriers to participation. This is the “wide net” approach that creates opportunities for talented people from a variety of backgrounds to compete on an even playing field and be judged by a consistent standard.

One of the greatest examples of this phenomenon can be found in the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. Opportunities to operate aircraft had previously been denied to black pilots due to racial discrimination. In 1939, Congress appropriated funds to train black pilots in civilian flight schools.

The U.S. Army Air Corps decided that the Tuskegee Airmen would have to meet all the same standards as any other pilots. According to Coleman Young, the first black mayor of Detroit and a former Tuskegee Airman, “They made the standards so high; we actually became an elite group.”

Even though the claim that the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber under escort has been disproven, the pilots had a distinguished record of service in World War II. They didn’t need to be perfect to embody excellence.

They also won the first-ever Air Force Weapons’ Meet in 1949. According to Lt. Colonel James H. Harvey III, the organizers bent the rules so that both the individual and team prizes would not go to black winners.

African-Americans in generations past relished the opportunity to prove they could achieve excellence in every area of society that allowed for open competition. This produced a hunger and drive that is now associated with “tiger moms” who set extremely high standards for their children.

Unfortunately, subsequent generations have lost that killer instinct. We have become so accustomed to being judged by a different set of standards that the thought of an even playing field feels like regression to many people.

This is what happens when benevolence becomes a higher priority than justice.

The Tuskegee Airmen are proof that it is possible to expand opportunity without compromising quality. The men who endured the rigors of military training as well as the sting of Jim Crow segregation did not have to bow their heads or bend their backs for anyone. They knew they belonged because achievement boosts self-confidence.

They showed what was – and is – possible when opportunities are opened to a wide array of people, regardless of ethnic background. Their success is also a testament to the importance of maintaining high standards in order to incentivize development and raise performance.

Representation does matter. But merit, skill, competence, and dedication matter much more. We need the type of diversity that produces men who fly planes, not ones who steal from airports.


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