Air Force Equips Airmen to Lead Discussions on Race

The Air Force recently published a list of resources to help facilitate conversations on race and prejudice among Airmen.

The Air Force, which is 71 percent white, has started a series of conversations on equality and diversity since the killing of George Floyd on May 25. For the past few months, senior Air Force officials have pushed to continue discussions on racial inequality and bias in the service. 

The list comes after Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright hosted a town hall to discuss the topic of race within the service on June 3.

“Chief Wright and I recognize your pain. As the Air Force’s military leadership, we reflect on and acknowledge that what happens on America’s streets is also resident in our Air Force,” Goldfein said in a June 3 letter

In addition to books and TED Talks from civilians, the recently published resource list includes videos from senior Air Force leadership, including Goldfein and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., who will replace Goldfein next month as the service’s top uniformed officer and the first Black man to hold the position.

Anyone who has been in my dad’s leadership can tell you he is bold and truthful, even when it’s not easy. The AF’s most senior leader highlighted an important perspective that my dad once offered him in this video. What are the flesh colored bandaids in your organization? Are you stacking your team with others who can help you identify them?Proud to know you, Jimmy Kelly.Posted by Jeanece Turner on Thursday, June 4, 2020

"As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be…Posted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces on Thursday, June 4, 2020

Just as Airmen are equipped with service weapons or uniforms, the list of resources is meant to equip Air Force leaders to combat prejudice and misunderstanding.

“We must arm our forces with the insights and perspectives of how they can first and foremost be empathetic leaders,” Lt. Col. Angel Lugo, education and training chief of the Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Division, said in a July 17 press release

This list is part of a larger initiative in the Air Force to help leadership be comfortable discussing race.

“This is only one step in what we intend to offer to leaders so they become more comfortable when discussing issues about race, diversity, inclusion, and any other topic that may arise,” said Brig. Gen. Troy E. Dunn, director of USAF’s military force policy and the Department of the Air Force’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. “These conversations help to build trust across the force.”