Black service members in the Air Force are most likely to experience disparities aligned with race, bias and inequity regarding discipline, professional development, career opportunities and retention, according to a study released this week by the Air Force inspector general.

The study, which includes 27,000 pages of responses from airmen to a write-in survey, shows that enlisted Black service members are 72% more likely to face disciplinary action than their white counterparts and are also 57% more likely to be tried in military court, Air Force Times reported.

The report, which solicited responses of more than 123,000 Air Force personnel, was prompted by key military officials following nationwide protests surrounding the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Gen. Charles Brown Jr., who is the Air Force’s first Black chief of staff, said more needs to be done to build trust between service members and top-ranking officials.

“Racial disparity isn’t an easy topic, and something we don’t traditionally talk about much throughout our levels of command,” Brown said. “This report and the many engagements with Airmen and Space Professionals have increased chain of command awareness and an opportunity to build trust. Now we must all move forward with meaningful, lasting and sustainable change to do so.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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