Air Force investigates incident where Black airman was passed over because he didn't have 'white complexion'

An investigation at an Air Force base in Arizona is underway after an airman allegedly told another airman that he was being rejected for a position because “the Air Force is looking for somebody of white complexion,” Task & Purpose reports.

“We won’t be sending your name up for [redacted] at the squadron,” a white technical sergeant allegedly texted a Black senior airman at the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron on Wednesday, according to a post in a popular Facebook group.

When the senior airman asked why, the technical sergeant replied, “We personally do not feel as if you are a good choice for the squadron. You currently have a shaving waiver which isn’t a professional image, and I think the air force is looking for somebody of white complexion and with the image that the air force needs.”

As Task & Purpose points out, the Air Force prohibits male members from growing beards, but waivers are given to airmen who are not able to shave according to requirements due to medical or religious reasons. The senior airman said that “this is the third job that has been held over my head due to my looks, and that’s something based on personal preference.

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In a statement, Sean Clements, chief of media relations for the Luke-based 56th Fighter Wing, said that the matter is currently being investigated.

“Without going into specifics of the investigation, we can categorically say that Luke Airmen are held to a high standard of conduct and that we maintain a zero-tolerance policy regarding acts of discrimination based on race," Clements said.

Read the full report over at Task & Purpose.

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