The United States Senate approved on Tuesday the appointment of General Charles Brown Jr. as the new Chief of Staff of the Air Force, making him the first African-American in the country’s history to hold that position, as well as the first African-American to command one of its military branches.
After a vote that was settled with the support of 98 senators and zero votes against, Brown will become chief of the Air Force amid controversy over the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of the Police when he was being detained in Minneapolis two years ago. weeks.
The case, which has sparked anti-racist protests in various parts of the country, has caused a new increase in racial tension in the United States. Last week, Brown released a video of Floyd’s death in which he claimed to feel that he was living on the fringes of “two different worlds”.
Brown regretted that the United States has failed to guarantee equality for all, as stated in the Constitution, and indicated that he himself has been a victim of racism throughout his career.
“I am thinking about a history of racial problems and my own experiences, which were not always of freedom,” said this pilot from Texas who until now commanded the Pacific Air Force.
Brown described an Air Force career in which he was often “the only African American in the squadron” and, already as a senior command, “the only African American in the room.”
“I am thinking of wearing the same flight uniform with the same wings on the chest as my companions and being asked by another soldier: ‘Are you a pilot?'” He affirmed, in the emotional video.
“I’m thinking about the pressure I felt to act flawlessly, especially for supervisors who I perceived expected less of me as an African American. I’m thinking about having to work twice as hard to prove that their expectations and perceptions of African Americans were not true,” he added .
Brown was appointed Chief of Staff of the Air Force by US President Donald Trump last March. Vice President Mike Pence was present Tuesday during the Senate vote as Speaker of the Upper House.
“Today is a historic day for our nation,” Pence said after Brown’s confirmation.
According to Pentagon data collected by CNN, 18.7% of the military in the United States are African-American, but that percentage falls to 8.8% among the commanders.