In a breathtaking moment of clarity and common sense, the United States Air Force superintendent delivered a startling speech on the institution not tolerating any form of racism or bigotry.
The Academy’s Preparatory School discovered racially-insensitive insults written on the message boards of African-American cadets.
They obviously didn’t have Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria in mind when writing the senseless slurs, reports the New York Times.
This guy doesn’t mince his words.
If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place. You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.
If you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) September 28, 2017
He stressed the importance of message boards acting as places where cadets should come together and support each other.
We would all be naive to think that everything is perfect here. We would be naive to think we shouldn’t discuss this topic.
We would also be tone deaf not to think about the backdrop of what’s going on in our country, things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, the protests in the NFL.
One target of the racist trolling is brushing off the incident, according to his father.
He told Air Force Times:
The word has zero power in my house. Zero power. The word is not going to yield a reaction. My initial advice to him was, respond with intelligence, do not react, do not get upset. The real victim here is that individual [who wrote the slurs], because that individual is going to lose a promising career in the military.
Security forces are investigating the incident, Silveria said Wednesday.
The Academy’s chief diversity officer is putting together group discussions to continue the debate.
Silveria wrote in an email:
We don‘t always know what ‘right’ looked like for them in the families, schools and communities where they grew up. But once they arrive here and get immersed in the Air Force culture, it must be absolutely clear how we look out for and respect one another.
Strong words from a true American role model.