If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Silveria.
More than 4,000 cadets and 1,500 staff at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) prep school stood at attention as the school’s superintendent delivered a powerful statement regarding racism. After discovering racial slurs written on dormitory message boards, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria emphasized that racists are the ones who need to “get out”.
“No one can write on a board and question our values. If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. 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.”
The words “get out n****” and “go home” were discovered written on the message boards next to the dormitory doors of five black students last Tuesday. Silveria has promised to track down the perpetrator, who will likely be court martialed and expelled. The handwriting on each of five boards reportedly looked similar, so the school administration is searching for one individual, alongside police investigators. Although the First Amendment protects hate speech among civilians, the military does not uphold this protection.
Silveria said there is no room for racism or intolerance in the Air Force, and that diversity is powerful and makes the group stronger. In his statement, Silveria referenced Charlottesville, Ferguson and the NFL protests. “Reach for your phones,” said Silveria. “I want you to videotape this so that you have it, so that you can use it. So that we all have the moral courage together.”
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