A speech from the superintendent of the Air Force Academy Preparatory School sent a powerful message to racists on campus: either learn to treat people with dignity and respect or “get out.”
According to reports, racist graffiti was written outside the dorm rooms of five black Air Force cadet candidates. Additionally, a young cadet candidate’s mom posted a message to Facebook which read “go home n*gger.”
Speaking to a room packed with school personnel and the media, Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria spoke clearly and forcefully to the audience, at one point telling everyone to record his words with their cellphone cameras.
“If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place,” Silveria said of the racist graffiti. ”That kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at USAFA and it has no place in the United States Air Force.”
“You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being,” he continued.
“We would be naive to think we shouldn’t discuss this topic,” he said. “We’d 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.”
“What we should have is a civil discourse, and talk about these issues,” Silveria offered. “That’s a better idea.”
He said that part of that “better idea” is found in the strength that comes from the diversity on campus. “The power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this county, that we come from all races, all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringings. The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful.”
Silveria made sure there was no confusion as to where he stood on the issue.
“So just in case you’re unclear on where I stand on this topic, I’m going to leave you with my most important thought today,” he said. “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. And if you can’t treat someone from another race, or a different color of skin, with dignity and respect, than you need to get out.”
The incident, which happened this Wednesday, is being investigated by Academy Security.
Watch the video below, via KOAA:
Featured image via screen grab