Head of Air Force Academy tells cadets they should be 'outraged' over racism in powerful speech
In light of racial slurs found scrawled on the doors of five black students, the head of the Air Force Academy has told cadets they should "outraged" by the incident, adding that “if you can't treat someone with dignity and respect-then you need to get out."
The stern lecture was delivered by Lieutenant General Jay Silveria at the Colorado Springs, Colorado prep school of the Academy in front of approximately 5,500 cadets, faculty, staff, and senior Air Force officers.
So cadets would really absorb the message, he instructed them to “grab your phones” and record his words.
The video has been shared on social media by the military branch, and has received praise from a wide range of people.
The academy is investigating an incident in which the words “Go home n-word” was written on the message boards outside the rooms of five black students.
"You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being,” Lt. Gen. Silveria said, adding that the behaviour was not welcome at the academy.
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) September 28, 2017
He warned that the faculty and staff should not be “tone deaf” to how the message is related to recent violence during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia involving neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and counterprotesters, the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Donald Trump’s comments against NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem.
Lt. Gen. Silveria said the Air Force Academy recruits from every state in the country, all races, and every socio-economic background.
The prep school where the incident occurred offers a 10-month programme in academics, athletics, and military courses to 240 men and women to prepare 17 to 22-year-olds for an appointment at the Air Force Academy.
Attending the prep school increases the chances of getting into the service academy, but admission is not guaranteed because of it.
"The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful. That's a much better idea than small thinking and horrible ideas."
He closed his speech with powerful words for the cadets: “If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can't treat someone from another race, or different color skin, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out."