The Air Force Academy is incestigating an incident earlier this week that involved racist messages being written on the doors of black cadets. On Thursday, Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria delivered a strong message to anyone responsible.
While addressing a room full of cadets, Silveria bluntly stated, “You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.”
Silveria gave a stern lecture to the crowd of thousands, making it very clear that the Air Force Academy will not tolerate any of the hateful behavior. Silveria said that anyone who cannot treat a fellow cadet with basic human respect needs to get out.
“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,” Silveria said. “You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.”
Silveria then urged cadets to get out their phones and record the final part of his speech:
“Just in case you’re unclear on where I stand on this topic, I’m going to leave you my most important thought today: 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 different color skin, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.”
That is what real leadership looks like and this is how you condemn racism.
With hateful rhetoric seeming to be a driving force for these kinds of incidents in recent months, it was refreshing to see someone show high integrity and deliver a powerful, clear message.
Hopefully the message resonated with those listening in the Air Force Academy, because incidents like these are completely unacceptable.
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