Air Force Times reported that five Black Air Force Cadet candidates at the USAF Preparatory School were victims of racist slurs on their dormitory message boards earlier this week. And Academy Superintendent Lt. General Jay Silveria wasn’t happy about it. Neither was Lt Col Allen Herritage, director of public affairs at the school, who said the slurs were discovered Monday.
One mother posted a photo of the racist slur on Facebook. It said “Go home, n****r.” Her post was taken offline on Thursday. She stated she was hurt by the slur, and remarked, “These young people are supposed to bond and protect each other and the country. Who would my son have to watch out for? The enemy or the enemy?”
The father of the candidate had a response filled with wisdom:
“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. You don‘t have to defend intelligence, you don’t have to defend common sense, you don’t have to defend confidence. He’s fine…
The real victim here is that individual [who wrote the slurs], because that individual is going to lose a promising career in the military. That individual is going to go home disgraced. Him or her is the real victim, because they were raised with that kind of vitriol and that kind of hate. My son is not a victim, I don’t view him as a victim.”
The Academy has not identified the cadet or his family, and an investigation has been launched over the incident.
Superintendent Silveria called the USAF Academy – students and faculty alike that such behavior would not be tolerated.
“There is absolutely no place in our Air Force for racism. It‘s not who we are, nor will we tolerate it in any shape or fashion. The Air Force Academy strives to create a climate of dignity and respect for all … period … those who don’t understand that are behind the power curve and better catch up…I‘ve said it before, the area of dignity and respect is my red line. Let me be clear, it won’t be crossed without significant repercussions. Diversity is a strength of our academy and our Air Force. We are stronger when we take into account the views of those with different backgrounds and life experiences.” Lt General Silveria
Here is his speech: