U.S. Air Force Academy Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria issued a strong message to cadets this week after racial slurs were found written on whiteboards outside the dorm rooms of five Black Air Force Academy cadet candidates.
“This kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at the (U.S. Air Force Academy) and it has no place in the United States Air Force,” Silveria said in a impassioned speech to cadets Thursday, Sept. 28. “You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.”
The slurs were discovered Monday, Sept. 25, on the Air Force Academy Preparatory School campus in Colorado Springs, the Air Force Times reported. The mother of one of the cadet candidates posted a photo of her son’s white board on Facebook this week, which had the words “go home n—-r” written on it.
“This is why I’m so hurt!” the mother said in her post. “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 mother’s post was public at first but was later deleted, the military news site reported. The cadet candidates remain unnamed out of respect for their privacy.
During his address, Silveria reiterated that racism of any kind would not be condoned.
“It’s not who we are, nor will we tolerate it in any shape or fashion,” he said. “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.”
“We come from all walks of life,” he added. “We come from all parts of this country. We come from all races. We come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringings. The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful.”
The USAFA superintendent concluded his remarks by assuring that the cadets responsible would be disciplined.