I am a U.S. Air Force Veteran and I am ashamed of the behavior of some of the cadets at the Preparatory Academy. I am proud of Lt. General Jay Silveria, the Commandant of the Academy, for his lecture to the cadets in the wake of a racist event at the Academy.
The issue came to light because the mother of one of the five cadets who were the targets of the racial slurs posted a photo on her Facebook page showing the slur. CBS News published a partially obscured photo of a blackboard message that says, “Go home N****r.”
The incident was on Monday and came to public light after the Mother posted the photo.
The Air Force Academy runs a preparatory school where future cadets sharpen basic academic skills they will need to enter the academy. After successful completion of the preparatory school, the attendees are moved into the Freshman Class of the Academy.
General Silveria called all 4,000 cadets of the Preparatory and Air Force Academy to assembly. He told them to grab their phones and put them on record. He wanted them to have the lecture recorded so they could replay his words. He then delivered a five-minute lecture on the power of diversity and gender. Below is the full text of his message to Cadets.
The General concluded his remarks by saying, “If you can’t treat someone with respect and dignity, then get out.”
The Air Force Times reports, the cadets who were the targets are fine. The parents of the cadets spoke with the newspaper and gave their views which you can read here. To protect the privacy of the victims and their parents, the Air Force is not releasing the names of the cadets or parents.
Hate is a part of today’s America
Fifty-years ago I recall the Peace Movement. We were talking about ending wars and living in harmony. Our popular music was part of that theme. They were pleas to end racial strife and live in harmony.
All that changed on September 11, 2001. Religious and ethnic hate became fashionable in America after the attacks of that day. It’s a short step from hating Muslims to rekindling hate against African-Americans, Jews, women, and the other traditional groups that have been targeted in the past.
Conservatives started rebelling against “politically correct” speech and behavior. They wanted to fully exercise their right to hate speech.
We now have that. The hate and vitriol taught by parents to their children are on display at the U.S. Air Force Academy. That hate is not limited to the Academy. It isn’t just in the military. It is in every town, every city, every suburb, every rural section of America.
Hate has become so important it is now targeted for political gain. The biggest practitioner of harvesting hate for political gain is the Commander-in-Chief himself.
Donald Trump rode into office on a tidal wave of ethnic, religious, and racial hatred. He didn’t win because of good tax policy, or a vision for America. He rode in on demagoguery and deceit. The Cadets that perpetrated this vile act are only taking their cue from The Commander-in-Chief.
Social media is a double-edged sword
While social media got this into the light where it needs to be, it also contributes to the problem. Do you think reporting hate-speech on Facebook and Twitter do any good? Only when backed into a corner in the press is positive action by Facebook or Twitter. I saw a group on Facebook the other day dedicated to advocating killing Jews. I reported the group to Facebook. I received a polite letter back that basically said they were sorry I had seen that. They are “looking into it.”
You don’t have to look far. The first page is quite enough with the slurs and the calls for violence. By doing nothing, Facebook and Twitter are throwing gasoline on the fires of hate.
On Twitter, I am routinely told by Whites that racism no longer exists except in the minds of African-Americans who want something for nothing. When I read that statement and point out it is racist then often I become the target too. If you are one of those people who think racism is gone, you are wrong. Some try to blame the targets of racism, anti-semitism, sexism, religious hate, and Homophobia and don’t see a problem. If you can’t see the problem in America with those things then I suggest looking in a mirror. You’re the problem. We live in troubled times. We seem to be moving backward and not forward.
We live in troubled times. We seem to be moving backward and not forward.
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