Five black cadet candidates at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School found racial slurs written on dormitory message boards on their doors earlier this week, leading to an investigation and school officials denouncing racism.
Air Force Academy officials are investigating the incident that happened Monday, according to an Air Force press release.
“If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place,” said Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the Academy’s Superintendent. “That kind of behavior has no place at the Prep School, has no place at USAFA and has no place in the United States Air Force.”
“If you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” he added. “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”
Silveria mentioned current events in the United States that have sparked intense discussion, including the Charlottesville riot and the NFL protests. He noted that a recent forum hosted by the Dean of Faculty at the Academy on the Charlottesville riot had a great discussion.
“We received outstanding feedback from that session on Charlottesville,” he said.
“What we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues,” Silveria said, rather than write racial slurs on someone’s door. “That’s a better idea.”
Silveria went on to talk about the importance of diversity.
“It’s the power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, that we come from all backgrounds, gender, all make-up, all upbringing,” he said. “The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful.”
According to the Air Force Times, a mother of one of the victims posted a photo on Facebook of one of the messages, which read: “go home n****r.”
“This is why I’m so hurt!” the post read. “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?”
One of the cadet’s fathers told the Air Force Times in an interview that his son is not a victim, but rather the cadet who wrote the message is the victim here.
“The real victim here is that individual [who wrote the slurs], because that individual is going to lose a promising career in the military,” he said. “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.”