An Air Force General Just Shocked His Cadets with This Speech About Racism

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After racial slurs were written on whiteboards outside black Air Force Academy students’ dorm rooms, Air Force Lieutenant General Jay B. Silveria gave a moving speech that condemned racism and discrimination of any kind. Silveria, who is the superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, made a point of saying that even though the event occurred in the prep school, it affects the entire Air Force. He vehemently opposed the racist actions and said that anyone who had the inclination to do something like that needed to “get out”.

Silveria began by addressing the incident head-on. He said that if anyone hadn’t heard of the incident yet, he wanted to be the one to tell them.

He said,”If you’re outraged by those words then you’re in the right place… You should be outraged not only as an airman but as a human being.”    

He said, “I would be naive and we all would be naive to think that everything is perfect here. We would be naive to think that we shouldn’t discuss this topic. We would also be tone-deaf not to think about the backdrop of what’s going on in our country. Things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, the protests in the NFL…” “We should have a civil discourse and talk about these issues.”

He said, “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, we come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringing… the power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful. That’s a much better idea than small thinking…”

“We have an opportunity here… to think about what we are as an institution. This is our institution and no one can take away our values. No one can write on a board and question our values. No one can take that away from us.”

“So just in case you’re unclear on where I stand on this topic, I’m gonna leave you with 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… with 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.” There’s still a lot of hard work we need to do to end discrimination, but Lieutenant Silveria’s straightforward stance is one hell of a good start.