Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 5 News List

US general tells bigots to ‘get out’ amid racism row

AFP, WASHINGTON

The head of the US Air Force Academy has delivered an unequivocal rebuke to bigots after the discovery of racist graffiti on campus, telling them: “You need to get out.”

“If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place,” US Lieutenant General Jay Silveria said in an address to cadets, faculty and staff at the academy in Colorado Springs, footage of which has since gone viral.

“You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being,” the academy’s superintendent said.

Five African-American students at the Academy’s Preparatory School found racist comments on dormitory message boards earlier this week.

One posted an image on Facebook showing a whiteboard with “Go home, nigger” written on it and parents then alerted faculty.

“That kind of behavior has no place at the Prep School, has no place at USAFA [US Air Force Academy] and it has no place in the United States Air Force,” Silveria said.

“If you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” he said.

At the close of his remarks, the general invited those gathered to take out their smartphones and record his message.

If “you need my words, then you keep these words, and you use them and you remember them and you share them and you talk about them: If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”

US Senator John McCain, a former US naval officer who was held captive in Vietnam, tweeted a video of Silveria’s remarks, saying that it was an “important statement.”

“I agree, there’s no place for racism or bigotry in our military or this great nation,” McCain said.

The graffiti — and Silveria’s reply — come at a time of heightened focus on racism in the US, a context he noted in his speech.

“We would ... 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,” he said.

In mid-August, top military officers offered strong condemnation of racism after a violent neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally over the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The response of senior officers was in contrast to that of US President Donald Trump, who suggested there was blame “on both sides,” and that there were “very fine people” among the white supremacists — remarks that were widely criticized.

This story has been viewed 996 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top