Racial slurs written outside the dorm rooms of five black students at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado became national news this past semester, prompting a stirring speech delivered by school superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, and causing the school to launch an investigation into the incident. As the United States found itself once again struggling to bridge a racial divide that seemed exacerbated by perceptions of national politics, the heinous act concerned many that racism was becoming wider spread and emboldened by a resurgence of white nationalism within the country.
However, according to a report released by the Air Force this week, those slurs were actually written by one of the students who claimed to have been targeted by them.
“We can confirm that one of the cadet candidates who was allegedly targeted by racist remarks written outside of their dorm room was actually responsible for the act. The individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation.” The statement added, “Racism has no place at the academy, in any shape or form.”
The Air Force declined to identify the cadet that was responsible for writing the slurs, including one message that read, “go home n*****,” but local news outlets have reported that he is no longer enrolled at the academy. According to those same reports, the cadet “committed the act in a bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct.”
This incident came during a period of heightened racial tension within the United States, as a resurgence of groups who self-identify as Nazis have squared off with extreme left leaning groups like ANTIFA in violent altercations surrounding the removal of confederate statues. On top of that, high-profile protests in the NFL have spurred discussion and debate about the treatment of minorities in the United States.
“We would also be tone-deaf not to think about the backdrop of what is going on in our country,” Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria told cadets at the time. “Things like Charlottesville, Ferguson, the protests in the NFL.”
“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, get out,” he said.
Silveria unsurprisingly stood by his speech, which went viral on social media and drew praise from prominent Americans like former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” he said in an email to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect — and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”
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