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Air Force Academy superintendent: "Grab your phones"

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria speaks to AFA cadets. Photo: YouTube

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, yesterday "stood all of his 4,000 cadets at attention ... [c]hins in and chests out ... to deliver a message on racial slurs found written on message boards at the academy's preparatory school," The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reports.

At the culmination of his five-minute lecture on "the power of diversity" of race and gender, the general barked: "Reach for your phones. I'm serious: Reach for your phones. ... Grab your phones. I want you to videotape this — so that you have it, so that you can use it, so that we all have the moral courage together."

  • Then he said: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out." The general turned and left.
  • The academy says in a release that "five black students woke up Tuesday to find 'Go Home' followed by an epithet scrawled on message boards outside their rooms."
  • More from Silveria, an '85 graduate of the academy: "If you're outraged by those words, then you're in the right place ... 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."
  • " [W]hat we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues. That's a better idea."

Why it matters: This is very much of a piece with the camera-phone video we brought you last month, in which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tells troops aboard, in impromptu remarks: "Hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other."

Be smart: If you have the privilege of leading, you know what to do.

Go deeper: Meet Lt. Gen. Silveria