Breaking: Racial Slurs at USAFA were a Hoax
The US Air Force Academy announced that the racial slurs written on message boards at the USAFA Prep School in September were written by one of the supposedly targeted black cadets [emphasis added]:
In a written statement Tuesday, the academy said, “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.”
Even at the time a few people cautiously wondered if the incident was too “obvious” to be true, particularly in light of the other racial incidents going on around the country at the time.
Superintendent LtGen Jay Silveria’s response to the racist incident virtually made him an instant internet celebrity.
As to the motivation:
Several sources say the cadet candidate, who hasn’t been identified, committed the act in a bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct.
The fact that the incident was “fake” does not detract from LtGen Silveria’s response. The fact the racist slurs were written by an African-American does not make him any less racist (popular culture notwithstanding). One does wonder, though, if Gen Silveria would have made his famous speech at all if he’d known then who the cadet was.
The incident — along with other similar ones in society at the time — provides an interesting window into assumptions, racial stereotyping, perceptions, and “race relations” both within the military and in greater society.