LtGen Silveria Receives Award for Response to Hoax Racism

On Monday US Air Force Academy Superintendent LtGen Jay Silveria appeared at the Anti-Defamation League’s “Never is Now” Summit on Anti-Semitism, where he spoke on diversity. According to a USAFA press release, he accepted an award for his response to the racial slurs written at the USAFA Prep School — which are now known to have been a hoax.

Oddly, the press release doesn’t say what the award was, though the ADL said it was their “Americanism” award.

USAFA noted only that

Scott Levin, director of the ADL’s Mountain States’ Region, applauded the Academy for combatting racism and bigotry, and for “swiftly, clearly and forcefully accessing [sic] the racial slurs at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School,” Levin said.

USAFA’s response was, indeed, “swift” — so swift, in fact, that some cautioned they were jumping to conclusions. Those reactions now seem prescient.

If handled correctly, the USAFA story can still be an effective learning point: People often assume — as many did about USAFA — that a “racist incident” is perpetrated by a person of one skin color against one of another.

USAFA has reminded us “racism and bigotry” can occur even between people who look alike — even if our “racist” stereotypical assumptions color our reactions to such incidents.