Five months after Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria made a viral speech to Air Force cadets after a racist incident, his message to racists is the same: “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect — get out.”
In a commentary on CNN.com, Silveria, the Air Force Academy superintendent, writes that the incident prompted him to ask the question of why diversity is important.
Overall, diversity “is one of the truest reflections of our nation's ideals, and part of the fabric of our military. It is crucial, not because it is in vogue, but because it makes us better, stronger and more effective as a fighting force.”
It “isn’t just the right thing to do, nor is it just a sensitive and politically correct, knee-jerk response,” Silveria writes. “It is the application of our collective intelligence -- our uniqueness coming together to fulfill our duty to provide the nation with the most effective and lethal fighting force we have the capacity to employ on the battlefield.
“Diversity is a force multiplier. We must do this together — all ranks and ages, races and religions, sexual orientations and identities — all of us,” Silveria writes.
The Air Force Academy said Wednesday it would not discuss what led a student to allegedly stage a hate crime, but a researcher said those who commit hoaxes are sometimes trying to bolster their reputations or want to deflect attention from trouble they are in.