The episode attracted national attention when Tracye Whitfield, the mother of one of the students, posted a photo on Facebook of the message, which paired the words âgo homeâ with a racial slur. âItâs a nerve-racking feeling,â Ms. Whitfield told a local news station in Colorado Springs, near where the academy is located.
The preparatory school, usually called the âprep school,â prepares candidates for admission to the academy proper. About 240 students, called âcadet candidates,â attend the school each year.
Though the slurs were discovered at the prep school, âit would be naÃ¯veâ to think the episode did not reflect on the academy and the Air Force as a whole, General Silveria said.
âSome of you may think that that happened down at the prep school and doesnât apply to us,â he said. âI would be naÃ¯ve, and we would all be naÃ¯ve, to think that everything is perfect here.â
He then explicitly linked the discovery of the slurs to events like the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists marched with torches in August, and Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer in 2014 set off protests across the country. He said that these events formed a backdrop that had to be addressed, and that to think otherwise would be âtone deaf.â
After calling for a civil discourse, he spoke of the power of various forms of diversity, evoking âthe power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, we come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringing.â
He added: âThis is our…