But one of the five African American Air Force students has admitted to writing the slurs against blacks himself, the academy said in a statement last week. The Air Force Times reported that the perpetrator was no longer a student.
However, Lt Gen Jay Silveria on Tuesday “was honored Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for standing up to racial slurs written on doors in a cadet dormitory at the Colorado Springs military academy earlier this year.”
The media had praised Silveria for condemning “hate” and “racism” in an “impassioned speech” late last year.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO noted at the presentation: “The general rightfully saw the racial slurs on the wall, as writing on the wall. His clarion call for decency was heard far beyond the walls of the academy, and his message literally blotted out the social media pictures of the slurs because his words were viewed by millions of people on YouTube.”
The ADL made no mention of the fact his actions were based on a hate hoax, even though it has been widely reported that one of the African-American cadet “victims” admitted he drew the racial slurs on his own dorm room himself.
“Air Force Academy head to racists: ‘Get out,'” CNN reported at the time. Silveria was presented with the ADL Americanism Award in a ceremony at San Francisco’s City Hall Rotunda, “where his courageous words against racism were celebrated by local and national ADL board members,” the ADL statement read.
When the racial slurs appeared and shared on social media, Silveria called a full assembly where he made an emotional speech condemning racism. He told the assembly of some 5 500 students, faculty and staff: “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, Get out!”
In his responding remarks, Silveria said: “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” Silveria added: “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect ― and those who don’t understand those concepts aren’t welcome here.”
After the hoax was revealed, Silveria did not apologize to the white cadets he had falsely accused of racism, but instead said it did not matter.
Four similar hate hoaxes were exposed over the last few weeks.
Dauntarius Williams, 21, who is African-American, admitted to police that he spray-painted his own car with racial slurs and filed a false police report.
An African-American man was charged for setting fire to his own church and spray-painting “KKK,” the N-word and one of the most poorly drawn swastikas ever seen. Maintenance worker Nathaniel D. Nelson, 48, carried out the crime to “cover up his theft of money to buy crack cocaine,” The Kansas City Star reported, citing documents filed in federal court.
Last year, a 29-year-old African-American student was arrested for spray-painting “KKK” and “Leave NI**ERS” repeatedly around Eastern Michigan University. The hate hoax by one Eddie Curlin, an African American, had triggered large protests by Black Lives Matter activists.
The “white supremacist” who spray-painted a swastika on a trash cart at the University of Maryland in September turned out to be a 52-year-old African-American man, called Ronald Alford.