That was the message delivered by Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria to the racists who supposedly dwelled at his institution.
Silveria’s impassioned speech went viral in September in response to racist messages found on chalkboards outside the dorms of African-American cadet candidates.
“If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out, and if you can’t treat someone from another race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” Silveria declared to the entire student body assembled before him in the wake of the messages. “What we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues. That’s a better idea.”
The lieutenant general was hailed as the anti-racist hero needed in this era of Charlottesville and Donald Trump. Here was someone who would tell racists they were not welcome and stand up for the true American way.
Unfortunately for Silveria, his passionate speech was all over a hoax engineered by one of the supposed victims of the racist messages.
A local Colorado outlet reported earlier this week that the perpetrator was no longer at the school and had received administrative punishment. (RELATED: Air Force Academy Cadet Candidate Wrote Fake Racist Messages Himself)
Considering how many recent hate hoaxes have received ample media attention, it’s not too surprising the viral Air Force general speech turned out to be all over nothing.
But even though Silveria impugned the reputation of his institution by assuming there were many racists in its midst, he still stood by his words inspired by a hoax.
“Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” the superintendent told The Colorado Springs Gazette. “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.”
Silveria’s insistence that the facts don’t alter his speech at all is a good indication of why the growing number of hoaxes are always shrugged off.
They still serve as “educational opportunities,” according to the duped. While these hate incidents might not be true, the experts argue that America is facing epidemic levels of racism that needs confronting.
Who cares if the confrontation is based on lies? It’s all for the greater good.
The New York Times write-up of the hoax revelation spent most of its time worrying about how the right-wing will exploit these numerous false accusations rather than folks continuing to make them.
“Any false reports of bias incidents are seized on by those who want to create the impression that no hate crime reporting is legitimate,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Times. “We have seen an unprecedented spike in the number of hate- and bias-related incidents targeting American Muslims and others across the board.”
CNN ran an op-ed Thursday with the same intention of dismissing concerns over the large number of fraudulent bias incidents. “Americans on the far right could hardly contain their excitement” is the opening line of the piece that goes on to shame conservatives for observing the Air Force Academy messages fit a growing pattern of media-hyped hoaxes.
The writer, Frida Ghitis, insists hate crimes are surging because of Trump, thus we mustn’t stop believing people who draw their own racist graffiti for attention. “[T]he message of tolerance and civility winning the battle of ideas” is just too important to let facts get in the way.
It is undoubtedly true there are some legitimate hate crimes committed in America, such as the March case of a white supremacist stabbing a black man to death on the streets of New York City. That case received some media coverage, but not as much as that of the fabricated messages at the Air Force Academy.
Or the threats made to Jewish Community Centers earlier in the year that turned out to be the work of a discredited far-left journalist and an Isreali teenager, respectively. (RELATED: Arrest Debunks The ‘Trump Fosters Antisemitism’ Dreck)
Just a day before it was revealed the messages at the Academy were not written by a white supremacist, a supposed hate incident at Kansas State University turned out to be a hoax as well. A 21-year-old African-American man he wrote the hateful messages on his car as a prank.
While his intention was allegedly jovial, the incident increased tensions on campus and activists pointed to it as evidence of the university’s rampant bigotry.
When faced with an obvious false report, a university spokesman still claimed the phony incident represented a real problem. “The incident maybe wasn’t real — the emotions were.”
That’s about as succinct of an explanation for why hate hoaxes will continue to be met with unquestionable faith. The emotions were real.
Liberals want to believe Trump is causing an upsurge in hate in the country, and they’ll highlight any racist graffiti or Islamophobic harassment they come across to drive the point. It doesn’t matter if the individual case turns out to be fake when they illustrate real “emotions.”
The Silveria speech will still be celebrated even thought it was given under the assumption of false information and wrongly accused some of its audience members of bigotry. It made for a film-like narrative of a brave general staring down racist bullies under his command.
And these fictional shows will continue to occur. The liberal narrative depends on them.