Tech. Sgt. Geraldine Lovely posted an expletive-laden video to Facebook of herself in uniform spouting off about her black female subordinates, who she said regularly give her "attitude" and have no "respect whatsoever." Her offensive language drew reactions both at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and across the country as the video went viral.
"I am trying my best to hold my professionalism with them but good God, they have no . . . respect whatsoever," Lovely said in the video. "Every time I talk to them, 'No Ma'am.' Like they are talking down to me."
"Why is it that every time I encounter my subordinates that are black females they have a giant . . . attitude?" she added.
Lovely, who is a member of the 99th Force Support Squadron, then added that she was trying to "tread lightly" as a higher-ranking official and not "start a fight club."
Lovely's suspension comes a week after Georgia State University soccer player Natalia Martinez was reprimanded for using a racial slur in a video she posted on social media. Martinez was suspended from the team and withdrew from the school, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Another college student, Harley Barber, was expelled from the University of Alabama days before for posting a video filled with racial slurs to social media on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
And the town manager of Jackman, Maine, Tom Kawczynski, was fired last week after media outlets across the country began highlighting blog posts he'd written about his pro-white views - including how Americans would be better off if people of different races "voluntarily separate."
The terminations have raised questions about whether towns and public institutions can dismiss people for offensive speech, which is protected by the Constitution.
The Nellis Air Force Base responded to Lovely's video in a series of tweets Monday night, calling her actions "inappropriate and unacceptable." Officials said they were weighing disciplinary actions and checking to see if Lovely's views were part of a "broader issue" on the Air Force base.
"Additionally, we are all responsible for the environment we tolerate. Respect, dignity, commitment, loyalty and most importantly trust, is the life blood of our profession," he wrote. "As Airmen, these ideals are the difference between winning and losing: both on and off the battlefield."
He added that the Air Force will not tolerate activity that disparages anyone because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
It isn't the first time in recent months that the Air Force has responded to accusations of racism in its ranks. In September, after five black cadet candidates at the Air Force academy's Colorado Springs preparatory school discovered racial slurs on the message boards of their doors, Lt. Gen Jay Silveria sharply spoke in favor of diversity.
"If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, get out," he said to 1,500 of the academy's cadets, faculty and staff.
An investigation later determined that one of the students who claimed to be targeted had been responsible for writing the messages.
It is unclear whether Lovely will face further disciplinary actions. She could not be immediately reached for comment.
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