Racism: the director of an American military school sacked

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The director of an American military school was sacked Monday, after the opening of an investigation into accusations of systemic racism in this establishment in Virginia which still honors the memory of Confederate generals on a daily basis.

In a resignation letter issued by the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), retired General Binford Peay, 80, says Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam had "lost confidence in my ability to lead" the institute and asked for my resignation.

Mr. Peay ran one of the oldest military universities in the country for 17 years.

Since the death of George Floyd at the end of May, a black man killed during his arrest by a white policeman, the US military, which is one of the institutions where minorities are most represented in the United States, has opened a big internal debate on racism.

Black students and graduates of the Virginia Military Institute then denounced on social media the indifference shown by management when they said they were victims of racist insults from other students, undeserved punishment, even racist reflections from their teachers.

A room filled with uniformed students from the Virginia Military Institute.

The Virginia Military Institute received a visit from Mike Pence in September.

Photo: AP / HEATHER ROUSSEAU

Last month, the African-American magazine The Root published the testimonies of several black students. One of them recounted how a teacher had smilingly mentioned her father, a member of the Ku Klux Klan; another was protesting because all students must salute a statue of Southern General Stonewall Jackson every time they pass by.

Mr Northam last week ordered an investigation into the structural racism within the establishment, which receives public funding after the publication of these testimonies.

When black students protested against what they saw as a glorification of the confederates States of the South, opposed to the abolition of slavery, during the Civil War (1861-1865), the leadership has always refused to modify what it considers to be a tradition not having anything racist.

Read also :

  • United States: protests against racism multiply, so do clashes
  • US commemorates end of slavery amid tensions over racism
  • Wave of vandalism against monuments deemed racist in the United States and Europe


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