• AFSOC Unfiltered: Being Black in America - Episode 5

    Written by Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida

    In this episode of AFSOC Unfiltered, we continue our journey into the topic of our Airmen's experiences with race with a few challenging conversations.

    Listen and watch here.

    WARNING: there is some use of "the N word" in this episode and we touch on the concept of "white privilege" as well. This episode is not for the faint of heart...

    Maybe just reading this is what we'll discuss is already stirring strong emotions inside you. TBH, rewatching this episode made me, as Lt. Col. Chivis would say, "feel some kind of way."

    I hope the messages in this episode aren't drowned out by what you may be feeling, because in the course of our series I have benefited by listening and learning about the pressures being faced by fellow Airmen. Even when the listening is hard. But as leaders, we owe it to those with whom we serve to try to understand their life experiences and how that impacts their service to our Nation.

    The focus of this episode is life beyond the gate of an Air Force Base. After all, our orders may say we are assigned to a location, but we must live in the communities that surround our installations. Some of us might want to think what happens off-base does not impact our on-duty responsibilities, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    What happens off-base has a profound effect on our fellow Airmen, and for a Black Airman, that burden can be painful in ways I have not experienced.

    Listen, Learn, Lead...I'm still trying to be better at all three.

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