Every now and again, the mask slips and you see the real person underneath. And that person is quite often a racist or misogynist, despite protests to the contrary. Take Mel Gibson.
Now we have Senator George F. Allen of Virginia and his America:
“MY FRIENDS, we’re going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas,” Sen. George F. Allen told a rally of Republican supporters in Southwest Virginia last week. “And it’s important that we motivate and inspire people for something.” Whereupon Mr. Allen turned his attention to a young campaign aide working for his Democratic opponent — a University of Virginia student from Fairfax County who was apparently the only person of color present — and proceeded to ridicule him.
Let’s consider which positive, constructive or inspirational ideas Mr. Allen had in mind when he chose to mock S.R. Sidarth of Dunn Loring, who was recording the event with a video camera on behalf of James Webb, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Mr. Allen holds. The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!” to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it? (So insisted Mr. Allen’s aides.) Or perhaps the idea that bullying your opponents and calling them strange names — Mr. Allen twice referred to Mr. Sidarth as “Macaca” — is within the bounds of decency on the campaign trail?
“Macaca” is indeed a strange name, but it’s one well-known to a certain type of person — you know, the kind who runs around in bedsheets:
The term ‘macaque’–also pronounced ‘mukakkah’–is a commonly used racial slur on par with the word ‘nigger’ in the united states.
In Europe, the word ‘macaque’ is largely a racial slur used to insult people of North African descent. It is roughly synonomous with ‘dirty arab.’
Most of the results that came back in these searches took me to well known white supremacy websites–and to posts from the past two or three years. So this is a phrase that is still in use.
Also returned where hundreds of ‘ethnic slur’ dictionaries online, all of which list this term as a ‘Belgian’ racial slur.
Not that Allen, who had staunchly opposed a state holiday honoring MLK, acknowledged that this was his intent. No, he was just making fun of Sidarth’s haircut and somehow this obscure term used on Stormfront just popped out of his mouth:
Reached Monday evening, Allen said that the word had no derogatory meaning for him and that he was sorry. “I would never want to demean him as an individual. I do apologize if he’s offended by that. That was no way the point.”
Asked what macaca means, Allen said: “I don’t know what it means.” He said the word sounds similar to “mohawk,” a term that his campaign staff had nicknamed Sidarth because of his haircut. Sidarth said his hairstyle is a mullet — tight on top, long in the back.
Ah, the weasel-word apology: I apologize IF he was offended. Otherwise, not.
However, Sidarth got the message loud and clear:
But the apology, which came hours after Allen’s campaign manager dismissed the issue with an expletive and insisted the senator has “nothing to apologize for,” did little to mollify Webb’s campaign or Sidarth, who said he suspects Allen singled him out because his was the only nonwhite face among about 100 Republican supporters.
“I think he was doing it because he could, and I was the only person of color there, and it was useful for him in inciting his audience,” said Sidarth, who videotaped the event for the Webb campaign. “I was annoyed he would use my race in a political context.”
Allen plans to run for President in 2008. Welcome to America, indeed.