Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Senator Jethro, or whatever your name is, I don't think I like you

So George Allen is a senator from Virginia. He is currently trying to get re-elected, and is out on the campaign trail. During a speech last weekend in the southwestern corner of the state (through which, being from Southern Virginia myself, I have traveled many times), Allen pointed to a 20-year-old volunteer from the campaign of his opponent, Jim Webb. The volunteer was of Indian descent and was the only non-white person in the crowd. Allen said:

This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere ... Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.
Senator Allen, I've a question. And that question is: what the hell were you thinking? Seriously. I want to know, physically, how this came about. What part of your brain sent the "it's okay to say this" signal to your mouth?

I know labeling someone a racist is inflammatory, but so is calling someone "macaca" because they have brown skin. "Macaca" is a species of monkey, by the way. Not sure if Allen was smart enough to make that connection, or was just making up a word he thought sounded sufficiently and amusingly Middle Eastern. Either way, senator, you are a racist. Your congratulatory muffin basket is on its way.

I will assume that very few, if any, people of non-white descent who heard about this will vote for him. I'll take that as a given. Now, let's say you're a white voter in Virginia. You like Allen's fiscal discipline or his stand against abortion (even though
he owns stock in the company that makes the morning-after pill). Fair enough. But how is this even remotely acceptable if you have any kind of positive or productive relationship with, or opinion of, anyone who is not white? How do you justify a vote for Allen? What if a non-white friend learns of your vote and knows about "macaca?" How, exactly, does that conversation unfold? What if some guy came up to your non-white friend in a bar and called him or her "macaca?" Would you ignore it? Break a bottle over his head? Ditch the first friend for the guy who made the slur? A vote for Allen is a vote for someone who thinks calling Indian people "macaca" is not only okay, not only funny, but a good way to win friends. But hey, it's a free country. Just let me know if you voted that way so I can ostracize you.

- Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology [
Washington Post]

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Gary Aiken said...

No problemo, Macaca.

ombudsman said...

ha ha ha. Gary, you are hilarious. I wonder if anyone would be joking if Allen had said something anti-semitic?

What's funny to me is the spin spin spin. First Allen's people said that "macaca" was a reference to the man's haircut - that Allen was actually saying "Mohawka." Then videotape of the incident came out, and since the dude doesn't have a mohawk at all, the Allen camp changed their story to "George doesn't know what Macaca means." Yeah right. Say goodnight presidential bid.

I.P. Daily said...

NEWSFLASH - Neocons are racist.

I.P. Daily said...

Sen. Allen, "I thought he was Mo Rocca."