Yesterday, when the news broke that George Allen called someone at a campaign stop a 'macaca,' I did some Google searches to find out what it meant. As it turns out, the question is not if 'macaca' is a racist term, but which of the three definitions of the word 'macaca' did George Allen intend when he used it?
Here are the three choices:1. 'Macaca' - French : racist slang; similar to English 'nigger,' used to describe Arabs.
2. 'Macaca' - English : racist slang; similar to 'nigger' used to describe Arabs.
3. 'Macaca' - English : racist slang; used by American white supremacists in 'insider' talk about African-Americans.
The volunteer, S.R. Sidarth, is of Indian descent, so the racist nature of the word is clearly applicable. The Allen campaign has insisted that Allen intended to say "mohawk" because that is what the campaign referred to the volunteer as based on his hair style. Atrios found a picture of Mr. Sidarth, and he clearly does not have a mohawk.
To top things off, in a terrible article by the New York Times completely missing the racist nature of Allen's remark, the following came out from Larry Sabato, Political Science Professor at the University of Virginia.
Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said today that Mr. Allen was strong enough in Virginia that the verbal gaffe would probably not keep him from being elected to a second term in the Senate.
But should Mr. Allen run for president, the word “macaca” will hurt him, “not only because it is offensive on its face but also because it fits into a long pattern of insensitivity by Allen on racial and ethnic matters,” Mr. Sabato said.
The article goes on to explain that Allen and Sabato went to school together and both served in student government. Allen isn't the only racist Republican Senator running for reelection this year, we've also got Trent Lott who famously praised Strom Thurmond's racist campaign for President in 1948, and Conrad Burns in Montana.
Back in 1994, while campaigning for a second term, Senator Burns dropped by a local newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and told an editor an anecdote about one of his constituents, a rancher who wanted to know what life was like in Washington.
Mr. Burns said the rancher asked him, ''Conrad, how can you live back there with all those niggers?''
Senator Burns said he told the rancher it was ''a hell of a challenge.''
The anecdote was published, and Senator Burns apologized. When he was asked why he hadn't expressed any disapproval when the rancher used the word nigger, the senator said: ''I don't know. I never gave it much thought.''
Maybe he didn't express any disapproval because he didn't particularly disapprove. On another occasion Senator Burns had to apologize after giving a speech in Billings about America's dependence on foreign sources of oil. In the speech, he referred to Arabs as ''ragheads.''
''I regret the use of such an inappropriate term,'' he said. ''I hope I did not overshadow the serious substance of my remarks.''
It has always been this way with Conrad Burns. Back in 1991, immediately after a civil rights bill had been passed, he invited a group of lobbyists, some of them white and some of them black, to accompany him to an auction.
When asked what was being auctioned, he replied, ''Slaves.''
The Washington Post quoted one of the lobbyists as saying: ''We were floored. We couldn't believe it.'' Senator Burns later said he was talking about a charitable auction in which the services of individuals are sold.
Voters in Montana and Virginia have a unique opportunity this November to boot out these racist jerks, Tester and Webb are first class candidates who would represent their State in a much more positive way. Voters have a choice this November between the hate mongers who want voters to fear the gays, the illegals, the foreigners, and the blacks, and candidates who have a real serious program to make this country a better place.