August 15, 2006

The George Allen "Macaca" story.

This is quite bizarre. I've never followed Senator Allen, and I had absolutely no opinion of him before today, but now we have this story that he singled out a man of Indian descent and called him "macaca," a term I've never seen before.
Allen, who is positioning himself for a possible run for president in 2008, said the name was "just made up" and that he had no idea that macaca is a genus of monkeys including macaques. The name also could be spelled Makaka, which is a city in South Africa.

What sense does that make? Why would you single someone out and make up a term?
"This fellow over here with the yellow shirt -- Macaca or whatever his name is -- he's with my opponent," Allen said. "He's following us around everywhere."

After mentioning that Webb was in California on a fundraising trip, Allen exhorted the crowd: "Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."
The mere fact that he looked at a dark-skinned man and said "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia" is repugnant. And it turns out that "macaca" is an offensive racial term. It's hard to believe that's mere chance taken in conjunction with the "Welcome to America" stupidity.
Allen has been accused of racial insensitivity before. He wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school yearbook photo, used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room, a noose in his law office and a picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office, but has said he has grown since then.
I'm sure some commenters will try to talk me down from this conclusion, and I will give your arguments a respectful listen, but, honestly, I think Allen is toast.

DailyKos assembles
some impressive evidence about the repulsiveness of this term. And here's Josh Marshall:
We now know that not only is 'macaque' a French language slur used to describe North Africans but Allen has a dizzyingly direct way of being familiar with the word. His mother is French Tunisian. Given that it would be amongst the French colonial population in North Africa that the word would have the greatest currency (even if only by familiarity rather than use), it seems close to impossible to believe that Allen didn't become familiar with the word growing up....

[A]ll sorts of things come out of your mouth when you're speaking extemporaneously. Ask anyone who's spent much time on TV or radio. Not things that weren't in your mind somewhere to say, but some things you might have thought better of if you had a few moments to consider it. If you're not a racist, in most cases racial slurs don't come pouring out or, like one conservative yacker, fantasies about sterilizing African-Americans.

I suspect that Allen started off with a pretty crude effort to make fun of Sidarth as an immigrant, an outsider, perhaps by snidely but in his mind jocularly mispronouncing his name. Who knows? But in the moment, when he was looking at this kid who was clearly getting on his nerves, and amongst a lilly [sic] white crowd, this is the word that came to his mind and he used it.
This is all quite reminiscent of the discussion we just had about Mel Gibson. Except Allen wasn't drunk and Allen is asking us to trust him to be President. My trust is shot to hell.

UPDATE: Here's the video clip of Allen's remarks. He's very jovial and energized, and he slips "macaca" in so smoothly, as if outsiders won't even notice this strange word, camouflaged, as it is, in the happy talk. It seems to signal to insiders in code.

203 comments:

1 – 200 of 203   Newer›   Newest»
Ruth Anne Adams said...

I agree his explanation sounds like caca.

dklittl said...

Completely agree on the post Ann. And even worse considering his adult infatuation with the Confederacy. I hope that the Republican party doesn't consider this guy a serious candidate for the Presidency. I know that people want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but at some point the evidence speaks for itself.

Shanna said...

A [b]noose![/b] in his office? That is strange. This whole thing is strange. Why would you say something like that? When you are supposed to be running for President?

Yeah, scratch his name right off the short list (which I have no idea how he got on in the first place).

Goatwhacker said...

I had no idea macaca meant any of that stuff, it just sounded vaguely racist and a little goofy. I'm not sure what he meant by it. Nevertheless, it will be perceived as racist and I agree he's toast.

David Walser said...

Is it possible for anyone to use a word and be unaware of all it's meanings? If so, it would seem reasonable to absolve such a person from intending to convey the unknown meaning of the word.

It may be that Allen thought he made up a name that sounded Indian. If the man had had looked to be of a different ethnic background, he might have said: "Let's welcome, Fred, or whatever his name is, to real America." That may not have been nice, but there wouldn't have been any racial overtones to it. As for how he came up with the name, it may simply have been from some forgotten memory of something his mother said years before.

SippicanCottage said...
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Shanna said...

"It may be that Allen thought he made up a name that sounded Indian."

Even if he did its a) Still weird. b) Still wrong. c) Still stupid.

Simon said...

I don't really see why George Allen is even mentioned as a potential candidate, let alone a leading one. He strikes me as being a bland, inoffensive and undistinguished Senator - much like a GOP equivalent of John Kerry, really. He would be such an uninspired choice - an affirmation that the GOP can't do any better, which really bigs me given how many really strong candidates we could field.

My question is - Ann, who do you want to see the GOP nominate? Who do you like from the potential field of candidates? Who do we need to put into the field to keep hold of "Althouse Democrats"?

Ann Althouse said...

I like Condoleezza Rice! But you don't have to thrill me. Give me a smart and utterly responsible and sane American statesman/woman.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Sippican! Don't you remember the "niggardly" bruhaha?

Simon said...

"I like Condoleezza Rice!"

As you may remember, I have my doubts about that prospect. But, look, I'm certainly not ruling out Rice - If the Presidency were primarily concerned with foreign affairs, with only minimal involvement in domestic policy - that is, if we had a more assertive Congress and a Presidency closer to what I think the Framers had in mind - I might be happier about back Condi. She is certainly popular, and she is certainly an attractive candidate, but we know almost nothing about her views on domestic policy, and surely, with the modern presidency, that matters. Surely it should matter that we don't know her views on, say, NCLB, or what kind of judges she is likely to nominate.

The Drill SGT said...

All is my Senator. OK, but not impressive. certainly not POTUS material IMHO, however:

Don't pile on too deep. let's look at a couple of his "racist" behaviors for alternate explanations.

1. He wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school yearbook photo. How about basic 16 YO rebellion symbol.

2. used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room. As I understood the reference, he had a collection of old flags. Not really surprising one is Confederate. Think 6 Flags Amusement Park.

3. a noose in his law office. Ever hear of the "hanging judge" or "Gallows humor".

4. picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office I would expect that the Gov's office in Richmond has lots of historial pictures. I bet there are pictures of Gov Allen with today's National Guard. I would not be surprised if there is an 1864 picture of Gov xxx with the Virginia National Guard at the seige of Richmond. It's history.

He's not presidential material, lighten up. Or alternately, Liberals keep focusing on Allen, did I say....He's not presidential material.

Bissage said...

I did not know that "Macca" was an ethnic slur.

I thought it merely infantile-sounding and falsely familiar.

Seriously, folks.

But if you go carrying pictures of Robert E. Lee, you ain’t gonna sit in the U.S. Presidency.

All right!

Johnny Nucleo said...

That's it for Allen, which is fine by me. The guy never had a chance and was just in the way. (The American people will not elect a white southern republican president. Bush doesn't count because he's only a pretend southerner. And though it has many good-ole-boys, Texas is a pretend southern state. (Is good-ole-boys racist? But I'm from the south, so I can say it right? But even though I'm from the south, I'm not really a southerner. For example, I don't speak with a southern accent and I don't have a mullet. But I do love Skynard!))

Whether Allen is a racist or not, he must be Trent-Lotted. Republicans must be absolutely ruthless in cases like this if they are ever going to move beyond their historical baggage. The only thing preventing the GOP from being the majority party is the feeling that many Americans have that it is secretly racist.

You gotta love Allen's spokesman though:

"On Monday, Allen spokesman Dick Wadhams said the name "Macaca" was a variation of "Mohawk," the nickname Allen campaign staffers gave Sidarth for his partially cropped haircut."

Never say die, Dick!

SippicanCottage said...
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The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Drill SGT said...

Ruth Anne Adams said...
Sippican! Don't you remember the "niggardly" bruhaha?


That was only half the story. The guy fired was the Mayor's token open Gay. So the next cylinder of DC Democratic politic fired back at the poor vocabulary of blacks, and so forth and so on.

quite amusing really. sad...

Maxine Weiss said...

It's amazing what passes for an ethnic slur these days.

More and more words are being prohibited.

The word "spook"....can't ever say that, even if it has nothing to do with race issues.

The word "monkey"....can't ever use that in any sort of conversation.

Never say the word 'stingy' in regards to a certain people, even if it is absolutely true.

The word "Oriental" is considered an affront. Don't know why, and I use it all the time, and get called a racist.

Speaking English = walking a tightrope.

Peace, Maxine

downtownlad said...

As if this is really going to hurt him in Virginia. Aw c'mon. He's still going to win quite comfortably. Virginia is the most bigoted state in the nation. They'll eat this up.

MD said...

I dunno, Sippican Cottage.

I remember kids making fun of my Indian name growing up back in Iowa in the seventies/eighties. I suppose it did sound gibberish-y to them, huh? It didn't happen often and 99.99% of the time the town was awesome and so were the kids I was growing up with, but it always startled me. Why? Why are you making fun of that? Why do you have to do that? I know kids make fun of other kids all the time, but there was always some dark undercurrents when those kids made fun of your 'ethnic' name. It made you feel unsure and unsafe. I don't like that Allen said 'Welcome to America'. The kid was born in America, in Virginia, from what I have read. He's as American as they come, okay?

I mean, why did Allen say something so stupid? I'm a Republican voter and in the last election the Republicans made some good headway within the Indian-American community. The interviews in India Abroad with Republican leaders were well done.

Yeah. Allen is out for me. Jeez. All this time on desi blogs arguing that if you are Indian-American it's okay to vote Republican and then this guy has to say something so stupid. Thanks for nothing, Senator Allen

J said...
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The Drill SGT said...

MD?

why did Biden get a pass for a comment that was really about Indian stereotypes?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIT3jUrNTX0&search=Biden

MD said...

Also, isn't it just point blank rude to single out the young man that way? "Macaca or whatever his name is?" Like, why would you automatically use macaca instead of, "hey, look at that guy over there"? That's what a normal person would do, but senators don't fit that description I guess.

This isn't a bit of over-sensitive PC-ness on the part of critics. It's just plain old dumbness. What a clod.

Oh and Biden didn't get a pass from the Indian-American community Drill Sgt. Not by a long shot. Go to SepiaMutiny or any other desi blog and take a look. Clinton didn't get away with her remarks, either. Anyway, what kind of conservative worth his salt argues that two wrongs make a right? I thought a person's actions are something he or she should be accountable for.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Drill SGT said...

MD,

I think you miss understood my "get a pass" intent. I was focusing on the media giving him a pass, not Indian Americans.

LOL, I didn't even hear about a Clinton gaff. just goes to my MSM point.

Two universal truths about "racism" in America seems to be;

1. All white males are racist
2. People of color, women, progressives, and the unempowered, can never be racist.

I'd like the same standard for all

downtownlad said...

Drill Sgt - this isn't about using an offensive stereotype. This is about deliberately singling out a person and berating them with a racial slur.

Kind of like how it's ok for Mel Gibson to make a film that portrays Jews in a bad light, but it's not ok for Mel Gibson to single out a cop and ask them if they're a Jew and them blame them for starting all the wars in the world. The latter is obviously more offensive to most people.

But immigrants (even if this kid isn't one - he "looks" like one) are despised by the Republican party these days. Allen will not lose many votes over this. He'll probably gain some.

The Drill SGT said...

DownTownlad.



Rude? I agree with MD that Allen was rude and tried to use the kid to score points on the school yard by pointing to the guy who was "different" Borish behavior and not appropriate for a Senator IMHO. (disclosure: I crossed over in the open primary and voted for Webb. I like him and I didn;t want the other Dem clown to win)

Racist word? I don't think so at least not on the basis of a bogus word. I think Allen wanted to single him out, but I don't think we can read huge amounts into the origins of Macaca. I think that folks are doing far too much reverse language deriving to create a racist link for just plain boorish behavior.

Bee said...

Here's the video of Allen's remarks on youtube.

downtownlad said...

His mother was French Tunisian. Of course he knew what the word meant.

He's been a racist his entire life. I am not surprised in this in the least, nor has my opinion of him changed. Nor am I particularly bothered by it. Most Americans don't like immigrants. Shocker.

Palladian said...

Most Americans are immigrants, darling. Not to defend this stupid politician, but you get offended by a change in the breeze, DTL. And you then respond to any perceived offense with a torrent of insults and offensive generalizations and socio-cultural stereotypes ten times as loudly and obnoxiously as the party that "offended" you in the first place. You've been grinding your particular axe so aggressively and for so long that all the metal is gone and you're down to half a handle.

Elizabeth said...

sippican, blackface would be tacky, but a white hood would be just right.

Come on, you're using pretzel logic trying to turn this around as some PC over-reaction. He wasn't babbling nonsense words, or using an erudite vocabulary (per the "niggardly" example).

It's really okay to call a bigot a bigot.

Revenant said...

it seems close to impossible to believe that Allen didn't become familiar with the word growing up

Maybe he DID become familiar with it growing up, and just never realized (since the term is never used in American culture) that it was a racial slur.

That seems more probable than his repeatedly using a racial slur in front of a huge crowd, don't you think?

reader_iam said...

Here's the problem:

This would be bizarre, if it wereanewrevelationthisminuteaboutallen.

But it isn't.

Or if it were simply political-attack hooey.

But it isn't.

Allen's unfit--under almost every analysis, political included, for the most part.

To the degree in which he "fits" politically (oh-so-narrowly) quite regrettably has to with the degree to which his diehard supporters are, themselves, incapable of seeing their own ... narrowness of--well, I'll leave it at that. Or, he fits closely enough on certain fleeting (or not) issues and affiliations that, as yet, there's been no certain and specific demand for him to be absolutely clear and painstakingly (read: painfully) clear about his worldview.

Or that his talk of small government has been taken for actual conservatism, as opposed to his nostalgic longings for society/culture-by-small-mindedness.

For what it's worth, I will not vote for George Allen, under any circumstances.

He flunks them all, every standard I would apply. Oh, of course, there are and have been worse--but why bother to categorize beneath the "no way do they belong at starting gate" standard"?

Elizabeth said...

Revenant, no, I don't find that more plausible. He was in front of a friendly crowd. He ad libbed, and a slur came out. He didn't just use the term, he added "Welcome to America," which is more evidence of gooberness on his part. Lookee there at the dark guy, he must be a furiner, some kinda macaca. Quite plausibly, Allen's a creep.

Palladian said...

"sippican, blackface would be tacky, but a white hood would be just right."

It was just right to get to be the longest serving member of the US Senate! (I know, I know, it's such a right-wing cliche to mention Grand Kleagle Byrd. Hey, he apologized!)

Elizabeth said...

Palladian, Byrd's got the history, so that's his albatross.

But this isn't about Byrd, is it? It's about Allen, and I don't understand the drive to change the topic, to find lame excuses or ludicrous alternative scenarious to explain his behavior. Why can't conservatives just see what's plain as day, and stop with the prevaricating?

So much for the party of individual accountability!

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "the term is never used in American culture"

Wrong. The term is commonly used by white supremacists (who are, sadly, a component of "American culture"). And given his mother's background and his fluency in French, it's implausible to suggest that he doesn't know what the word means.

"repeatedly using a racial slur in front of a huge crowd"

Breaks VA is a rural, remote area near Kentucky. According to census data, it is literally 99.0% white. It is relatively poor and uneducated. Allen was pandering to this crowd. After all, they are his base. In the heat of the moment, he got carried away and showed his true colors.

Pay attention to the video. The crowd was clearly approving of his attack on Sidarth. A bunch of bullies just like him, in other words. Allen was encouraged by this response, and he decided to blow on a dog whistle: to use a coded term that would enhance his grip on the skinhead vote, while being obscure enough that a broader audience would presumably not care much.

And notice that his calculation was not necessarily wrong; there are quite a few bloggers/commenters who are inclined to bend over backwards and hand him a free pass on this, with all sorts of lame defenses. Like this one (paraphrase): "it's OK that this R is a racist, because we can dredge up examples of Ds saying allegedly racist things." As if two wrongs make a right.

Elizabeth said...

And Byrd DID apologize, rather than say "I'm sorry if anyone was offended..." or "I thought I was saying 'mohawk'"...

Allen is currently, as we speak, a racist. Byrd has at least tried to atone for that sin.

Joan said...

Elizabeth, I'd like to say I can't believe you're sticking up for Byrd, but unfortunately, I can. It's not just the Kleagle thing, it's the fact that he has used, more than once, the "N-word" in televised interviews, and never seems to have suffered any political fall-out from it.

Allen may be a racist -- I won't defend him, he's both tone deaf and an idiot -- but he didn't put himself in charge of a group that is infamous for race-based murder and violence the way Byrd did. It's shameful that Byrd's still in Congress.

Elizabeth said...

I'm not sticking up for Byrd, Joan. I'm not his constituent, but if I were, I wouldn't have voted for him.


Once more: this is about George Allen, not Robert Byrd, not a blackface picture of Lieberman, and on and on. Every time someone tries to change the subject, I'm going to bring it back to Allen. Bye Bye Byrdie. That's another topic.

Blair said...

I make no comment on whether Allen would be a suitable candidate for President or not. But it does seem to me that Democrats can almost literally get away with murder, while Republicans are stoned to death for the most ambiguous of verbal slip-ups.

If Allen should be hung by his own rope, natural justice demands it be for something more serious than this.

ignacio said...

at this point, at this time of night, can one close this thread with an ad hominem?

screw george allen.

jesus, that's so goddamned mild.

jukeboxgrad said...

"If Allen should be hung by his own rope, natural justice demands it be for something more serious than this."

The only thing "more serious than this" would be if Allen had actually uttered "nigger," instead of relying on a slightly obscure euphemism for that word.

A US Senator repeatedly described a dark-skinned person as a "monkey," while a crowd of white people cheered. How comforting to notice all the people crawling out of the woodwork to eagerly condone this behavior.

"the most ambiguous of verbal slip-ups"

He said the word twice, and he said it very clearly, with no stumbling whatsoever, so there is no basis for suggesting ("verbal slip-ups") that Allen's tongue suddenly failed to work properly. What failed to work properly was his morality.

And if he really does have a problem with his mouth spontaneously generating random nonsense, I wouldn't trust him to handle a cheeseburger order, let alone hold public office.

Also, Sidarth had introduced himself to Allen earlier that day, and Allen acknowledges this. Politicians are usually good at remembering names, and Allen is probably no exception. This further underlines the absurdity of suggesting that Allen is some kind of dunce who thinks that "Sidarth" sounds like "macaca." Or that "Mohawk" sounds like "macaca."

And what's "ambiguous" about the word macaca? It means essentially one thing: monkey. And as a fluent speaker of French, raised by a white Tunisian, here are the odds that Allen is not familiar with the word: zero.

Daryl Herbert said...

Whether he made up a nonsense word to describe a minority (WTF? that's his DEFENSE???), or used a stock slur (which seems increasingly likely), either way the man is not fit for elective office. He had better stay out of national politics. I hope he resigns and if not, I hope the voters of his state reject him.

Is it wrong to find it amusing that dKos desperately wants to apply Lakoff's ideas? They claim Allen deliberately framed the issue by drawing on the "white power vocabulary," as if this could have been a deliberate, pre-meditated action rather than a slip that revealed something truly nasty about his character.

And the idea that "macaca" is part of the white power vocabulary--I found no evidence for that (I searched around on Google for a while; if it's such a common term, I should have found something). All of the examples cited on dKos refer to Macaque, which is a two-syllable word. So I don't think Allen was deliberately drawing on American "insider talk," I think he was accidentally drawing on French/Tunisian racist talk. That's not exactly a defense of Allen, but it leads away from the dKos diarist's conclusion that this was a secret message to the racist Republican base (and the conclusion that Republicans are so racist that such a tactic would work).

I do think the Republican establishment will have to shun Allen. Otherwise, people might get the idea that the GOP thinks that sort of think is okay.

Pogo said...

I didn't really know George Allen considered himself a contender for POTUS. Actually, I don't know him at all, never heard of the guy.

Looks like he's either wandered into that barely negotiable English cowpasture and stepped in it, or he was tossing off a few cowpies on purpose, not much caring where they landed. Man, I can't tell.

But in politics, those on the right of center have certain rules that simply don't apply to others. That's why Byrd (and his chronic racism) was brought up, and why I mention Mike Wallace fawning over the Iranian president who wants to wipe Jews off the face of the earth. Jesse Jackson can call NYC Hymietown and still run for office. No one called him 'toast' for his remarks. No one got terribly worked up over Cynthia McKinney's group talking about Jews. And Kos and the DU can throw off racial slurs like with impunity. No, I won't give examples because it won't convince anyone at all.

Is it the soft racism of low expectations or just Party Rules?

I dunno. But white men of the Center and Right have drummed into them the blandest of speech, a kind usually reserved for interoffice memos. Anything else is forbidden, and trespasses are not forgiven. Allen is stupid for not knowing that he cannot ever be spontaneous, and stupider if his term was in fact racist. He should just change parties, and all would be forgiven.

The American Left is always looking for fascism in the US, and yet it always pops up somewhere else, and man are they surprised. Say hello to Iran, North Korea, and, coming soon, Eurabia.

SippicanCottage said...
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MadisonMan said...

Pogo, Allen is not stupid because he used a racist term. He's stupid because he's a racist. His language and actions have given him away. Again. But because he's a R, some want to forgive him. Go figure.

Sippican, Sen. Allen knows the language.

I'm with Elizabeth on this -- why the prevaricating? Go ahead and admit it: The Guy is Sleazy. You'll feel so much better!

Michael Farris said...

"So I don't think Allen was deliberately drawing on American "insider talk," I think he was accidentally drawing on French/Tunisian racist talk."

That sounds pretty likely.

"That's not exactly a defense of Allen"

Nope.

Palladian said...

"If... she... weighs... the same as a duck,... she's made of wood."

"And therefore?"

"A witch! A witch!..."

Pogo said...

Re: "But because he's a R, some want to forgive him. Go figure."

And MadisonMan has spoken.

Thus, the man is a racist. But not Jesse Jackson, or Robert Byrd, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, MTV videos calling whites 'crackers', or Cynthia McKinney, or Louis Farrakhan, or the Kossacks, or Dean's Confederate flag remark, or Garrison Keillor's "hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn " jumble.

Nope. Nothing there.
MadisonMan speaks.

Well, I repudiate George Allen. I repudiate him before he said it. And I repudiate MadisonMan for not repudiating Allen soon enough or severely enough. I repudiate everyone here as being racist for not calling for Allen's head on a platter, his limbs strewn to the four corners, and his family thrown into the sea.

Shame on you, MadisonMan, for not repudiating this evil enough.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Pogo, don't you feel better now?

Pogo said...

Re: "Pogo, don't you feel better now?"

Not until I see Allen's head on a pole, and his family destitute in the street, begging for money (but we spit in their meager tin cups instead), to serve as a warning to all other whites (because only whites can be racist, except Bill and Hillary, of course, who are known to use the N and J words with impunity, being on the side of all that is good and righteous.)

Or if Allen would just switch parties, we could all forget about it.

Balfegor said...

Here's the video clip of Allen's remarks. He's very jovial and energized, and he slips "macaca" in so smoothly, as if outsiders won't even notice this strange word, camouflaged, as it is, in the happy talk. It seems to signal to insiders in code.

But what insiders? French North Africans? It's probably just a reflection of the way he thinks -- a revealing one, and one that will probably (and should) knock him out of serious running for the Presidency, but not something any significant number of people in the US could be expected to pick up on.

Shanna said...

Look, I can buy that Allen was talking to his opponent about the "this is america" business. And I can buy that he had heard the word from his and didn't know what it meant and it just slipped out.

However, it's still strange and stupid to be calling that guy by some random made up name/name you heard as a child probably not as a good thing. That's not appropriate for a Senator or a President. It's weird and stupid.

It is true, I think, that democrats get away with this stuff more than Republicans do but this is because that is our image, sadly. Republican's are racist. They're not as a whole, I believe, but if we're going to fix that image we have to ruthlessly purge. This is not a "tarbaby" kind of comment, this seem meanspirited even if it wasn't racist.

It's time to give him the old Trent Lott behavior. Purge. Can we start calling it "Lotting" or something? That'd be fun.

MadisonMan said...

but not something any significant number of people in the US could be expected to pick up on.

A curious individual might google (forgive me) the word macaca and up pops monkey as a result. Why's he calling a man from India a monkey?

dklittl said...

Thus, the man is a racist. But not Jesse Jackson, or Robert Byrd, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, MTV videos calling whites 'crackers', or Cynthia McKinney, or Louis Farrakhan, or the Kossacks, or Dean's Confederate flag remark, or Garrison Keillor's

Well, I think you got just about everybody. Why, sweet baby jesus, do Republicans immediately start using every other supposed racist example to somehow defend their racists? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? What freaking relevance does he have to this discussion? George Allen uses racist language to describe a dark-skinned kid and you throw out Ahmadinejad. This reminds me of the "Chewbacca Defense" from South Park. If Dick Cheney ever starts hurling N-bombs at random black children visiting the White House, what is sure to follow is "Well Jesse Jackson called NY, Himey town 15 years ago."

SippicanCottage said...
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charlotte said...

I'm a white (Euro-American?) Republican who finds this "slip of the tongue" slur to be disgusting and only a little less so than when Muslim fundamentalists call Jews "monkeys." Where they might wish to exterminate, Allen would only denigrate... in public with a supportive crowd. What a red-neck racist whitey and political-ho'ing honky cracker. (Please don't take me seriously-- I grew up with parents who said things like this and have no idea what they mean.)

Sidarth sounds like a political stalker. And, yes, the Democrats lapse into race-baiting, racism (against blacks, whites, you name it), anti-Semitism, and Christian bashing far too much and rarely get called on the carpet. It's simply pathetic when anybody does this, and it always pulls everybody down. Background bigotry from all corners especially makes responsible discussions over ethnicity, religion, identity politics, social balkanization, immigration and assimilation in Europe and the States all the stickier and fraught with accusatory overtones when race and ethnicity are brought up.

Fritz said...

Right, Virginia a bunch of hicks, 99% White. Gee, higher income, lower poverty than the rest of the country. By golly, they even have a higher percentage of blacks. The real racists are the victimologists that fall all over themselves to defend the helpless macca.

The Facts http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51000.html

Kellen said...

I just think it's funny that Josh Marshall thinks it's OK to describe a crowd as "lily white".

reader_iam said...

TNR article about Allen and race.!

Pogo said...

dklittl
"Why, sweet baby jesus, do Republicans immediately start using every other supposed racist example to somehow defend their racists?"

Not defend, sweet thing, but protest. "Racist" is shouted endlessly by the Left, swinging the term around them like a dead cat, at any white man to the right of Jimmy Carter. It's tiresome race-baiting.

And Ahmadinejad? What, you missed Mr. Wallace's fawning interview? The Left loves a fascist. Every time.

I repudiate racist dklittl.

David Walser said...

Allen is not stupid because he used a racist term. He's stupid because he's a racist. His language and actions have given him away. Again. But because he's a R, some want to forgive him. Go figure.

I don't forgive Allen because he's a republican. I don't condemn him in the first place because, on the basis of this evidence, I cannot tell that he is a racist. I do know that I would not feel fairly treated if found guilty of the same charge on such "proof".

Many years ago I was kicked out of a soccer game because I called an opponent a "big monkey." (He and I had grown up in elementary school together, playing on the monkey bars. He was "Big Monkey" and I was "Little Chimp.") I had no idea "monkey" could be used as a racial slur. The ref did. I was out of the game, branded a foul-mouthed kid and a closet racist. I didn't think that was fair then, and I don't think what's happening to Allen is fair today.

tcd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tcd said...

dklittl,
It would be nice if Democrats would condemn all racists unequivocally, not just the ones who have an R following their names.

With that said, I unequivocally condemn George Allen for his remark.

reader_iam said...

Sippican, I most find you amusing and I understand your general problems with smears etc.

But George Allen would like to be president, and there are those who would support him, so it's not an unserious aspiration. Which mean the rest of us need to take a serious look at the man.

My reaction to Allen is NOT based on this particular incident, but is longer standing. My reaction to this incident is based on my already-existing concerns about Allen and race.

It would be worth looking into Allen, Sippian, while you're defending him. Your instincts may be off here.

weeziejefferson said...

I agree with Ms. Althouse. The guy is a moron. Period. And I am not stupid enough to think that a man who speaks fluent French; whose mother was raised in colonial Africa was not familiar with the slur "macaca".

And as for the people who are crying that "everyone is just too sensitive", wait until some politician who is supposedly running to represent EVERYONE calls all Christians "a bunch of nutjobs", or calls white people crackers...though people say those things all of the time, you will not be happy to hear it from someone who is asking you for the privlege of representing you.

charlotte said...

"It would be worth looking into Allen, Sippian..."

Sippian = Sippican and simian? Now, THAT had to a genuine slip of the keyboard.

Reader iam may be right that Allen has a long-standing race problem, but, for many of us, the fact that a grown man calls another grown man a "macaca", in public in front of a crowd, and especially given their respective pigmentation, is thoroughly discrediting.

Adam said...

Maybe he DID become familiar with it growing up, and just never realized (since the term is never used in American culture) that it was a racial slur.

This reminds me of a scene in Clerks II about whether the term "porch monkey" was racist, given that one of the characters grew up hearing the term from his grandmother. You can find it here if you scroll down, but it contains terms I dare not repeat.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

In my opinion, the credibility of the defense that Allen didn't know what he was saying or didn't know he had said anything offensive was destroyed by Allen's subsequent apology/explanation. Allen later claimed that he actually said "mohawk" not "macaca" and that the campaign had started calling the cameraman that because of his hairstyle. Even with the most forgiving hearing of the recording clearly said "macaca" and not "mohawk" and the cameraman's hair does not look anything like a mohawk. The ridiculousness of that explanation suggests to me that Allen was trying desperately to cover up what he knew was unacceptable to admit.

Balfegor said...

for many of us, the fact that a grown man calls another grown man a "macaca", in public in front of a crowd, and especially given their respective pigmentation, is thoroughly discrediting.

I don't know -- for many of us, isn't "macaca," just a funny foreign word, with no deep emotional resonance (unlike, say, the "n-word")? It's the implication that for Allen, based on his French ancestry, the word does have meaning, that seems problematic here.

David Walser said...

Allen later claimed that he actually said "mohawk" not "macaca" and that the campaign had started calling the cameraman that because of his hairstyle. Even with the most forgiving hearing of the recording clearly said "macaca" and not "mohawk" and the cameraman's hair does not look anything like a mohawk. The ridiculousness of that explanation suggests to me that Allen was trying desperately to cover up what he knew was unacceptable to admit.

Allen didn't say he thought he was saying "Mohawk" and mispronounced it as "macaca". His spokesman claims that Allen's team had given the guy the nickname "Mohawk" and Allen, in his off the cuff remarks, simply could not remember what to call the guy. This is perfectly consistent with the way most of our memories work. Allen wanted to call attention to the guy who had been "stalking" the campaign and suddenly realized he did not know the man's name. His memory, based on his team calling the guy "Mohawk", was stuck in the M's and out came "macaca". If he'd just called him, "Dude", none of this would matter. He didn't call him "Dude" or any other non-loaded term. However, I am unwilling to convict a man or women of racism over what may be nothing more than a brain fart. He claims he did not know the word was a racial slur. Until yesterday, neither did I. I doubt any in his audience did either. (If they did not understand the term as racist, it was useless as a piece of red meat to feed to his base.)

Racism is a serious charge. It should require much more evidence to convict someone. That so many are willing to assume guilt until Allen (or anyone else) proves himself innocent, does not demonstrate much generosity of spirit. The fact many posters here assume that entire counties in this country of ours are so racist that a politician could get away overtly racist remarks says more about the posters than it does about the people they so casually dismiss as unredeemably evil.

visiting_democrat said...

It's so refreshing to see either a democrat or republican NOT printing a knee-jerk defense of someone in their party. I'm tired of it from both sides. There is an enormous lack of intelligent debate on policy, eithics, etc. because no one wants to stop demonizing anyone who disagrees with them.

visiting_democrat said...

It's so refreshing to see either a democrat or republican NOT printing a knee-jerk defense of someone in their party. I'm tired of it from both sides. I saw this in Salon in the Daou report and I thought they put it on the wrong side (i.e. right instead of left.There is an enormous lack of intelligent debate on policy, eithics, etc. because no one wants to stop demonizing anyone who disagrees with them.

Pogo said...

visiting democrat,

I repudiate you for not villifying and demonizing me.

Death to me!

Uh....hmmm.

LarryK said...

Before this incident, George Allen had about a 1% chance of becoming President. Now I would say he has about a .0001% chance. As for his Senate race, his opponent has even more love for the old Confederate South and more hostile views against Asian Americans - so it will be impossible for him to make much political hay out of this.

Bottom line: George Allen will be comfortably re-elected to the Senate, where he already fits in comfortably with intellectual and moral luminaries such as Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. His Presidential aspirations will vanish quicker than you can say Bill Frist, and macaca will not become a household word.

Ann Althouse said...

Balfegor: “But what insiders?”

Read the DailyKos link in the original post.

Sippican: “And where have I put my tunisian/frank decoder ring?”

Read the DailyKos link in the original post.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knoxgirl said...

There are an awful lot of high-profile people, many of them nicely enumerated by Pogo and other commenters, who commit similar gaffes, but sit securely--the one with the most dispicable record for 47 years!!!-- in positions of authority and respect in the democratic party.

I'm tired of the same Americans who adore Condi Rice and are the staunchest supporters of the Israelis still being considered racist by default.

knoxgirl said...

Madisonman, in a thread earlier this week, you were quite dismissive when I commented on the racist charicature of Condi labelled Black Hawk Down. Go figure.

jukeboxgrad said...

daryl: "All of the examples cited on dKos refer to Macaque, which is a two-syllable word"

Macaque and macaca are essentially interchangeable. That's clear if you review references such as these: link, link, link, link, link, link, link, link.

"the conclusion that Republicans are so racist that such a tactic would work"

Listening to the crowd cheer Allen's bullying supports the conclusion that Allen understands his base better then you do.

"Otherwise, people might get the idea that the GOP thinks that sort of think is okay"

The prevalence of numerous commentators (here and elsewhere) rushing to Allen's defense supports the conclusion that indeed "the GOP thinks that sort of think is okay."

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "it would be quite natural for his parents to use such a word in his presence in a jocular way and George Allen would have no idea that it was a slur"

Allen speaks French fluently. It's implausible to suggest that he has "no idea" what simple words mean.

"Funny how he's tunisian when it suits, and a redneck white guy when you're drawing your conclusions"

His mother was a white French colonialist, not a black Tunisian. So he's the offspring of a white Tunisian all the time, not just "when it suits."

"are you telling me that that fellow I watched with the corn pone twang is fluent in tunisian french? I have my doubts."

You'll have no trouble hanging on to those comforting doubts as long as you continue to ignore facts: "A little known fact about Senator Allen is that his undergraduate education was enhanced substantially by his excellent performance in French class ... he got a very good grade."

Obviously you're impressed by his "corn pone twang" and don't realize that he's a rich kid from Palos Verdes posing as a good ole boy. Allen is even more of a phony than Bush, which is quite an accomplishment.

"he did not address his remarks to the cameraman. He very unambiguously refers to his opponent"

Nice job casually distorting the facts. Allen said the central word (macaca) twice, each time referring plainly to Sidarth, not Webb.

"I am being asked to come to the conclusion that a person is evil based on false testimony"

If you're spotting some "false testimony," you should be specific and tell us what it is. Otherwise, it looks like you're just trying to distract attention from your own false testimony, which I've pointed out.

"If George Allen knew exactly what he was saying, I can't imagine he'd ever utter it into a camera wielded by his detractors."

What's so hard to imagine? Perhaps he calculated, correctly, that lots of people like you would rush to his defense, no matter what he said or did. The fact of his audience cheering gave him good reason to assume he was on solid ground. He figured it was a word the skinhead fringe would adore, and everyone else would ignore. And maybe he never heard of youtube, which is a major factor in the impact of this event.

"an exquisitely obscure slur"

Obscure only to people who don't hang out with the white-power crowd. Allen knows his base.

"false testimony ... don't stand close inspection ... Ann writes what I consider a mischaracterization ... I have every reason to disbelieve those who misrepresented what he said, and to whom he said it, as it doesn't gibe with the video."

Since you're not bothering to be specific, it appears that you're simply making things up.

"He thought macaca was gibberish"

And it's just a coincidence that his random gibberish means "monkey."

"Because macaca is a swear ,somewhere, doesn't mean George Allen knows it's a swear."

It's not just a swear somewhere. It's a swear in many, many places, including and especially North Africa, which is exactly where his mother is from.

"She had uttered one of the foulest swears there is in Italian ... that proves she must know what that swear means, according to the standard of proof you're offering."

You said your wife "never learned a word of Italian until we went." Allen, on the other hand, is fluent in French. Nice job glossing over this small distinction.

Goatwhacker said...

This is from the dailykos link:

It is often used by American white supremacists to describe black people.

I have never heard any person use this term until a couple of days ago, and I lived in Virginia for several years. That this is some sort of "code word" as Ann suggests doesn't pass the smell test. As the author of the dailykos article notes probably not more than a handful of people in the audience knew the term.

When I saw the clip I thought he was using the term as a made-up word to describe someone from India. That is bad enough and politically stupid but this is being turned into something unwarranted. There is no plot or "code word" - in order to have a code word the intended recipient has to know the code.

jukeboxgrad said...

balfegor: "not something any significant number of people in the US could be expected to pick up on"

The word is familiar to white supremacists. This has been documented. Allen knows his base. Allen was speaking in a county that is 99% white. Also relatively poor and uneducated.

"for many of us, isn't 'macaca,' just a funny foreign word, with no deep emotional resonance"

It's to your credit that you're not familiar with white-supremacist vocabulary. Allen, on the other hand, apparently is.

catherine: "Sidarth sounds like a political stalker."

This suggests that Sidarth was there surreptitiously. He wasn't. He introduced himself to Allen. Sidarth was only doing what's done by many modern campaigns, including Allen's own campaign. Therefore to blame the victim is disingenuous and hypocritical.

fritz: "Right, Virginia a bunch of hicks, 99% White."

No one has claimed that VA is "99% White." What I claimed, which is true, is that the area where Allen spoke is 99.0% white (16,000 whites in the county; 58 blacks). Next time try addressing what the other person actually said, not some straw man you pulled out of your hat.

kellen: "I just think it's funny that Josh Marshall thinks it's OK to describe a crowd as 'lily white'."

The term is widely used across the political spectrum, including at places like National Review. Nice job trying to change the subject, though.

larryk: "his opponent has even more love for the old Confederate South and more hostile views against Asian Americans"

Proof, please.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jukeboxgrad said...

waiser: "Allen, in his off the cuff remarks, simply could not remember what to call the guy"

This despite the fact that earlier the same day, Sidarth introduced himself to Allen. But Allen couldn't remember the guy's name, and instead called him "monkey." Nice.

" 'stalking' the campaign"

Nice job ignoring the fact that Allen also has folks "stalking" Webb.

"His memory, based on his team calling the guy 'Mohawk', was stuck in the M's and out came 'macaca' "

English translation: "I can't remember the word I'm looking for, so I'll simply use a racial slur that starts with the same letter, and people like waiser will think that's perfectly OK."

"what may be nothing more than a brain fart"

When a normal person has a "brain fart" (whatever that is), what comes out is random gibberish. When a racist has a "brain fart," what comes out is a racial slur. "Macaca" is the latter, not the former.

Anyway, nice job suggesting you think it's fine that a US Senator is prone to racist brain farts.

"Racism is a serious charge. It should require much more evidence to convict someone."

That's why it's helpful to consider Allen's long track record of similarly offensive behavior.

"If they did not understand the term as racist, it was useless as a piece of red meat to feed to his base"

There are undoubtedly a certain number of white supremacists in VA. Chances are they are Allen voters, not Webb voters. Allen knows his base, and certain elements of his base are quite familiar with this language, even if you aren't.

"many posters here assume that entire counties in this country of ours are so racist that a politician could get away overtly racist remarks"

You are doing your best to help Allen "get away" with an overtly racist remark, so you are apparently not much different than the people who can be clearly heard cheering him as he delivered the remark. In other words, your own behavior proves that "many posters here" understand what's going on better than you do.

Daniel DiRito said...

The offensive remarks made by Senator George Allen have all the makings of a Dick Wadhams campaign. Wadhams cut his political teeth in Colorado and has been seen as the person behind the rise of Senator Wayne Allard, a Colorado veterinarian. Wadhams went on to orchestrate the campaign against Tom Daschle in South Dakota and is now leading Allen's reelection effort.

Dick Wadhams is a man many have called Karl Rove's protégé. During Wadhams work in Colorado for Senator Wayne Allard's 2002 reelection, he gave one of the most acerbic victory speeches I have ever witnessed. While gloating at the defeat of Ted Strickland, his comments were vile and hateful. The man is Karl Rove absent a scintilla of decorum and decency...if you can imagine that! It appears that George Allen believes that two bullies are better than one.

Read full article here:

www.thoughttheater.com

reader_iam said...

"corn pone twang"

See, this sort of the essence of it. Allen doesn't actually come by that honestly. It's something he adopted as an outgrowth of his attraction to a stereotyped Southern culture, which attraction has its roots back in the days when he was in school in California. And which he identified with and deliberately cultivated over a long period of time. In recent years he has backpedaled a bit (though in some aspect that has to do with his presidential aspirations and the media attention that engenders; for example, he's relatively recently removed certain artifacts from display), but we're still talking about the pattern here. It is through that prism in which I, at least, am viewing this latest incident.

Quite frankly, in Allen's case, it IS incumbent upon him to prove himself innocent. Every once in a while, that IS how things should work--not often, but in certain circumstances with certain people.

I note that a number of people have said they've never heard of George Allen or that they were unaware of his presidential aspirations. That's fine--goodness knows there's enough going on in the world as it is, and it's not exactly primary season yet. That said, this is a not "new news." In fact, Allen's aspirations are well known by people and outlets which do in fact have influence within the conservative movement and Republican Party politics (not necessarily interchangeable things). By virtue of that, his potential candidacy--at least in terms of primaries--has legs (or at least did, until the race issues started getting more play several months back--as they should, in my view). It's for that reason that I'm following Mr. Allen, and it's for that reason that I don't take incidents like this likely. And I'm not typically knee-jerk about this sort of thing.

A lengthy and encouraging piece about George Allen and a presidential bid that appeared in National Review just last November.

(Disclosure: I'm a NR subscriber, as I am of publications at various points along the political spectrum, but in NR's case, I've been reading it for years.)

dklittl said...

I'm tired of the same Americans who adore Condi Rice and are the staunchest supporters of the Israelis still being considered racist by default.

I guess that this is some blanket repudiation of the notion that the Republican party is racist. Singling out one of the "good ones" is not a defense of racism. Jessie Helms always had some black person he liked, it was the rest of em' that he had a problem with. I've met Republicans who don't seem to have the slighest problem with race, but I've also met some who you might say have a "George Allen" problem

Coco said...

One of the many problems with political correctness - now and for the past 20 years or so - is that it provides a convenient excuse for otherwise clearly offensive and racist behavior. The degree to which many of the comments here contort, rationalize and evade in an attempt to label the remarks as something other than clearly offensive is a prime example of this problem. All of the absurd (but real) stories of hyper-PC-sensitivy enable people to believe that no one could have possibly uttered a racially offensive remark. Which makes me wonder where these commenters are from because I want to go there....

In my home area, its surprising to NOT hear a racist comment at least once a week in normal everyday conversation.

ALso - I have no idea whether George Allen is EVIL. I don't even know whether he is truly a racist. But I'm very confident he used a phrase that he intended to be racially offensive. I'm also pretty sure that if Allen had thought before he spoke he never would have said it. But many many smart people who talk all the time make slips of the tongue they regreat, myslef included (well, maybe not the "smart" part)

MadisonMan said...

knoxgirl, there is a difference between a US Senator and a College Artiste. I allow and accept College Artistes will be stupid in their attempts to be out there. I don't do the same for Senators. If Russ Feingold had drawn it, I'd be (1) floored and (2) outraged.

I'll add, again, that I don't know the race of the person who drew the Black Hawk Down poster. That knowledge would certainly change my interpretation of the piece.

jukeboxgrad said...

goat: "That this is some sort of 'code word' as Ann suggests doesn't pass the smell test."

Nice job ignoring multiple documented examples of white supremacists using the term.

"I thought he was using the term as a made-up word to describe someone from India."

And it's a completely random accident that the word Allen "made-up" means monkey, in a language he speaks fluently.

------

sip: "Point out the commentator here that said it was OK for George Allen to knowingly call a person a monkey."

Numerous people here, including and especially you, are reaching for all sorts of imaginative ways to suggest that what Allen did is OK. That is a fact, and it speaks for itself.

By the way, waiser (9:24 am) did precisely claim that it was not "fair" that he himself was once condemned after he decided "to knowingly call a person a monkey."

"I've got lots of things to do, I can wait."

It took me about a minute to find a specific example of exactly what you suggest doesn't exist. I hope I've given you enough time to get a lot done.

"Either line up to hate George Allen based on fanciful epithets from his political enemies or we'll call you a racist too."

Right now, the vast majority of people in the world are not, as far as I know, lining up "to hate George Allen." They are going about their business, and I don't know anyone who is claiming this makes them racists (nice job with the straw man, though). You, on the other hand, are going out of your way to invent all sorts of pathetic excuses in defense of a racist. In my opinion, that makes you a racist, too. If you don't like that, too bad.

------

iam, thanks for the NR article, which includes these strong and relevant words: " ... George Allen has perhaps a better chance of winning the nomination than any other Republican."

Balfegor said...

It's to your credit that you're not familiar with white-supremacist vocabulary. Allen, on the other hand, apparently is.

White-supremacist vocabulary . . . among French Tunisians. Even the extremists at DailyKos acknowledge this:

Why he did it is a question I cannot answer. There cannot be more than a handful of people in Virginia who could have understood this term.

From the Kos link posted above.

reader_iam said...

Drill Sgt: About the Biden incident ...

I believe that did get some coverage--though, because I happened to be in Delaware, his state (and my own former and future state of residence), perhaps my perception that it was fairly well publicized is colored because, of course, I would have been privy to local news coverage as well as national. In other words, perhaps it just seems to me that there was more coverage than there really was. To the degree that it was sloughed off, IMHO, would have to do more with the fact that Joe's Mouth is forever getting him in trouble, as it always has, as long as I've followed his career, basically from its beginning.

It certainly got attention in the blogosphere; believe me, this wasn't one of those incidents in which I was alone in blogging the incident back in early July (and yes, I did do it from the "Oh, Lord, there goes Joe's mouth AGAIN" perspective). And it certainly DID get a negative reaction, including from members of Delaware's not insignificant Indian community.

knoxgirl said...

Allen knows his base. Allen was speaking in a county that is 99% white. Also relatively poor and uneducated.

Oh, I see, they're white and working class, so obviously, they're racist...

sheesh.

reader_iam said...

Oh, boy.

In no way do I believe for a second that Sippican Cottage is a racist. Obviously, I don't know him in real life, but I've shared comment spaces with him for a relatively long time, in blogtime-terms, and I'm a regular reader of his blog.

I do think he's misguided on this one. But not racist.

And my agenda--indeed I have one and indeed it is political--is that I do not wish to see the Republican party go down the path of supporting a nominee like Allen. Anymore than I wish to see the Democratic party support a similarly polarizing figure. I want both parties to put up fit candidates such that I'm not reduced to write-in status or voting for every single office on the ballot except for president.

So I'll be open and flat-out about that.

knoxgirl said...

Singling out one of the "good ones" is not a defense of racism.

Oh, I agree completely. I just don't like to see a bunch of people who reside under the same tent as Robert Byrd et al, acting like they're the default party of racial love and harmony. They have enjoyed that status bogus-ly long enough.

Both parties need to, and should, clean their houses of any and all genuine racists. If Allen proves to be one, bye!

As far as this matter, I am only glad that another dull Senator is out of the running for '08. And go Condi.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knoxgirl said...

I'll add, again, that I don't know the race of the person who drew the Black Hawk Down poster.

You're right, we should always withold judgment on such matters until we're absolutely sure.

Unless... we should accept that his language and actions have given him away and that the guy is Sleazy. If we do, I'm told we'll feel so much better.

MadisonMan said...

Why do you assume the artist is a man?

dklittl said...


Oh, I agree completely. I just don't like to see a bunch of people who reside under the same tent as Robert Byrd et al, acting like they're the default party of racial love and harmony. They have enjoyed that status bogus-ly long enough.


Knoxgirl,

I don't think that even Democrats believe that the party is some racial love fest. I'm quite sure that there are Democrats who are racist, but our party does not play to them and the Republican party has. Even Ken Mehlman, the chair of the RNC admits to the "Southern Strategy" a tool to play to those have a problem with black people. The Republican party continues to support the reverance of the Confederacy, has continually been against civil rights in the country and has frequently villified black people and other minorities to win electoral votes.

And what do most Republicans say in response? That they want a color-blind society, where race doesn't matter. Well, I might not mind being color-blind but I still see red and blue on my computer screen. The willingness of the Republican party to ignore the problem of race in America as well as paper over it is a legacy of the tactics used by those who didn't want progress on that front.

I actually commend a guy like Ken Mehlman, even though I disagree with his politics, to actually confront what is a REAL problem within this country and especially in his party. Unfortunatley, for every one Ken Mehlman there are about 1,000 Pogos and SippicanCottage who would rather just stall.

knoxgirl said...

( Hi reader,

Hey, I'm just making sure you understand that when I said this:


Allen knows his base. Allen was speaking in a county that is 99% white. Also relatively poor and uneducated.
Oh, I see, they're white and working class, so obviously, they're racist...
sheesh.


....it wasn't directed at you, it was directed at "jukebox grad".

You followed up with a comment saying "In no way do I believe for a second that Sippican Cottage is a racist" and I can't tell if you're responding to what I said.

Anyway, in no way do I believe for a second that you believe for a second that Sippican Cottage is a racist. heck, we're all practically old friends at this point.

That's all.)

knoxgirl said...

madisonman/madisonwoman,

I'm quoting you talking about how we should view Allen's remarks. But you're right, I technically should have used his/her, him/her, guy/gal.

knoxgirl said...

The Republican party... has continually been against civil rights in the country

yikes! I suck at history, I'll admit it, but this is embarrassing.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harkonnendog said...

"The Republican party... has continually been against civil rights in the country"

For REAL! Imagine if Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican!

Shanna said...

The worst part of this to me now, is these poor people who happened to be at a campaign rally in Virginia, keep getting basically called a bunch of racists just because they are white in Virginia. I mean, none of them probably knew what that word has been used for and now they're all racists just by virtue of being there!

Say what you want about Senator Allen, but leave these poor Virginian's who did NOTHING out of it, kay?

Kev said...

Drill SGT:
"Two universal truths about "racism" in America seems to be;

1. All white males are racist
2. People of color, women, progressives, and the unempowered, can never be racist.

I'd like the same standard for all
"

Well said, Drill SGT.

Bissage:
"I did not know that "Macca" was an ethnic slur."

It certainly isn't one in Australia, where it's the nickname for McDonald's.

David Walser said...

Ann, regarding your update: UPDATE: Here's the video clip of Allen's remarks. He's very jovial and energized, and he slips "macaca" in so smoothly, as if outsiders won't even notice this strange word, camouflaged, as it is, in the happy talk. It seems to signal to insiders in code.

Did "macaca" have any meaning to you before this news story? I suspect not. Maybe it's just my sheltered upbringing, but I would have had to buy a clue on that one. If well read and well educated people are perfectly unaware of the racial implications of the word, what possible use does it have as a "code word" for his base? Until someone can cite examples of the use of this word in the hills of Virginia as a racial slur, I'm not buying this charge.

As for his being jovial and being able to smoothly slip in the slur, can't that be viewed as evidence that he was oblivious to the potential racial connotations of what he was saying? Why, instead, is it only proof of his evil intent?

Goatwhacker said...

Nice job ignoring multiple documented examples of white supremacists using the term.

I didn't ignore then, I discounted them as inapplicable to a bunch of average Virginians.

Bissage said...

Kev: God Bless you!

I was starting to feel kind of lonesome and unfunny.

But not anymore!

And to make it all even better, now I know something about Australia I hadn't before.

Cool!

dklittl said...

For REAL! Imagine if Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican!

Man it must be real racist in that party if you have to go back to 1860 to prove your point about the racial politics of the Republican party. Here, let's try this again. "MODERN" Republican party!! Is that better or do we want to debate President Garfield's stance on civil service reform.

Pogo said...

I think Sippican means that jukebox hero should 'be fruitful and multiply'.

But not in those words.

Jukebox H. is a piece of work. Much sound and fury signifying nothing. He's proved that this is about as important a race issue as when college freshman Eden Jacobowitz leaned out his window and called some black female students passing by "water buffalo" for making too much noise. It's a bore.

But oh, the recrimations for a word that heretofore was only know to the SuperSecret White Power Club (which supersecret double agent J. Box Hero has thankfully infiltrated and clandestinally returns -alive!- and fills us in. Thanks JBH!)

I'll just go with what my Dad used to say:
I'm not racist, I just don't like you."

Pogo said...

Re: "...if you have to go back to 1860 to prove your point about the racial politics of the Republican party..."

No, we just have to go back to the Civil Rights era. Now which party was for it? Which against?

Which party has more former KKK members in Congress?

jukeboxgrad said...

bal: "White-supremacist vocabulary . . . [but only] among French Tunisians"

Examples have been cited of the term being used by lots of racists who are not "French Tunisians." Let me know if you really need help locating those examples.

"Even the extremists at DailyKos acknowledge this: 'There cannot be more than a handful of people in Virginia who could have understood this term.' "

Nice job distorting the quote. The writer does not "acknowledge" that only "French Tunisians" know the term (which is the claim you made). The writer is simply acknowledging that the vast majority of Virginians are not white supremacists. But undoubtedly a few ("a handful") are, and we now know that Allen likes the idea of throwing them some read meat. And on the video we can clearly hear the sounds they make when he does so.

------

knox: "Oh, I see, they're white and working class, so obviously, they're racist..."

Nice try with the straw man. Most poor white people are not racist, and no one here has made such a claim. However, a poor white audience is more likely to contain one or more skinheads than an equally sized audience that is relatively educated and multi-ethnic (let me know how many college-educated black skinheads you've met).

Allen knows this, but you're perfectly free to pretend that you don't. I don't think it's an accident that Allen reserved his assault on Sidarth for one of the poorest places in VA. Note that Sidarth had been touring with Allen for a week or more. Allen picked this moment, and correctly assessed the instant support he would get from this particular group.

Allen's goal was to intimidate Sidarth, and get him to go away. Allen is a bully and a fool.

knoxgirl said...

yeah, dklittl is digging himself deeper and deeper.

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "Speaking French fluently has nothing to do with knowing swearwords."

Macaca is a swear word only when it is used as a swear word. It can also be used, innocently, to describe a monkey. It's a simple word that someone fluent in French would know (especially given his background in Tunisian French).

"Vile racist swears are not part of the curriculum."

A word for "monkey" would indeed be part of any normal curriculum. A word for "monkey" is only a "vile racist swear" when used as such. Which is what Allen did.

"What in god's name does the color of his mother's flesh have to do with any of this?"

You are the one who seemed to be raising the wacky idea ("funny how he's tunisian when it suits, and a redneck white guy when you're drawing your conclusions") that he's part Tunisian, which means he's part African, which means he's part black, which means he can't be a racist.

If you meant something else by your original remark ("funny how he's tunisian when it suits, and a redneck white guy when you're drawing your conclusions"), you should tell us what it is, because I can't imagine any other interpretation.

"I got good grades in French too. I have never heard that word."

Thank you for that impressive number of data points (one). Too bad it's completely subjective. Now please explain the multiple examples of white supremacists (most of whom probably don't even speak French) who seem quite familiar with the term.

"apparently you receive comfort from hating the guy"

Uh, no. I "receive comfort" by being in touch with reality. Try it sometime.

"I noted his corn pone twang. I'm not impressed by it"

You didn't just note it. You were sufficiently impressed by it to take it as proof that he couldn't possibly be fluent in French ("are you telling me that that fellow I watched with the corn pone twang is fluent in tunisian french?").

"You are envious of their backgrounds so they're racist?"

There's nothing wrong with the fact that people like Bush and Allen (and Kerry and Lamont) have privileged backgrounds. There is a problem, however, when people pose as something they're not. Bush's chain saw is a theatrical prop. Likewise for Allen's boots and Copenhagen.

"I never hinted that Allen didn't say macaca."

Of course not. It's on tape. But you did say "he did not address his remarks to the cameraman." And now you repeat that distortion ("Allen unequivocally says his remarks are for his opponent"). Trouble is, "macaca" was not addressed at Webb. It was addressed at Sidarth. "Unequivocally." Why are you trying to gloss over this very salient fact?

"I did this already"

You're claiming you've already provided specifics to back up your allegation of "false testimony." Really? Not anywhere in this thread, that I can find.

"If you believe that any crowd in Virginia is a uniform skinhead fringe that speaks fluent banlieue French, god love you."

Nice job ignoring the multiple examples of non-French skinheads who are familiar with the term.

"So the word both proves everybody's a racist, and everybody being a racist proves they know what the word means."

If there's any logic in those words you just wrote, you should help us find it, because it's well-hidden.

Knowing that the word is a slur doesn't make someone a racist. Using the word as a slur is what makes someone a racist. Many racists do not know the word. Many people who know the word are not racists. However, Allen knows the word (this is obvious to anyone who doesn't believe in ludicrous coincidences, because it is ludicrous to suggest that he came up with this exact word by accident), and he used it as a slur. This makes him a racist.

"Ann wrote that Allen told the cameraman that this is what america looks like. The comment unequivocally is directed to Allen's opponent."

Nice job making things up, both about Ann's words and about Allen's words.

This is what Ann actually wrote: "he looked at a dark-skinned man and said 'Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia' ." That is precisely true, and you have no basis to suggest otherwise. You should apologize to Ann for suggesting that this precisely accurate statement of hers is "false testimony."

And this is what Allen actually said: "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." In other words, you have no basis to suggest that the words "welcome to America" were not addressed to Sidarth. On the contrary: Allen couldn't be more clear in addressing these words, point-blank, to Sidarth. The best you can do is suggest that the words "welcome to America" were addressed at Sidarth and also at Webb. But even that is a stretch.

"people often use foreign terms which they have heard but do not understand their meaning."

My head is spinning with the shifting alibis. I've heard that Allen simply made up the word, and it's random gibberish. I've also heard that it's a word he heard and decided to repeat, although he ostensibly has no idea what it means. These two theories (aside from being asinine) are mutually exclusive. Which is it?

"That means that she learned it as an adult ... That is the exact description you offered for George Allen's experience."

Really? I suggested Allen learned French as an adult? Are you confusing me with some other jukeboxgrad, posting on some other internets in some parallel universe? Or are you just making things up?

I think it's reasonable to assume Allen learned French sitting on Mom's knee. If you want to make some other assumption, feel free. But please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

"My, this is a lot of work"

Making excuses to run away from reality is always much more work than simply facing it. Funny how that works.

Pogo said...

In 1957 the Eisenhower administration, led by Republican Attorney General Herbert Brownell, steered through Congress the first civil-rights bill since Reconstruction.

In 1964, the Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress at the time, but a much-higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill. For example, in the House, Republicans voted for civil rights by a margin of 79 percent to 21 percent, 136-35. The Democrats' margin was 153-91 or 63 percent to 37 percent.

Only a handful of Republicans opposed the civil-rights bill. The single-most-important vote for the legislation was the attempt to cut off the anti-civil-rights filibuster in the Senate. Republicans voted overwhelmingly to break the filibuster by 81.8 percent (27-6), but only 65.7 percent of the Democrats voted to end the filibuster (44-23).

Robert C. Byrd led the filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with an address lasting 14 hours and 13 minutes until the filibuster was broken. (*)

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "I refuse to participate in an orgy of partisan hatred using evidence that amounts to next to nothing"

Then I must be mixing you up with the other SippicanCottage, the one who suggested Ann has offered "false testimony," and based this allegation on "evidence" that came straight from his imagination.

shanna: "leave these poor Virginian's who did NOTHING out of it"

It's possible to plausibly claim that most (or even all) of the people cheering didn't know that macaca means monkey. But it's not possible to claim they didn't know that Allen was being mean and boorish, and picking on someone whose skin color is rarely seen around those parts. (It's possible they didn't know that Sidarth was only doing the exact same job being done by Allen's own staff. But Allen, the hypocrite, was obviously well-aware of this.) Their audible enthusiasm for this behavior is quite evident.

knoxgirl said...

jukeboxgrad,

shoot, one minute you're like "strawman!!!" and the next, you're like "Allen knows it, even if you won't admit it"

Well, which one is it??? Is this audience guilty of racism--simply by virtue of the race and class categories you file them in--or aren't they?

(And don't give me some lame "well there's more likely to be skinheads in this audience..." crap. That's as absurd as saying that any random collection of black people surely contains a few black panthers.

Pogo said...

JBH,
I used to have debates like that with my little brother. It usually ended with my fist meeting his face at multiple angles.

Like you, he'd just restate the same damn stuff over and over again. Your work reads like Kevin Barrett and other nonsense conpiracy theorists: mistaking length for argument.

Your proof consists of broad assumptions and lazy stereotypes. It's quite simple. What Allen said has the appearance of impropriety. But the facts remain unclear (no matter how many times you rewrite the same damn thing). Whatever, it hurt him. Does it have larger meaning about racism in the US? No. Is it interesting? No.

Shanna said...

"It's possible to plausibly claim that most (or even all) of the people cheering didn't know that macaca means monkey. But it's not possible to claim they didn't know that Allen was being mean and boorish"

Maybe they thought the guys name was actually Maccaca? Or something close enough for Allen to have mixed it up. They didn't know the guy from adam.

Plus, people just cheer at campaign rallies, that doesn't mean they would have cheered at something that is the equivalent of the N word. You are just painting all these Virginian's with this racist brush with no reason. It's infuriating. I am mad for them. Just because you are southern and white doesn't mean you are a racist!

A couple things about the French issue. 1) Allen took french as an adult if he took it in college, which means he probably didn't speak it, at least not fluently, "at his mother's knee". 2) I'll add myself to the sample of people who took French once upon a time and never heard of this term (or at least don't remember it). Monkey is not a word one pays much attention to in a foreign language unless one is a zookeeper, I think.

Balfegor said...

A word for "monkey" would indeed be part of any normal curriculum.

Uh, yes, the word singe. Not macaque or whatever. Geez. The end result of this discussion is that I'm thinking Allen's critics really may be overreaching here.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blair said...

Calling a man a racist is a far worse slur than calling a man "macaca". In any damn language.

The word "racist" has no coherent meaning anymore. Look at the man's policies and how he ran his administration in Virginia when he was Governor. That's all that should matter in this debate. Focusing on semantics is just nonsense.

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "I refuse to participate in an orgy of partisan hatred using evidence that amounts to next to nothing"

Then I must be mixing you up with the other SippicanCottage, the one who suggested Ann has offered "false testimony," and based this allegation on "evidence" that came straight from his imagination.

------------------------

shanna: "leave these poor Virginian's who did NOTHING out of it"

It's possible to plausibly claim that most (or even all) of the people cheering didn't know that macaca means monkey. But it's not possible to claim they didn't know that Allen was being mean and boorish, and picking on someone whose skin color is rarely seen around those parts. (It's possible they didn't know that Sidarth was only doing the exact same job being done by Allen's own staff. But Allen, the hypocrite, was obviously well-aware of this.) Their audible enthusiasm for this behavior is quite evident.

------------------------

walser: "If well read and well educated people are perfectly unaware of the racial implications of the word, what possible use does it have as a 'code word' for his base?"

If Allen's base was primarily "well read and well educated people," then he probably wouldn't bother visiting Breaks VA. Census data shows that such people generally live elsewhere.

Trouble is, much of Allen's base can indeed be found in a place like Breaks, where people cheer raucously when a US Senator mocks a colored person.

"Until someone can cite examples of the use of this word in the hills of Virginia as a racial slur, I'm not buying this charge."

Multiple examples have been cited of white supremacists using this word as a racial slur. If your claim is that "the hills of Virginia" don't harbor more than their share of white supremacists, then you are naive. Is there some other place where they are more easily found? Cambridge? Berkeley?

"As for his being jovial and being able to smoothly slip in the slur ... Why ... is it ... proof of his evil intent?"

He pronounced the word, twice, with a great deal of clarity and confidence, saying it exactly the same way each time. This indicates that he was not, as some suggest, struggling with a name or nickname that was hard to remember and/or pronounce. And he was not generating random gibberish, as some suggest. The way he spoke shows that he knew the word, was comfortable using it, and was probably not using it for the first time.

------------------------

goat: "I didn't ignore then, I discounted them [multiple documented examples of white supremacists using the term] as inapplicable to a bunch of average Virginians."

Allen was not addressing "average Virginians." Breaks VA differs quite a bit from "average," with regard to things like race, education and income, when compared with the rest of VA. (Of course facts like this don't stop Allen from pandering to this group, and insulting the rest of the state, by calling Breaks "the real world of Virginia").

I guess your point is that an audience of the "average Virginians" typically found at a Republican rally in a place like Breaks VA could not possibly include a handful, or more, of white supremacists. Simple question: if such people can't be found in the Appalachian hills of Virginia and Kentucky (right on the other side of the county line), then where are they hiding out? Greenwich Village?

--------------------------

pogo: "Jukebox H. is a piece of work"

How yawningly predictable. The ad homs come out right around the time you realize it's obvious to everyone you have nothing substantive to say.

Here's a tip: since the topic has to do with addressing people respectfully, let's see if you can manage to get my name right.

"Much sound and fury signifying nothing."

I'm impressed by the number of specific points you offer to prove this statement: zero.

charlotte said...

To most Republicans I know, Allen just flashed his offensive, albeit colorful, rear end and made a complete baboon of himself. To believe he just made up gibberish or didn't know what he was saying in using an obscure racial epithet toward a dark-skinned person who evidently was annoying him by shadowing his campaign is like believing Clinton genuinely didn't know what the definition of "sex" is or "is" is or that Berger forgot he had security docs stuffed down his pants. Yeah, right.

Elizabeth said...

A couple of people have called Sidarth a stalker, or commented that his purpose is to annoy Allen.

Allen has two people doing exactly what Sidarth is doing, assigned to his opponent's campaign. It is apparently quite common now for candidates to send people in to videotape the public appearances of their rivals.

ChrisO said...

The excuses for Allen's behavior here are mind boggling. He took French in college, which probably means he didn't already speak it? Right, because no college student would ever try to take the easiest possible route to fulfilling their language requirement.

Instead of all the speculation, how about just concentrating on the facts? The guy used a term that is a racist slur in his mother's native tongue. Frankly, Sippican Cottage's college French experience has absolutely no meaning here, but it certainly provides him with yet another digression to ignore th main topic. Sippican, you also called the guy a stalker. He's an opposition research guy, doing what every major campaign does, taping the opponents public appearances in order to have a record of his staements. Given that you leapt to the conclusion that he was a stalker, your other leaps have just as much credibility. The guy is a Southern Californian who idolized the Confederate cause, adopted a southern twang, and used a slang term from his mother's native tongue when referring to a dark skinned man (whom he felt needed to be "welcomed to America.) You can dance all you want but your wife's experience in Italy is also not relevant. Are you suggesting thst the very specific experience of a person misusing a word in a language they didn't learn until adulthood is somehow applicable to other situations?

And you try to claim that "tar baby" is a term with no racial significance? How long are you going to play the naif? Just because the idiots in Marion Berry's administration took offense at the term "niggardly" doesn't mean every colloquial racist term is equally devoid of meaning. I've heard tar baby used as a racist slur. I'm guessing your research on this amounted to"Well, I've never heard it," which come to think of it describes a lot of your arguments. I suppose spear chucker is also a neutral term, because after all, lots of people throw spears.

If your parents use a racial slur, chances are you know what it means because of the context in which its used. I doubt his mother came in from shopping and said "macaca, it's hot out there." If my parents spoke Yiddish, I doubt I'd get a free pass for calling a black man a schvartze, not matter how many logical pretzels I tried to conjure.

Shanna said...

'I guess your point is that an audience of the "average Virginians" typically found at a Republican rally in a place like Breaks VA could not possibly include a handful, or more, of white supremacists. '

Your point seems to be that it must include white supremacists who deal with obscure french epithets. Which is pretty insulting to Virginia, and to southerners, and to poor people (since these criteria seem to be all you need to prove racism).

'Allen was not addressing "average Virginians." Breaks VA differs quite a bit from "average," '

You may be unaware of the fact that George Allen is a Virginia Senator. Is his daring to visit any city in virginia that is not Arlington proof of his racism? And proof of those Virginian's racism? I think your own prejudices are showing.

For the record, I think George Allen's conduct was rude at best. But this attempt to characterize a bunch of people you've never met as racists and skinheads just because they are Virginian is very wrong.

reader_iam said...

it wasn't directed at you, it was directed at "jukebox grad".

You followed up with a comment saying "In no way do I believe for a second that Sippican Cottage is a racist" and I can't tell if you're responding to what I said.


Gracious, no. I was responding to someone actually calling Sippican "a racist, too" near the end of lengthy comment.

SippicanCottage said...

ChrisO-

You guys keep talking about "the facts." The facts are that Allen used the word macaca, but said he didn't know it was a slur. He apologized for his unintentional rudeness.

All the rest is conjecture. I have no opinion about the man. I have never layed eyes on him before today. But I notice everybody else seems to, and has a quiver full of minutiae handy that doesn't add up to anything more than you don't like him. I don't care if you like him. Calling him, and his mother, evil over an inoccuous comment is inappropriate. And so I am led to wonder if this is a pretext to attack him. His comments struck me as trifling, if what he said about not knowing the word is true. Saying you know he's lying is beyond speculation. You're not saying you think his socks don't match his shirt. You're saying he's lying and evil and we should all hate him. If he was lying, I would hate him. So what?

Sippican, you also called the guy a stalker.

Where did I do that? His job is to dog the guy around. I think MD's assessment of the situation was spot-on: He's (Allen)is kind of a clod, and he's not ready for prime time if he can't handle a distraction like that. That's a long stretch from the guy's evil.

My wife uttered a vile swear that she thought was an inoccuous comment in a language she learned as an adult that is the native language of her grandmother, if not her mother. That's what Allen says happened to him. The idea that it's not similar is silly. How could that idea seem farfetched to me when it had been played out in front of me by the sweetest person on this planet?

My wife is the sweetest person on the planet, not George Allen.

The derivation of the expression
tar baby has no racial component that I know of. If you want to call me a naif because I don't keep up on every race baiting etymolgy evolution, that's fair. I don't look at people like that.
It was also used as a pretext to attack someone who intended no racial component to it here recently.

Why do people get such a thrill writing things like "spear chucker" and saying that's what people you don't like must be saying? The only person to use that term here is you. It's not nice to say, and it's not nice to try to smear it on other people.

Look at readeriam, trying to tell everybody that I'm not a skinhead. Has it really come to this? That you either go along and rip everybody to pieces over any little thing or you go in the wood chipper too?

Please note, That my first comment is misunderstood: didn't say, or mean to say, that shenanigans by Allen would be excusable because the KOS kids do it too. I simply pointed out they're the last persons on this earth I'd rely upon to parse "racial insensitivity." You know why.

Pogo said...

I gather jukeboxhero demands proof that his statements are composed of overbroad conclusions, silly stereotypes, arrogant assumptions, and other meaningless blather.

How to respond in a way that reduces the chances he'll write another endless and unread post?
a) call him another name, but a wittier one, something unexpected
or
b) fisk his boring accusations about North African french swear words known to the supersecret cabal of HuberHonkies in VA, sorting through the entrails of his bloviation for some actaul reasoning among the scat
or
c) do like the Pythons and say "I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! Now, go away, or I shall taunt you a second time"

SippicanCottage said...

And ChrisO, you say, as the jukebox guy did, that people are making excuses for Allen's behavior. I don't think that's true. Some persons are disagreeing with the assessment of what happened, and what conclusions we can reasonably draw from what we saw. That's not the same thing.

I sent the other guy on a mission he never returned from: Find me the comment by anyone here that thinks it's OK for George Allen to knowingly call that guy a monkey. He came up with a lot of: I think that's what Allen meant, and I infer that's what you think. Again, not the same thing. And some people spend too much time talking about other people's mothers to suit me.

The short answer is: skinheads are in short supply on Althouse. Jukebox guy's fevered imagination notwithstanding.

charlotte said...

Elizabeth: "A couple of people have called Sidarth a stalker, or commented that his purpose is to annoy Allen. Allen has two people doing exactly what Sidarth is doing, assigned to his opponent's campaign."

And if you're not too hung up on semantics, they're "stalking", too. Op researchers who follow you around are an unwelcome presence- no matter that both sides do it. Let's hope Allen's opponent has a couple of firing neurons that inhibit him from calling his shadowing researchers "Prussian blues" or some such.

jukeboxgrad said...

Oops, two chunks above got double-posted. Sorry about that.

knox: "shoot, one minute you're like 'strawman!!!' and the next, you're like 'Allen knows it, even if you won't admit it' Well, which one is it???"

That's a non sequitur. The former has nothing to do with the latter. Maybe you don't know what "straw man" means. Each time I've used that term, I think I've made it clear why the term is warranted. If you disagree, you should be specific. So far, you haven't been.

"Is this audience guilty of racism--simply by virtue of the race and class categories you file them in"

No. This audience is guilty of racism by virtue of the way they cheered when their Senator rudely mocked a dark-skinned person. This is clear before we even consider a certain word that means "monkey."

"That's as absurd as saying that any random collection of black people surely contains a few black panthers."

Trouble is, this far from a "random collection" of white people. This is a collection of white people in Breaks VA, a place that differs from average VA in several important respects, which I've documented. And it's not even a random collection of white people from Breaks VA. It's white people from Breaks VA who are motivated come out and see a certain confederacy-loving good ole boy.

------------------

pogo: "It usually ended with my fist meeting his face at multiple angles."

Classy. No surprise then that you show affinity for another bully. Did you also drag your sister upstairs by her hair? Ever slam a pool cue into someone's head?

"mistaking length for argument"

What you'll notice is that I actually go to the trouble of making a substantive response to anything remotely resembling a substantive claim. You should try it sometime (making a substantive claim, that is).

Here's a suggestion, if you have a problem with what I write: ignore every single word, henceforth. I promise I won't lose any sleep.

"Your proof consists of broad assumptions and lazy stereotypes."

I'll wait patiently while you try to come up with a single example, in my words, of an unwarranted, undocumented, assumption or stereotype.

------------------

shanna: "Maybe they thought the guys name was actually Maccaca?"

Even if that word is completely ignored, it's clear (from words, tone, expression and gesture) that Allen was engaging in cheap, boorish, racist mockery. Pay attention to the words he said to a dark-skinned person, in a place where 99.0% are white: "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." Those who applaud this are not nice people, even if you replace "macaca" with "Mr. Sidarth."

And let's recall the irony: Sidarth was born and raised in VA (outside the beltway, no less). Allen wasn't. Sidarth is more Virginian than Allen. The former could be saying "welcome to Virginia" to the latter.

"people just cheer at campaign rallies"

There's nothing wrong with cheering at a campaign rally, unless what you're cheering is boorish, racist mockery.

"Just because you are southern and white doesn't mean you are a racist!"

True. But cheering racist mockery does mean you are a racist.

"Allen took french as an adult if he took it in college, which means he probably didn't speak it, at least not fluently, 'at his mother's knee' "

You're making the assumption that someone who already spoke French would have no reason to take French in college. What nonsense. Let me know if Allen doesn't strike you as exactly the kind of person who would jump at a chance to get an easy grade.

In any case, this is a very secondary point (and I first raised this distinction only because sip attempted to put words in my mouth on this point). The bottom line is that even if Allen was not fluent when he started that course, he was fluent when he was done. Which means it's implausible to suggest that he's currently ignorant about basic vocabulary. And this is without taking into account his mother's background.

------------------

bal: "Uh, yes, the word singe. Not macaque or whatever."

I realize that singe, not macaque, is the primary French word for monkey. Macaque is a particular kind of monkey. However, the word is far from obscure, which is why google returns over two million hits.

------------------

blair: "Calling a man a racist is a far worse slur than calling a man 'macaca'."

Calling a racist a racist is not a "slur." It's telling the truth, and it's a highly responsible and necessary act.

Goatwhacker said...

I guess your point is that an audience of the "average Virginians" typically found at a Republican rally in a place like Breaks VA could not possibly include a handful, or more, of white supremacists.

OK, I see your point that Allen was secretly speaking code words to the few white French-speaking supremacists familiar with North African dialect who might be lurking in the crowd, while simultaneously speaking on a microphone to hundreds of people and being videotaped. Now that you explain it it seems so clear.

For the record, I have no opinion of Allen other than he seems to be an idiot based on his comments. This is like a speaker referring to "Pedro" or "ying-yang" in the audience and welcoming him to America. It shows poor judgement and shoots any chance he had at the presidency, as if he ever had one.

What I don't agree with is the assumption he used a surrogate "n-word".

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "it is an extremely obscure thing to know that this is an insult"

Nice job continuing to ignore multiple documented instances of white supremacists using the term.

"talking about the race of his mother and not her background is despicable ... your insane ideas about who can and can't be a racist based on melanin are awful."

The fact that she's a colonial, French, white, Tunisian, and not a native, African, black, Tunisian, is something that some people are confused about. Your remark suggested that you are confused about this. The distinction is highly relevant, and there's nothing racist about identifying the distinction. So you can climb down off your high horse.

"There is an enormous difference between French learned in school and slang expressions in other parts of the world."

Which is why it's highly relevant that his mother came from exactly a part of the world where this term is especially common (although it is also used in many other places).

"you decide who's real and who's fake."

Indeed, I'm entitled to form an opinion about that, just like you. If Dubya is your idea of an authentic rancher, or if Allen is your idea of an authentic southerner, then obviously you're entitled to your opinion. In my opinion, you're easily tricked.

"And anybody who doesn't fall right in with your assessment is ipso facto a racist too."

Allen's phoniness is not what reveals him as a racist. His phoniness simply reveals him as a phony. It's his racist behavior that reveals him as a racist. I realize that simple distinctions like this are over your head, and I realize you can't stop pretending I've said things that I haven't said.

"It's infantile to say that any remark said to a video camera is intended for the cameraman, not the viewer."

True. But the remark Allen actually made ("Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.") was indeed, very plainly and explicitly, "intended for the cameraman" (and possibly also the viewer, but most definitely not only, or even primarily, the viewer). The fact that you insist on claiming otherwise is highly revealing.

"I often wonder who makes it their business to hate obscure politicians and concomittantly scour the world for skinheads and French swears?"

I am citizen, and I have a duty to do what I can to prevent racists from living in the White House. You seem to have the opposite agenda.

By the way, this "obscure politician" has been described (by National Review, among many others) as a leading contender for the nomination.

"You used the word 'undergraduate' in the reference to his French education and the asessment thereof. Are undergrads toddlers now?"

Indeed, I said "undergraduate" because Allen took an "undergraduate" French course. But the idea that he wasn't already fluent in French is fully a result of your own assumptions, and nothing else. The fact that he took a French course in college doesn't mean he hadn't already learned French as a "toddler." As I said, you should refrain from putting words in my mouth.

"If you don't want me to pay attention to what you write"

It would be better if you paid attention to what I've actually said, rather than what you imagine I've said.

"You seem to be saying that it's safe to assume Allen was taught foul north african french swears as a child from his mother."

Macaca has an innocent meaning, when used innocently. In other words, it is possible to believe that Mom taught Allen this word without assuming that Mom is a racist. Then again, I realize you find it hard to curtail your habit of making all sorts of unwarranted assumptions.

By the way, Mom could also have said something like this: "if you ever hear my Tunisian friends or relatives use words like this in a certain manner, you should know to never repeat them."

"I wouldn't talk about other people's mothers like that out in the general population ... Shame. On. You."

More gratuitous high-horse nonsense from you, based on nothing but your own sloppy thinking and ignorant assumptions.

"here's the French English dictionary. Where's that common word for monkey"

You've demonstrated that "monkey" is translated as singe, not macaque. Congratulations. You've proven that Allen didn't use the most common French word for monkey. He simply used another very common word. By the way, "macaque" returns about two million google hits. "Singe" returns 4.7 million. "Macaca" (what Allen actually said) returns 4.5 million (after adjusting for recent news by excluding "Sidarth"). Good luck convincing anyone that macaca is horribly obscure.

"is Allen a racist North African Francophone corn pone skinhead Machiavellian idiot rube redneck zoologist, too?"

When a word is referenced by google four or five million times, that probably means it's known to lots of people who aren't Francophone zoologists.

Balfegor said...

However, the word [macaque] is far from obscure, which is why google returns over two million hits.

Yes, but that's not the context here. The original sentence was:

A word for "monkey" would indeed be part of any normal curriculum.

And indeed, this is the case. But certainly not this word, macaque.

My point here is that studying French at university, or learning a bit of French from your mother, doesn't actually indicate particularly strongly that you're going to know macaque or maccaca, and know the racial associations here. It might be different if we knew that Allen's mother was, say, the equivalent of Hutton Gibson, Mel Gibson's father. Then we might expect that the debased child's version of French we might expect Allen to have acquired from his mother could quite plausibly have included derogatory terms for the Africans of the old colonies. But -- and I think Sippican has pointed this out already -- we have no such indication.

Now, the coincidences do line up against Allen, and your efforts notwithstanding, I think he's probably in the wrong here. But I do think you're overreaching in your attempts to back up your conclusion.

Lastly, re:

When a word is referenced by google four or five million times, that probably means it's known to lots of people who aren't Francophone zoologists.

I might also point out that googling "Gundam" summons up a whopping 19.9 million hits, but that doesn't make it something you'd expect the average non-native English-speaker to know. This is not a precisely fair comparison, because Gundam-fans tend to be young and nerdy, and so their having a huge number of webpages is no great surprise. But the fact that there's 2 million hits for macaque (140,000 in French), and 5 million for macaca (34,600 in French) doesn't actually mean as much as you might think, when we're talking about non-native speakers. I know no zoological terminology in French, beyond the very basic, because while chomage and PIB and the like infest the things I read in French, animals do not.

dklittl said...

I'll just go with what my Dad used to say:
I'm not racist, I just don't like you."


Pogo, from your inane diagnosis of this George Allen situation, I'm inclined to believe that you replaced an "a" with a "not" in that phrase.

Pogo said...

dklittl

Your jokes are bad, to be sure, but at least you don't go on and on and on until you start foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards like lunchbox hero above. I mean, thanks, man.

He's spent a good chunk of time elaborating a poorly-written community college thesis on his opinon about the hidden meaning of an obscure word spoken by an equally obscure politician, thinking that somehow his opinion, when repeated ad nauseum, equates to argument and fact. No, Fact.

And you want me to be something more than inane? Wha? To satisfy Lunchbox Squarepants and his Merry Band of North African Slurmakers? Piffle. Yer tryin' too hard. He actually thinks he's winning something. Wierd. Why break a sweat on that kind of illogic?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Walser said...

I know most sensible people have quit reading these comments by now, but I have a serious question that was prompted by something jukeboxgrad said upstream. He claims a duty to call a racist a racist. I'll go with that. After all, as we all know, all it takes for evil to triumph is for men and women of goodwill to ignore it, etc.

My question, is there a duty to know someone is a racist before blowing the whistle, or is it okay to trumpet a mere suspicion? This, after all, is the primary area of disagreement. Some posters, jukeboxgrad (JBG) in particular, are certain that Allen is a racist. Others don't think that case has been proven -- not by a long shot. So, just how much evidence should we require before calling out the hounds? I don't see how we can have a polite, civil, society if everyone is duty bound to yell "racist pig!" whenever there's the least possibility someone might, maybe, in some manner or other, arguably be not altogether welcoming towards minorities. That kind of approach tends to stifle healthy conversation. People tend to worry too much that something they say might be taken wrongly.

Which says nothing of the real harm a false accusation of racism creates. In most social circles (at least those I'm familiar with), being considered a racist is about the only thing that will automatically make someone unwelcome. It's the capital crime in the social taboo milieu. JBG and others seem to think the issue of racism is so important, we cannot risk allowing a racist to stay unmasked in our midst. Better to make a few false charges than to fail to point the finger at all true racists. It's all in the name of tolerance, after all.

I think racism is so weighty and real a problem, the charge should not be made lightly. This is not a card game and there is no prize for the first to call, "Uno!"

Elizabeth said...

No, we just have to go back to the Civil Rights era. Now which party was for it? Which against?

What, Lyndon Johnson was a Republican? Did I miss something?

Pogo, you're also ignoring that the Southern Democrats who did oppose Civil Rights movement changed parties over the 70s, 80s and 90s, with the deliberate courting of the GOP.

ChrisO said...

You know, the fact that you as an individual haven't heard of someone doesn't make him obscure. It means you haven't heard of him. George Allen was governor of Virginia, is now a senator, and has been mentioned prominently as a potential presidential candidate for some time. In addition, his father was the Hall of Fame football coach. That's hardly obscure. And he's running in a race against Jim Webb, the former Republican Secretary of the Navy who switched to the Democratic Party. So the race is high profile, and has been covered extensively on a national basis.

Sippican, I took care to only address the things you said, and not to attribute to you the views of everyone who agrees with you. I would ask that you do the same. I never said Allen or his mother were "evil." I'm not going to go back and read every comment, but I don't recall anyone calling his mother evil. You seem to be falling back on the tired canard repeated by the Michelle Malkins of the world, which is that every criticism of a Republican is a product of hate. I never mentioned hating Allen, either. I don't respect his politics, and I'm offended by the incident at hand, but none of it means enough to me to hate the man. So since you implore us to stick to the fcts at hand, perhaps you could do the same. And refrain from statements like "You're saying he's lying and evil and we should all hate him."

"Saying you know he's lying is beyond speculation." I never said he was lying. I don't believe him, but my remarks were not beyond speculation. Speculation is exact;ly what they were. And while so many are speculating on the different excuses for his behavior, why is speculating that he meant to slur the guy out of bounds?

You say you never said the guy was a stalker. I checked back through the comments and couldn't find an instance where you used the term, so I stand corrected. However, you did say "It is useful to remember that Sidarth has been sent to bother Allen; saying Allen singles him out because he's Indian is kinda silly. He works for his opponent and follows him around trying to disrupt the proceedings." So you certainly implied stalker, even if you didn't use the term. Sidarth was doing what every campaign does: taping the oppopnent's public appearances so there's a record of his comments. He wasn't sent to "disrupt" the proceedings, and I'm not sure why you felt confident in making that accusation, while at the same time protesting that you know nothing about this particular race.

As for your wife, I'm sure she's very sweet. But my point was that a single instance where she unknowingly uttered a swear in Italian says nothing about the issue at hand, since Allen was raised by a French speaking mother (as opposed to learning the language as an adult), by all accounts is fluent, and, most importantly, learned the language at home, not in college, so he's much more likely to know colloquialisms.

As for "tar baby," I happen to think that Romney had no racist intent when he used the term. But I was respo0nding to your assertion that it's "Another expression with no racial significance." I didn't reference "spear chucker" because it gives me a thrill (where the hell did that come from) but because it's a seldom used racial epithet, that could be claimed to be used innocently. I certainly never claimed that anyone here used that term, nor did I imply it. If you never heard the term tar baby as an epithet, fine, but that's not what you said. You flatly declared that it had no racial significance. You might have googled the term before you said that. I didn't have to, because I have seen the term used as a racial epithet.

Allen has been dogged by charges of racism for a long time. He stood out in his Southern California high school because he embraced the Confederacy. Here's a quote from a white supremacist web site, talking about how the LA police have been told not to bother Rodney King: "Don't want another riot you know. And the macaque has taken full advantage of this privilege."

Here's another one: "We all know the only way to gain "street cred" with n*** (asterisks mine) gutter scum is to be just like them. That's why that ugly cornrowed thug Iverson has it while the well-tailored macaque-about-town Kobe doesn't. Keep it real, yo."

Or how about this from a different white supremacist site, talking about a black man being arrested; "I watched the press conference they had when they caught the rampaging macaque."

Allen called a dark skinned man whom he was trying to humiliate a macaca. It doesn't matter if no one on this site ever heard the term. We're dealing with Occam's Razor here. And if you're concerned about hate, I don't think Allen's critics are the place to begin.

jukeboxgrad said...

shanna: "Your point seems to be that it [the local audience] must include white supremacists who deal with obscure french epithets."

I'm suggesting the audience very likely included at least a handful of white supremacists (or at least people who lean in that direction), and Allen knew this. I'm not necessarily suggesting that Allen was sure that lots of people in the audience already knew the word macaca. I'm suggesting that he probably assumed, correctly, that the most passionate applauders would not have a hard time finding someone who could tell them what the word meant, and would not be terribly upset when they found out.

By the way, when google references a word four or five million times, it's a stretch to call it "obscure." Likewise when it's not hard to find examples of skinheads using it as an epithet.

"Which is pretty insulting to Virginia, and to southerners, and to poor people (since these criteria seem to be all you need to prove racism)."

Nice job ignoring the fact that I am primarily focusing on what these people did (cheer Allen's meanness), and not just on who they are (white, poor, uneducated). However, there is a connection; white supremacists tend, disproportionately, to be poor, uneducated, rural and southern. And white, oddly enough. Observing this connection is fully legitimate, just like it's fully legitimate to observe that modern international terrorists are, disproportionately, Muslims. Does this mean all Muslims are terrorists? Of course not.

Your accusation, that I'm insulting poor white southerners, makes as much sense as accusing me of insulting Muslims, if I mention that I'm concerned about Islamic terrorism.

"Is his daring to visit any city in virginia that is not Arlington proof of his racism?"

Obviously the fact that he visited Breaks is not proof of racism. It's what he did in Breaks that is proof of racism.

"And proof of those Virginian's racism?"

Likewise, the fact that these people live in Breaks is not proof of racism. The way they reacted to Allen's poor behavior is proof of racism.

By the way, do you think it's a complete accident that this incident occured in Breaks, and not in Arlington or somewhere else like that?

"I think your own prejudices are showing."

Guilty as charged. I have a prejudice against bullies, and people who applaud them and defend them.

If you can identify any other kind of prejudice in my words, you should show us where you found it.

"this attempt to characterize a bunch of people you've never met as racists and skinheads just because they are Virginian is very wrong"

The problem is not where they live. The problem is how they behaved.

jukeboxgrad said...

sip: "All the rest is conjecture."

Uh, no. Allen's mom comes from a place where macaque/macaca is a common racial slur. That's fact, not conjecture. There are multiple documented examples of white supremacists using that slur. That's fact, not conjecture. Allen directly addressed a dark-skinned person, in a very white place, and said "welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." That's fact, not conjecture. Allen has a long history of celebrating the confederacy. That's fact, not conjecture.

You, on the other hand, have a practice of taking conjecture and dressing it up as fact. You did this when you suggested that anyone who took a French course in college couldn't possibly have already learned the language as a child. You did this when you suggested that Mom couldn't have taught Allen about the word macaca unless she was herself a racist. And so on. Here's an idea: try sticking with the facts.

"Some persons are disagreeing with the assessment of what happened"

It would be nice if that's all you did. Unfortunately, you've gone much further, by denying obvious facts, like the fact that Allen directly addressed Sidarth, saying this: "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

This is obviously racist, even if the word macaca is completely forgiven. These words were obviously intended to convey the idea that a dark-skinned person would not be familiar with "the real world" of predominantly-white Breaks, which is supposedly the "real" Virginia and the "real" America.

"I sent the other guy on a mission he never returned from: Find me the comment by anyone here that thinks it's OK for George Allen to knowingly call that guy a monkey."

Nice job totally ignoring what I said at 1:58 pm, regarding what walser said at 9:24 am.

"skinheads are in short supply on Althouse"

Unfortunately, what's not in short supply here are people who like inventing their own facts for the purpose of defending a racist.

-------------------------------

pogo: "I gather jukeboxhero demands proof that his statements are composed of overbroad conclusions, silly stereotypes, arrogant assumptions, and other meaningless blather."

Uh, not exactly, because to "demand" anything sensible from an idiot is something only a fool would do. It's just that when you persist in your usual practice of making all sorts of unsubstantiated accusations, you can count on me to point out that you are good for nothing except making all sorts of unsubstantiated accusations.

"obscure politician"

As mentioned above, here's what NR said about this "obscure politician:" " ... George Allen has perhaps a better chance of winning the nomination than any other Republican."

I guess the GOP is in a sorry state if their best shot is an "obscure politician."

-------------------------------

goat: "What I don't agree with is the assumption he used a surrogate 'n-word'."

Then you have to believe that he came up with a word that just happens to mean "monkey" completely by accident. Is that your theory?

jukeboxgrad said...

bal: "learning a bit of French from your mother"

You are not in a position to assume that he learned only "a bit of French" from his mother. That's possible, but it's also possible he learned a very great deal of French from his mother. Frankly, I think a dim-witted jock like Allen would not have gotten an excellent grade in a college French course if he had not already learned a great deal of French from his mother.

Also, it just so happens that he used a word which just happens to be a slur in French (not to mention in other languages and places). This is highly congruent with the idea that he learned a great deal of French from his mother.

Also, it just so happens that he wore a confederate-flag lapel-pin in his high-school yearbook photo, even though he was living in Palos Verdes CA, which is nowhere near the confederacy. It seems to me that the sort of person who would be inclined to do this would be exactly the sort of person who would be interested in learning all sorts of interesting and entertaining racial slurs from his mom's various Tunisian friends and relatives.

"It might be different if we knew that Allen's mother was, say, the equivalent of Hutton Gibson"

I think this is an interesting and valid point. But as I've said several times, it's entirely plausible that Mom is not a racist, and nevertheless taught Allen this word.

Mom grew up as a French colonial in Tunisia, in the period between the wars (I'm deducing this from the fact that Dad was born in 1918 and Allen was born in 1952). This was a period of struggle which ultimately culminated in Tunisia achieving independence from France (1956). Only a cursory understanding of colonial history is needed to understand that what we now call racism was rampant, although it wasn't necessarily called racism at the time. Times change. Our founding fathers were slave-owners, but didn't think of themselves as what we now call racists.

In other words, it's likely that Mom was raised to have attitudes that were typical in that place and time, for her social group. I think this is just realism, and not an unfair condemnation of her. It is also not the same thing as claiming that she held onto these attitudes after living in this country for several decades.

I think it's similarly helpful to pay attention to when and where Allen was raised. He was born in 1952 and mostly raised in rich towns in Southern California. This was not particularly a time and place of great racial enlightenment. If little Allen ever heard Mom refer to blacks (or Latinos) as macacas, this would not be terribly shocking or remarkable, given the place and the era. In my opinion, it is more likely than not that such things happened fairly routinely, in his house and in his neighborhood. It is perfectly plausible to assume that Mom adjusted her attitudes once the civil rights movement came along, but there are ample indications that young Allen had a different reaction to the civil rights movement of the sixties.

"Then we might expect that the debased child's version of French we might expect Allen to have acquired from his mother could quite plausibly have included derogatory terms for the Africans of the old colonies"

My point is that given the historical context, any white person raised in that place at that time (colonial Tunisia) would be very likely to be familiar with "derogatory terms for the Africans of the old colonies." I think this is very reasonable speculation, and it is not the same thing as claiming that Mom was an incorrigible lifelong bigot in the manner, apparently, of Mel Gibson's dad.

"the fact that there's 2 million hits for macaque ... doesn't actually mean as much as you might think, when we're talking about non-native speakers"

The gundam comparison is interesting. Thanks for bringing that up.

My point about the number of hits is simply that none of these terms are obscure, except if you happen to be someone who never heard of them. Until very recently, I had never heard of either gundam or macaca. Trouble is, that means next to nothing.

"when we're talking about non-native speakers"

I think I have no idea what you're getting at with this. Sorry.

What I think is interesting about "macaca" (as a slur) is that it comes up in many languages/cultures besides French. I've seen references in English (obviously) and also Spanish, Portuguese and Russian (!). The practice of white people describing dark people as monkeys apparently has some perverse universality.

It would be nice to eradicate that attitude from the world, but a good place to start would be to eradicate it from the US Senate.

Pogo said...

jukebox
National Review says he's got a good chance to win the nomination?
Heh. Good one.
I think their national circulation just barely fills a Triple A baseball stadium ...on bobble head night.
"Niche" isn't even the word for NR's market reach. Maybe "pocket" or "thimble".
You funny.

And you're kinda sorta cute when you start flailing around all Lefty-like. At times, you very nearly make sense. Nearly.

And c'mon, juke, you're merely posting your opinions. What's to refute?
Do we say, "no, juke, that's not how you feel"?
or
"no, juke, you don't really find supersecret Ubermensch Rovian N. African Tunisian French at-your-mamas-knee codewords offensive"?
Get off. You're just posin', right?
It's some kind of dumb college prank, to see how thin a post can be, disguised under a plethora of verbiage, before someone recognizes that, well, there's no there there.
I'm right, aren't I?

Pogo said...

Elizabeth,
You have to admit, seeing those numbers, that neither party really holds the "Civil Rights party" mantle exclusively. It was truly a bipartisan effort.

That's my point.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UW Student said...

Goodness, what a tempest in a teapot.

It strikes me that when you start arguing about word usage in particular dialects, what you really need is a linguist. Language Log has a post, but it doesn't really solve the issue of whether the audience could be expected to know the racially-tinged meaning. (The issue of what Allen himself knew is hard to solve directly and so, I think, is better ignored.) Where are the experts in Appalachian English when you need them? I am not thrilled with the methodology used by the dKos writer -- his findings are existence proofs of a racist meaning to the word, but do not prove widespread usage in English.

FWIW, I am predisposed to think George Allen is a racist jerk, and my intuitive guess as to the meaning of "macaca," based on my basically high-school knowledge of both taxonomy and French, was "probably another slang word for black people on the model of 'monkey.'" So I think the people who see racism in this, whether it was intentional signifying or just a Freudian slip, are probably right. All the same, I'd like to see better evidence. Energy spent looking for data is a better investment than energy spent trading insults.

jukeboxgrad said...

walser: "is there a duty to know someone is a racist before blowing the whistle, or is it okay to trumpet a mere suspicion?"

Thanks for asking a question that I think is both important and interesting.

I think there is some guidance to be found by looking at common law regarding defamation. One central principle is that whether or not the target is a public figure makes a very big difference. If I decide to write an article for the local newspaper claiming that my neighbor is a racist, I should apply a very high standard of proof. If my neighbor also happens to be the mayor or the police chief, my standard of proof doesn't need to be quite so high.

When someone is a US Senator and a leading contender for POTUS, it is appropriate to lean in the direction of protecting the community from harm, and be somewhat less concerned (as compared with the case of a private citizen) with harming the reputation of an innocent person.

It is very foolish and inappropriate to apply an "innocent until proven guilty" standard in a situation like this. That kind of guideline has a proper place in a court of law, when what's at stake is putting someone in jail, or to death. No one is suggesting Allen should lose his life, or his freedom. What's being suggested is that he should lose his job. Big difference. If we don't demand that our leaders be above reproach, we'll end up with exactly the kind of leaders we have, and the country will be in exactly the kind of trouble it's in. Things won't get better until we raise our standards.

I think this is another helpful principle: it is generally not possible to defame someone as long as what you communicate is entirely true and the entire truth (in other words, if it's true, it's not defamation). There is no basis for anyone to cry foul unless someone is saying something that's untrue.

For example, sip accused Ann of offering "false testimony" against Allen. If this was true, it would be a problem. Trouble is, sip made this up.

I think this is another helpful principle: facts mean a lot. Opinions don't. If I say "my opinion is that Allen is a racist," I shouldn't expect anyone to give a damn what I think unless I have facts to back up my opinion.

Allen's problem is a that a lot of facts are lined up against him. It's fair and proper to communicate those facts, as long as it's done honestly. Whether those facts support a particular conclusion ("Allen is a racist") is something that every voter has to ultimately decide on their own. And of course for some voters, it's a feature, not a bug.

"Some posters, jukeboxgrad (JBG) in particular, are certain that Allen is a racist."

That's true. But I certainly don't expect anyone to take my word for it. All I expect an honorable person to do is consider the facts which led me to my conclusion.

"Others don't think that case has been proven"

It's a question of what standard of proof is appropriate, given the circumstances. I object to the premise that he deserves to keep his job until his racism is proven beyond any doubt (via a recent photo of him wearing sheets, for example). If that's our attitude, I think it means our standards are too low.

"People tend to worry too much that something they say might be taken wrongly."

It is a good thing if we create a society where "people tend to worry" that telling a dark-skinned person "welcome to America" (in the style of this incident) will indeed "be taken wrongly." Allen didn't worry enough. Next time, a little more worry would be a good thing for him and for everyone else.

"JBG and others seem to think the issue of racism is so important, we cannot risk allowing a racist to stay unmasked in our midst."

As I've said, there is a very, very big difference between letting a racist "stay unmasked" in my neighborhood, as compared with letting a racist "stay unmasked" in the US Senate.

"Better to make a few false charges than to fail to point the finger at all true racists"

No one could ever possibly have enough time or enough fingers to "point the finger at all true racists." But the top is a good place to start.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "National Review says he's got a good chance to win the nomination? Heh. Good one. ... 'Niche' isn't even the word for NR's market reach. Maybe 'pocket' or 'thimble'."

Silly me. My mistake. Somehow I was under the impression that they were considered the most influential conservative journal, having been founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley (maybe he's someone else you consider "obscure").

Has that honor passed to some other magazine? Presumably it's not the Weekly Standard, since NR has about triple their circulation. Is it Time? Newsweek? Chicks and Ammo?

Pray tell. It's clear we all have a lot to learn from you, so I hope you'll relieve us of our ignorance.

"I'm right, aren't I?"

Better than that. You're a legend in your own mind.

Revenant said...

Wrong. The term is commonly used by white supremacists (who are, sadly, a component of "American culture").

White supremacists are a part of American culture in the sense that Furries are a part of American culture -- they are Americans, and thus technically part of American culture by default, but few Americans associate with them, pay any attention to them, or care what they say or do. Hell, if you asked the typical American to name one white supremacist besides David Duke I doubt they could.

So while the term "macaca" may be "commonly used by white supremacists" (although curiously none of the first few hundred non-Allen google hits for "macaca" are racism-related), that doesn't mean the typical person will have heard the word.

And given his mother's background and his fluency in French, it's implausible to suggest that he doesn't know what the word means.

"Macaca" isn't a French word, so being fluent in French wouldn't have told him what it means. And as I noted, he may have heard his mother use it to refer to dark-skinned people without realizing it was a racial slur (if indeed it is -- Allen's use still remains the one and only time I've ever heard someone called a macaca).

Aspasia M. said...

The most inept use of the southern strategy ever

Wow - Allen wins the award for the most inept use of the southern strategy ever. And Allen knew he was being video taped by this kid! Idiot.

Anyways - My first introduction to Allen was when I moved to Virginia in the late Summer of '96. My husband and I drove into Williamsburg in a heat wave.

My husband was used to walking & taking mass transit in Seattle. (Prior to that summer we didn't own a car.) Mr. Geo decided to walk to the DMV to register in this heat wave.

However, VA Gov. George Allan had blocked motor voter in VA and was contesting it in the courts. We didn't know this.

I have never seen my husband as angry as the day he walked in the door after attempting to register to vote at the DMV. He had walked about two miles in the late July heat. Anyways - that was my first introduction to Allen. As you may have guessed - I'm not impressed.

As for this Senate race in VA: It will be a huge upset if Webb wins Allen's seat. I hope Webb wins.

And Allen did loose his fight to stop motor voter -- of course, motor voter helps the Dems in VA.

Virginian voters, who are "real Americans & real Virginians" (despite Allen's wishes) may indeed have the last laugh in this little saga of George Allen.

Aspasia M. said...

Which political party was for Motor Voter in the 90s?

Which political party was against Motor Voter in the 90s?

What is the political motivation of each party for either supporting or trying to block motor voter?
---------------------
OK - A short history of the Civil War And Reconstruction.

Unionists voted Republican. Ex-Confederates voted Democrat.

The Ex-Confederates tried to keep people (black and white) from voting in Unionist Republicans in a variety of ways. This included the more subtle re-districting, limiting access to the ballot, poll taxes --- it also included terrorism, lynching and attacking people who worked for the Republican party.

These political & social attacks had the explicit goal of keeping people from voting the ex-Confederates out of office. But, unsurprisingly, the emancipated slaves were actually willing to vote for the ex-slaveholder/ Confederate/ Democrats. This was made quite clear during Reconstruction and the Confederates fought back with subtle(re-districting) and unsuble(KKK terrorism) means.

The 200,000 black men who fought for the Union Army weren't about to support the traitors whom they had just defeated in the Civil War.

The reason the KKK terrorized black and white Republican voters in the 19th century South was for the simple reason that their votes threatened their power and status.

This threatened the political and social power of the the old slaveholding and pre-Civil War hierarchy. Thus, the ex-Confederates employed a variety of tactics, from the terrorism of the KKK to poll taxes, to keep certain classes of people and the Republican party from voting and to allow one party to dominate the South.

But these patterns in voting for the Ds versus the Rs in the South changed dramatically. It began with FDR and continued through Johnson. For years old line members of the NAACP (circa 1950s) would vote Republican. But Johnson sealed the deal with the voting act.

I suppose this thread has become something of a meta-debate about what Nixon's campaign manager meant when he coined the term "southern strategy."


My simplistic summary of the 1870s:

Certain elements want to make voting harder for people that they know won't vote for them. They don't want to make voting easy because they know it will loose them votes.

Thus, my contempt for Allen for blocking motor voter.

Pogo said...

JBG
Surely you know one can be both influential and obscure. NR is somewhat influential, less than when WFB graced its halls, but it is decidedly obscure, known mainly to policy wonks, political insiders, and WFB fans. Heck, I read it all the time. But I am not foolish enough to suppose that means they're famous. Their pronouncement on Allen's candidacy doesn't make Allen less obscure.

You're flailing again, and your word definitions need some work.

Abraham said...

No one could ever possibly have enough time or enough fingers to "point the finger at all true racists." But the top is a good place to start.

This argument could have some credibility, but it doesn't, because the fingers only ever point at the top of one side of the aisle. I may think Allen was a boorish twit, but that doesn't mean I have to accept the obscene hypocrisy of the finger-pointers. You start pointing a finger at (e.g.) Byrd, and maybe I'll start to believe you give a DAMN about racism.

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "White supremacists are a part of American culture in the sense that Furries are a part of American culture ... but few Americans associate with them, pay any attention to them, or care what they say or do."

It's important not to minimize the nature of this sort of thing. Unfortunately, that's precisely what you're doing. Yes, the number of true hardcore white supremacists (e.g., defined perhaps as people who read a site like this every day) is relatively small (but not small enough; that site has 90,000 registered members, three million posts, and gets about 20,000 unique visitors, daily).

But for every hardcore activist bigot there are dozens or scores of people who have leanings in that direction. That's why it was possible for David Duke to win 670,000 votes in 1991 (39% of the total). That's why Allen was able to shrewdly assess that when he behaved a certain way in a place like Breaks VA, that the crowd would cheer.

This exact phenomenon (a small number of dangerous people getting support from the larger society around them) is very analagous to the support that activist Nazis received from a larger German culture. It's also very analagous to the support that violent troublemakers in Iraq are getting from the larger communities that sympathize with them.

"curiously none of the first few hundred non-Allen google hits for 'macaca' are racism-related"

That's no surprise. As I've pointed out, the word can be used innocently, and it can also be used as a slur. Just like the word "monkey." If you google "monkey," you get about 100 million hits. I bet that about 99.99% of these hits are not instances of someone calling a black person a "monkey." But, unfortunately, more than a tiny number are indeed instances of someone calling a black person a "monkey." You can see this if you google "monkey nigger."

"that doesn't mean the typical person will have heard the word."

I don't claim that a typical person, or even a typical white supremacist, would know the word "macaca." But that's exactly why Allen picked this word. Allen is not dumb enough to think he could ever get away with saying "nigger." That's why he didn't say "nigger." But he is dumb enough to think he could get away with saying "nigger" in a coded form that only a few people would understand. This is a dog-whistle technique.

" 'Macaca' isn't a French word, so being fluent in French wouldn't have told him what it means."

Claiming it isn't a French word isn't exactly accurate: "in 1798 the French taxonomist Bernard Germain Étienne de la Ville Lacépède dubbed the genus Macaca."

That citation was provided by another poster here. It's an interesting scholarly discussion of the history of the word. The bottom line is that the word appears in many cultures, in many forms and in many spellings (macaca, macaque, macauco, murkarker, macaquo et al). But it basically means the same thing (a kind of monkey), and it is often used as a slur.

There is also no question that it is often used by white French people to describe black North Africans. Allen's mother is a white French person who grew up in North Africa.

Let's imagine a person who is exposed to French only via a college language course. I agree that there is good reason to surmise that such a person would not learn the word macaca, or at least would not learn to use it as a slur. Trouble is, the person we just imagined is not George Allen. It is likely that Allen first learned French from his mom.

"he may have heard his mother use it to refer to dark-skinned people without realizing it was a racial slur"

It's possible that as a toddler he heard the word and didn't immediately grasp what it meant. Trouble is, he's not a toddler anymore, and he's accountable for the meaning of the words that come out of his mouth. People who use words without knowing what they mean don't belong in the US Senate.

"if indeed it is [a racial slur] -- Allen's use still remains the one and only time I've ever heard someone called a macaca"

You're claiming you're still not sure the word is a slur. Nice job ignoring multiple documented examples of the word being used as a slur.

jukeboxgrad said...

geo: I found your comments very interesting.

pogo: "You're flailing again"

Uh, the flailing is all yours. You insist on dodging a simple question: if NR is not the leading conservative journal, what is?

NR is indeed the leading conservative journal, by a healthy margin, and this is what they said about Allen: " ... George Allen has perhaps a better chance of winning the nomination than any other Republican."

This is what you said about Allen: "obscure politician." (Sip used the same term, by the way. So you're in good company, using the word "good" loosely.)

Either NR is ignorant, or you're ignorant. Hmm, tough choice.

The fact that someone like Allen has gotten this far tells us a lot about the nature of the modern GOP.

Telecomedian said...

Or for something completely different, here's a look at the hairstyle.

This is beginning to sound like much a hairdo about nothing.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/16/AR2006081601594.html

David Walser said...

I know I should leave this alone, but I can't.

Thank you Geoduck2 for the history lesson. Allow me to ask you, despite the compelling nature of your historical argument, isn't it even remotely possible that some few who opposed "motor voter" did so because they were reasonably afraid that the law would lead to increased voter fraud, or is racism the only viable explanation. I ask because, well, I opposed motor voter. At the time, I thought I had sound reasons based on what I thought was a concern about fraud. If that can't be the explanation, I'd like to know so I can schedule myself for a session at the re-education camp.

Do you have any camps to recommend?

Pogo said...

George Allen is..
National Review: relatively unknown"

Slate: "a relative unknown"

NRO: at "3 percent" in a national Presidential poll

Otherwise, not much is written about him in the national press. Not obscure?
Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word..."

jukeboxgrad said...

abraham: "the fingers only ever point at the top of one side of the aisle. ... the obscene hypocrisy of the finger-pointers. You start pointing a finger at (e.g.) Byrd, and maybe I'll start to believe you give a DAMN about racism."

Sorry, but that's complete nonsense. You're essentially suggesting that before anyone has a right to speak up about Allen they must first submit a notarized 200-page treatise documenting their horror over every alleged racial misdeed ever attributed to Byrd, Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jane Hamsher, and a host of others. And of course what's also required is an 8x10 glossy photo proving that I personally walked into Joe Biden's office and punched him in the face.

Here's something most of learned in kindergarten (but maybe you were home sick that day): two wrongs don't make a right. Your complaint is a pathetic attempt as misdirection.

By the way, Byrd offered what many people accept as a sincere and heartfelt apology. This puts him way, way ahead of Allen, who so far has delivered an exceptionally inept series of contradictory non-apologies and non-denials. And as far as I know Allen has still not picked up the phone to apologize to Sidarth directly. He insulted Sidarth personally and directly. Deliverering some kind of lame pseudo-apology via the press doesn't cut it.

jukeboxgrad said...

Part of what I just posted (the part about punching Joe Biden) is inspired by something I saw in a comment somewhere else. I'd like to credit the other commenter but I can't remember where I saw it.

UW Student said...

Wow, I finally watched the video and now I don't see how anyone could possibly think those comments weren't directed at Sidarth.

I wonder whether any of the rest of you noticed where the video stopped -- "My friends, we're in the midst of a war on terror..." That seems like another salient point -- if you accept for the moment that "Macaca" had racist intent behind it, it seems to me that that particular segue looks a whole lot worse. Why hasn't anyone mentioned this? or have I just been looking in the wrong places?

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "George Allen is.. National Review: 'relatively unknown' "

Nice job revealing that you're an utterly dishonest propagandist. You are willing to tell an outright lie in order to defend your absurd claim that Allen is an "obscure politician."

You are citing this article (11/7/05), which says Allen "is quite possibly the next president of the United States."

It also describes Allen as "one of the nation's top politicians."

It also says this: "It is not hard to do a calculation that says at this early stage in the '08 race George Allen has perhaps a better chance of winning the nomination than any other Republican ... Allen, a former conservative governor from a conservative state, probably has the early advantage."

It also says this: "he is one of the most infectiously likable politicians in America."

It also quotes Grover Norquist saying this: "He is right now best positioned in the sweet spot of Republican politics ... He is on good terms with every piece of the coalition."

It also says this (and this is the part you just quoted): "Allen was broke, relatively unknown." What are they talking about? They're talking about the situation in 1993, when Allen was running for governor.

In other words, you are telling a very obvious and outright lie when you explicitly claim that according to NR, Allen "is ... relatively unknown." They most definitely did not say he is relatively unknown. They said he was relatively unknown thirteen years ago, before he served as governor and senator.

Let us know when you're ready to apologize for posting this outright distortion.

"NRO: at '3 percent' in a national Presidential poll"

More utterly outragous lying and misquoting. It most definitely was not a "national" poll.

Here's the relevant text: "there are unmistakable signs of McCain strength in South Carolina. First of all, he’s the clear front-runner; his political adviser in the state, Richard Quinn, took a poll in March and found McCain at the top of the GOP presidential heap with 36 percent, followed by Rudy Giuliani with 21 percent, Newt Gingrich with 9 percent, Senate majority leader Bill Frist with 4 percent, Virginia senator George Allen with 3 percent, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with less then 1 percent, and 27 percent undecided."

It was a poll in one state (SC). And it was not an independent poll; it was a poll done by McCain. Big surprise that it showed McCain on top. (If it hadn't, they probably wouldn't have announced the results.) And yes, it gave Allen "only" 3%, but nevertheless the poll placed him as the #5 contender for the nomination. If that makes him an "obscure" politician, I can think of lots of genuinely obscure politicians who would like the privilege of being exactly that obscure.

"Slate: 'a relative unknown' "

Nice job with another outrageous distortion, this time via cherry-picking and quoting out-of-context. Here's the surrounding text: "Outside his home state, Allen is a relative unknown, but he's generating plenty of interest among party apparatchiks. In an April poll in the National Journal, pollsters, consultants, and media pundits picked Allen as the No. 1 choice to head the 2008 GOP ticket."

The full quote is obviously not support for your ignorant claim (that Allen is "obscure"). By the way, that article is more than a year old.

Speaking of polls, take a look at this gopbloggers straw poll. Allen is in the #1 position, by a comfortable margin. Not bad for an "obscure politician."

"Otherwise, not much is written about him in the national press"

Right. That's why in July he was mentioned in over 600 news stories (in papers both in and out of VA).

Let us know if you have any other ignorant statements you'd like to make, which you will either fail to substantiate, or "substantiate" via lies.

Your original statement (that Allen is "obscure") proves that you are ignorant. Your attempts to find "proof" for your assertion prove that you are utterly dishonest.

jukeboxgrad said...

walser: "At the time, I thought I had sound reasons based on what I thought was a concern about fraud."

There's only one sure way to eliminate election fraud: eliminate elections.

Accepting more election fraud is part of the price of encouraging universal voter participation, in much the same way that accepting some degree of extra physical risk is part of the price of protecting civil liberties against government interference. Freedom isn't free.

uw student: "Why hasn't anyone mentioned this?"

I think you're making a very good point (about Allen's very noticeable segue into "war on terror"). In my opinion, he was hinting that a dark-skinned person like Sidarth is a natural terrorism suspect.

I have seen people mention this, but only on blogs, and not in major media. However, the WaPo version of the video (and not just the youtube version) includes the segue, so any attentive viewer (like you) can spot this for themselves.

WaPo easily could have chopped off those last few words. It's good that they didn't.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Man, this discussion got stupid and ugly. I'm with Sippican.

Everyone's racism radar is set so high that anything that might, possibly, maybe, conceivably, somewhere, in some context, be racist is automatically racist.

Macaca is a racial slur common to white supremacists? Even if true, you're assuming that Allen was intentionally speaking racist code words and his audience was full of white supremacists.

Allen learned French at his mother's knee? Again, even if true, so what? I was an honors French major in college and lived and studied in Paris for a year. I know a lot of extremely rude French insults, but I'd never heard "macaca" until now.

I know -- it's because I'm not a native speaker. Well, I learned English at my mother's knee. I picked up a lot of racial slurs growing up, but not one from her, although I'm sure she knows some. So it's not only Allen, but his audience and his family who are all racists.

I think the guy is a clod, is not fast on his feet, and was foolish for calling a guy he didn't like a slightly derogatory nonsense name (which I believe was related to his skin color and ethnic background). I think that makes him unpleasant, unthinking, and un-Presidential, but not a racist.

But according to some, that now makes me racist. It's sad that this is what exercises people so much when there is actual racism in the real world. Such is life.

Let me know when The Two-Minute Hate is over.

Pogo said...

Re: "Your original statement (that Allen is "obscure") proves that you are ignorant. Your attempts to find "proof" for your assertion prove that you are utterly dishonest."

JBH finds me ignorant and dishonest ...simultaneously!
I win! Woo Hooo!

George Allen, a senator from VA, has over 600 google hits , mostly from VA. (Is that a record?) He's damned famous, that one. Be sure to catch the Charlotte Observer pieces. Goldmine.

Now, when you try to find national news articles on the guy, well, not much. At least until the Evil Episode happened. Google has little to say about him prior to Aug. 14th. Until then, it's all VA stuff, mostly. Piddly little WaPo quotes, or WSJ, not much really.

JBH, I think it'd be nice if you went and actually looked up the word 'obscure', because you have some serious problems with terminology.

You are correct about the National Review piece, I have to say. I skimmed it, actually. Lazy research, having fun between meetings. Your diagnosis is telling, though. Just like with Sen. Allen, you immediately called me dishonest. Not incorrect or in error. A liar. "Utterly dishonest". Utterly! So that's how you work, I guess. Alot like the borderline PDs I work with: one is either all evil, or all good. Yipe. No thanks.

Pastor_Jeff said...

By the way, here's some real racism for comparison:

The esteemed Rev. Sharpton was here in St. Louis recently. Seems that in response to two historic storms that knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people here, our utility didn't restore power fast enough to predominantly minority areas. Why? Because the power company is racist, of course.

Never mind the inconvenient truth (hey, that's a good title) that the storm hit those predominantly minority areas (where I live) much harder than anywhere else. If it took them a week to restore power to some areas, it's because they hate black people, not because of having to restring lines, repair transformers, and put supply poles back up.

Strangely, though, when another storm came through here last week and knocked out power to white neighborhoods, Al wasn't complaining that Caucasians got their power back more slowly than blacks. Go figure.

In other words, Sharpton believes and publicly states that whites are motivated to treat blacks poorly simply because of their differing skin color. And he states this knowing it is not factually true, in order to make political points for himself. That, my friends, is racism. He is demonizing people based on their ethnicity. That is evil.

So, we have a national Democratic leader who is an open racist, and yet I don't hear any calls for Sharpton to go away or to stop practicing his racial demogoguery.

So in answer to earlier questions, that's why conservatives keep bringing up Sharpton and Jackson. Not because Jesse said "Hymietown" 15 years ago, or because Sharpton has never apologized for the Tawana Brawley incident. No, it's becuase they're still in business; still welcomed, accpeted, and feted; still major players in the Democratic party; and they are openly racist. In fact, their whole gig it to intentionally foment racial hatred and division in this country.

Even if Allen is a secret racist, he hasn't displayed 1/100th the racism that Jackson and Sharpton have done for years with not a word of Democratic outrage.

charlotte said...

"I don't hear any calls for Sharpton to go away or to stop practicing his racial demogoguery."

Pastor Jeff,

I call for Al S. to go away and to stop practicing his racial demagoguery, but then I'm a Repub and may not count, (although I live in Cynthia McKinney's district and thanks to those evil GOP cross-over votes she is O-U-T!!) But what's Sharpton gotta do with Allen calling a dark-skinned man "macaca" a couple of times? He made both Republican whiteys and blacks look real bad and needs to do some profound navel gazing, like Mel. McKinneys and Sharptons have already made Dems who tolerate their racism look racist. Most of us Repubs aren't interested in excusing/explaining/exculpating Allen's lowbrow lapses, no matter what happens across the aisle.

jukeboxgrad said...

jeff: "anything that might, possibly, maybe, conceivably, somewhere, in some context, be racist"

Here's a good example of something that "might, possibly, maybe, conceivably, somewhere, in some context, be racist:" talking approvingly about how a certain ethnic group has achieved a great deal of success running certain small businesses.

Here's a good example of something that's simply racist: calling a dark-skinned person a monkey, to his face, in front of a cheering white crowd. For extra credit, throw in "welcome to America."

"Everyone's racism radar is set so high"

Obviously your "racism radar" needs an upgrade, because you're still using a model from the 19th century.

"you're assuming that Allen was intentionally speaking racist code words and his audience was full of white supremacists."

You're half right. Yes, I believe that Allen "was intentionally speaking racist code words." Either that, or I have to believe that he came up with a word that means monkey completely by accident. Is that what you believe?

And no, I don't believe "his audience was full of white supremacists." I believe his audience was full of people who would not be terribly upset when they went home and managed to figure out, one way or another, the meaning of that odd word Allen used.

"I know a lot of extremely rude French insults, but I'd never heard 'macaca' until now."

It really doesn't matter whether or not you know the word. You're not a US senator. What matters is that Allen obviously knows the word.

"So it's not only Allen, but his audience and his family who are all racists."

You only need to listen to the audience cheering to understand that these are not nice people. They should be lining up to apologize to Sidarth, right along with Allen.

As far as the idea that Mom is a racist, I've addressed that. As far as dragging in the rest of "his family," that's a straw man that no one can explain but you.

"a slightly derogatory nonsense name"

A nonsense name which just happens to mean "monkey" in (among other places) North Africa, which is exactly where Mom is from. Given that there are potentially an infinite number of nonsense names, how do you explain how Allen managed to come up with that precise "nonsense name?" The odds are only something like a billion to one.

By the way, the kid looks Indian, and Indian names don't usually sound anything like "macaca." They usually sound more like "Sidarth."

JDM said...

I'm late to this party, and unable to vote in any US election.

In short, I am with Catherine. He said something stupid, and, as a conservative white male (or even just a conservative), you dont say something with any possible meaning other than what you clearly intend unless you are prepared to be accused of a multitude of sins.

That is not fair, but life is not fair.

This particular case is one on which reasonable people can differ as to whether there was malicious racial intent or sheer rudeness. I note in passing that no one is actually supporting Mr Allen, simply defending him against a political charge of racism.

There has been a lot of personal vitriol spewed here between commentators as well as at Mr Allen, which generally was not terribly enlightening.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "George Allen, a senator from VA, has over 600 google hits , mostly from VA."

Nice job illustrating a very helpful principle: once a liar, always a liar. Less than a third of the hits are from VA. Let me know how that adds up to "mostly."

Here's a clue: any senator that's mentioned in roughly a dozen stories a day in papers outside his home state would probably not be described as "obscure" by anyone who's not an ignoramus.

Let me anticipate your lame excuse: you weren't trying to mislead anyone (when you just said "mostly"). You were only making an "error." Because you were doing "lazy research, having fun between meetings."

"Now, when you try to find national news articles on the guy, well, not much"

Right. Except for multiple articles in places like WaPo, NYT, Fox, ABC, USA Today, Forbes, MSNBC and Voice of America. And papers in about a dozen states besides VA. Aside from papers in the UK, Canada, Greece, Qatar, Malaysia and India.

All in one month (July). Not much news on this guy. He sure is "obscure."

"Google has little to say about him prior to Aug. 14th. Until then, it's all VA stuff, mostly. Piddly little WaPo quotes, or WSJ, not much really."

The analysis I've been describing is strictly for the month of July. In other words, you're full of it, as usual.

"you immediately called me dishonest. Not incorrect or in error."

You didn't just make one "error" in your earlier message. You cited three references, and in every single instance your citation was a blatant falsification of the original source. If 1/3 of your "proof" was phony, that could look like an honest mistake. When 100% of your "proof" is phony, then you look like a phony. At best, you look like someone who is so reliably "lazy" and careless that only a fool would trust a single word from you.

And yet more proof of your dishonesty is that you have acknowledged only one of the three "errors," as if the other two "errors" simply don't exist.

And yet more proof of your dishonesty is that in the same breath that you acknowledge an "error," you pitch more complete baloney, which I've pointed out.

So your MO, obviously, is to do something highly dishonorable, thinking you'll get away with it. Then when you get caught red-handed, you claim you only made an "error." Hmm, where have I heard that before? You obviously have a copy of the same GOP playbook that Allen is reading from.

You and Allen sum up the modern GOP in a nutshell: dishonesty and hate.

jukeboxgrad said...

jeff: "Sharpton"

Allen is a leading contender for his party's nomination. Is Sharpton in that position? I don't think so. If and when that situation changes, I'll be motivated to closely examine Sharpton's entertaining behavior, in the same degree that I've been motivated to understand Allen's behavior. Until then, I've got better things to do.

jukeboxgrad said...

jdm: "I note in passing that no one is actually supporting Mr Allen"

I agree that it's hard to find anyone (in this thread and on various other blogs) who seems interesting in giving Allen a full-throated defense. As you suggested, just about everyone agrees he was rude, and the question is whether he was also racist.

But there's a little bit of a different picture in this poll, done recently by a VA tv station. 28% think his remarks were "appropriate." And 7-8% think the incident will help his chances in 2006 and 2008.

I realize there are all sorts of reasons to take this poll with a grain of salt, but I find that 7% interesting. It could just be pure error and noise, or it could represent hardcore racists who are thrilled to hear their senator talk this way.

It could also be non-racists who are cynically assessing that lots of other Virginians are racists, and will now be attracted to Allen (the question was not "does this incident make you more inclined to support him").

k1tster said...

This is from the Amazon blurb about the book written by Allen's sister:

"Jennifer's French mother, a chain-smoker who could swear a blue streak and find irony in every situation"

The rest is at
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0812992326/sr=8-2/qid=1155875486/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-1490657-0524921?ie=UTF8
(sorry for the long URL, I'm just a non-HTML-knowin' hick)

Just from reading the blurb, it sounds like Mr Allen's mother was (is?) probably a fascinating and spicy woman who was a product of her times and upbringing as a French colonial in Africa.

I could very easily see learning at her knee, if not the precise meaning of the word, at least that it is something nasty one says to brown people.

As a disclaimer, I am a white male from western VA. I have been to Breaks and while it is a beautiful place (home to the largest canyon east of the Mississippi) it is not one of the more enlightened places in the Old Dominion. I am not a Republican, I feel that Al Sharpton is a hypocritical racist, and I find it a shame that two of the Democratic Party's finest orators (Byrd and Jackson) have been known to utter such foul sentiments.

Go Webb!

Pastor_Jeff said...

JDM said:

"This particular case is one on which reasonable people can differ as to whether there was malicious racial intent or sheer rudeness."

Apparently not. The left has determined what Allen (and his mother) knew, when he knew it, and why he said what he did. His denials of racist intent are obvious lies! The rednecks in the audience were cheering his slur because they are racists, too. It has now in fact been asserted as unquestionable truth that Allen called a dark-skinned man a "monkey." It doesn't matter what Allen said, it doesn't matter he meant -- we know what he meant. All other interpretations of Allen's words will go down the memory hole, including what he actually said.

We are at war with Oceania. We have always been at war with Oceania.

JDM said...

Pastor Jeff: you will note I said "reasonable people" can differ.

I did not say that all those whose differ are reasonable.

Pastor_Jeff said...

JDM,

Your point wasn't lost on me, but thanks for the clarification and reminder. And I agree.

Revenant said...

But for every hardcore activist bigot there are dozens or scores of people who have leanings in that direction.

That's irrelevant. You argued that clearly Allen would have to be aware of what "macaca" means because the term is "commonly used by white supremacists". It is NOT commonly used by people with white supremacist incliniations, so it doesn't matter how common those people are.

I doubt it's commonly used by any American group, actually.

That's why it was possible for David Duke to win 670,000 votes in 1991 (39% of the total).

Only if you assume that voting for a candidate indicates sympathy for all of that candidate's beliefs. It doesn't. For example, I voted for Bush despite thinking that Christian fundamentalism is stupid, and for Clinton despite thinking that cheating on your wife is morally wrong.

That's why Allen was able to shrewdly assess that when he behaved a certain way in a place like Breaks VA, that the crowd would cheer

I doubt there was a single person in that crowd who knew "macaca" was a racial slur.

jukeboxgrad said...

jeff: "All other interpretations of Allen's words will go down the memory hole, including what he actually said."

You're suggesting that someone here is distorting or misrepresenting "what he actually said." Unsurprisingly, you are making a vague, unsubstantiated allegation and not lifting a finger to be specific.

This is what Allen "actually said:" "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

The only person here who is in denial about "what he actually said" is Sip, who said "the comment unequivocally is directed to Allen's opponent." Sip refuses to acknowledge that "macaca" was addressed directly at Sidarth, and Sip refuses to acknowledge that "welcome to America and the real world of Virginia" was also addressed directly at Sidarth. (It's plausible to claim that the words "welcome to America" were also directed at Webb, but it's pure fiction to claim that they were not directed at Sidarth.)

If you are in a position to show that anyone else here has distorted "what he actually said," you should do so. Otherwise, you're just blowing smoke.

"The rednecks in the audience were cheering his slur because they are racists, too"

Allen was being rude and mean to a dark-skinned person, in a place where dark-skinned persons are rarely seen. The white crowd watching him do this thought the appropriate response was to laugh and cheer. In my opinion, this means that they are racists. If you have an alternate explanation for why this crowd was laughing and cheering, you should let us in on the secret and tell us what it is.

"It has now in fact been asserted as unquestionable truth that Allen called a dark-skinned man a 'monkey.' "

Allen did indeed call a dark-skinned man "macaca." Loud and clear, twice, in front of a cheering white crowd. Macaca is a word that has only one meaning: monkey.

It is indeed an "unquestionable truth that Allen called a dark-skinned man a 'monkey,' " unless you believe in one of the following alibis (all issued by the Allen campaign), which are ludicrously, screamingly absurd:

a) Allen, a US senator, decided to speak a word of random gibberish, and out of billions of possible phonetic combinations, the vast majority of which have no specific meaning, he happened to pick, completely by chance, a phonetic combination that means "monkey." Oh, and by the way, he was so happy with this particular random choice that he said it twice, exactly the same way, in a clear, confident manner, without the slightest stumbling or hesitation. Oh, and by the way, this word has a history of being used as a racial slur in many cultures, including the culture where Mom was raised. Oh, and by the way, according to Allen's sister, Mom could "swear a blue streak." Oh, and by the way, Allen has a long track record of racially insensitive behavior. Oh, and by the way, Allen just happened to do this, purely by accident, in what is probably the poorest and whitest county in VA, even though Sidarth had been on the job for a week or more, and Allen undoubtedly could have picked lots of other places for this particular bit of political theater.

b) The word macaca is somehow derived from the word Mohawk, even though the words sound quite different, and even though it's a stretch to describe the kid's haircut as a Mohawk.

c) The word macaca is a nickname invented by the Allen campaign, and it basically means "shithead" (as if it's perfectly fine to point to the only dark person in a white crowd and address him as "shithead").

The fact that the Allen campaign is offering such astonishingly pathetic excuses, which are mutually exclusive, practically on a daily basis, tends to create the impression that he has been caught with his pants down, and he knows it. All these "explanations" sound like stammering excuses that were invented after-the-fact.

Those are the "other interpretations of Allen's words," and they indeed deserve to "go down the memory hole," because they are patently absurd. Actually, they should be remembered, and they will be remembered, because they create the impression that Allen is not just a bigot, but also dishonest.

"we know what he meant"

It is never possible to know, with absolute certainty, what someone "meant." We can only know what someone said, and then we make reasonable judgments about what they meant. I'm still waiting to hear an alibi that is remotely plausible. In my opinion, those who embrace the alibis have started with a conclusion (US Senator George Felix Allen could not possibly have done something so offensive), and are determined to ignore any facts that are incongruent with that conclusion.

"It doesn't matter what Allen said"

You are the one who are suggesting "it doesn't matter what Allen said." Because you have distinctly failed to offer any remotely plausible alternate explanation for what he said. You are basically taking a position of denial, as follows (paraphrase): "I am determined to not pay attention to the simple reality of the words that came out of his mouth, because I simply refuse to accept the fact that a prominent Republican could be such a blatant racist."

Revenant said...

And 7-8% think the incident will help his chances in 2006 and 2008. I realize there are all sorts of reasons to take this poll with a grain of salt, but I find that 7% interesting. It could just be pure error and noise, or it could represent hardcore racists who are thrilled to hear their senator talk this way.

Those are merely two of many possibilities. Two more are: (a) the respondants are non-racists convinced that racist voters are so common that Allen will pick up votes as a result of this, and (b) the respondants are from among the 45% who don't think Allen's use of "macaca" is a racial slur, and who therefore feel that Allen is being unfairly attacked for innocent remarks.

Remember, the question wasn't "are YOU more likely to vote for Allen". The question was whether you think it'll help him. You can believe that a politician's action will help him without believing that the action was good or right (e.g., pork barrel spending is bad but certainly helps politicians get reelected).

Revenant said...

Allen, a US senator, decided to speak a word of random gibberish, and out of billions of possible phonetic combinations, the vast majority of which have no specific meaning, he happened to pick, completely by chance, a phonetic combination that means "monkey."

You're looking at the wrong probability. The question isn't "what are the odds of getting a word that sounds similar to the French slang term for "monkey", but "what are the odds of getting a word that sounds similar to a racial slur in some human language." And the odds of that are nontrivial.

But even if we assume that he did in fact knowingly call the guy a monkey (in a language his audience doesn't speak), it still remains unproven that he did so as a racial slur. Unlike common racial slurs like "coon" or the n-word, the term "monkey" is regularly used in mildly derogatory but non-racist ways in American conversation.

Pastor_Jeff said...

JBG,

This is the last time I'm interacting with you, because you are a tiresome bore.

You claim to know what Allen meant, to know what I think about Republicans, to know that Sippican is a racist, to know that Allen's audience was cheering out of racist hatred, to know what racial slurs Allen's mother knew, when she knew them, how she taught them to her son, and to know the "only" meaning of a word 99% of America and fluent Francophones had never even heard of until recently and which sent people searching dictionaries to figure which possible definition (of several) Allen could have had in mind.

Such certainty would be impressive, if weren't the product of you obviously having started out with a foregone conclusion (Allen is a racist) and then fitting arguments and facts to support your pre-existing bias.

For all I know, Allen may be a racist. I don't think he's proven it by his recent actions, and I think that's a very serious accusation to throw around on nothing more than your uninformed speculation and armchair psychoanalysis.

You are not interested in having a serious discussion about racism. You are only interested in what you "know" and in trying to score political points by ruining a man's reputation with drive-by racial demagoguery.

Good evening, sir.

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "You argued that clearly Allen would have to be aware of what 'macaca' means because the term is 'commonly used by white supremacist'. "

No. It is true that the term is used by white supremacists. But that is not the primary proof that Allen was "aware of what 'macaca' means." The primary proof that Allen was "aware of what 'macaca' means" is that there is no remotely plausible alternate explanation (for why that exact word fell out of his mouth, twice). The fact that he's issuing new, mutually exclusive alibis, each one more ridiculous than the last, practically on a daily basis, is also highly revealing.

The guy has a track record of inventing lame excuses, as a way of covering his tracks. Look into how something that had always been described as a "noose" suddenly turned into a "lasso," after people started getting upset. Never mind that he had the thing hanging from a tree. How often do you see a lasso hanging from a tree?

"Only if you assume that voting for a candidate indicates sympathy for all of that candidate's beliefs. It doesn't."

Obviously it is a rare occurence that a particular candidate would ever represent perfect 100% congruence with all the beliefs of a particular voter. But certain beliefs (like blatant racism) should be considered deal-breakers, regardless of how attractive the candidate may be in other respects. Nevertheless, 670,000 people voted for David Duke. And you're defending those voters, by suggesting that they didn't necessarily intend to support racism. But they did.

The fact that you are willing to offer this rationalization helps to illustrate that maybe Allen is not as dumb as he looks. Sure, a lot of people are upset right now. But who are they? To a great extent, people who would never vote for him anyway. At the same time, there is undoubtedly a certain hard core of bigots who are now more motivated than ever to do what they can to help him (these are people who watch the video and laugh and cheer, like the crowd did, instead of feeling revulsion). And then there are probably lots of other people with an attitude sort of like yours (paraphrase): "sure, he might be a racist, but I'll keep on voting for him, because just because I'm voting for this candidate doesn't indicate that I have sympathy for all that candidate's positions."

See how easy it is? Vote for a racist and still sleep well at night.

"I doubt there was a single person in that crowd who knew 'macaca' was a racial slur."

Nice job ignoring what I've already said. I think the number of people in the crowd who knew that word was zero, or close to zero. But here's the number of people in that crowd who could see that their senator was publicly mocking the only colored person in sight: 100%.

I never claimed the crowd was laughing because they knew what "macaca" meant. I claimed they were laughing because they were happy to see their senator mock a colored person.

I have also pointed out that although they probably didn't already know the word, they would probably soon learn the meaning of the word, one way or another (there are probably one or two google machines in Breaks VA), and would not be too upset to find out that they were part of an inside joke that involved a word for "monkey."

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "Those are merely two of many possibilities. Two more are: (a) the respondants are non-racists convinced that racist voters are so common that Allen will pick up votes as a result of this ... "

Did you really not notice that I said exactly the same thing? I said this: "it could also be non-racists who are cynically assessing that lots of other Virginians are racists, and will now be attracted to Allen (the question was not 'does this incident make you more inclined to support him'). "

I'm glad we're in violent agreement on this particular point, but I think you create confusion when you pretend you're saying something other than exactly what I just said.

"who therefore feel that Allen is being unfairly attacked for innocent remarks"

I get that certain people feel that "Allen is being unfairly attacked for innocent remarks." But why would these people think that the incident will help Allen? Sort of a sympathy thing, or underdog thing? Just curious what you're trying to say here.

"Remember, the question wasn't 'are YOU more likely to vote for Allen'. The question was whether you think it'll help him."

Is there an echo in here? You're simply repeating what I already said.

"what are the odds of getting a word that sounds similar to a racial slur in some human language ... the odds of that are nontrivial"

You're making a good point, which is that there are lots of ethnic slurs (and therefore, you suggest, it's plausible that someone picking phonemes at random might accidentally step in shit by coming up with an obscure slur). Trouble is, most ethnic slurs are not relevant to this analysis. First, it makes sense to exclude all ethnic slurs that are very familiar to an American audience. In other words, we know that Allen would never say nigger or coon (at least not publicly). We also know he would never attempt to convince anyone he came up with a word like that randomly.

It also makes sense to exclude all ethnic slurs that don't fit the situation. For example, chalala means "young trendy Jew," in France. If Allen had said "chalala," no one would be claiming he intended that word as an ethnic slur. There are countless similar examples. Kurepa is used in Paraguay to refer to someone from Argentina. Patata, in Surinam, means a white person. Palongi, in Tonga, means a white person. Somu, in Finland, means a Somali. Sudaca, in Spain, means a South American person. Et cetera. (All of the above are here.)

So while there are lots of ethnic slurs, there are few (maybe only one) with the unique properties of macaca: it is obscure enough (in the US) that Allen could contemplate getting away with it, while also being powerfully insulting to a dark-skinned person, and clearly known to at least certain white supremacists. Can you come up with a single alternate example? I would be interested in hearing any.

As I've said, the odds of Allen coming up with this word on a random basis are essentially zero.

"the term 'monkey' is regularly used in mildly derogatory but non-racist ways in American conversation"

Wow. You're presenting the walser argument. He said upthread (paraphrase) "I once called a black kid a monkey and I don't understand why everyone got so upset."

Here's a clue: if the "American conversation" is between two white guys, I agree that the word monkey would be considered "mildly derogatory but non-racist." However, when "monkey" is applied to the only dark person in a crowd of white people, and these white people just happen to live in a place with a strong historical association with slavery, and the person saying "monkey" just happens to have a long history of expressing his admiration for the people who fought to defend their right to engage in slavery, and the word "monkey" is followed by a sarcastic "welcome to America," then I don't think too many people would consider this to be an example of the word being used "in [a] mildly derogatory but non-racist way[s]."

jukeboxgrad said...

jeff: "You claim to know what Allen meant"

No. I've expressed an opinion about what he meant. That opinion is based on my interpretation of facts. The facts are well-documented and I've considered them very deliberately, so therefore I have confidence in my interpretation of them. I've also been very explicit in describing my facts and reasoning, so that you (or others) can point out errors. You haven't.

"the 'only' meaning of a word ... which possible definition (of several)"

You are suggesting that macaca has some other meaning, besides "monkey." That's pure baloney. It doesn't.

"fitting arguments and facts to support your pre-existing bias"

Nice job describing exactly what you're doing, as I have just shown. Actually, that's giving you too much credit. You're not "fitting" facts. You're inventing them whole (by claiming that macaca has more than one meaning).

You, on the other hand, haven't identified a single instance of me failing to substantiate my facts and my reasoning.

Speaking of things you haven't done, you also haven't mentioned a remotely plausible alternate explanation for how this word, of all words, managed to escape Allen's lips.

"You are not interested in having a serious discussion about racism ... Good evening, sir"

If you were "interested in having a serious discussion about racism," you would delete the gratuitous, pretentious faux-courtesy, and you would delete the invented facts (like the idea that macaca has more than one meaning), and you would delete the fascinating information about Sharpton and power lines. That would create some space to offer what you haven't: a plausible alternate explanation for how Allen managed to come up with this exact word.

Revenant said...

No. It is true that the term is used by white supremacists.

You keep claiming that, but you've yet to offer any proof that the term is commonly used by anyone other than the French.

The primary proof that Allen was "aware of what 'macaca' means" is that there is no remotely plausible alternate explanation (for why that exact word fell out of his mouth, twice).

You have committed the logical fallacy known as the "Argument from Personal Incredulity". That you are unable to think of a reasonable alternative explanation for his behavior does not mean that your hypothesis -- that an American senator decided appeal to his racist audience by using a French slang word virtually no Americans, racist or otherwise, know -- is correct.

But certain beliefs (like blatant racism) should be considered deal-breakers, regardless of how attractive the candidate may be in other respects.

Which certainly casts the Democratic Party's endorsement of racist anti-semites like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in a new light...

In any case, you're entitled to your opinion that racism should be a "deal-breaker". But it is a simple fact that support for a candidate with racist ideas does not indicate support for racism, particularly when the politician in question will have no power to actuall put racist policies into effect.

I think the number of people in the crowd who knew that word was zero, or close to zero. But here's the number of people in that crowd who could see that their senator was publicly mocking the only colored person in sight: 100%.

So why did he use the word "macaca" to mock him, then? He could have called the guy "Mohammed" instead and achieved the same mocking effect, with the added bonus of his audience actually getting the reference.

I never claimed the crowd was laughing because they knew what "macaca" meant.

Well, that's an interesting little fib...

Did you really not notice that I said exactly the same thing? I said this:

I was responding to a post in which you claimed there were only two possibilities. No, I did not notice you'd thought of more possibilities later on; you should try to do a better job of framing your thoughts coherently the first time out.


why would these people think that the incident will help Allen? Sort of a sympathy thing, or underdog thing?

That's one possible line of reasoning, yes -- that false accusations of wrongdoing might create sympathy for the accused.

It also makes sense to exclude all ethnic slurs that don't fit the situation

The problem with that line of reasoning, of course, is that "macaca" IS an "ethnic slur that doesn't fit the situation". It is a slang term used by French colonialists to refer to black Africans, and Sidarth was quite plainly not black.

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "you've yet to offer any proof that the term is commonly used by anyone other than the French"

I guess you haven't seen this, which explains that the word is used by lots of people who aren't French:

In North Africa, the word "macaca," often spelled "macaco" or "macaque," is far more than a string of random syllables. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dates back to the mid-1600s, as a Flemish approximation of the Bantu word for monkey in the Congo and southern Gabon. The word migrated north, taking on all the racist connotations that followed African colonization. By the early 1800s, Jacko Maccacco, a famous fighting monkey, could be found on display in Westminster Pit, a notorious London arena for dog fights. The word had entered the common vernacular, and it eventually became a racist shorthand for blacks.

Today, the word is used mainly by two groups of people: scientists studying African and Asian primates, and bullies looking to insult others for the color of their skin. An online dictionary of ethnic slurs lists "macaque" as a French and Belgian word for black North Africans. In the Oxford Spanish Dictionary, "macaco" and "macaca" carry the colloquial meaning of "little devil," "Chinaman" and "ugly person." Anthropologists who study Brazilian street slang have noted that the police will call the local kids "macaco," or monkey, in reference to their African heritage.


And I guess you haven't seen this.

By the way, Allen is essentially 50% French.

By the way, no one is suggesting that every white racist knows the term. The whole point of Allen picking this exact word is that he thought he was safe, based on the idea that the only people who would know exactly what he meant would be people who would be happy to hear him talk this way. In my opinion, he thought it would be an inside joke, a dog-whistle technique.

By the way, here's another interesting fact I just came across: "as a child, Allen's [maternal] grandparents lived near the family home." In other words, it appears that Allen learned French not just from Mom but also from Mom's parents. And probably any number of other relatives and friends from the old country.

"That you are unable to think of a reasonable alternative explanation"

It's not just that I'm not able "to think of a reasonable alternative explanation." Are you claiming that you can "think of a reasonable alternative explanation?" As far as I can tell, your position seems to be (paraphrase) "maybe he said monkey, but that's OK."

"Which certainly casts the Democratic Party's endorsement of racist anti-semites like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in a new light..."

You're essentially suggesting that they belong in the same category as David Duke. That could be an interesting discussion, but I don't think this is the time or place.

"support for a candidate with racist ideas does not indicate support for racism"

Lots of Germans said this (paraphrase): "I voted for Hitler, but that doesn't mean that I hate Jews." Sorry, I don't buy that.

Anyway, I'm not surprised to hear this attitude from you, since you've also essentially said that there's nothing racist about describing a black man as a monkey.

"particularly when the politician in question will have no power to actuall put racist policies into effect"

All the politicians we're discussing (Allen, Duke, Jackson, Sharpton et al) are or were candidates (or potential candidates) for offices that most definitely have "power to actuall put racist policies into effect." To suggest otherwise is nonsense. In other words, you're throwing in a pure red herring.

"So why did he use the word 'macaca' to mock him, then? He could have called the guy 'Mohammed' instead and achieved the same mocking effect, with the added bonus of his audience actually getting the reference."

I think I already explained this. He also could have said nigger, and this would have provided "the added bonus of his audience actually getting the reference." But for obvious reasons, he didn't want to be quite so obvious. So instead, he chose an obscure word that has only one meaning: monkey (and any audience member who was curious could have found that out on google, in about a minute). And the look on his face seems to indicate that he is really pleased with himself for being so clever and sly, and creating this inside joke that certain supporters would appreciate, but that would otherwise be overlooked (and/or forgiven, by people like you).

Allen has a long track record of using symbols that theoretically have multiple interpretations. He did this with racist graffiti in high school, he did it with a noose, and he did it many times with the confederate flag. For all those instances, he now has a glib explanation for why a symbol of racism is not really a symbol of racism. Likewise now for his use of a word that means monkey.

"that's an interesting little fib"

If you think I've fibbed, you should be specific and show your proof. Funny how you didn't bother to do that.

"I was responding to a post in which you claimed there were only two possibilities."

I see you like to make things up. You are referring to my post of 8/17, 11:35 pm. First of all, I actually described three possibilities, not two. More importantly, you are claiming I said these are the "only" possibilities. Pure nonsense. I did not.

"No, I did not notice you'd thought of more possibilities later on"

More pure nonsense. I did not think of "more possibilities later on." I described a few possibilities at 8/17, 11:35 pm. Then at 8/18, 9:15 pm, you regurgitated part of what I said as if I hadn't already said it. Then at 8/18, 11:31 pm, I brought this to your attention. Now you're practicing blatant revisionism. You are either completely dishonest, or very very nearsighted.

"you should try to do a better job of framing your thoughts coherently the first time out"

This is the job I did of "framing [my] thoughts" at 8/17, 11:35 pm:

It could also be non-racists who are cynically assessing that lots of other Virginians are racists, and will now be attracted to Allen (the question was not "does this incident make you more inclined to support him").

This is the job you did of "framing your thoughts" at 8/18, 9:15 pm:

the respondants are non-racists convinced that racist voters are so common that Allen will pick up votes as a result of this ... remember, the question wasn't "are YOU more likely to vote for Allen". The question was whether you think it'll help him.

So in fact at 8/18, 9:15 pm, you weren't framing your thoughts. You were regurgitating exactly what I had already said, as if I hadn't already said it. And now you're claiming that I didn't say this until "later on." That's pure malarkey.

"false accusations of wrongdoing might create sympathy for the accused"

I see your point. That's what I thought you meant. Thanks for explaining.

"It is a slang term used by French colonialists to refer to black Africans, and Sidarth was quite plainly not black."

Sorry, but this is just more of your nonsense. The word has a history of being used as a slur against a variety of dark-skinned people (Arabs, for example), and not just people who are ebony or jet black. In fact, the full genus name is macaca mulatta. Mullatta/mullato essentially means mixed-race.

Aside from that, your claim is absurd. Let's say Allen had said "nigger." You'd now be claiming that this is not a slur, since Sidarth is Indian-American, not African-American. Here's the part you're missing: from the perspective of a white racist, all brown/black people are essentially the same.

Shanna said...

"I think the number of people in the crowd who knew that word was zero, or close to zero. But here's the number of people in that crowd who could see that their senator was publicly mocking the only colored person in sight: 100%."

This assumes that they knew Macaca was a slur and not the guys name, and also that they knew he was from Virginia. If the guys name was Macaca or something similar and he were from India, Welcome to America is not really such an insult, is it? Your assumption that this random group in Virginia includes racists (who allen was talking in "code" with or whatever) assumes that they knew all or some of this context, which most of us just learned from the WaPost.

"Lots of Germans said this (paraphrase): "I voted for Hitler, but that doesn't mean that I hate Jews." Sorry, I don't buy that."
a) Really? I kind of doubt that alot of Germans at the time said they didn't hate Jews. I'd like to see a reference on this.
b) I don't think Hitler campaign on the Final Solution, although I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure he mostly bitched about the German treatment after WWI, which you could legitimately agree with him and not be a Jew hater. The french et all were trying to punish Germany after WWI, it's not surprising if the Germans felt punished.

jukeboxgrad said...

shanna: "If the guys name was Macaca or something similar and he were from India, Welcome to America is not really such an insult, is it?"

The problem is that Allen and his cheering crowd decided that Sidarth's skin color was sufficient basis to assume that he was non-American, and non-Virginian. That's offensive.

Of course the irony is that Sidarth was born and raised in VA, and Allen wasn't.

Imagine if Sidarth had been a white guy, someone who looked just like the rest of that crowd. Do you think Allen would have said "welcome to America" to a white guy? Sorry, but I can't picture that. That's all you need to know to understand that Allen, and the people laughing with him, were being racially offensive.

Aside from that, "macaca" doesn't sound like a name (try using Yahoo people-search to find such a name, and you'll find little or nothing). Totally aside from the fact that it means monkey, it sounds like someone's puerile idea of a foreign-sounding name. And by saying "macaca or whatever his name is" Allen was suggesting he didn't really know the correct name, and that he was well-aware that he didn't know the correct name, and that he didn't care that he didn't know the correct name (because he could have asked, right then and there, which is what anyone with decent manners would have done, instead of using some kind of made-up name or nickname, let alone an outright slur).

He was making it clear enough that he didn't really care whether or not he was getting the name right. This was a clue to the crowd that "macaca" was supposed to be funny. Allen's smirk while he said this (both times) was another clue.

By the way, Sidarth had been tracking Allen for a week or more, and had introduced himself to Allen and the Allen campaign. So Allen has no excuse whatsover to pretend he didn't know Sidarth's name, or to pretend he could not have easily learned Sidarth's name (right then and there, for example). It seems that Allen was specifically interested in using a different word (macaca), and he did it very deliberately and naturally, and with relish, as if it was something he had thought about ahead of time.

"Your assumption that this random group in Virginia includes racists ... assumes that they knew all or some of this context"

No. All we need to know is that this crowd, roughly 99% white, thought it was funny to watch their senator point at a dark-skinned person and mock him. "Whatever his name is" makes clear that what's going on is mockery. And likewise for "welcome to America." This is all totally aside from knowing that macaca means monkey.

Again, let's imagine Sidarth was white. It's possible to imagine Allen mocking a white tracker (and that would have told us that Allen is rude, but it would not have told us that Allen is a racist). However, in my opinion it's not possible to imagine that such mockery would have included words like these: "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America." I think these words indicate not just mockery, but racial mockery. That's not funny, especially when coming from a senator.

"I kind of doubt that alot of Germans at the time said they didn't hate Jews."

I don't know what you mean by "at the time." I'm referring to what Germans said after the war, not before and during the war.

"I'd like to see a reference on this."

I'd like to oblige, but I won't, because it's a complex question that is very secondary to this thread, and also because it is so late in the life of this thread.

"I don't think Hitler campaign on the Final Solution, although I could be wrong"

Hitler showed his true colors fairly early. Mein Kampf was published in 1926, and "is suffused with an extreme anti-Semitism." Although the book does not explicitly "call for the destruction of the entire Jewish people," one passage says "that if only 10,000–15,000 Jews were gassed, then Germany would have won World War One." (From wiki.)

"it's not surprising if the Germans felt punished"

Hitler took advantage of the fact that the Germans felt punished, but he also took advantage of "long existing, virulent anti-Semitism in German society that led to the desire on the part of the vast majority of Germans to eliminate Jews somehow from German society." (Also wiki.)

Cagey said...

Since my husband is Indian, and my son is by default a "demi-macaca", this story peaked my interest.

I have watched my video several times - it is apparent and obvious that Allen was trying to demean the guy. Regardless, if he knew what the word meant, the way he said "welcome to America and the real world of Virginia" says it all. Bah.

charlotte said...

jukeboxgrad,

While I next to never agree with your political world view, matters of decency and civility shouldn't be about which side of the aisle one is on. You're exactly right about this Allen macaca situation, and I can't fathom some of the denial and ridicule going on here over what some people seem to be saying is a "nonsense" word or trivial association. Makes me wonder about their opinions and logic applied to other issues.

Please know that most Republicans don't countenance, shrug off or deny racist "slips of the tongue" by party members anymore than they do by Democrats. I wouldn't cast a vote for Allen who crudely singled out Sidarth as a dark foreigner any more than I would for a Dean who racebaits by denigrating American white Christians (and, no, I don't attend church.)

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