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Old 08-17-2006, 08:45 PM   #196
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Maybe one that was consistent and didn't reek of really bad coincidence...
I'll take that as a "no".
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:49 PM   #197
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Allen has offered his. My question was what are you willing to accept (if anything)?
Which of the explanations offered do you find acceptable? That he meant to say "mohawk" and mangled it, or that he "made up a word"?
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:15 PM   #198
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

So basically it comes down to we have to hear intent from him otherwise you won't know.
So I guess we'll never know.
I think we're back to talking about George Allen.

You can throw in context.
1) Was the comment a topic of the speech or an ad-lib
2) Were there other speakers expressing similar sentiments

And previous history.
Speaking of, where is that list of George Allen's past racist comments? He's been in politics over 25 years. That's a whole lotta talkin' before being "exposed as a racist."

U2Democrat...the list please.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:19 PM   #199
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There doesn't seem to be much of a defense for what Allen said. Either:

1. he's a racist, or

2. he made an innocent but *extremely* stupid comment

Although I lean toward #2, neither is a trait I'm looking for in an elected official.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:50 PM   #200
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There doesn't seem to be much of a defense for what Allen said. Either:

1. he's a racist, or

2. he made an innocent but *extremely* stupid comment

Although I lean toward #2, neither is a trait I'm looking for in an elected official.
That's fair. I just think it's important that same standard be applied irregardless of political ideology. Do think it is on this board?
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:10 AM   #201
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Do you think Webb's political operative felt oppressed at the Allen rally? Or do you think he is playing this up a bit?
I'd say both. If I'd been in his shoes, I know I would have felt very nervous. Obviously I wouldn't be worried about being in physical danger from Allen himself, but I'm sure I'd be worrying about some overzealous group of Allen supporters that might surround me after the rally and maybe show their support for his statements a little bit more vigorously. I imagine the whole experience would have been pretty scary.

Would I decide to just keep that little incident to myself and respond with a meek "no comment. I don't want to turn this in to anything political?" Considering what I'm hired to do, probably not. The fact that Webb and the aide are making political hay out of Allen's comments does not mitigate the fact that wrongness of what Allen said.

I'm just aghast, really aghast that Nbc and Indy can't see that this was plain old racism. The only thing you guys have to grasp on to was the obscure nature of the word. If he'd said "nigger" the debate would be over. When I first read the quote, I didn't know what the word meant but I didn't need to--it was that obvious what he meant. Was it planned? Was it premeditated? Obviously not. No one plans to say things like that. Racism most often slips out when people are not thinking clearly enough to self-censor (i.e. Mel Gibson) or when they mistakenly believe they are "among friends" and can let down their guard a bit and shoot from the hip(i.e. Trent Lott or this Allen guy).

The subtext to me was crystal clear. "This is the kind of people that my opponent has working for him. I mean look at this guy. He's a foreigner! Well, welcome to the real--white--America."
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:39 AM   #202
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I'd say both. If I'd been in his shoes, I know I would have felt very nervous. Obviously I wouldn't be worried about being in physical danger from Allen himself, but I'm sure I'd be worrying about some overzealous group of Allen supporters that might surround me after the rally and maybe show their support for his statements a little bit more vigorously. I imagine the whole experience would have been pretty scary.

Would I decide to just keep that little incident to myself and respond with a meek "no comment. I don't want to turn this in to anything political?" Considering what I'm hired to do, probably not. The fact that Webb and the aide are making political hay out of Allen's comments does not mitigate the fact that wrongness of what Allen said.

I'm just aghast, really aghast that Nbc and Indy can't see that this was plain old racism. The only thing you guys have to grasp on to was the obscure nature of the word. If he'd said "nigger" the debate would be over. When I first read the quote, I didn't know what the word meant but I didn't need to--it was that obvious what he meant. Was it planned? Was it premeditated? Obviously not. No one plans to say things like that. Racism most often slips out when people are not thinking clearly enough to self-censor (i.e. Mel Gibson) or when they mistakenly believe they are "among friends" and can let down their guard a bit and shoot from the hip(i.e. Trent Lott or this Allen guy).

The subtext to me was crystal clear. "This is the kind of people that my opponent has working for him. I mean look at this guy. He's a foreigner! Well, welcome to the real--white--America."
Perhaps you’ve missed the direction of the discussion. The questioning in this thread has not been “This can’t be racism” but “How do you reach the conclusion of racism”. It would be far easier to join the mutual admiration society of those who come to the conclusion without question. But what would be the point of these threads (other than simple emotional release)?

It would surprise me (or leave me aghast, which is a little more dramatic) that the issue is “obvious” when one doesn’t even understand the meaning of the word used. You are correct that there would be no discussion if “nigger” was used, as there is common understanding and consensus as to its meaning. This turns into an “Allen should have known what the word meant” discussion.

Many have recognized the context of the political rally, but fail to see how an operative for a political opponent would draw the ire of a politician. Has anyone attended a political rally as the “opposition”? And tried to stand in front? And done it multiple times? I recall attending a speech by a Democratic candidate for President on my college campus. I wasn’t political (still am not really), but I thought it would be interesting to hear him speak. Since I wasn’t registered with the campaign as a supporter, you wouldn’t believe the grief I got for simply wanting to stand up front. So here is Sidarth, the lone Webb supporter at the front of an Allen rally. Again. And the prime motive for singling Sidarth out is the color of his skin? If that is the conclusion you want to reach, that is fine. All that has been asked is for a little more evidence of Allen’s prior conduct that would support the conclusion.
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:29 PM   #203
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I'm still being entertained by the conservatives' insistence that the discuusion should be about 1. intent 2. language usage 3. perceived offense on the part of a. the speaker b. the hearer rather than if Allen is a racist.

I don't think either of them has said one way or an other, have they? Did I miss it somewhere in all the excuses and back-pedaling and red herrings?
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:53 PM   #204
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Anything constructive to add?
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Old 08-18-2006, 05:46 PM   #205
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Perhaps you’ve missed the direction of the discussion. The questioning in this thread has not been “This can’t be racism” but “How do you reach the conclusion of racism”. It would be far easier to join the mutual admiration society of those who come to the conclusion without question. But what would be the point of these threads (other than simple emotional release)?

It would surprise me (or leave me aghast, which is a little more dramatic) that the issue is “obvious” when one doesn’t even understand the meaning of the word used. You are correct that there would be no discussion if “nigger” was used, as there is common understanding and consensus as to its meaning. This turns into an “Allen should have known what the word meant” discussion.

Many have recognized the context of the political rally, but fail to see how an operative for a political opponent would draw the ire of a politician. Has anyone attended a political rally as the “opposition”? And tried to stand in front? And done it multiple times? I recall attending a speech by a Democratic candidate for President on my college campus. I wasn’t political (still am not really), but I thought it would be interesting to hear him speak. Since I wasn’t registered with the campaign as a supporter, you wouldn’t believe the grief I got for simply wanting to stand up front. So here is Sidarth, the lone Webb supporter at the front of an Allen rally. Again. And the prime motive for singling Sidarth out is the color of his skin? If that is the conclusion you want to reach, that is fine. All that has been asked is for a little more evidence of Allen’s prior conduct that would support the conclusion.
I don't know that he missed the "direction" of your argument about Allen's intentions, because so far as I can tell, you have yet to indicate one. All you've done is attempt to deconstruct the racial slur interpretation. And the "mutual admiration society" bit was cheap and unwarranted--just because someone, rightly or wrongly, assumes Allen's intents to be racist doesn't prove that they consider themselves morally superior for thinking that, nor that they're expressing that opinion solely for "emotional release's" sake. But to be fair, there have been plenty of snide remarks from both sides in this thread, so whatever.

What Allen said--if anything especially because it involved an obscure word--requires interpretation, one way or the other. Again, which of the interpretations Allen has offered do you buy? That he mangled "mohawk" (or perhaps slyly combined it with caca, "shit"?), or that it was just some random string of phonemes which tumbled out? The former explanation(s) is the only one that strikes me as being an attempt at a real "answer", but for me personally, it just doesn't add up--Sidarth does not have a mohawk, mohawk is a common and not particularly hard word to remember (especially if you've been privately calling someone that for a while), and anyhow why would it come out as the very different-sounding word "macaca"? Allen does not have a history of speech problems. If it was really a sly combination of "mo-" with the Spanish for "shit," then at the very least that's a shockingly vulgar thing for a politician to publically call someone, isn't it? When you were insulted at a political rally, did the politician himself single you out for insult before the audience?

As for the "made it up"/"used it with no idea of its meaning" explanation, that simply doesn't constitute an explanation at all. Sure, people use a word other than the one they meant all the time, but that fact by itself doesn't establish what they meant. To give a silly example: a few days ago a neighbor of mine enthused to me about the fabulous new diet/exercise/lifestyle-philosophy regimen she was following, and kept glowingly exclaiming how the man who invented and now propounds it "was just emaciated!!" by it. When I puzzledly asked her why an end result of emaciation would recommend a diet plan to anybody, she replied in a way that made it clear to me that what she in fact meant was emancipated. So even though she used a word she clearly did not know the meaning of, nonetheless she was able to convincingly articulate what she did mean: that he was liberated, set free by this diet-and-lifestyle regimen.

INDY explained Hillary's and Biden's comments as dumb ad-libs which bombed. I think that's a fairly convincing explanation in Biden's case, especially since he was speaking to Indian-Americans when he said it, and in context clearly meant to highlight their business successes (though it was a pathetically clumsy and ill-considered way of doing so). Hillary's comment, I am less certain--although it didn't involve a racial slur, and she said it in the context of praising a famous Indian (Gandhi), nonetheless she was clearly trying to make humor out of the fact that Indian-Americans stereotypically often run gas stations, which is highly insensitive at best as "humor." On the other hand, she did later publically apologize, in the process credibly explaining her remark as a poorly considered and insensitive joke. Whether that acceptably enough excuses such behavior from an elected official is up to her prospective constituents to judge. If you want to call some of them hypocrites for forgiving her and not Allen, fine, but that doesn't establish one way or the other what Allen "really meant" either.

As far as potential past evidence on Allen goes, I personally don't see it as necessary one way or the other for evaluating his conceivable range of intentions here, but there are things you could cite in addition to the oddness of already having been fascinated with Confederate flags as a (native) Californian high school student and UCLA freshman. For example, a March 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution report described how while governor (1994-98) he dubbed the NAACP "an extremist group" and issued a decidely unbalanced-sounding proclamation of "Confederate History Month." From the Washington Post:
Quote:
...in the late 1990s...governor George Allen (R) issued a Confederate History Month proclamation, calling the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights."...The declaration made no mention of slavery, angering many civil rights groups.
(Allen's Republican successor, Jim Gilmore, changed the proclamation significantly, including adding a denunciation of slavery.) Also, as a candidate for US Representative in 1991, Allen opposed the 1991 Civil Rights Act, and as a Virginia state delegate he opposed recognizing MLK Jr. Day, arguing (per the Richmond Times-Dispatch) that that day was already set aside to honor Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, and "we shouldn't honor a non-Virginian with his own holiday."

Of course, you could rationalize away all of these things as innocent, if politically ill-advised in the longterm, expressions of Southern conservatism. And you could also cite instances of Allen's support for anti-racist gestures, such as the 2005 Senate resolution apologizing for never having passed legislation to prevent lynching, or his commemorative campaign trip to Selma with civil rights veteran John Lewis (D-GA). But really, what other sort of "supporting evidence" for interpreting "macaca" as a racial slur would you expect to find? Allen is too young to have been a segregationist, and too smart to go around publically spewing the n-word or broadly slamming minority groups, even if he were thus inclined. I just don't see any of this as necessary for interpreting the "macaca" statement as at best coarse and mean-spirited stupidity, and at worst as a poorly disguised racial slur.
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Old 08-18-2006, 05:47 PM   #206
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Release Date: August 17, 2006

Washington, D.C. – In response to community concerns regarding the recent disparaging comments made to an Indian American at an Allen campaign event, USINPAC hosted a meeting with Senator George Allen (R-VA) and various leaders in Virginia’s Indian American community.

Following the over hour long meeting, Senator Allen said, “My comment was certainly not intended to hurt or demean any individual. “ Senator Allen added, “It was very important to me to be able to have the opportunity to meet with these Indian American leaders and offer them in person my heart-felt apology. The Indian American community is an outstanding group of individuals who have been long time friends and allies from before my days as Governor. As I have said on many occasions, America needs to be a land of opportunity for all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or religion and I look forward to working together with the Indian American community as we have in the past on the issues that unite us, making the U.S. the World Capital of Innovation and a true meritocracy”.

Member of USINPAC’s Leadership Committee, Dr. David Faria said "Senator Allen committed to redouble his efforts to reach out to the Indian American community across Virginia.”

USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri advocated greater communication with Senator Allen. Puri stated, “We told the Senator in person today that the community feels that his comments were offensive and hurtful. We look forward to the Senator following through on his pledge to reach out to the Indian American community to mend fences."
http://www.usinpac.com/news_details.asp?News_ID=47
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Old 08-18-2006, 07:11 PM   #207
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Anything constructive to add?
Nope.

And you?

Anything definite to add?
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Old 08-18-2006, 07:27 PM   #208
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New polls out have it at Allen 47% Webb 42%. Not too long ago Allen was up by at least 12 points.
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Old 08-18-2006, 07:30 PM   #209
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thanks for adding something constructive
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Old 08-18-2006, 08:39 PM   #210
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You're quite welcome
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