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Old 08-18-2006, 08:42 PM   #211
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Great post Yolland...
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:21 PM   #212
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Originally posted by yolland
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.
Absent speaking with Allen about the intentions behind the remark, I (and no one else) can really speak to his intentions. My point (and Indy has echoed) is that accusations of racism are not treated lightly and should not be made without a degree of care. Allen (and his handlers) have offered the immediate political response, which sound clunky and uneven when taking the time to line them up side by side.

The thread started with “disbelief” that anyone would question the accusation of racism, and was followed up with echoes along the same line (treating the discussion as humorous and feeble attempts at rationality). My comment was directed at the collective “I can’t believe people don’t think the way we do” which can come across with a high degree of smugness.

I do appreciate the further analysis offered and the thoughtful detail supporting your statements.

Whether it be Allen or Young, I would want to get some sound-bite or political-spokesperson free comment on what they were thinking when they made their statements before laying the racist label on either gentlemen. In a world where speed-to-accusation is the fashion, I’m looking for a little bit more depth before the accusation is made. Not giving someone a free pass to make racist comments.
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Old 08-19-2006, 12:59 AM   #213
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Andrew Young did not dig himself deeper into a hole.

He could have tried to deconstruct his remarks and say his intent was not bigoted

instead he said the remarks are wrong and he apologized
and because of the harm he gave up a position

Mel Gibson did pretty much the same thing, but took a bit of time to do it.

George Allen, and his supporters/ defenders are not credible with the explanations of his use of the word "macaca"

the (different, and varied) explanations are not credible
"macaca" has a racial overtone
and Allen has a background and history that supports that he is aware of it, too.


I can agree, with not jumping to a conclusion with every incident.

Two white republicans (Tony Snow and Mitt Romney) have used the expression
"tar baby". It is possible they may have only meant "a sticky situation".

Such as, "Getting involved in that situation would be like putting our hand in a bucket of glue."

"That situation is a tar-baby". Can get people upset, but I can't say with reasonable certainty that it is racist.
I would not use it.
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Old 08-19-2006, 06:52 AM   #214
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Originally posted by nbcrusader

Whether it be Allen or Young, I would want to get some sound-bite or political-spokesperson free comment on what they were thinking when they made their statements before laying the racist label on either gentlemen. In a world where speed-to-accusation is the fashion, I’m looking for a little bit more depth before the accusation is made. Not giving someone a free pass to make racist comments.
Perhaps you didn't see my post on the comment made by the US Indian PAC that the community was indeed offended by Allen's remark. If it sounds like a racist remark, it usually is. And you were the one who started the thread on Young - now it seems like you are having second thoughts on that.
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:57 AM   #215
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Originally posted by yolland

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:

(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.
Yolland, you rock.
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Old 08-19-2006, 09:31 AM   #216
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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.
No, I was quite aware of the direction of the discussion. And my question is how can you not reach a conclusion of racism? It's not just the word itself, it's the context, it's repeated use, that make the racist intent clear.

Furthermore, I think we all realize that what raised Allen's ire was that the guy was from the opposition's campaign. The problem was that he took the cheap shot of using race to express his ire. It's quite common. I was having dinner with some friends earlier in the summer before we went to the States on vacation and we were talking about how a newly constructed waterpark here in Saipan is dangerous because of the slippery paving stones. My friends were disgusted by the accidents their kids had there and they sighed, "It's those Koreans." (the park is Korean-owned). There's a lot of prejudice among the local people towards Koreans as well as Chinese here. This friend equated poorly constructed park as something innately having to do with the fact that the owners were Korean. My point here is that attaching race as a factor in something seen as wrong or annoying is a common expression of racism.

As for further evidence, I think Yolland's done a bang up job of providing that.

So, again, I can't see how Allen's comments are defensible as "not racist", unless you just hate to see Republicans attacked and feel compelled to defend them no matter how far-fetched that defense might be.
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Old 08-20-2006, 04:49 PM   #217
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Yolland
Sorry it took so long to respond to your thoughtful post. I was just interested to see if the issue got any attention on the weekend shows. Except for a DOWN arrow on The Beltway Boys I didn't hear any. But I didn't watch them all.
So why defend George Allen's comments? Well, actually, if you read my posts I don't. All my comments were addressing the obvious double standard that some hold Republicans to. If the title of the thread had been "George Allen sticks foot in mouth" or "George Allen embarrasses himself" you wouldn't have heard much if anything from me. But it was "G.A. exposes himself as a racist."

So I put up the Biden and Hillary Clinton quotes as they were somewhat related except from Democrats. Little response, MS said she didn't condone them. But no one applied the same standard and labeled them racist. Ok, fine. I didn't consider those quotes racists either, so why the rush to judgement on Senator Allen? So I researched for past incidents I might not be familiar with. Something other than a youthful fascination with the Confederate flag.
Apparently I wasn't the only one researching because the DailyKos had a "Compilation of George Allen's Violent and Racist Past." Some of which you listed, for the first time on the thread, in your post, but well after Allen had already been called a "racist", "bigot","bastard" and an "oddball" (In a thread decrying name calling no less)
Quote:
he dubbed the NAACP "an extremist group"
Sadly under Julian Bond, I would agree. If not extremist, highly partisan. Read what Bond has said about conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes.
"They've had a collection of black hustlers and hucksters on their payrolls for more than twenty years, promoting them as the new generation of black leaders. They can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves, so they manufacture, promote, and hire new ones. Like ventriloquists’ dummies, [these blacks] speak in their puppet-master’s voice" -- Julian Bond at the 2002 NAACP Convention
Or about GWB and his administration in 2001.
President Bush had reached into "the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."
"their idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side," Bond told a crowd in 2004.
You be the judge.
Quote:
issued a decidedly unbalanced-sounding proclamation of "Confederate History Month."
Yawn. Too boring to research.
Quote:
opposed the 1991 Civil Rights Act
I remember many were concerned with the potential cost to business because of new rules for punitive and compensatory claims but I can't find any quotes from Allen on the issue.
Quote:
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."
--In Arkansas, Bill Clinton as governor;
a) shared MLK Jr Day with Robert E Lee.
b) signed in 1987 a law designating the top blue star in the state flag to symbolize the Confederacy.
c) made no effort to overturn a state law setting aside the Saturday before Easter as Confederate Flag Day
d) issued a proclamation designating a birthday memorial for Jefferson Davis
e) called former Senator Wm Fulbright "My mentor, a visionary, a humanitarian."
Senator Fulbright voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Law.
Clinton a racist?

Look.
--If you think "school vouchers", "border security", "welfare reform" or "death penalty" are all racist "code-words" that conservatives use.
--If you were "troubled" by Judge Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton 20 years ago but not Ned Lamont's recent membership in a country club "not known for it's diversity."
--If you concluded in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
--Then you probably think ALL conservatives are racists or racists "waiting to be exposed" and nothing I say will change your mind. A mind that many of you would rather use to name-call then actually debate issues it would seem. (check the thread)
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:09 PM   #218
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
So why defend George Allen's comments? Well, actually, if you read my posts I don't. All my comments were addressing the obvious double standard that some hold Republicans to. If the title of the thread had been "George Allen sticks foot in mouth" or "George Allen embarrasses himself" you wouldn't have heard much if anything from me. But it was "G.A. exposes himself as a racist."

So I put up the Biden and Hillary Clinton quotes as they were somewhat related except from Democrats. Little response, MS said she didn't condone them. But no one applied the same standard and labeled them racist. Ok, fine. I didn't consider those quotes racists either, so why the rush to judgement on Senator Allen?
I never accused anyone of "defending" Allen's comments; what I was interested in was hearing an explanation of how else one might interpret them. As I tried to indicate in my paragraph about Biden's and Hillary's comments, I recognized that you were implicitly applying the "dumb ad-lib" label to Allen too, but I don't think that's in itself an adequate explanation as to what either he or Hillary meant.

Incidentally, there was an FYM thread called " Hillary's 'Joke' About Gandhi" (started by MrsS) back when that happened, in which people varyingly expressed the opinion that her joke was A) loathsome, or B) foolish but inconsequential. Either way, I don't see how you can meaningfully make that judgment without first determining what you think she intended by it.
Quote:
Apparently I wasn't the only one researching because the DailyKos had a "Compilation of George Allen's Violent and Racist Past." Some of which you listed, for the first time on the thread, in your post, but well after Allen had already been called a "racist", "bigot","bastard" and an "oddball" (In a thread decrying name calling no less)
I got the info I found from Lexis-Nexis, EBSCOhost, and Wikipedia, and had to look up just now what DailyKos even was. I agree that "racist" and "bigot" are not words to be thrown around lightly and I didn't apply them to Allen myself, however the latter word especially is freely thrown around by both sides in FYM all the time, and I've closed threads before because they'd degenerated into people saying "You're bigoted towards Christians" "Yeah well you're bigoted towards gays" etc. I don't see hyperbolically calling someone a bigot as being analogous towards using a racial slur against them, however--you can argue whether it's accurate to deem someone a bigot, but not whether it's accurate to call them (e.g.) "nigger"; the latter is not based on any evaluation (correct or otherwise) of their behavior.

As I said when I posted the info I found on Lexis etc., I realize all of it could be interpreted multiple ways, and I don't see any of it as necessary for evaluating the potential range of things Allen meant by "macaca" one way or the other. But you seemed to be asking for a list of what sorts of things could *potentially* be interpreted as prior evidence for "racist" inclinations, so I looked for that. It wasn't part of my evaluation process personally as to what he likely meant, and still isn't. And no, I don't think celebrating "Confederate History" (why not just "Southern History," though?) is inherently problematic, so long as it's not solely a glossed-over celebration of white history in the region. Why would I think that, I was born and raised in Mississippi and am a very big Southern lit/food/humor/"eccentricity" etc. afficionado, and am not ashamed of being from there in the slightest.
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Look.
--If you think "school vouchers", "border security", "welfare reform" or "death penalty" are all racist "code-words" that conservatives use.
--If you were "troubled" by Judge Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton 20 years ago but not Ned Lamont's recent membership in a country club "not known for it's diversity."
--If you concluded in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
--Then you probably think ALL conservatives are racists or racists "waiting to be exposed" and nothing I say will change your mind. A mind that many of you would rather use to name-call then actually debate issues it would seem. (check the thread)
Uh. When have I ever said I thought any of these things? I don't know that anyone else in here would check "Yes" to all those boxes either (the last conclusion, especially, seems overblown to the point of absurdity). But it's not my usual practice to keep tabs of potentially damning past "evidence" and then use that a basis for refusing to grant people the benefit of the doubt that they actually came to their own reasoned conclusion on whatever issue. Doesn't mean I might not question their reasoning however, especially if they're critiquing everyone else's reasoning without offering their own.
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:46 PM   #219
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Again, thanks for your post.
Quote:
I never accused anyone of "defending" Allen's comments
Sorry if you thought I was referring only to your past posts. I wasn't. But the whole thread is filled with "I am loving conservatives defending this guy" stuff'. The reason I started off with "Yolland" was only to make sure you knew I responding to your previous post, one you obviously had put much thought into. Not to confront you directly.
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and had to look up just now what DailyKos even was.
Nor did I mean to say you got all your info from DailyKos, merely that that's where I look to see what's cookin' on the Left. I should have made it a point to compliment you on taking the time to search...no one else did.
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Uh. When have I ever said I thought any of these things?
If you have any writing tips on how better to ask rhetorical questions I'd appreciate you directing me towards them because that's all these were. Again not directed at you, but to others who make rash judgements about conservatives in my eyes.

Thanks for your thoughts and insights but above all else thanks for listening.

PS. Check out Drudge to see what we might be talking about tomorrow.
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:59 PM   #220
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no one else did.
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Old 08-21-2006, 12:13 AM   #221
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Originally posted by INDY500
But the whole thread is filled with "I am loving conservatives defending this guy" stuff'.
That would be me, and I'm still loving it.
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:45 AM   #222
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martha, don't you have anything constructive to add?

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Old 08-21-2006, 09:42 AM   #223
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Not a damn thing!
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:38 PM   #224
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Absent speaking with Allen about the intentions behind the remark, I (and no one else) can really speak to his intentions.



this is what i really don't understand.

words have definitions. to use a word and then claim that you didn't intend the commonly (or even not so commonly) understood meaning of the word really isn't a terribly persuasive argument, particularly for a public official where public speaking is part of the job description.

it goes back to my earlier example -- if i started walking around and calling women "cunts" in my office, and then saying, "no, that's not what i intended!" just how much water is that excuse going to hold?

at best, Allen is ignorant, at worst, he's a racist. and probably an unthinking, unaware racist -- like Memphis's aunts who unthinkingly refer to all African-American men as "boy" -- who would probably plead no malicious intent at the usage of derogatory terminology. are we going to argue about what the definition of "is" is?




Quote:
Whether it be Allen or Young, I would want to get some sound-bite or political-spokesperson free comment on what they were thinking when they made their statements before laying the racist label on either gentlemen. In a world where speed-to-accusation is the fashion, I’m looking for a little bit more depth before the accusation is made. Not giving someone a free pass to make racist comments.

and it amazes me when accusations of racism are far more worrying than actual racism itself. and can we not distinguish between being a straight-up racist as opposed to saying something, or holding a belief, that is itself racist? i have a friend who i wouldn't call a racist, but when he was a waiter he would dread having a table of African-Americans because, in his experienced, they tipped far lower than their white counterparts. is he a racist? no, i don't think so, but was his belief racist? yes, i think so.

i wonder if we'd be so willing to give the other side as much face time to explain themselves and give them every possible out to avoid being exposed as probably not a malicious, but certainly ignorant and blissfully unaware racist, and i wonder why white people have the strongest ractions -- perhaps many feel as if they are walking in a minefield?
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:05 PM   #225
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I believe it is possible to make a racist statement and not be a racist.

I believe we all have bias' and prejudice.

questions of degree, pattern, and history of behavior can be taken into consideration

David Dukes is a racist and openly advocates racist beliefs

Senator Allen has a problem and leaves himself open to much reasonable speculation


Quote:
The Un-American Senator
George Allen disgraces himself with a racist slur.

August 21, 2006



THE BEST POSSIBLE INTERPRETATION of Sen. George Allen's twice pointing at an Indian American videographer at a campaign rally and sneeringly calling him "macaca" is that, in the words of Allen's own spinmeisters, the Virginia Republican and putative 2008 presidential contender was just playfully combining the words "Mohawk" (to mischaracterize the cameraman's haircut) and, well, "caca." As an Allen staffer explained to the National Journal's Hotline blog, he was "an annoyance."

That's the best spin, mind you. The worst — and more believable — is that "macaca" is an Americanized version of the similarly pronounced French racial slur "macaque," which literally refers to a species of stub-tailed monkey, but is figuratively used to insult North Africans and other people with dark skin. It's the French equivalent of "darkie," making all decent people who hear it shudder. Allen's mother is French, from the North African country of Tunisia. He speaks the language well.

Here's what a smiling Allen said to his laughing supporters Aug. 11: "This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great…. Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." The object of Allen's ridicule was in fact born in the United States, but the senator's Confederate-tinted understanding of this country apparently has no room for people of color.

Allen grew up not in the "real world of Virginia," but on the tony Palos Verdes Peninsula. There, despite his French mother and Midwestern father (who coached the Rams), Allen developed a curious affectation for what he imagined to be the mores of the South. He began a lifelong embrace of Confederate symbology — lapel pins, bumper stickers and, until recently, flags — while exhibiting some worrying behavior toward African Americans.

According to a damning May profile in the New Republic, Allen once spray-painted something like "Burn, Baby, Burn" on his own high school just before the mostly black Morningside High basketball team from Inglewood came to play Palos Verdes High. Since taking public office, Allen has decorated his workspace with a noose hanging from a tree, opposed dedicating a federal holiday to Martin Luther King Jr., and now employed a vile slur to attack a political opponent.

There is no room for that kind of racism in American politics. We're not in the habit of telling Virginians how to vote, but an Allen defeat this November would send the right message to race-baiting politicians: Welcome to America. Now go home.
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