Are you up on your macaca and how Republican Senator George Allen from Virginia became known as “Senator Macaca” on the campaign trail for re-election?
Depending on how it is spelled, the word macaca could mean either a monkey that inhabits the Eastern Hemisphere or a town in South Africa. In some European cultures, macaca is also considered a racial slur against African immigrants, according to several Web sites that track ethnic slurs.
As you read and watch Senator Allen in action and defending himself, I would like to know if you think this is a warranted death by a thousand cuts from his own psyche or is this an undeserved end for a Senator seeking re-election?
Do we evaluate people by their actions or their words? Can we separate hate into the past and look forward into the present? Are our actions and deeds bound together for all of eternity?
One of the two old acquaintances, Christopher Taylor, now an anthropology professor at the Birmingham campus of the University of Alabama, said he heard Mr. Allen use an epithet to describe African-Americans in the early 1980’s. Mr. Taylor, who is white and was then a graduate student at the University of Virginia, said the term had come up in a conversation about the turtles in a pond near Mr. Allen’s property.
Mr. Allen, Mr. Taylor said, told him that “around here” the only people who “eat ’em” were African-Americans, whom he described with the notorious epithet for blacks. Separately, Dr. Ken Shelton, who was a football teammate of the senator at the University of Virginia and who is also white, said that while in college in the early 1970’s Mr. Allen often used the same racially charged term.
Mr. Shelton, whose account was first reported Sunday night in the online newsmagazine Salon, said Mr. Allen had told him that he had moved to Virginia “because the blacks know their place.” Mr. Shelton, a radiologist now living in North Carolina, said that on a hunting trip Mr. Allen had sought out the home of an African-American and affixed the head of a dead deer to the mailbox. He also said Mr. Allen had called him Wizard, for Robert Shelton, who used the title as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Senator Allen denies ever using “The N-word.”
Some claim Senator Allen’s alleged Racism was embedded in him long ago.
But insinuations of racial insensitivity have hovered in the background of the Allen campaign ever since The New Republic reported last spring that he had worn a Confederate flag pin in his yearbook picture…. Mr. Allen, who is Presbyterian, grew angry at a reporter’s question about whether his mother had been born Jewish.
Mr. Allen later said that after the question came up, his mother told him for the first time that her family was indeed Jewish. His subsequent statements about the matter — attesting that he still ate ham sandwiches, for example — appeared awkward, even to fellow Republicans…. In addition to the pin in his high school yearbook picture… he later displayed a Confederate flag on his living room wall.
As governor of Virginia, he declared a Confederate History Month without reference to slavery. He made a cameo appearance as a Confederate officer in the film “Gods and Generals.” And he once opposed the creation of a Virginia state holiday to memorialize the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Is this an appropriate topic for discussion during an election campaign or not? Are the words and actions of a candidate fodder for international public debate or not?