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  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Doofus apologizes

    In today's WaPo: Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology

    I think this article makes several good points.

    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.
    I doubt Georgie knew that, but calling a person of color a monkey is serious business. And that is something he would know, being born of Virginia politics. In this case, it looks like he was just being juvenile and making fun of an easy, defenseless target in front of a supportive crowd. Picking on someone because that person is different... That's not leadership; that's a bully.

    Allen said that by the comment welcoming him to America, he meant: "Just to the real world. Get outside the Beltway and get to the real world."
    I don't doubt that's what he meant. And I even believe that he might have said that to a person of pallor. But he didn't, and he has to appreciate the context and consequences of his comments. The apology needs to be more than a throw-away "I'm sorry if I offended you" -- especially given his history with nooses and Confederate flags.

    "I think he was doing it because he could, and I was the only person of color there, and it was useful for him in inciting his audience," said Sidarth, who videotaped the event for the Webb campaign. "I was annoyed he would use my race in a political context."
    I agree. He's a bully. And probably a bigot.

    Virginia Commonwealth University politics professor Robert Holsworth called Allen's comments a gaffe that probably wouldn't change the Senate race but could hurt his presidential ambitions.
    Let's hope so.

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