Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Macaca" doesn't sound like "mohawk"

A 20-year-old Indian-American named S.R. Sidarth was videotaping Senator George Allen (Virginia) making a speech, when suddenly, the Senator singled him out of the crowd and called him "Macaca." "Macaca" is the French-African equivalent of the "N-word." (wow And this Senator might run for President in 2008!)

You can see it happen by clicking the picture below.

George Allen denies he meant "Macaca" as an insult. He says it was a nickname that his staff members gave to the 20-year-old Sidarth, and that they gave it to him because of his apparently mohawk-like hair. Allen's communications director said they nicknamed him "Mohawk," and the word probably transformed into "Macaca."

"Mohawk" and "Macaca" sound too different from each other, so I don't think it was an accident. And George Allen's mother immigrated from the same region in Africa where the word "Macaca" is used as a racial slur, so I think it's unlikely he consciously used it as an insult. What could've happened (it's just my opinion) was, someone among George Allen's staff called Sidarth "Macaca" on purpose as a racial slur, and then the other staff members started calling him that (without knowing that it's a slur). And pretty soon, the Senator himself started using the slur (also without knowing it).

Sidarth is visibly dark-skinned and he could likely be mistaken for an African-American (picture above), so that makes it even more likely that someone called him "Macaca" on purpose as a racist insult. Not to mention that this happened in Virginia, where Blacks are the largest minority group.

Not only does the Senator call him "Macaca," but he also tells him "welcome to America." (You can see it in the video). You can say he's not being racist because he said welcome to America, but Sidarth was born and raised in Virginia! Either the Senator assumed he just came to the US or someone assumed it and then told him. If it was the latter, then I'd like to see him try to become the next US president.

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