The Ham Hock of Liberty

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Memo to Conservative Pundits

OK, conservative talking heads: we know you don't like accusations of racism levelled at you or your Republican politican friends. We know you think that racism is shunned by right-thinking conservatives, and is not accpetable within your circles. But if you want people outside of those circles to stop associating your party with the racists of the country, you're going to have to stop rushing to the defense of every conservative pol who sticks his boot in his mouth.

I'm looking at you, "The Corner." As you all know by now, VA Senator George Allen singled out one of his opponenent's campaign workers who is of Indian descent, at one of Allen's events, and belittled him in front of the crowd. He welcomed the young man to America and referred to him twice as "macaca." It's been publicized by now that "macaca" is a racist slur, particularly with respect to dark-skinned north Africans. That George Allen's mother was French Tunisian (north African, in case you didn't know offhand), is a remarkable coincidence.

In response to Mr. Allen's remarks, you've claimed that macaca is not a well-known term (twice , in fact), that Joe Biden says dumb things as well, and that the real villain was the recipient of the slur. The last one is my personal favorite.

There's been nothing even approaching an innocent explanation for the term. Allen's claim that it was a variation of "mohawk," a hairstyle that the young man obviously does not have, is so laughably pathetic that no parent in the country would buy it, if they heard it coming from one of their children.

Now, whether or not "macaca" is a well-known slur does not change the fact that it was made. Perhaps you don't understand what's wrong with a Senator, and presidential hopeful, directing racial slurs at members of minority groups. Much of this country, however, would like to know if people so high in office, with aspirations to the highest, hold viciously bigoted views. Just because "macaca" may not be as well-known as, say, "jigaboo," doesn't mean this is a tempest in a teapot. It's very serious. It's about what's inside George Allen, and why he would make -any- racial slur, let alone in public. Given the etymology of that slur, along with Allen's heritage and knowledge of French, that's pretty compelling prima facie evidence that he knew what he was saying. Until a better explanation than "he meant mohawk" comes along, it's entirely reasonable to conclude that the man is a bigot, and holds racist views. That is serious, whether or not he used the "N" word itself.

If you want the GOP to really wash its old dirty linens of the taint of racism, you need to start condemning it when it comes from your own camp, not just Joe Biden. Making excuses, blaming the "liberal media," and writing it off as insignificant....that may keep your readers mollified, but you're never going to get rid of your scarlet "R" if you keep that up.

Sincerely,

Some Guy With a Blog

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