Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Following Questionable "Macaque" Comment, Allen Offers Non-Apology

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) offered a non-apology to a man of Indian descent who was tracking the Republican's re-election campaign for Democratic challenger Jim Webb.

S.R. Sidarth said he felt Allen was singling him out because of his race when the senator called him "Macaque" during a GOP rally Friday at Breaks, Va., near the Kentucky border. “This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, Macaque, or whatever his name is, he’s with my opponent," Allen said.

"In no way was it meant to demean him, and I'm sorry if he was offended," Allen said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

Why is this a non-apology? Break down the sentence:

"In no way was it meant to demean him ..." equals "I did nothing wrong."

"and I'm sorry if he was offended" equals "He's the one with a problem."

It's similar to the non-apology provided last month by the spokesman for another potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

After using the term "tar baby" to describe the troubled Big Dig construction project in Boston, Romney's spokesman said that Romney "was unaware that some people find the term objectionable and he's sorry if anyone's offended."

Again, consider the sentence construction:

"was unaware that some people find the term objectionable ..." equals "I did nothing wrong."

"and he's sorry if anyone's offended" equals "They're the one with a problem."

It's as if prominent Republicans all read the same guidebook on how to look like your apologizing, without actually apologizing.

***

Romney should have known that some people find "tar baby" objectionable, because White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, at his first press conference in May, raised eyebrows for using the same term.

Similarly, for Allen, the word "Macaque" was not likely gibberish, even though he told the Associated Press that the name was "just made up." (It's an easy excuse, because many news reports spelled the slur "macaca" -- a species of Asian monkeys, which if meant by Allen, would be a worse slur. Some media suggested it was a nonsense term. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart last night had a bit in which correspondent Rob Corddry joked he was from Macaca, which he later revealed was near "Youpeepee.")

But it's a little hard to believe that Allen picked the slur out of the air. As The New Republic reported: "Not only is Macaque apparently a French slur used to describe North Africans, Allen would have good reason to know it is. His mother is French Tunisian (yeah, that's in North Africa), and Allen speaks French."

The story will no doubt quickly die in the press, unless Americans of Macaquen descent hire a good lobbying firm. But it says a lot about Allen.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Brent said...

If you really watched the video, he clearly says "Macaca (three syllables)," not "Macaque (two syllables)." Twice.
The intention remains the same, regardless. But, lets get it right...

11:38 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

It's an awful big coincidence.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He knew what that meant as much as Romney knew what "tar baby" meant...

They're just used to using those words and terms as regular conversation amongst themselves, and as "code" to the White Supremicist portion of the Republican "base". They just don't count on us either knowing what it means or calling them on it.

TC

11:52 AM  
Anonymous oasis said...

Allen's mom is French-Tunisian. I can see her making those comments about dark folks in Allen's presence when he was a kid. He slipped up and reacted when he saw the dark skinned video guy.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Ioo said...

ALSO REMEMBER - Allen Speaks French - He knows what he said...

The slur is French, and it is know that he has studied it for some time while in school

He knew what he was saying.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous SteppingRazor said...

The slur is primarily used in old French colonies ... places like Algeria and Tunisia.

I don't think his knowing this word is a result of studying French, so much as the fact that his mother is French-Tunisian. Given that fact, it's incredibly unlikely that he wouldn't be familiar with the term.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Ioo said...

If you were a racist, would you not learn the terms in a new language?

I mean, first thing I did was learn to cuss in spanish

11:54 AM  
Anonymous SteppingRazor said...

Just pointing out that he didn't even need to study French...


Allen probably knew this term very early on. Probably heard it around the house before he ever took a French class.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Tandalayo_Scheisskopf said...

Here's what a Belgian friend says:
No, it's actually a slur for a maroccan the similarity in sound between the
two is probably the origin. Most moroccans are not of arab decent but berber,
actually berber is a arab slur for the original amazigh population with a similar sound and meaning to the greek barbar.

The prononciation is also different between makaak the monkey and the slur
version ma-kak which sounds like ma=mother kak=shit.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Virginia Dare said...

I think my fave excuse is that
he was trying to say "mullet".

12:06 PM  
Anonymous renegade000 said...

yeah, i know the guy he insulted just has a pretty regular hairstyle, nothing resembling a mohawk or a mullet or whatever allen was trying to say. the local news here showed pictures of him, so viewers could quickly discern that his excuse was utter bull (even if they didn't explicitly call allen out on it), but i've been annoyed that the MSM hasn't even bothered to address this fact, and just parrots allen's excuse.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous higher class said...

Here's the key paragraph from the blog

"But it's a little hard to believe that Allen picked the slur out of the air. As The New Republic reported: "Not only is Macaque apparently a French slur used to describe North Africans, Allen would have good reason to know it is. His mother is French Tunisian (yeah, that's in North Africa), and Allen speaks French."

"The story will no doubt quickly die in the press, unless Americans of Macaquen descent hire a good lobbying firm. But it says a lot about Allen."

He speaks French? And he wasn't boycotted? Someone dropped the ball.

Anyway, he speaks French, his mother is from the area where the term is used by the French as a slur against her and her people?

This blogger is right - says plenty about Allen. What a fool. And what a manipulator if he used English phonetics to come up with ma-ca-ca - in reference to an Asian monkey, when the French pronunciation of macaque would be different.

Aren't Repulicans classy people? Bet some people at his country club patted him on the back for that one.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous jobycom said...

He's claiming his staff had nicknamed the journalist, and he just repeated the nickname they had given him. He says he thought it had something to do with "mohawk," because the man's mullet looked like a mohawk.

It's plausible. I don't beleive it, and even if it's true, he should have made a sincere apology, not the little "Oh, sorry he couldn't take a joke" apology.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous cryingshame said...

Definite slur. I'll give ANYONE the benefit of a doubt with 'Tar Baby' especially since the term should be considered a nod to African heritage and folk lore.

This asshole just spewed his hate to a hate-loving crowd.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy wears a confederate lapel pin in his high school yearbook photo (in the 70's! in California!) He has a confederate flag and a noose in his office when he's a practicing attorney. Do we need a video of him changing into his klan outfit?!? He's a rascist asshole!

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen's explaination keeps changing:


First, it was a word his mother had used.

Second, he overheard campaign workers using the word.

Third, he mad the word up.


Which is it?!?

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Babs Boxer said...

A spade is a spade. Call it as such.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

macaca is stinky.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous beaconess said...

Don't you love these half-assed apologies racists give when caught being themselves? They always profess to being sorry if someone was offended, rather than saying they're sorry they were so offensive. They put the burden on the one being attacked - "Of course, I'm blameless since I didn't mean anything bad when I called him a porch monkey. But I do feel bad that he's SO sensitive that he would actually take offense to being called a porch monkey!"

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Stockholm said...

Over here they are called Makaka
Gibberish my tush.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Tuxeroo said...

found this funny take on the whole non-apology. I do think it's weirder that his staff seemed to think it was okay to crassly insult someone as long as it wasn't racist.

Chancelucky: Senator Cowpie (George Allen, S.R. Sidarth, and Macachismo)

1:53 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares