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Sidarth and the Senator

September 2006
Sidarth and the Senator

"This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is?Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

- Senator George Allen (Republican), referring to S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year-old Indian-American who works for James Webb, Allen's Democratic opponent.

Allen then began to speak about the ‘War on Terror.'

"The Allen campaign claims that Macaca was just a silly name bestowed on Sidarth, who had been tracking Allen's appearances with a video camera, based on his Mohawk hairstyle. (Sidarth says he has a mullet, not a Mohawk.) But Macaca is also a genus of monkeys encompassing the macaques, and macaque and its cognates are evidently used as epithets for dark-skinned people in various European languages."

- Benjamin Zimmer (Language Log, University of Pennsylvania)

"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?I was annoyed he would use my race in a political context."

���������������������- S.R. Sidarth (quoted in The Washington Post)

"Allen, it turns out, has a spotty history when it comes to, er, cultural sensitivity. According to Brendan Nyhan (co-author of All the President's Spin), he once hung a noose in his Virginia law office, a confederate flag at home, signed a ‘Confederate Heritage Month' proclamation, denounced the NAACP, opposed MLK Day, opposed the 1991 Civil Rights Act in Congress, opposed changing the offensive state song, defended Trent Lott, and praised Strom Thurmond."

- Evan Derkacz (AlterNet.org)

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