Ugh. Insensitivity abounds.
Sen. George Allen apologized Tuesday for remarks that offended a man of Indian descent who was tracking the Republican's re-election campaign for Democratic challenger Jim Webb.A name you "just made up," although you saw fit to use that term twice:
S.R. Sidarth said he felt Allen was singling him out because of his race when the senator called him "Macaca" during a GOP rally Friday at Breaks, Va., near the Kentucky border.
"In no way was it meant to demean him, and I'm sorry if he was offended," Allen said in a telephone interview.
Allen, who is positioning himself for a possible run for president in 2008, said the name was "just made up" and that he had no idea that macaca is a genus of monkeys including macaques. The name also could be spelled Makaka, which is a city in South Africa.
On Monday, Allen spokesman Dick Wadhams said the name "Macaca" was a variation of "Mohawk," the nickname Allen campaign staffers gave Sidarth for his partially cropped haircut. Allen, however, said Tuesday that he made up the name himself.
Allen has been accused of racial insensitivity before. He wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school yearbook photo, used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room, a noose in his law office and a picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office, but has said he has grown since then.
"This fellow over here with the yellow shirt — Macaca or whatever his name is — he's with my opponent," Allen said. "He's following us around everywhere.""Just made it up." Yeah, riiiight. And macacas are flying out of my butt.
After mentioning that Webb was in California on a fundraising trip, Allen exhorted the crowd: "Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."
(Photo credit: Photo of Sulawesi-Crested Macaque lifted from here.)