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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

August 20, 2006

Written by C.N.

More Anti-Indian Politician Comments

First we had Senator Joseph Biden’s careless remarks about Indian American business owners in Delaware. Now, Republican Senator George Allen is under fire for singling out an Indian American at a recent rally and calling him “macaca,” a derogatory slur meaning “monkey”:

In addition to a scathing New York Times editorial, Virginia papers such as the Roanoke Times, the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot and the Charlottesville Daily Progress have spoken out against Allen’s choice of words and questioned his future political, including possible White House, aspirations. The U.S.-Indian Political Action Committee (USINPAC) told Allen in a phone call Tuesday that his comments have angered the Indian-American community. . . .

Webb’s campaign distributed a video clip of Friday’s appearance to reporters, which shows Allen telling the crowd: “Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” . . . Sidarth, who was born in Virginia, said he felt the senator “was singling me out as a person of color when the rest of the audience was Caucasian.”

You can view the actual clip yourself below and judge for yourself whether Allen’s comments are racially offensive:

My opinion is that in most cases involving politicians like Allen, he probably did not purposely intend his comments to be racially offensive. Nonetheless, they can certainly be interpreted that way and ultimately, that makes Allen guilty of being racially insensitive and ignorant to the cultural and demographic realities of contemporary American society.

In that sense, he has no place being a representative for the people of Virginia or any other state. If he wants to be a representative for only racially ignorant Whites, then he’s more than qualified to do that. But in terms of representing the entire spectrum of Americans that are of all different kinds of races, ethnicities, and cultures, hopefully the citizens of Virginia will realize that they can do a lot better than him.


Update: Sen. Allen has since personally apologized to Sidharth. Unfortunately, the latest anti-Indian, anti-Muslim comment comes from Senator Conrad Burns of Montana who recently said the U.S. is up against a faceless enemy of terrorists who “drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill at night.” It’s getting almost comical at how the racial profiling and racial prejudice doesn’t seem to ever end. Why should I ever be surprised?

Second Update: On Nov. 9, 2006, Allen conceded defeat in his reelection contest against James Webb. To top things off, Burns was also defeated in his quest for reelection in Montana. Clearly there were several factors responsible for their defeats, but making xenophobic slurs against people of color certainly didn’t help their cause. As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around. Take a seat, George and Conrad!

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "More Anti-Indian Politician Comments" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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