Down in the ex-Confederate state of Virginia, seems that a fella name o’ G. Felix Allen Jr., candidate for US Senate on the Republican ticket (and presumptive candidate for the US presidency), has taken to singling out dark-skinned people for public ridicule, using the code word “macaca”, a French colonial term perhaps best translated as “sand nigger”, to invoke the ridicule of an all-white audience on a fellow Virginian, one S.R. Sidarth. Interestingly enough (and this was news to me, but Google can confirm it), it seems that the term “macaca” (“monkey”), long favored as a racial epithet by French and Belgian hatemongers, has migrated across the Atlantic and is well known among the set who are nostalgic for the glory days of lynching–a set that includes G. Felix Allen Jr., evidently, to judge from his fondness for displaying Confederate flags and nooses.
Now, Virginia is a great state and has given us great military men like Robert E. Lee, and you might make the argument that if we Northern Liberals and sissified academics had been decent enough to let the great Robert E. Lee salvage a win at Gettysburg then the South would have won the war, slavery would still exist there, and the term strange fruit would imply nothing more sinister than a pomegranate–lynchings being generally unnecessary in a state where the monkeys are bonded slaves. In which case Mr. G. Felix Allen would presumably be a senator in the Confederate senate, not our USian one, and I would have no standing to make any comment at all about his retrograde opinions, any more than Rush Limbaugh has to make about those of politicians in France.
But I myself have walked the paths of Little Round Top — on a sweltering August day twelve years ago (with two bored, irritated, resentful young daughters (aged 5 and 12) in tow), and I’ve actually thought about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion–politically uncorrect as this may be– that I’m actually happy that the Northern Liberals won the Civil War consequent to Gettysburg, however disappointing that may be to G. Felix Allen and the NASCAR, Blue-Collar-Comedy set, and not only because of A. Lincoln’s stirring neo-Shakespearean speech about government of the people, by the people and for the people, even ones named Sidarth, that that victory ensured I would get to hear, but also because I believe in the principles for which so many heroes gave their last full measure of devotion, falling dead to Southern bullets, bayonets, and grapeshot on that Pennsylvanian battlefield so long ago.
So here’s my token contribution to the anti-neoconfederate cause, ridiculing George Felix Allen, junior; doing my little bit to keep alive the “Felix is his middle name” meme, keeping “macaca” high atop the technorati search lists. The Republicans of Virginia have embraced this racist goon as their candidate. Let them deal with it. But since G. Felix Allen Jr. has given us Chamberlainites a pin to deflate his presidential trial balloon, by all means let us use it. Won’t it be funny if a macaca makes it go “pop”?
This is being reported as a gaff, but that’s wrong. It was a deliberate incitement to racism. Allen supplies the proof: The tape aired on the news shows the candidate pointing at the camera and deliberately referring to the man behind the camera as a fellow from the other campaign who has been following “us” around. Allen then uses the macaca slur twice. This tells us that:
1) Allen had multiple previous occasions to plan his words.
2) Allen knew he was being filmed.
3) Allen knew that the guy who would have tape would publicize it.
If this was a gaff, then Allen demonstrated such poor judgment as to indicate that he might be capable of blowing the economy and budget, leading us into a disastrous war, dividing the populace, or some other inconceivable disaster that we expect our elected leaders to be wise enough to be avoid. But Allen is a leader of his party. He is surrounded by a professional staff that calculates the effects of their actions in coordination with the party, and in accordance with their interpretation of the best available polling data. These guys are not idiots. They calculated that they would get more votes, or more money, if people believed that they were racists.
The news here is far worse than that a politician is a racist. It is that the party believes this is not only an acceptable way to lead, but a desirable one. In my opinion, all the parties worthy of leadership (not just the Republicans), should immediately release a statement that this tactic is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
As to the press, I cannot imagine why they would participate in the charade by calling this a gaff. One would think that they would be competing with each other to be the first to present this analysis.
Armchair pychoanalysis is a dubious business, but I found this account fascinating:
The question at hand is, How and why did George Felix Allen jr, who grew up wealthy in a gated all-white community in California, whose mother is a French/Tunisian Jew who speaks French and Arabic to her children, come to identify so strongly with the South, the Confederacy and neoConfederate ideology? The above-linked examines G. Felix’s strange personal history in search of answers.