Sunday, November 12, 2006

Macaca Revisited

Now Republican ex-Senator George Allen of Virginia famously threw his campaign for re-election off the rails when he referred to S.R Sidharth, a student worker for the Democratic candidate Webb, as "macaca, or whatever his name is", and "“Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

Frank Rich, in the Sunday NY Times, points out that even if Allen's claim that he meant nothing racist by that epithet is accepted, "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia” was unmistakably meant to demean the young man as an unwashed immigrant, whatever his race.

Rich tells us that

"As it happened, the “macaca” who provoked the senator’s self-destruction, S. R. Sidarth, was not an immigrant but the son of immigrants. He was born in Washington’s Virginia suburbs to well-off parents (his father is a mortgage broker) and is the high-achieving graduate of a magnet high school, a tournament chess player, a former intern for Joe Lieberman, a devoted member of his faith (Hindu) and, currently, a senior at the University of Virginia. He is even a football jock like Mr. Allen. In other words, he is an exemplary young American who didn’t need to be “welcomed” to his native country by anyone."


This story did resonate with the "South Asian" community, but in an unexpected way, perhaps. Please note that Sidharth is a Hindu, and is of Indian descent. Therefore, on, a popular Pakistani web-site, Pakistanis began referring to Indians, and not fondly, as "macacas". I suppose they imagine that Allen's bigoted eye would be discerning enough to distinguish the Paki-ness of what otherwise would look to him to be yet another macaca.

There is an effort by some to promote the notion of a "South Asian-American" rather than "Indian-American". But this pretends a solidarity or common cultural mooring that does not exist.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Arun and all,

I want you to pay very close attention to the fact that my birthday was August 11th, the day of Mr. Allen's "Macaca" gaffe. His defeat, along with many of his ilk, was an apt belated birthday present for me. Check my photo in my Free Ebook... to appreciate the full scope of this blunder.

Now comes the truly important work of preventing the excesses of the last six years from ever happening again. As long as people cling to money, religion, and politics, these seemingly never-ending cycles of evil scoundrels, war, great struggles, and repeated injustices will never end.

These scoundrels need to be taught a lesson about truth and justice that all of humanity will take to heart, once and for all.

Did it ever dawn on you that money, religion, and politics are the prime sources of human struggle and continuing to beat a dead horse (or donkey, or elephant) will never solve our seemingly never-ending cycles of calamities? One good lesson to take from this election is that politics is a cycle that will always produce greedy scoundrels who must later be defeated or else. Why beat your heads against the same old wall when the door has been sighted and waiting for you to open your eyes and "see the light?" Truth, Wisdom, and Justice are non-political, non-religious, and non-monetary.

Here is Wisdom !!