John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Racial politics

Meet Tramm Hudson, Republican candidate for Congress in the 13th District of Florida:

I grew up In Alabama, and I understand, and I know this from my own experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know to swim.

Video here. Meanwhile, one of my own Senators recently pointed out the one dark-skinned individual at an otherwise all-white political rally in southwestern Virginia and said:

This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and its great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come. … Lets give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.

Now, the person he was referring to, S.R. Sidarth, was born in the United States and has, unlike George Allen, lived his entire life in Virginia. Also, "macaque" happens to be a racial slur in French-speaking Northern Africa. It's open to debate whether Sen. Allen knew it was a racial slur, although it is worth noting that he speaks French and his mother is a native of Tunisia. And that he has a long history of displaying the Confederate flag on his person, his car, and in his home, and, while a member of the Virginia state legislature, voted against a state holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. (Details here.) None of which proves Allen had racist intent when he made his remarks, of course, but it does suggest that he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Sen. Allen denies that he had any racist intent, and that he was merely calling the gentleman in question a shit head. (No, really.) But he also said that he didn't intend "to demean [Sidarth] as an individual," which is clearly untrue -- in American political culture, "un-American" is one of the worst things you can say about someone -- so anything Allen has to say about the incident is automatically suspect.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the point I wanted to make, which is that as a northerner, I often ask myself why we let the former Confederate states back into our country. Sure, we got Diet Coke out of the deal, but is that worth having to share a country with people like Tramm Hudson and George Allen? Some days I wonder.

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