Tuesday, August 15, 2006

George Allen is a rascist

Let's not mince words here: George Allen is a rascist.

For those of you not familiar, George Allen is a US Senator currently running for re-election in Virginia. Please note, he also has serious presidential ambitions.

Here's the video:

Here's the story in the Washington Post:

"MY FRIENDS, we're going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas," Sen. George F. Allen told a rally of Republican supporters in Southwest Virginia last week. "And it's important that we motivate and inspire people for something." Whereupon Mr. Allen turned his attention to a young campaign aide working for his Democratic opponent -- a University of Virginia student from Fairfax County who was apparently the only person of color present [S.R. Sidarth]-- and proceeded to ridicule him.

After repeated denials by his campaign manager that he had anything to apologize for, Senator Allen has, of course, apologized:
Reached Monday evening, Allen said that the word had no derogatory meaning for him and that he was sorry. "I would never want to demean him as an individual. I do apologize if he's offended by that. That was no way the point."

Oh, all right then, nevermind. Right?

Well no, not all right. In fact this an example of precisely the sort of rascism that permeates America.

This is not the "Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations".

This is the unconscious rascism of privileged Republicans.

Keep in mind, Allen's remarks were public, designed I would guess, to elicit a chuckle from his all-white (except for Mr. Sidarth) audience, which it did.

Who knows what he says in private, and God only knows what he believes in his heart.

But I strongly suspect that Mr. Allen, his wife, friends, acquantances would swear on their mother's graves that Mr. Allen doesn't have a rascist bone in his body. And they would (and I expect will) do so quite honestly, believing in the truth of their words.

But they would be wrong.

One of the main effects of the civil rights revolution has been to drive obvious rascism underground, especially among the educated, and very especially among politicians. And so, those pols muzzle themselves, falling back into a kind of code, a wink-wink, nudge-nudge that indicates to white audiences that a politician isn't referring to "our" kind of people. As Mr. Allen might put it "real (white) Americans". Chuckle, chuckle.

And the worst thing is, they do this unconsiously, not even admitting to themselves the rascist attitudes behind their words.

Try this syllogism on for size: Rascists are bad people. I am not a bad person. Therefore I am not a rascist.

The only way to stop such insidious behavior is to call it by its name.

So let us not mince words: George Allen is a rascist.

And so are millions of Americans.

Whether we admit it or not.

[UPDATE: Mr. Allen's words may not have been quite as innocent as he claims]

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