Virginia incumbent, Senator George Allen, accused of racism by Democratic hopeful

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Monday, August 14, 2006

On Monday, August 14th, 2006, tensions boiled over between the two party candidates in Virginia's 2006 US Senate election.

Democratic challenger James Webb accused Republican incumbent George Allen of making derogatory comments to a Webb volunteer, an Indian American who was videotaping the Allen campaign. On Friday, August 11th, 20-yr-old S.R. Sidarth, currently attending the University of Virginia, was documenting a campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia. In the midst of a campaign speech, Allen paused and singled out the college student.

"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," Allen said.

He continued, "Lets give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

There is some uncertainty as to whether the comments were intended to be racist or not.

The term 'macaca,' if spelled as such, refers to a type of monkey, which could be termed very offensive, but Allen's campaign maintains that the word was used in reference to Sidarth's apparent mohawk.

Additionally, the Webb campaign was offended that Allen would presume that the color of their volunteer's skin implied he was an immigrant, as Sidarth was born and raised in Fairfax County. Conversely, Allen insists that the comment was not meant to imply immigrant status, and was simply an address to the Webb campaign at large.

Political analysts fear that this mistake may jeopardize the senate race, as well as an Allen presidential bid.


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