10. Allen’s “macaca” moment
Coming into the 2006 political campaign season, George Allen was heavily favored to reclaim his US Senate seat in Virginia and he was considered a hot prospect to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 – until he unleashed a seldom-used slur during a campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia. Allen referred to an Indian-American as “macaca” as he was filming the event. The slur’s definition varies, but can be described as a racial epithet pertaining to South Asian people. Despite the unclear meaning, the context in which Allen used the term didn’t help his claim that it was an innocent comment:
- “This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt – Macaca – or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent. Let’s give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”
- Allen eventually lost the race to Democrat Jim Webb by less than four-tenths of a percentage point.