George Allen has done it again.
If you know anything about George Allen, a former United States senator from Virginia, you know that he’s generally most famous not for the high office he held from 2001 to 2007, but for the notable racist gaffes that dot basically his entire career.
Allen played football at the University of Virginia in the early ‘70s, and three of his teammates have gone on the record to say that they heard him casually toss around the n-word on a frequent basis. After that, Allen’s general sense of reverence for the Confederate flag and the southern forces in the Civil War has caused many to take pause (for instance, he once called the Civil War nothing but “a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights).Then, in the late ‘90s, Allen used to hang a little noose in his office, as decoration. Though he claimed that it had “nothing to do with lynching,” Allen never gave an explanation of why a man in the South, where there is an ugly history of racial violence, would hang a noose in his office.
But perhaps the most famous of Allen’s racist missteps came during his re-election campaign for Senate in 2006. That was when, pointing to a Democratic student who worked for his opponent, Jim Webb, Allen told a crowd attending one of his events to look at the “macaca.” The student was an Indian-American, and macaca is a slur meaning monkey.
Allen lost his re-election bid, and he’s been somewhat of a laughingstock ever since, but now he’s back on the campaign trail and he’s already putting his foot in his mouth.
Just last week, Washington, D.C., newsman Craig Melvin noted that Allen has twice now asked him “what position he played” in sports. Both times Melvin, who is African-American, has had to tell Allen that he didn’t play sports in school.
Allen has since apologized to Melvin, but a start like this is not good news for his campaign. Let’s hope that, if he wins, Allen will know to not ask Obama where he played college ball.
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)