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8/18/2006 01:09:00 PM | Timothy

"Of Monkeys and Senators"
I've rambled on below about Allen's race problem. Matthew Yglesias is much more articulate in stating what he thinks:
For the record yes, obviously George Allen was trying to use a racial slur against S.R. Sidarth. The reason you might not think it was a slur is that the slur in question was terribly obscure. It's obscure, however, because it's a French slur. And Allen's mother is . . . a white Frenchwoman who grew up in Tunisia, exactly the sort of person who would know all about French racial slurs. And Allen speaks French. And, of course, in Allen's youthful California days he was a white supremacist fond of flying the Stars and Bars.

There, again, for a southern person of a certain age to have an affection for the Confederate Flag might mean any number of things. But for a Californian to have an affection for the Confederate Flag isn't open to a lot of interpretation.



Update: Via TNR.com, I see that S.R. Sidarth's grandparents wrote a letter to the editor in the Washington Post about the family's connection to Ghandi:
We would like to thank you for taking the right stand on the gaffe of Sen. George Allen ["George Allen's America," editorial, Aug. 15].

It is quite shocking for a person of Mr. Allen's caliber, who is running for a second Senate term and is a likely candidate for president in 2008, to point a finger at a young lad of 20, bullying our grandson, S.R. Sidarth, and calling him a derogatory and uncalled-for name. Sidarth was only videotaping the event.

In the 1930s Sidarth's great-grandfather accompanied Mohandas Gandhi to London as his secretary at the Round Table Conference on political reform in India. We come from a heritage of nationalists and seekers after truth. Hence these remarks hurt all the more, and we are personally affected by such an attack.

BOB NARASIMHAN

MANI NARASIMHAN

Bethesda



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