Dear Teach’: “I am macaca”

Posted: Jan 07, 2007 12:00 AM
Dear Teach’: “I am macaca”

“I am macaca.” This was the essay that S.R. Sidarth, Salon’s “Person of the Year,” used in his application for the University of Virginia political science class called Campaigns and Elections taught by the very partisan Democratic professor Larry Sabato.

But before you dismiss such a statement as merely a flippant comment, consider that this was the entire essay. Yes, if you “are macaca” you can enter this professor’s class, which is so popular that only in one in four students gets in (and I don’t think any essays referring positively to the Federalist papers would win). Professor Sabato was quoted in Salon as saying, “’When you have the right stuff, you don’t need to brag. A simple declarative sentence will do.’”

S.R. Sidarth was the young man who volunteered for Democratic candidate Jim Webb, now about to be sworn into the Senate. Sidarth displayed “the right stuff” when his camera caught George Allen calling him “macaca.” Therewith ensued an analysis of the etymology of the word by the best liberal minds in the media. When it was determined that it was a racial slur “in some parts of the world,” Allen was undone.

A Washington Post profile, “Fairfax Native Says Allen’s Words Stung,” lauded the honors student and revealed that young Sidarth got his start in high school by contributing $2,000 to the presidential campaign of Sen. Joseph Lieberman. This landed him an internship.

Such exaltation of initiative on the part of Sidarth made me momentarily feel ashamed that I did not write a check for $2,000 as a high school student. Nor was I able to earn a 4.1 grade point average at my public school; we were so poor we could not earn above a 4.0. But Sidarth was able to do it at his exclusive private school. This phenomenon—maybe it’s extra points for “community service” or for being macaca--could explain why college students ask me if they can do something for “extra credit.” Had I done all that maybe I could have made a name for myself as a 20-year-old as he did. Maybe if a political opponent had jokingly referred to me as a “dumb Polack,” lumping all Slavic people together (as often happened), I could have written an essay simply stating, “I am Slav.” I would just let the pundits look up the word and trace it back to “slave.” I could have made something of the fact that Americans (even sensitive Democrats) often confuse Slovenia with Slovakia. Instead, I was stupid enough to clean toilets, wait on tables, sling drinks, and trudge through snow-filled vineyards with clippers to pay my way through the community college. But then again I was not at Sidarth’s 4.1 g.p.a genius level.

But as Professor Sabato said, all one needs is the “right stuff.” The right stuff seems to have a lot to do with the color of your skin.

“I am macaca” is essentially what too many students who get financial aid based on their race are saying—to the detriment of their own peers. They’re the ones who saunter into classes acting like they’re doing the teacher a favor by being there. They’re the ones who claim they can’t afford to buy books, beg professors out of their spare copy, but then as my colleague related to me, come in with grillwork on their teeth and Blackberries in hand.

They’re the ones who treat teachers like servants.

But the analysis of this racial incident by the online journal for the übersophisticates, Salon, is worth reading for what it exposes about the tactics of the Democrats in producing victims. The Webb campaign took advantage of a “slow news week” to present the Washington Post “the bait”--and then calculatingly published the video on YouTube (so much for news-sleuthing by our most prestigious mainstream outlets). In a statement of self-congratulation Michael Scherer wrote, “the macaca frenzy was born.” More stories followed about “Allen’s alleged pattern of racist behavior.” (These went back to hearsay about his college years.) “Though Allen’s denials were consistent, he never regained his balance or his standing in the polls.”

A paragraph in this celebratory article is worth quoting in entirety:

“A nation of political partisans took notice. Everywhere there were imitators. In Colorado, activists for the liberal group Progress Now taunted Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave as she walked down the street, hoping she would embarrass herself. In Montana, in another cliffhanger race won by a Democrat, opponents of incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns hounded him with a camcorder as he traveled across the state making gaffe after gaffe. And in Virginia, an abrasiveABRASIVE blogger named Mike Stark shouted questions at Allen until he was tackled by Allen’s staff” [emphasis added]. And it was the “tackling” that was replayed over and over on the news.

Taunting, hounding, shouting…so much for open discourse by the political party that prides itself on its intellectualism. And these are the tactics that are publicly admitted. We have not seen videos of S.R. Sidarth on the campaign trail. Was he doing anything to provoke Allen? The video proudly displayed by Progress Now reveals what is clearly harassment of Congresswoman Musgrave by a young man. Where is Bob Woodward to write about the underhanded methods of smarmy college kids simply harassing candidates in hopes of provoking them? The presumption that conservatives are bigots seems to be the reigning belief among young adults, as the behavior of students at universities when conservatives come to speak indicates.

Much has been made of Time’s Person of the Year, “You,” which fits our self-glorifying culture. But little notice has been made of Salon’s Person of the Year. The Washington Post in its profile sings the praises of a young man from a well-to-do connected Indian family that helped found one of the largest Hindu temples in the U.S. The Left overlooks the fact that Hinduism is based on the belief in castes. But imagine the treatment if Sidarth’s father had helped found a Christian mega-church instead of a temple for a “cool” Eastern religion.

Young Sidarth, because of his family’s wealth, had the leisure to do what few working class college-age students without special aid can do. The Webb campaign capitalized on both his wealth and race.

By simply claiming that he is “macaca” this young man is sure to have entrance to powerful political circles. Not only did Webb’s campaign manipulate and use this opportunity to play the media, but with “macaca” they gave inspiration to other young people armed with cameras, and with more money and brashness than brains.