Allen and the N-Word


The NYT fleshes out the story today. Larry Sabato adds his credible voice to the chorus. One source is a reminiscence by a highly credible first-hand witness:

I met him twice actaully [sic]. I did two modelling [sic] jobs with his then wife and she told me about some puppies they were trying to give away. I told her I'd like to take one. So one evening I went out to their place in the country near [Charlottesville] somewhere. There was a pond quite close by. I asked if they had any waterfowl landing there. George told me about the ducks and geese that sometimes landed there and about the ducks who tried to raise their young but who would have them all devoured by the big turtles in the pond. Well, why doesn't someone kill the turtles and eat them? I asked. George said 'only the niggers around here eat em.'

You tend to remember moments like this. I'm used to anti-white and homophobic slurs around my neighborhood. But the bigotry of some inner-city African-Americans is something I'm so accustomed to it's just background noise. It doesn't excuse it: I'm just saying I'm used to dealing with it. As long as they don't touch me, they're welcome to their hate.

But when I hear an educated white person use the "n-word" without irony, it's hard to forget it. The last time was a few years ago when someone I barely knew complained about the poor service from a cable guy. "Worthless n***ers," he said. I was dumbfounded, told him so, found a way to excuse myself, and left. I never spoke to that guy again. I have met Allen a few times and he seems like a jovial fellow. But he has never seen a piece of anti-gay legislation he doesn't like. His support for the anti-gay constitutional amendment in Virginia - an amendment so extreme and so unnecessary it is indistinguishable from bigotry - is itself proof to me of a bigoted mind. The amendment doesn't just ban civil marriage for gays - that's been done in Virginia law and underlined with a few thousand sharpies. It's to amend the state constitution to bar any rights for gay couples at all:

"This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

That goes for gays and straights. It guts any domestic partnership, civil union, or even potentially private contracts trying to keep couples together. We don't need the n-word to know that Allen is a bigot. We don't need to know what "macaca" means. We don't need to know that he is embarrassed to be discovered as partly Jewish. Judge him by his policy positions. The bigotry is in plain sight.

(Photo: from Washington's National Zoo, the word that popped out of Allen's mouth when he saw a person of color at a campaign rally.)