Sunday, September 24, 2006

Once A Racist, Always A Racist

I didn't believe Mel Gibson's apologies and protestations of tolerance after spewing hatred of Jews while drunk. I didn't believe Senator George Allen's claim that 'macaca' was just a made-up word he happened to apply to the only person of color in the room last month. I think if someone is being a racist when they are in their 40s or 50s, it's not the first time. It's a long-held belief that's finally made it into the searing light of day.

I was right about George Allen for sure.

Salon: Teammates: Allen used "N-word" in college
Three members of Sen. George Allen's college football team remember a man with racist attitudes at ease using racial slurs.

Sept. 24, 2006 | WASHINGTON -- Three [white] former college football teammates of Sen. George Allen say that the Virginia Republican repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s.

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "nigger" to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.

A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "nigger," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.

Shelton also told Salon that the future senator gave him the nickname "Wizard," because he shared a last name with Robert Shelton, who served in the 1960s as the imperial wizard of the United Klans of America, a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. The radiologist said he decided earlier this year that he would go public with his concerns about Allen if a reporter ever called. About four months ago, when he heard that Allen was a possible candidate for president in 2008, Shelton began to write down some of the negative memories of his former teammate. He provided Salon excerpts of those notes last week.

Maybe George can go back to playing Confederate generals in bad TV movies. He's going to need another job, because he's going to have a hard time winning back his Senate seat. It's 2006, not 1966. It's Virginia, not Mississippi. We don't like mean people, and we don't like liars.

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