August 23, 2006
Ten days after an incident where Senator George Allen singled out a UVA student and called him by a racially insensitive name, the Senator has apologized.
"I was sort of shocked. I didn't know exactly what to do with this or anything. It was a humiliating experience," said S.R. Sidarth.
Sidarth is the man behind a piece of video that depicts Senator George Allen singling him out of a crowd and calling him a 'Macaca.' In some areas, this word is a slur used against minorities and it literally means monkey. The UVA student who was born and raised in Fairfax County says he could never have imagined something like this.
"Considering the moral standards that we expect from our elected officials, it was even more surprising that the only time this would happen would be from a Senator of the United States," he said.
Sidarth was working for Jim Webb's campaign, following the Senator around taping his appearances. He believes this incident gets to the core of who Allen is.
"Voters of Virginia should know who the real Senator Allen is and that he has had some history of racial insensitivity," he said.
"It certainly doesn't reflect very well on Allen himself. Either he didn't know what he was saying, or he knew what he was saying and it wasn't something very good," said Matt Smyth.
Matt Smyth from the UVA Center for Politics says this incident might not hurt Allen in this campaign, but could affect his plans for a Presidential run.
"Any little thing that might make the people in the party worry about how you are going to come off as a national candidate is really going to hurt you," he said.
Sidarth said the conversation between him and Allen was quick and the only question he asked Allen was why it took him so long to contact him. According to Allen, he told Sidarth that he thought he would see him again on the campaign trail and be able to apologize in person.
Sidarth also said he was happy that the senator called because it was the right thing to do.