Sunday, August 03, 2008

McCain - "I hated the gooks."

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
On his campaign bus recently, Sen. John McCain told reporters, "I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live." Although McCain said he was referring only to his prison guards, there are many reasons why his use of the word "gook" is offensive and alarming.

It is offensive because by using a racial epithet that has historically been used to demean all Asians to describe his captors, McCain failed to make a distinction between his torturers and an entire racial group.

It is alarming because a major candidate for president publicly used a racial epithet, refused to apologize for doing so and remains a legitimate contender.

This quote is actually from 2000, not 2008 as I originally thought, although that doesn't make it any less offensive. I have to say I'm not surprised, though, after running across this gem:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." -- John McCain, GOP fund-raiser, Washington D.C., June 1998

I guess only a real commander in chief can make fun of a defenseless teenage girl while begging fat cats for money.

Some have claimed that the term "gook" is innocent, that it comes from the Hangul language and means "people." Well, not that Wikipedia is the final word on all things, but:

Gook: (U.S. military slang) a derogatory term for foreigners, especially south-east Asians.75 The etymology of this racial slur is shrouded in mystery, disagreement, and controversy.76 The Oxford English Dictionary admits that its origin is "unknown".77
  • According to Random House Unabridged Dictionary, "a native of Southeast Asia or the South Pacific, esp. when a member of an enemy military force. any dark-skinned foreigner, esp. one from the Middle East." 78
  • According to Princeton University Dictionary, it described as "a disparaging term for an Asian person (especially for North Vietnamese soldiers in the Vietnam War)." 78
  • According to Online Etymology Dictionary, "1899, U.S. military slang for 'Filipino' during the insurrection there, probably from a native word, or imitative of the babbling sound of their language to American ears (cf. barbarian). The term goo-goo eyes 'soft, seductive eyes' was in vogue c.1900 and may have contributed to this somehow. Extended over time to 'Nicaraguan,' 'any Pacific Islander' (World War II), 'Korean' (1950s), 'Vietnamese' and 'any Asian' (1960s)." 78
  • According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, "Used as a disparaging term for a person of East Asian birth or descent. Perhaps alteration of earlier goo-goo, native inhabitant of the Philippines, Pacific islander." 78

I'm sorry, but there is no way to spin this as anything other than a blatantly racist remark, used deliberately and with full knowledge of its connotations, and with absolutely no coverage in the so-called liberal media.



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