So now that you know what's coming, you can avoid it by clicking away RIGHT NOW and by not scrolling down any further! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Run Away! Run Awaaaaay!
Eight years ago, I thought John McCain was a great candidate with a compelling personal story and a maverick approach. Then he said this: "I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live."
McCain refused, at first, to apologize. He said he only meant the horrible prison guards who tortured him during his captivity during the VietNam war. He said he couldn't come up with a more polite term to call his captors. I thought at the time, "Why not call them 'my captors?' 'sadists?' 'torturers?' 'the enemy?' Why that word? Why does your anger spill over from that justifiably directed at your inhumane captors to all Asians?" As Katie Hong pointed out, he called them Asians, because that is what gook means:
Contrary to McCain's attempt to narrowly define "gook" to mean only his "sadistic" captors, this term has historically been used to describe all Asians. McCain said that "gook" was the most "polite" term he could find to describe his captors, but because it is simply a pejorative term for Asians, he insulted his captors simply by calling them "Asians" -- a clearly disturbing message. To the Asian American community, the term is akin to the racist word "nigger." A friend of mine, a white male Vietnam veteran, pointed out that veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, know how spiteful the term "gook" is. It has everything to do with labeling someone as "other," the enemy and yellow. McCain sent the message that all Asians are foreigners and remain forever the "other" and the enemy.For what it is worth, I will point out that he did eventually apologize. But it was one of those "I'm sorry IF I offended anyone" apologies. And he said he wouldn't say it again because "some people" find it offensive. Doesn't exactly sound like an epiphany, a recognition that he was not simply angry at his captors, which was justifiable, he was also harboring some hateful attitudes toward Asians.
Some people might point out in defense of McCain that this happened 8 years ago, and that it isn't relevant today. I hope those same people see McCain's attempts to link Obama to Bill Ayers, a tenuous connection that ended ten years ago, as equally irrelevant!
I'll also add that maybe this isn't the sin of the century; maybe it isn't reason enough not to vote for a candidate you otherwise love. But if so, I think we have to ask why it's ok. Do you agree that if he had said the n-word that he shouldn't be a candidate today? Or maybe you just think he wouldn't be a candidate if he'd used the n-word because politically that would be suicide. If so, why is it ok to say gook, but not the n-word?
Or perhaps you think it is justifiable that McCain harbor negative attitudes toward Asians in light of what he experienced in captivity. Sorry, I'm not willing to give him a pass on that when he wants to be President of ALL Americans. If his experience, which was truly awful, makes him hate Asians for as long as he lives, then he needs to look for another line of work.
Here's a recent reaction from one young man to this racial slur:
I agree with him. I would find it really troublesome to have as President a man who looks at my daughters and sees "gooks."
UPDATE: I don't know what happened, but the comments disappeared! I promise, I didn't delete them! I have had trouble in the past with comments being disabled when I post a YouTube video, but comments definitely worked at first on this one. I don't know where they went. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
UPDATE UPDATE: They're back! No idea why. Hopefully they'll stay this time!