Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who is running again for Senate in 2012, was called out in Twitter on Tuesday night for repeatedly questioning NBC4 anchor-reporter Craig Melvin about his nonexistent sports career. The Washington Post’s Tom Jackman reported on Allen’s apparent stereotyping of Melvin:
NBC 4’s reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin’s Twitter account Tuesday night: “For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me,”what position did you play?” I did not a play a sport.”
UPDATE: The son of former Redskins coach George Allen apologized to Melvin. “@georgeallenva:sorry if I offended, ask people a lot if they played sports Grew up in fball family found sports banter good way to connect”
Allen lost his seat after being caught on camera hurling racial epithets at a young staffer working for his Democratic opponent. The “macacca” scandal led to other revelations about Allen’s reactionary views on race, including a picture of Allen hanging out with a white supremacy group, and the fact that he had prominently displayed a noose in his Charlottesville law office.
Although Allen has tried to distance himself from his racist past, questions still linger about his view of racial minorities. For example, last year, I attended an event featuring Allen at the Heritage Foundation. After speaking once with the senator during the question and answer period, I again raised my hand for a second question. For some reason, possibly because I was the only minority in an all-white audience, Allen dismissed my second question by asking if I understood what an “at-bat” meant:
DUNLOP: I think we have one more question here. [pointing to me]
ALLEN: This guy has a question. I’ll talk to you afterwards [inaudible] let everyone get a bat [makes baseball bat swinging motion]. You understand at-bats — right?
In Allen’s worldview, every tall African American is a sports player, but Asian Americans have never heard of baseball.