Sabato Recants Allen Slur Story
Larry Sabato, the quintessential academic media whore, now says he never heard George Allen use racial slurs, a day after strongly implying that he had on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews.
“I’m going to stay with what I know is the case. And the fact is, he did use the n-word, whether he’s denying it now or not. He did use it.”
Here’s the video:
Sabato now says, “I didn’t personally hear GFA (Allen’s initials) say the n-word. My conclusion is based on the very credible testimony I have heard for weeks, mainly from people I personally know and knew in the ’70s.”
When someone says of someone they were personally acquainted that they “know” something to be a “fact,” the clear presumption is that they witnessed it personally. Sabato should have merely told Matthews that he had numerous second-hand accounts.
My strong guess–as someone who was just starting grade school at the time, years away from meeting George Allen–is that the man did in fact use the word “nigger” on numerous occasions in the early 1970s. To have done so would have been quite expected of someone in his circumstances during that era. But neither Larry Sabato nor I know for sure.
UPDATE: MetaDC thinks my penultimate sentence “weird” and wonders,
Seriously, what circumstances justify the well-educated Californian’s frequent use of a word considered among the worst of obscenities? I’d love to hear a compelling argument for “nigger” having been an acceptable term at a major university as late as the 1970’s.
My guess is the author is very young. For one thing, an undergraduate jock is hardly someone I would describe as “well educated.” For another, Allen was at UVA from 1971-1974, a scant few years after the passage of the cornerstone civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated three years before Allen matriculated. There was much to-do over busing inner city kids to the suburbs to integrate the schools. George Wallace was in his second and third terms as governor of Alabama. That the word “nigger” was still in use at the University of Virginia should hardly be surprising.