Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth – Who is Macaca?

The Washington Post continues its whirlwind coverage of a two-week-old off-the-cuff remark made by Senator George Allen in a campaign stump speech with an extensive profile on page 1 of today’s Metro section of Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth.

It’s an interesting piece about a young man who has been catupulted to fame. While his insistence that he instantly knew that “macaca” meant “monkey” and was a racial slur does not jibe with his statements immediately after the incident, the piece is quite flattering. Indeed, Sidarth is an incredibly bright, dedicated young man who was on the fast track to success before being thrust into the national spotlight.

He notes the irony of being welcomed to his own country: “I was born and raised in Fairfax County, and he’s from California.” Allen and I are also Fairfax County residents but we’re both transplants.

At least his notoriety is not without its perks:

Larry J. Sabato, an oft-quoted political pundit who teaches a small, popular seminar on campaigns and elections, said he asked students to write an essay as part of the admission process. Eighty people applied for the course, including Sidarth. His essay was just three words long — but it was enough to clinch one of the 20 coveted spots in the class.

“I am Macaca,” he wrote.

One gathers he would have gotten in anyway, although he’d have had to work harder on the essay.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Sidarth’s earned his 15 minutes of fame. Maybe somebody should put his picture under the “macaca” entry in Wikipedia, since he’s obviously self-associating with that name.

  2. lunacy says:

    If anyone had stopped me on the street 2 weeks ago and asked me what the word “macaca” means I would have made a guess of some kind of exotic food or bird.

    And since I’m so good at guessing, I’ll make another and say that I’m probably in the majority regarding my knowledge of this term.