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UK US lawmaker under fire over racist slur of Indian-American

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    US lawmaker under fire over racist slur of Indian-American
    (AFP) – 4 hours ago

    AFP: US lawmaker under fire over racist slur of Indian-American

    WASHINGTON — A South Carolina lawmaker faced calls to resign Friday after using a racial slur against President Barack Obama and an Indian-American candidate for governor.

    "We already got one raghead in the White House. We don't need a raghead in the governor's mansion," Republican state senator Jake Knotts said Thursday on a talk show, according to local media.

    Knotts was referring to state representative Nikki Haley, who is considered a front-runner in Tuesday's election to become the Republican candidate for governor in the conservative southern state.

    Haley's parents were Sikh immigrants from India, although she says she is Christian. Obama's father hailed from Kenya.

    A "raghead" is a derogatory term in the United States directed mostly against Middle Eastern Muslims. Sikh men customarily wear turbans.

    Knotts, who supports a rival Republican candidate, said he made the remarks in jest on an Internet talk-show, which was not available online Friday.

    "Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize," Knotts said. "I still believe Ms Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur."

    South Carolina's Democratic Party called the lawmaker's remarks "completely unacceptable" and said his excuse was "lame."

    "If he has any shame at all, he will resign from the Senate. There should be no room in government for hate speech," the party's chair, Carol Fowler, said in a statement.

    Tim Pearson, a spokesman for Haley, called Knotts "an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party."

    "South Carolina is so much better than this, and the people of our state will make that quite clear next Tuesday," Pearson said in an email.

    Controversy erupted in another southern state, Virginia, in 2006 when then senator George Allen used the term "macaca" against a young Indian-American volunteer for his Democratic rival Jim Webb, who won the election.

    Yet Louisiana voters elected Republican Bobby Jindal in 2007 as the first Indian-American governor in the United States.

    South Carolina is choosing a successor to Governor Mark Sanford, who caused a nationwide stir last year when he disappeared for five days, only to admit later that he had secretly flown to Argentina to see a mistress.
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