Macaca is a pejorative epithet used by francophone colonialists in Central Africa's Belgian Congo for the native population. It may be derived from the name of the genus comprising macaque monkeys. The word macaque has also been used as a racial slur. The macaque's genus name, Macaca, is a latinization of the Bantu (Kongo) ma-kako, meaning "monkey".
In the 2006 Senate election in Virginia the Republican Senator George Allen lost, in part, because of a video showing him directing the Macaca slur at an opposition campaign worker, S.R. Sidarth, whose ancestors came from India.
TechPresident reports that:
Videos of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani making gaffes have been circulating to potentially damaging effect. Romney's video, in which he seems to equate volunteer military service with working for his campaign, was shot (actually, it's just audio) at a campaign stop in Iowa [it's an official video]. In Giuliani's video, in which he compares himself to the 9/11 rescue workers ("I'm one of them"), Giuliani is speaking at press conference. But while the George Allen/Macaca video captured an unguarded Allen speaking off the cuff at a fundraiser, these captured candidates speaking on the record, directly to cameras.So they wonder if the moment's hitting when candidates should justly have a 'Fear of Macaca?'
The macaca video hit because someone happened to shoot it and upload it, and others took notice and it began to spread virally. In these cases, however, it didn't take a tracker to spot the videos and promote them; instead, an online, distributed network is efficiently spreading them upward making them into a bigger and bigger issue.This is about the size of the network compared to just last year and also the ease of connecting, with search improvements and online video visibility etc.
In my town a clip caught on a mobile phone of a local Councilor caught off-guard is doing the rounds - a local campaign has been slowly developing video as documentary evidence so it's as one with that - and much being made of it by the opposition.
It's not going to spread upwards like Romney's but the implications are possibly serious and only going to get more so for all elected officials. And probably some unelected ones too.