Senator John McCain a racist?

Ok, so I really debated about posting this article. I wanted this site to be as bi-partisan as possible and I hope that I have been up until now. I realize how important this tid-bit of info might be for y’all if voting for McCain.  This article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Arizona Sen. John McCain refused to apologize yesterday for his use of a racial slur to condemn the North Vietnamese prison guards who tortured and held him captive during the war. “I hate the gooks,” McCain said yesterday in response to a question from reporters aboard his campaign bus. “I will hate them as long as I live.”

Just playing devil’s advocate here,  if I were McCain, I would want to not be “another politician” and “tell it how it is.” But did he overstep his boundaries by making the “gook” comment in 2000 while campaigning? And if he did overstep, should Asians in particular not vote for him because of his unapologetic comments? 

Knowing that he went is a survivor from torture as a P.O.W., and understanding the pain that he suffered, I don’t know if I will hold my vote against him. Furthermore, he is more than qualified to be president, more so than some current candidates. 

Would like to hear y’alls thoughts on this.

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33 Comments

Filed under Campaign 2008, Federal

33 responses to “Senator John McCain a racist?

  1. andrew choi

    i dont think he should lose any points for this

    his ‘100 years in iraq’ comment should though

  2. anthony han

    Honestly, since McCain is going to get the Repubilcan nomination, he will probably get my vote. Is he a bit racist? Maybe. Is he a better presedential candidate than Hillary or Obama? Hell yeah. In politics, the choice, at least for me, comes down to the lesser of two evils. And McCain the racist is an angel compared to the socialist and the most liberal senator of 2007.

  3. Justin Yoo

    Well, it’s all a matter of perspective. He was imprisoned by them, so it’s reasonable that he hates them. But he really shouldn’t have said “gook”, especially to the press. But I’m not going to evaluate his presidential potential based on who’s detained him in the past, as long as he doesn’t make a “Kill all the Yellow Men” amendment, or something like that.

  4. SkinnyJinny

    Its understandable that McCain hates the North Vietnamese for holding him captive during the war… but do we want our president to be that willingly insensitive to the Asian population?
    I’m all for “telling it how it is” but at the same time, as the potential leader and voice of the United States he should’ve at least humbly acknowledged that his words were inappropriate and that his hatred wasn’t intentionally directed to all Asians by using the term “gook”, as many Asians were offended.
    All in all, his comment does nothing to take away from McCain’s qualifications to be future president but it says a great deal when it comes to his character.

  5. BJP

    Why do you think an insult directed at the North Vietnamese is an insult to Asian Americans?

    Let’s not forget, they still keep his flight suit, and is on display in a museum to demonstrate their “win” over the Americans. The man was imprisoned by these folks — let him have his say.

  6. anthony han

    People are just way too sensitive nowadays. Oh my goodness he called me a name… The reason nothing gets done in America is because everyone is busy always trying to be politically correct. Someone makes one little off comment and idiots like Al Sharpton are all up in arms.

  7. President TRM

    There goes US ties with Vietnam.. wait, did we even have one? haha. McCain better watch his mouth tho, cause unless he’s ready to give up ties with the Asian communities…. i guarantee you somehow or another, it’ll all be spun into a big Asian thing, even if it was directed against Vietnamese, we all know it’s NOT going to be spun that way. His PR team is going to have a blast with this one. Now, what if he had said the N word referring to people from Somalia? Holy crap this would totally be a “race” issue.

    Shoot, wait until the Asian newspapers/PR picks this up. Somehow or another, it’s going to spill over to like watchdog groups of Asian communities, even though I personally do *not* consider Vietnam as “Asian”. They are “Southeast Asians”, which I personally don’t find all that appealing anyway. I find more offense that he associated “gooks” with North Vietnamese. Call them by their own racial slur.

    We also all know that this isn’t an insult to AA (just realized AA just spelled Asian Americans as well, haha), but good luck appeasing the mass population on this one.

    We all know what’s bound to happen. Jay Leno and the dog incident, Details magazine and that Asian incident, etc… And I personally think McCain is an idiot if he doesn’t know the difference between a “gook”, a “chink” and.. what’s the slur for Viet? Hm.

    I completely agree it’s about voting for the lesser of um.. 3 evils.. and i don’t quite know if McCain is it. then again, i don’t know if Obama or Clinton is it either.. Basically, we all say it comes down to their beliefs, but our non educated, mass population will basically vote dependent on: “black” vs. “female” vs. “white”. rednecks from poondocks of Georgia isn’t gonna care McCain said “gook”. They’re just gonna hear POW and vote for him and our diehard army members will vote for him (and yes, my brother was in the Navy – his time served). Yes, I do NOT have enough confidence in our population that people will do the right thing. Even I’m torn cause I don’t know if we’re ready for a black president or a female president. There’s still a stigma in my mind.The next thing we know we’re going to have a Korean president (lol), who I’d never vote for.

    I hope there’s good, better people out there than me.

    damnit, can’t we just have one good politician? jung chigoon?

  8. President TRM

    HEY, what happened to my first part??! Your blog cut it off! Frustration…

  9. abc

    I still prefer him over Obama. A black president would be a disaster for asian americans because, as many of us know, black people often hate asians and give us a hard time especially when they are in authorities.

  10. jung chi ggoon

    hey abc,

    do us a favor please? elaborate more on your comments because i’m sure not everyone believes in your generalization of: “…disaster for asian americans bc, as many of us know, black people often hate asians…”

    a bold statement, nonetheless, i wont censor any opinions.

    feel free to respond below this string of comments.

  11. Sleepless in Seattle

    Hey abc, have you forgotten your history? The black community leaders are the reason why us asian american’s have rights. They fought for all ‘colored’ people, remember? Not to mention, Obama was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia — I highly doubt Obama has an ounce of hatred against Asians. Read up, before you speak up.

  12. GK

    Amazing how liberal like to take one particular phrase and amplify it X’s one million. His 100 years in Iraq comment was again taken out of context. Just as we’ve had and currently have security forces in S. Korea/Japan/Phillipines/Germany etc for the past 50 plus years, that’ll likely be the case for Iraq or some other mid-east country. As long as you liberals and conservative keep driving around in automobiles, and using toothpaste in the morning and eating ANY food to survive you will be supporting the oil and petrochemical industry, because as National Geographic so elaborately explained, we are living in a hydrocarbon age (everything we use from plastics to fertilizer for our plants and crops, we rely on hydrocarbons), and it’ll take another 100 years to get out of our hydrocarbon dependence…therefore requiring a military persence in oil rich regions of the world.

    As for his “Gook” comment, I think we all know he really meant “THOSE” gooks, meaning the guards that torchered and held him captive for 5 plus years. thats was soldiers called n. vietnamese at the time, even up to the levels of congress – senators and congressman in D.C. were calling the N.Viets, gooks, the same way we refered to hitlers army as Nazi’s. Its just a descriptive word.

    I like Obama, but honestly how much change can he bring about in 4 years. We all know Bush didnt do what he did the past 7 years on his own. I mean really do you think one man really can make a difference. Its funny how we blame Bush for the War, the economy, the … seriously did you all forget the Democratic take-over of the house and senate in 2006. Most of those elections were won with the promise of ending the war in Iraq. Come 1.5 years later and what do we have; a troop surge and hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for the war…all thanks to not only Bush, but to the House and the Senate.

    Logistically it’ll take one to one and a half years to bring all 190,000 troops and 200,000 civilian workers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with 3-4 million tonnes of equipment and armory. I’d like to see Obama end the war and bring the soldiers home in 2009.

  13. goo

    Good lord,

    There must be literally a couple of hundred million NON-racist Americans out there – couldn’t you just vote for one of those? Sure he can say what he wants, and he can “tell it like it is”… but how about not voting for him, anyway? And voting for someone who has to deal with foreign affairs. You think other heads of state are appreciative of a global leader who won’t retract racist comments? Diplomacy, right or wrong, is important. More so now for the U.S. than any time in the last hundred years – a failing economy will do that. You can’t have a racist diplomat.

    Or maybe you can… but you’ll have a very large line of people waiting happily for that empire to fall.

    (note: though I’m obviously not a Republican, I think people should vote for whoever they want, even racists. I just think there are WAY more options out there to choose from. Don’t settle – pick the best, whoever it is!)

  14. jung chi ggoon

    Goo, well put and absolutely right, but I will respectfully disagree with you on one point.

    [“You think other heads of state are appreciative of a global leader who won’t retract racist comments? Diplomacy, right or wrong, is important.”]

    I do think heads of states globally will appreciate a leader (no matter the country) that will stand firm by his remarks, not because he’s stubborn, but bc he is resolute, and bc an apology might not be warranted. He was tortured, and I’m sure, sentiments are understood from all heads of states of how one must feel. Also, I do believe that his remarks were made on a campaign trail and not as an official of the White House.

    Do you not feel it refreshing that a politician was actually speaking the truth? He could’ve spun it any which way like current politicians do now to appease the masses, but he didnt.

    Diplomacy is important. He’s being diplomatic to his voters, to his base, to his supporters, bc in the end, they elect him as president, not the heads of state.

    Would like to continue this dialogue, Goo.

  15. jung chi ggoon

    hey GK, great points on your response. please comment often.

    one follow point that i’d like to emphasize with this entire post is how important it is that we look at his comments in the context of which he said it. THOSE gooks, as GK points out, is referring to those that tortured him.

  16. goo

    Hey Jung,

    Well said and well put. While I certainly won’t condemn McCain for hating people that tortured him – and can never imagine how that changes one’s life, and opinion of other people/races – I still think a wise person can let his/her feelings known without degrading to racial slurs. How often is a debate between friends/associates/lovers, etc a good one, until someone childishly insults the other, thereby debasing the entire thing?

    I have no issue with McCain having these feelings, but I still think it will only do him harm on diplomatic tours. And I still believe that while his racism may be well “earned” from his time as a POW, I still think that there are numerous other non-racist options to choose from.

    Besides that, I am with you – an ability to speak one’s mind, whether it’s popular or not, is a rare and commendable trait, and I think it’s a reason that McCain is one of the few Republican candidates that has some appeal for Democrats.

    That said, I think Ron Paul spoke out even more honestly, and more against the grain… I just wish it had served him better!

  17. AVietnamese

    He went to VN , he bombed VN , he was captured by VNese , they didn’t kill him and then he call them barbarian … Funny XD . Sound like North Vietnamese should kill him that day (If things go that way , still he have a tongue to say “gook” ?) . XD . He was lucky that he was in Vietnam . How about Korea ??? XD . They maybe kind in peace , but in war they will just catch you , torture you , cut your throat and use your body as pet-food . Seriously … XD Hahaha stupid Americans , if you want to talk about people’s right , then let’s talk about tiger cages on Con Dao Island … XD

  18. AVietnamese,

    1. There’s something in the civilized world called the law of war, which was something that North Vietnamese Communists (and Chinese, North Korean, Russian Communists) can’t comprehend. Even if they did, they never had the character to practice it.

    2. You need to learn about McCain before making such ignorant, offensive statements. He was a soldier fighting for his country and for the freedom and liberty for Vietnamese, including you or your parents. When he was captured as a prisoner of war, he should be treated humanely. And despite being tortured and humiliated by his captors, he remained loyal to his country. Not only that, this man had such a big heart that he forgave the North Vietnamese for what they did, in the interests of healing the wounds of war and moving our countries forward to a better relation.

    3. Since it sounds like you are a Vietnamese living in Vietnam, why don’t you focus on learning about the systematic oppression of human rights and civil rights by your own government? It would be a better use of your time and energy then offering your misguided opinion on U.S. presidential election. 🙂 Isn’t it kinda ironic that young Vietnamese today have such a strong interest in American politics but no clue and no role in the selection process of their own country’s leader? These are questions that you should ponder, my fellow bloodbrother.

  19. jung chi ggoon

    hey goo,

    humor me if you will…would remarks like still be able to drive you to the polls and vote for mccain in november? better yet, can the comment drive you to vote for the other candidate?

    i’ll tell you, that comment still lingers in the asian community down here in the south. some folks just cant get over that.

    hey, anothervietnamese, saw ur site. great site. keep up the good work. i’m glad u commented. i hope we can continue to work consistently in the future.

    my question for you is: “what, if anything, can mccain do to retract those statements without actually retracting those statements? can he weather this comment he made 8 years ago? what does he have to do to regain the confidence of the Asian American vote?
    …and finally, will Obama and/or Hillary use this against him?

  20. cm

    Mccain is not racist. He has stated that he refers to his north vietnamese captors as “gooks”, and will never apologize for it because of how he was treated. He does not use that term to refer to all vietnamese or asians.

  21. dy

    Too many gooks in here making excuses for a man they don’t even know.

    BTW, If I offended anyone with the term “gook”, please excuse me like you do McCain.

  22. honorary white

    Wow! Its great to see that we asians know our place as “honorary whites.” Yes boss what you wanna call me now?
    So racism is ok if a black/latino/etc attack me and I call them nigger/spic/etc? Oh but he was a POW so its ok! So what would Americans say if a former Nazi said aNYTHING remotely anti-Semetic and said they would hate them until he died. They would denounce them as I am sure many of you aplogists would fall in line.
    McCain is a racist. He said that crap 8 years ago IN PUBLIC. OH YEAH, I am positive he stopped saying that term the day after even in private. Yeah sure…

    And then this guy says that he wants to “bomb, bomb, bomb” Iran. I guess that his bombing campaign would not kill many Iranians and that killing civilians is not a war crime. What if someone said that about NYC, the US, or Israel?

    McCain is indicative of this new “acceptable” racism the right wing attempts to perpetuate. Why does the Republican party draw in racists from the Klan to Uncle Toms of the gook-ish variety.
    ps The comments on Obama being black and screwing Asians is racist stereotyping. And trying to legitimize his use of gook as against the Vietnamese does not make it any better. You do know that many whites cannot tell the difference between a Phillipino and a Vietnamese. To them they are ALL gooks. So please accept you place as a gook you uncle Toms and as Malcolm X noted, “house negro.” Yes Boss! WE got a nice house.

  23. Fred

    I’m doing an article on what would be some of the questions that Asian-Americans would ask the three presidential candidates regarding Asian-American issues. I could use some suggestions so that I’ll get it right. I welcome anybody who could help me with this project.

  24. jung chi ggoon

    hey honorary white, preciate the dialogue. one question if you don’t mind answering.

    i dont disagree with your comments about racism still existing today, but when are we going to stop complaining about racism? we are always going to be considered second class citizens if we cry foul everytime someone says a comment?

    SOME OF US ARE THE ONES THAT PERPETUATE THIS UGLY CYCLE.

    i know plenty of asian americans that have succeeded in this “racist” world without once talking about being hated on.

    i could go on but i would like to hear your response…or anyone else’s for that matter.

  25. I think that okay…John McCain first of all needs to understand that HE CHOSE to go to war. He says that he will hate the gooks forever, thats what you get for going to war. He should have known the risks in fighting with the vietnamese. We were in their land messing with them. Of course he is going to forever hate whoever tortured him…but when you says gooks i honestly believe hes refferring to all asians, just like if it would happen to any of you. And one more thing, why would you say that publically, i think he crossed the line saying that pubically knowing that his words will be heard. John McCain has no respect and should keep those personal things to himself.

  26. bjp

    Jeez. This comment thread is beginning to sign like the ones on AJC.com.

    Jay, keeping political candidate’s opinion to themselves? are you for real? Don;t you want to know the candidate’s biases? Would you rather have someone who listens to a true bigot like Rev. Wright for 20 years and then claim “he-never-said-those-things-when-I-was-there-depsite-him-baptizing-my-child as president?

  27. Kelly Joyner

    Please look up Vietnam Veterans against McCain. Sen. McCain admitted in a 1973 article that he was willing to give up important information to the “gooks” as he called them, to ensure he received better medical attention. Further, he was actually treated much better than most POWs because the Viet Cong knew he was the son of an important admiral. Later, McCain refused to acknowledge the Vietnamese man who risked his life to save McCain’s. McCain is also a serial womanizer who met and wooed his current wife while still married to the mother of his children who was horribly injured in an auto accident and then divorced her to marry the trophy wife who helped him start his political career.

  28. Anonymous

    McCain’s preacher stated that Hitler was sent by god to kill the Jews, he graduated at the bottom 1% of his military school, and is in every way a Republican version of John Kerry.

    I hope you all enjoy 8 years of President Obama.

  29. Maiyeko

    This is silly, it was war, what were they supposed to do give him foot rubs, tea and his pick of local women? What would he have done as a soldier in their place?

    It is a racist remark, plain and simple. Soldiers using the term made no distinction between one Asian person & the next. They didn’t add a disqualifier saying, oh I wasn’t talking about the good Asians only the bad ones.

  30. realtruth08

    Guys. Check out this book and video by author Irwin Tang on John McCain.

  31. lew

    I believe he is a racist. You can never believe everything you hear second hand, but I’ve read articles written by insiders talking about his use of just about every racial slur, as well as those insulting to women and homosexuals.

    Why the need to use the term “gooks” if it has nothing to do with being racist? He can use any term to express his hatred towards a specific group of individuals, but to use a word that specifically has been know as a racist term towards Vietnamese, and even Asians in general?

    This hatred won’t even allow him to see how obvious it is that this term IS offensive to many Asians, and at a very minimum, as a public representative, he should not use this in public. Isn’t that common sense? If you were a public official, and one of your family members was murdered by a black man, would it be acceptable to say, in public, “I hate that nigger…and I use that term only referring to him, not all black people.”? Even if you feel that way, it’s just not acceptable to say that in public, especially someone that’s running for president of a country that has so much diversity.

    It just shows the lack of reasoning and lack of respect for people. I’m no psychologist, but I’m worried about someone with that kind of hatred for anyone running this country.

    I won’t get into my political opinion, since that’s not really the topic here, but I find it hard to believe that people can’t see through this guy.

    I’m not Asian, but I am a minority (half black, half white). I agree that many minorities use racism as a crutch, as an excuse to fail and look to this as the first excuse when something goes wrong. That’s not me. I do not blame everything on racism, and it has in no way gotten in the way of my success. But I am also not blind, and I know it is still all around, and probably always will be.

    I also was intrigued by the comment that said black people are mean to Asians, especially in a position of power. Is that true? I have some very close friends that are Korean and Japanese, and I grew up around many Vietnamese and Korean people (mixed with black and white) and I never witnessed that, or heard that from my friends. I know blacks and mexicans (in certain areas) hate each other, but I haven’t heard that about asians and blacks. Interesting.

  32. Lawrence Skarin

    Modest recommendation:

    As gays have actually promoted the use of “queer,” perhaps this should be a model for Asian Americans. The way to eliminate the “power” of a pejorative is to have the target populace use it proudly.

  33. True American Patriot

    Sleepless in Seattle at least knows his/her history!

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