The hottest talking point on blogosphere right now is over the word, “ Macaca”.

A United States Republican Senator, George Allen was campaigning in his state of Virgina when he singled out SR Sidarth, a 20-year-old volunteer of Indian origin who was videotaping Allen for Democratic challenger Jim Webb.

“This fellow over here with the yellow shirt – Macaca or whatever his name is – he’s with my opponent. Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” Allen said.

He has apologized and claimed he has “no idea what it means”. How can you call someone something if you don’t know what it means? Apparently, some are suggesting it means monkey. (I think half the online world right now is trying to workout a meaning for the word!)

Was it racist? I don’t know, there are various kinds of monkeys. Maybe he wanted to just insult him, as in pre-school, when kids call each other “donkey” “monkey” or “pig” without going into details as to what the colour of their skins are.

Now if this words catches on and you are called on your trips to the US, here are two responses as an Indian you could give.

If in a bar,
Hey you, Macaca!
Mistake it as an American slang for ‘cheers’ and raise your glass or bottle and toast, “Macaca!

At a public place,
Macaca!
Mistake it for “My Kaka” – which means uncle in 6/18 national languages of India and say, “Really? I honestly don’t think I know your mother”

My advice is to never react to a verbal racial attack. 95 percent of the times, I ignore. Five per cent of the time I respond with humor. These kinds of name-calling are due to ignorance and often a sign of weak character.