In considering the controvery of whether Senator George Allen truly knew the meaning of the word in his infamous August 11, 2006 outburst, it is significant to note that his mother and numerous relatives are ethnic French expatriates of Tunisia in North Africa.
(n) A virulent racial pejorative, common in Europe, that was obscure in the US until it burst upon the scene during the 2006 Senate Elections. The term, the equivalent of “nigger” (a macaque is a monkey genus) is used primarily in France, especially among former colonizers in North Africa, to describe any person of color, most notably Moslems. When Sen. George Allen used the term to signal out a young man of Indian descent in the crowd for derision, a firestorm hit that directly tipped the balance of power in the US Senate. Allen, a former shoo-in (and until then considered a Presidential candidate), was defeated in a very tight election, ensuring a 51-49 Democratic control of the Senate.
In the Virginia race, Allen had been expected to cruise to a second term this year and make a run for the White House in 2008. The son of a Hall of Fame football coach, Allen served as governor in the 1990s and was popular for abolishing parole and instituting other conservative reforms.
But in Webb he faced an unconventional challenger. Supporters drafted Webb, a political neophyte, to run because of his early opposition to the Iraq war.
Allen, 54, was comfortably ahead in polls until August, when he mockingly referred to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent as "Macaca," regarded by some as a racial slur. The incident, caught on videotape, became international news. Some former football teammates from the University of Virginia also charged that Allen had commonly used a slur for blacks.
Why yes...I belive it is of the genus Macaca.