December 07, 2009

HuffPo: Palin is a Racist, or Something

Sarah Palin must really scare the crap out of Ariana Huffington. Really... is this the best they have?

Palin, though notoriously ill-traveled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. "Hawaii was a little too perfect," Palin writes. "Perpetual sunshine isn't necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls." Perhaps not. But Palin's father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: "They were a minority type thing and it wasn't glamorous, so she came home." In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, "because it was much like Alaska yet still 'Outside.' "


So in the worst case scenario, Palin went to a place where the culture and people were radically different than what she was accustomed to, found it uncomfortable, and wanted to leave for someplace where she felt more at home. Outrageous.

According the Southern Poverty Law Center, Palin would like have had a good reason to feel uncomfortable, considering the violent prejudice of natives towards non-natives, whites in particular. A tall, pretty white 18-year-old female completely unexposed to the culture would have been quite a target, don't you think?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 7, 2009 09:33 AM

Given the prevailing view towards whites that native Hawaiians appear to hold ( I'm not terribly surprised she felt uncomfortable in that environment.

Posted by: Eric at December 7, 2009 12:31 PM

25 years ago I was a freshman at a small Southern California college, and ended up socializing with some Hawaiian expats. The girls were gorgeous!

Anyway, they told lots of stories of the divides between the natives and the "how-lees". There was genuine hatred, a sense of native entitlement, and a big xenophobic aspect to it. I remember commenting back then about how racist it was and getting back looks like I had 2 heads. And this was from rich kids, whose parents could send them to the mainland.

We all know how mean girls can be in general. If pretty, white, blond, funny-talking, 18-year-old Sarah Palin ended up in Hawaii on a dorm floor with a few "nativist" locals I can see her being tormented to the point of withdrawal.

Posted by: Tom J. at December 7, 2009 01:13 PM

It is a dirty little secret that whites who have moved to Hawaii from the mainland have faced racism at levels probably only experienced by Blacks in the deep south during Jim Crow. I am not surprised that Sarah was uncomfortable. MOst people are when they are shut out the local society and viewed with suspicion .

Posted by: Penny at December 7, 2009 01:33 PM

I was stationed on Oahu for a few years back in the late 80's and saw the overt hatred that native Hawaiians, particularly the less-well-off, had for outsiders.

Most military folks who had kids in the local school system would have to pull them out for the last week of school which had become the traditional time to beat up the "haole" kids.

And this treatment was not reserved for the white kids only. The natives had a particular dislike for black servicemembers and their kids.

It was really quite shocking to us, and we lived on a military base. I can't imagine what it was like for a young Alaskan woman in college.

Posted by: Texas Pete at December 7, 2009 02:10 PM

I'd like to hear the whole discussion Sarah's dad had with Conroy and Walshe. Also, what her dad says isn't what Palin says. But even so, if blacks like Michelle Obama can say they felt uncomfortable at Princeton it's yet again a double standard to criticize Palin for feeling uncomfortable in a non white area, if in fact she did. Heck, Obama's whole beginning of Dreams of My Father was about feeling out of place.

When I've gone to Hawaii, if you step out of your honky resort enclave, it's definitely hometown rules not comfortable for outsiders.

Posted by: Jayne at December 7, 2009 08:45 PM

There was a thread on this story over at Little Green Snotballs the other day, and since I have been banned there wasn't able to comment, so I am happy to have a go here.

I have lived in Hawaii for 20+ years and can assure you that racsism towards ha'ole people (whites, etc.) is alive and well.

Although better than before , there are still areas (west side Oahu) where it is best to avoid at night, and the rule still remains to never drink with the locals.

I am sure that when Sarah Palin attended UH Manoa she experienced extreme culture shock. I myself attended Hawaii Loa College (new name now) in 1988. I remember my first day in the cafeteria for breakfast and was shocked to see rice being served in the morning.

I can say now 20 years later that I have only a few local friends and that is all. Folks just don't mix that much, and it would be hard for anyone to adjust to in the beginning. Nothing rascist about it, just culture.

Posted by: SoulSurfer at December 7, 2009 10:21 PM

Let's see..... She married a Native American (Eskimo). Last I checked, Native Americans are not Caucasians.

Posted by: Hangtown Bob at December 9, 2009 12:54 PM