Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Did Palin Really Say She Wouldn’t Hire Blacks?



Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Sarah Palin admittedly hasn’t had much of a track record when it comes to acknowledging let alone promoting diversity during her short tenure as Alaska governor. She’s on record with a terse utterance on hate crimes legislation and another one on cultural diversity.

During the 2006 gubernatorial campaign she told the Eagle Forum that she opposed expanded hate crime legislation. In her gubernatorial campaign booklet in 2006, Palin gave her equally terse view of discrimination. She simply said that she and her gubernatorial running mate would provide opportunities for all Alaskans. There is no record that Palin has made any other public statements on diversity and minority issues since then. This in itself might be cause for only a slight eyebrow raise.
But Palin’s skimpy track record and paucity of words on diversity is relatively tame compared to the far more damaging accusation that’s making the rounds. On April 29, fourteen Alaska black leaders that included prominent ministers, NAACP officials, and community activists met with Palin to voice their complaint over minority hiring and job opportunities. During the meeting she allegedly said that she didn’t have to hire any blacks. Even more damning, she purportedly said that she didn’t intend to hire any.
This charge is so racially incendiary that it sounded like yet another one of the legion of Palin urban legends that have fueled the cyber gossip mill from the instant Republican presidential contender John McCain plopped her on his ticket. The charge had to be confirmed or denied. If Governor Palin or any other public official flatly said that they had no intention to hire blacks that would be politically unpardonable. And for a potential vice-president it would and should be the kiss of death.
In a phone message to this writer, Megan Stapleton, a Palin spokesperson who works with the McCain-Palin campaign committee, vehemently denied that Palin ever said that she would not hire blacks. Sharon Leighow, a communications spokesperson in the Alaska governor’s office, also disputed the allegation. She said that Palin’s press secretary was part African-American and that two of her senior advisors were Filipino and Korean.

But Leighow was also adamant that Palin did not hire staff persons based on color, but solely on talent and skill. As she put it, “Governor Palin is totally color-blind.”

In a call to this writer, Gwen Alexander, President of the African American Historical Society of Alaska who initially reported Palin’s quip stuck by her contention that Palin made the racially charged retort. She also charged that Palin did not support or even officially acknowledge the group’s annual Juneteenth Commemoration.
June nineteen is celebrated as the date of slave emancipation in Texas. Alaska is one of thirteen states that have designated it an official holiday. Other Alaska governors have sent the traditional greeting and acknowledgement to the Society. Alexander says Palin snubbed the group.
The unofficial charge then is that Palin is insensitive to the state’s African-Americans, and that includes refusing to hire and appoint African-Americans. That charge is hotly disputed by Palin’s staff and they cite names and numbers to back it up. But apart from the veracity of the charge and the denial, Palin’s statement that she’s absolutely color blind when it comes to hiring and appointments does set off warning bells.

The color blind argument strikes to the heart of the continuing debate over what and how far governor’s, indeed all public officials, should go to insure that their staffs and their appointments truly represent the broadest diversity possible. Officials must make a concerted outreach effort to make that happen. Palin’s color blind posture more often than not has been nothing but a convenient excuse not to seek out, and hire and promote African-Americans and other minorities in their administration, no matter how qualified.
Diversity is a major issue this election. It’s implicit in Democratic rival Barack Obama’s White House run. It’s explicit in Ward Connerly’s anti-affirmative initiative on the ballot in three states this November. Obama opposes it. McCain backs it, and so does Palin.

Palin’s commitment to diversity is no small point in Alaska. According to the 2000 Census figures blacks make up officially about four percent of the state population. But those who self-identify at least in part as African-American bump up the percentage much higher. This is not an insignificant number especially when American Indians, Aleuts, Eskimos, and Asians are taken together. Minorities then make up about one quarter of Alaska’s population. This makes the state one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation. Diversity must be more than a word that an Alaska governor pays campaign lip service to and then ignores.
Palin’s campaign and gubernatorial spokespersons say the knock that she is hostile to blacks and minorities is unfair. That may well be true. But to those Alaska black leaders who challenged Palin on her administration’s minority hiring practices, to them the knock is much deserved.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).

17 comments:

Baratunde Thurston said...

a vehement denial by the palin-mccain campaign means absolutely nothing. these are the people who still insist, despite overwhelming evidence, that she said "thanks but no thanks to the bridge to nowhere."

Anonymous said...

We all know Palin is a lair.

Michelle said...

The only thing that appears to be true is that if her mouth is moving she's either lying or covering up for severe deficiencies in a myriad of areas.

I did a post on my blog titled...An Interesting "Vetting" Comparison. This outlines the vetting my hubby went through to secure a position within the US Department of Energy...compare that to Palin's vetting!

http://michelle2005.wordpress.com

Mista Jaycee said...

Good Morning,
I heard you on KJLH Front Page this morning. The article does not get to the point fast enough or forceful enough. Did Palin say it? Can it be backed up by the Black folks in that state? What has Palin been really hostile for and for the record there are alot of Black folks who have worked the pipelines there since before Alaska was even a state. Don't tease Mr. Ofari, give the real facts fast! It's expected of you. You are too experienced and have too much cred to give a lazy article like this.

DOC said...

JUNETEENTH IS A STATE HOLIDAY OR STATE HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE IN 29 STATES, NOT JUST 13 AS REPORTED IN YOUR STORY!

"DOC"
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
www.Juneteenth.us
www.19thofJune.com
www.njclc.com
www.JuneteenthJazz.com

DOC said...

The following is a statement from one of our Juneteenth Directors in Alaska:

"As for Governor Sarah Palin's involvement in the African American community, the Governor's office hasn't participated in any of our Alaska Juneteenth Events. All previous Alaskan Governor's have traditionally attended and participated in our annual Juneteenth Celebration. Gov. Palin was the first governor not to send out a congratulatory letter or assist us in any way with our Juneteenth activities.

I didn't have the courtesy of receiving a reply when I asked for a representative from the Governor's office to come and speak at our Juneteenth Celebration if Governor Palin was unable to attend. I never even heard of Gov. Palin until she was elected Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in Mat-Su Valley.

Governor Palin is a very energetic and spontaneous woman. With some of the things being said and going around this state right now, I'm surprised none of the national media have bothered to come here and get the words directly from the mouths of the people who have lived with her all of these years instead of 'surfing the net!'

My other opinion is why would an individual who, to my knowledge, has not hired any African Americans on her gubernatorial staff, insist so passionately on being on a television show owned and operated by an African American, Oprah Winfrey?

While meeting with Black leaders concerning the absence of any African Americans on her staff, Gov. Palin responded that she doesn't have to hire any Blacks and was not intending to hire any. What kind of attitude is this toward African American for who may be the first Vice-President of the United States?

I understand Oprah did have Senator Obama on her show a few times and was the main person raising funds for him "before" the presidency race was in full swing. However, the key point here is that it is Oprah's prerogative not be used as a pawn to tilt the vote one way or another. Oprah has stated repeatedly that she wasn't going to have one side or the other on her show by choice. I thought that was what the Civil Rights Movement was all about, a persons right to make their own choices. I guess this isn't a Democracy at all anymore."

Gwendolyn Alexander, President
African American Historical Society of Alaska
Alaska Juneteenth Celebration
P. O. Box 143105
Anchorage AK 99514
(907) 884-6860

“DOC”
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
www.Juneteenth.us
www.19thofJune.com
www.njclc.com
www.JuneteenthJazz.com

DOC said...

Alaska has a population of around 25,000 African-Americans, with a total population of around 700,000. Therefore, African-Americans make up around 4% of the overall population of Alaska, with higher percentages in the larger cities like Anchorage.

We should familiarize ourselves to the history of African-Americans in Alaska:

www.akhistorycourse.org/articles/article.php?artID=233

For example, African-Americans who built the highway to Alaska stayed to live after it was completed. Taking the position that the people who continue to play a significant role in the building of the infrastructure of Alaska should not be represented on the staff of Gov. Palin is preposterous.

Gov. Palin\'s attitude toward Alaska\'s black population indicates what her feelings might be toward all African-Americans as vice-president and possibly president of the United States. Like Sen. McCain, Gov. Palin shows little or no respect for the observance of Juneteenth Independence Day in America. Juneteenth is an official state holiday observance in Alaska which requires the Governor to issue an annual proclamation. Despite the statute, Gov. Palin did not issue a Juneteenth Proclamation in 2007.

Gov. Palin still refuses to meet with African-American leaders of the Ministers Alliance to discuss job opportunities for African-Americans during the building of the Alaskan pipeline. Again, in my opinion, if elected to the White House, most likely her actions toward African-Americans will not change. Let African-American leaders in Alaska tell their own story about Gov. Palin. I have spoken to several of them and remain quite concerned about what I am hearing.

Juneteenth is America’s 2nd Independence Day celebration. 29 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance, as well as the Congress of the United States.

Together we will see Juneteenth become a national holiday in America!

“DOC”
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
www.Juneteenth.us
www.19thofJune.com
www.njclc.com
www.JuneteenthJazz.com

Anonymous said...

Interesting....!!!! but no main stream media?

scott said...

As an american, it really annoys me that you say a politician should "Seek out" minority candidates to hire. Until that attitude is stopped, racism will never die in this country

Darby said...

"According to the 2000 Census figures blacks make up officially about four percent of the state population. But those who self-identify at least in part as African-American bump up the percentage much higher. This is not an insignificant number especially when American Indians, Aleuts, Eskimos, and Asians are taken together. Minorities then make up about one quarter of Alaska’s population. This makes the state one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation."

Govern Palin has excellent relationships, respect, and love for at least 6 members of the minority community in Alaska. Her husband and 5 children are of the Yup'ik tribe. See page four of the following link: http://www.calistacorp.com/docs/newsletters/Feb%2007.pdf

binary star said...

Scott-

If 25% roughly of the Alaskan population are "minorities" then roughly 25% of the hirees should be as well. If that number is way off then something is terribly wrong.

If you really think that diversity is the cause of racism you are an idiot, plain and simple.

Gunner Sykes said...

You mean Sarah Palin did not let "fourteen Alaska black leaders that included prominent ministers, NAACP officials, and community activists" dictate who she would put on her staff? Why the sheer audacity of the woman!! Crucify her. Obviously a racist. In fact, anyone who does not vote for Obama is a racist. Anyone who is not black is a racist. Anyone who is not a Democrat is a racist.

Did I leave anyone out?

I'm sorry if I did.

I'd hate to offend anyone.

Anonymous said...

Previous reports suggest that Gov. Palin hired cronys from her hometown and school days. She should have chosen on merit and then she would be more liely to have more african americans hired.

Anonymous said...

Gunner Sykes - your ignorant post reveals that you do not understand what the main point of the article. No one is suggesting that "NOT" hiring blacks or latinos means you're racist. Or that by not voting for Obama or Democrat means you're not racist. THat is NOT the point. The point is that the governor has flat our REFUSED TO EVEN CONSIDER hiring blacks. NOW THAT is racist. Get it now.

好文 said...

AV,無碼,a片免費看,自拍貼圖,伊莉,微風論壇,成人聊天室,成人電影,成人文學,成人貼圖區,成人網站,一葉情貼圖片區,色情漫畫,言情小說,情色論壇,臺灣情色網,色情影片,色情,成人影城,080視訊聊天室,a片,A漫,h漫,麗的色遊戲,同志色教館,AV女優,SEX,咆哮小老鼠,85cc免費影片,正妹牆,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,情色小說,aio,成人,微風成人,做愛,成人貼圖,18成人,嘟嘟成人網,aio交友愛情館,情色文學,色情小說,色情網站,情色,A片下載,嘟嘟情人色網,成人影片,成人圖片,成人文章,成人小說,成人漫畫,視訊聊天室,性愛,聊天室,情色,a片,AV女優

好文 said...

AV,無碼,a片免費看,自拍貼圖,伊莉,微風論壇,成人聊天室,成人電影,成人文學,成人貼圖區,成人網站,一葉情貼圖片區,色情漫畫,言情小說,情色論壇,臺灣情色網,色情影片,色情,成人影城,080視訊聊天室,a片,A漫,h漫,麗的色遊戲,同志色教館,AV女優,SEX,咆哮小老鼠,85cc免費影片,正妹牆,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,情色小說,aio,成人,微風成人,做愛,成人貼圖,18成人,嘟嘟成人網,aio交友愛情館,情色文學,色情小說,色情網站,情色,A片下載,嘟嘟情人色網,成人影片,成人圖片,成人文章,成人小說,成人漫畫,視訊聊天室,性愛,聊天室,情色,a片,AV女優

文章 said...

AV,無碼,a片免費看,自拍貼圖,伊莉,微風論壇,成人聊天室,成人電影,成人文學,成人貼圖區,成人網站,一葉情貼圖片區,色情漫畫,言情小說,情色論壇,臺灣情色網,色情影片,色情,成人影城,080視訊聊天室,a片,A漫,h漫,麗的色遊戲,同志色教館,AV女優,SEX,咆哮小老鼠,85cc免費影片,正妹牆,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,情色小說,aio,成人,微風成人,做愛,成人貼圖,18成人,嘟嘟成人網,aio交友愛情館,情色文學,色情小說,色情網站,情色,A片下載,嘟嘟情人色網,成人影片,成人圖片,成人文章,成人小說,成人漫畫,視訊聊天室,性愛,聊天室,情色,a片,AV女優