Palin Quit College in Hawaii, Due to Racial Discomfort?

December 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)— There is no question that, as soon as the former half-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin burst on the scene alongside Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), during the 2008 presidential race, she excelled in the nasty and divisive “identity politics” used by the campaign. She was the every-woman populist, who spoke about a “true America” and promoted an “us versus them” meme to portray Barack Obama, the African American Democratic Candidate for president, as foreign and not one of us. The crowds she drew to her rallies shouting, “drill baby drill” were about 99.9 percent white. And the large crowds appearing at her Middle America “Going Rogue” book tour are from the same white rural, birther tea party crowd.

What does it all mean? MSNBC’s Hardball host, Chris Mathews attributed the white book tour crowds to a “tribal aspect” of a “white vs. other people.” A recent piece in the New Yorker, which mentions her discomfort with the racial make up in Hawaii, may shed some light on Palin’s views towards a racially diverse population.

Isaac Chotiner of the New Republic points out an insightful “nugget” from Sam Tanenhaus’ lengthy New Yorker review of Sarah Palin’s book and asks: “Why… has this gotten absolutely no media attention?”

“Palin, though notoriously ill-travelled 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 [Scott] Conroy and [Shushannah] Walshe [authors of ‘Sarah From Alaska’]. 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.”

Tanenhaus concludes his search for the answer to Palin’s popularity with so called “true Americans” with an insightful bit:

“To judge from her book, the most exciting time in her life was the election of 2008, when she was embraced by the army of “everyday, hardworking Americans,” the “everyday folks,” and “thousands of regular Americans coming out with their signs” who mobbed her tumultuous rallies, thrilling to her odes to the “true America.” She gave them a “magnifying mirror.” They reflected her own image back to her. This adoration is kept alive today by the excited autograph-seekers in Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne, in the audience that gave Oprah Winfrey her best ratings in two years, and in the various advocacy groups that have sprung up to promote Palin for the Presidency: Conservatives 4 Palin, Team Sarah, Vets 4 Sarah, 2012 Draft Sarah Committee, Sarah Palin Radio, SarahPAC. The true meaning of Palinism is Sarah Palin—nothing more and nothing less. She is a party unto herself.”

h/t Washington Independent


12 Responses to “Palin Quit College in Hawaii, Due to Racial Discomfort?”

  1. Tom Ryan on December 4th, 2009 3:39 pm

    I’ve lived in Hawaii. I left in 2000. The Hawaiian people can be very gracious, one older gentleman taught me to make leis . . . and we had some wonderful experiences there… a free luau on the beach, with HAPA playing live just to celebrate a friends wedding. But the negative is there too, and if you go beyond being a tourist and try to fit into the community . . . Hawaii is not very open. The jobs that are there are reserved for the local people, the kama-aina, so if you aren’t Japanese or Hawaiian, the two big controlling majority groups, and you aren’t a wealthy plantation owner, you ‘d better have the money to live on your own because there isn’t work for you. Zip. Nada. Aloha is for the dollars you spend,
    and aloha is gone the minute you try to work for a living. A very racist place.

  2. Mike Licht on December 4th, 2009 3:41 pm

    So why did she quit those other 4 colleges?

    Anyway, Mrs. Palin’s bus tour is really taking off.


  3. Nathan Myers on December 4th, 2009 5:21 pm

    No place is perfect. There will be some form of prejudice everywhere you go. However, Tom Ryan’s generalisations are far-fetched and reflect his own possibly poor experiences. I don’t know your story, but maybe you did not have the right attitude, as the people here are very welcoming and open to people entering the community. Blaming everything on “racism” is often seen as a cop out by certain white people toward minorities who have trouble finding work in “White America.” And I do agree with this for the most part–but it works both ways, too.

    Your opinions on jobs are also a bit skewed. Some locals will tell you that the problem are that transplants are the ones coming here and taking the good jobs. Either that, or the highly skilled locals are the ones leaving Hawaii for better opportunity. In the company I’m in, all of the management are people (of varying skin colors but primarily Caucasian) who do not have long-settled roots living in Hawaii. Many are from the mainland or elsewhere. This is the case at a lot of other places. A lot of my coworkers are from varying backgrounds (black, white, hispanic, asian, pacific); both military, new and longtime residents and all were wholeheartedly accepted into the community as long as they were open-minded. If you come here, expecting things (or worse, demanding things) to be like they are elsewhere, then yes you will probably see resistance (I expect this would be the case anywhere). But if you come here with an open mind and accept the culture, it will embrace you back wholeheartedly like no other.

  4. Fred on December 4th, 2009 6:48 pm

    “So why did she quit those other 4 colleges?”

    Some people have to work their way through college. They drop out for a while and go somewhere to find a job and then re-enter another college near that location. It took me six years and 4 different colleges even though I maintained a B+ average. Not everyone has their way paid for them. Amongst the non-wealthy, who work their way through college, there is really nothing unusual about Palin’s college career. And it takes a lot of determination to finish. That she did finish shows that she does not give up easily, that she is not a quitter. You Palin haters will sneer at that statement, but I know from my own experience that you are dead wrong to do so.

  5. About sarah palin’s, obama’s, palin book | Find me About on December 4th, 2009 9:04 pm

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  6. Frederik on December 4th, 2009 9:39 pm

    I don’t know why are you bitching here, folks. Obama sat for twenty years in a racist church and called its racist pastor his spiritual adviser. But of course he is forgiven for he is “clean and articulate”.

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  10. Eric Chamberlain on December 15th, 2009 11:06 pm

    I lived in Hawaii for four years, during high school. I was physically and verbally assaulted several times by people I had never met, just for being white. The residents of Hawaii, whether they be Hawaiian or mixed (most are mixed), can be very generous, just as any people can be, but once you get outside of the tourist area of Waikiki, it is impossible to not notice the resentment towards white people. I have also lived in the Philippines, where the people are the nicest I have ever met. My point is that Palin may have picked up on the negative vibe in Hawaii and left, but it doesn’t mean she is racist against Asians. One last point. So many on the left just assume that white people are racist, or Republicans are racist, but you fail to see that racism comes from all directions. I got my butt kicked just for being white and I am sick and tired of others saying that Palin and others are racist just for seeing reality. I dare any liberal who criticizes Palin to go to Honolulu and see for themselves. They have a “kill houle” day there, which is mostly a joke, but represents the racist sentiment there. One of the most popular shirts you can get there says “Locals Only”. Can you imagine me wearing a shirt that said “Whites Only”? Well, that’s what it is; racism against white people exists in Hawaii. Palin felt that and left.

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  12. Mike on March 16th, 2010 2:51 pm

    Very true, Hawaiians are extremely racist. Racist against “houles” or white, “mainlanders”. I have to agree that it’s sad but true, how there can even be prejudice in paradise. Lazy, rude, liars indeed… Hawaiians should be thankful we consider them part of the U.S. or they would be a third world country no doubt. They should remind themselves that the industry and businesses they work for are owned by the mighty white Americans. I have been to Hawaii a number of times, just Oahu and Maui, to know exactly what I am talking about, which wants to make me be racist right back at them. Great (very expensive) place to visit, but don’t count on above-and-beyond customer service or “warm Hawaiian” hospitality– it’s all a marketing thing, that’s all. And the spirit of Aloha only exists among the Hawaiian people who are bitter, jealous, and angry at anyone white, not just us mainlanders.

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