October 2, 2008

Sarah Palin Out of Touch With Blacks in Alaska

Patrice Gaines wrote in excellent article exploring the relationship that Sarah Palin has with Blacks and Native Americans in Alaska.

They see Palin as a daughter of privilege, someone out of touch with the concerns of people of color, and a government official they’d like to see return to their state to face an investigation into allegations of abuse of power.

Asked about their relationship with Palin, some Black Alaskans echo Montean Jackson: “What relationship?” he asked.

“She has very little, if any Black representation on her cabinet or on any of the committees that she makes appointments for,” said Jackson, an educator, community activist, and Fairbanks native. “The NAACP, along with other groups, was disappointed there were no members from the Black community among her appointments.”

Jackson said many Alaskans know little about Palin.

“I’m over 50, born in interior Alaska before Alaska was a state, and I don’t know that much about her,” he said.

Alaska’s population is mostly white, but Blacks and Asians make up 10 percent of the state. Native Americans -- primarily Alaska natives -- make up about 20 percent of the state’s population.

A spokeswoman for the governor’s cabinet noted that Palin’s communications director is part Black and her commissioner for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development is a noted Alaska native leader.

Black Alaskans say that Sarah Palin doesn't make time for them. “She did not even publicly campaign in the Black community,” Jackson said of the candidate’s run for governor.

We shared information from Gwen Alexander, founder and director of the Juneteenth celebration in Anchorage, posted last month on the Electronic Village, saying, “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.”

Palin has denied making the statement, but it is repeated often by Black Alaskans.

Alexander said many in the Black community are also angry at Palin for snubbing the annual Juneteenth celebration, held in Anchorage and recognized since 2001 (Juneteenth is a celebration of the ending of slavery).

“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,” Alexander said. “All previous Alaskan governors 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.”

Bishop James Thomas, who has worked on the annual celebration noted that Palin has refused to attend or send a staff member.

“They could have sent a gardener as their representative, but they didn’t,” he said.

Rev. Dr. Alonzo B. Patterson, who’s worked closely with previous governors and other elected officials says that Palin has “totally departed from the past practices” of previous Alaska governors.

“Past administrations have had Black administrative assistants to the governor, state commissioners and department leaders,”
he said.

Patterson heads the American Baptist Churches of Alaska and the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation. He was at the long-sought meeting Palin had with Black leaders.

We gave her a list of concerns and have received no response,” Patterson, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage.

Aleta Atkins, Gwen Alexander’s daughter, said Palin finally issued a proclamation on Juneteenth after she received the VP nomination, about “two or three months after the celebration."

Montean Jackson, who has been active in local, state and national political campaigns, believes Palin would never have been elected governor if people hadn’t been so unhappy with the previous administration, especially with how they wasted money.

This is a highly Republican state,” she said. “She won by default. They liked her personality. She’s done some things that have garnered support ... but understanding the women of the state and their needs and having the support of Black community, she has none of that.

“We have drug problems, high rates of suicide and sexual assaults. I believe there are just a lot of things that Sarah Palin is out of touch with.”

“I’m hoping Palin comes home after the election,”
adds Aleta Atkins. “We want her to come home and face charges.”

I don't see how a national ticket with Sarah Palin on it does anything good for the Republicans in their efforts to reach out to the African American community. What say u?


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

humans too unless they walked long side the diansours lol

Villager said...

RDawg - Point well taken, however she is one of only two humans running to become Vice President of the United States. It is scary to realize how little she interacts with African Americans in her professional life...

SjP said...

I'm predicting - or at least wishful thinking - that Obama's going to take Alaska. Too much negative stuff coming out of there for that to be a red state if you ask me.

Villager said...

Sojourner - If Obama wins Alaska ... then this election will truly be a rout of epic proportions...

Monica Roberts said...

Caribou Barbie's on the verge of losing to another African-American.

The first time was the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.

Villager said...

Monica - You crack me up everytime that I see you call her 'Carabou Barbie'!

RDawg - First time I noticed the winter attire in the avatar photo of you & your young 'un!