Palin: Racist?

Well, of course. She’s a suburban middle class Republican hockey mom running on the Republican ticket for Vice President. But, do we have anything more specific to say about it at this time? Well, of course.

A complaint was filed this week with Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg over the governor’s failure to make a required annual Juneteenth Proclamation.

The complaint was filed Wednesday by jazz musician Gregory Charles Royal, who claims state law required Gov. Sarah Palin to make the Juneteenth Proclamation in honor of the freeing of the last remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

Twenty-nine states honor the day. In Alaska, the law specifies that the “governor shall issue a proclamation observing the day.”


Juneteenth as I’m sure you know is a widely celebrated holiday celebrating the beginning of the end of legal slavery in the United States. In particular, it was June 19th, 1865 that slavery was forcibly ended in a confederate state following the occupation of a Union Army (conclusively proving, by the way, that the Civil War was indeed fought over the issue of slavery, in case you were wondering).

But wait, there’s more. Much more.

I’d like to point you to a piece by the Philly IMC, by Linn Washington, Jr: from last September:

Alaskan blacks fault Palin for not hiring African-Americans, dismissing blacks from government posts, spurning repeated requests to meet with black leaders to discuss issues of concern and refusing to attend that state’s major African-American celebration…

Palin’s increasingly rocky relations with Alaska’s black community seeped down to the ‘Lower 48’ weeks ago following an internet posting by the President of Alaska’s African American Historical Society Gwendolyn Alexander detailing controversies like Juneteenth, Palin’s staffing practices and Palin allegedly stating she “doesn’t have to hire any blacks” for major projects.

Read the whole thing here.


  1. #1 Ana
    October 16, 2008

    And let’s not forget the Native Americans she has scorned:

  2. #2 Mike
    October 16, 2008

    Hardly surprising. Despicable but not surprising.

  3. #3 hoser
    October 16, 2008

    Please, “widely celebrated?” Yes, I’ve heard of it. I’m 58, and I keep abreast of current events and movements. I live in New York (I’ve lived in upstate New York and, currently, the metropolitan area). I’ve lived in Salt Lake City, hardly a bastion of new age thinking to be sure. While out west I was aware of cultural and intellectual developments in the area. But, again, Juneteenth as a “widely celebrated holiday.” As much as I may be sympathetic, no, that is not accurate.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 16, 2008

    Hoser: I hadn’t heard of it either, but amazingly, it turns out that I don’t know everything (just when I thought I’d gotten to that point … something always happens!) Looking into this Palin story, I found out that it was an official holiday in Arkansas, California Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee,Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. It has spread across these states in relatively recent times and, like MLK day and Kwanza, because it is a black thing, it is often not a full scale required day off (like fourth of July, etc) because it does not accord with the dominant culture in most states. Similarly, we don’t have Columbus day off here in Minnesota and most people totally ignore it, because we know that the New World was discovered by the Vikings. Go to New York or Boston and try dissing Columbus day and … well, I don’t want to talk about what might happen.

    But, I would say that a holiday officially celebrated in 29 states is widely celebrated. You and me, we just need to catch up.

    Where in Upstate New York? (With a name like hoser, I suspect north of the Mohawk, anyway.)

  5. #5 Michael
    October 16, 2008

    Well, of course. She’s a suburban middle class Republican hockey mom running on the Republican ticket for Vice President.


  6. #6 Qalmlea
    October 16, 2008

    For what it’s worth, I live in one of those states (Idaho), and I’d never heard of the holiday, either. So ‘widely celebrated’ should perhaps be ‘widely officially acknowledged.’

  7. #7 HP
    October 17, 2008

    I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Juneteenth is a fairly big event among the African-American community here. But it mostly takes the form of family picnics and the occasional big neighborhood barbecue.

    The nature of Juneteenth is that it’s a family celebration. There are no Juneteenth white sales; it doesn’t occur during Toyotathon. You can’t buy Juneteenth cards at Hallmark.

    Maybe I’m more aware of it in Cincinnati because the annual Black Family Reunion is organized around Juneteenth.

    By and large, white folks aren’t invited, unless you’re a family member. Most of the celebrations are family-based. For example, a lot of African-American families organize their family reunions around Juneteenth. So you might drive through the local park and see the Johnson family reunion and not realize that it’s a Juneteenth celebration. That’s the nature of the holiday.

    Hoser’s and Qalmlea’s claims that it’s “not widely celebrated” simply indicates how isolated they are from what goes on with African-American families when white folks aren’t watching.

    I’m white as snow, and I’ve never been invited to Juneteenth celebration. But I’m not so clueless as to think it doesn’t exist.

    Greg, I know you have Black family — you ever go to a big barbecue in the middle of June?

  8. #8 JYB
    October 17, 2008

    What about how McCain originally voted against MLK day? I think that certainly counts as widely celebrated. He definitely switched his votes later on, but I think it’s very telling that he originally opposed it.

  9. #9 yogi-one
    October 17, 2008

    Palin: Racist?

    The short answer is “yes”.

    And the long answer is, um, yes.

  10. #10 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 17, 2008

    Juneteenth is an open invitation celebration and festival in Minneapolis at Theo Wirth Park on the weekend closest to June 19th (naturally.)

    It is important to African Americans because it was, as Greg said, the day that the remaining slaves in Galveston were freed, and they were the last to know about it the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after the delay. Juneteenth was a big celebration in Texas:

    In the early years, little interest existed outside the African American community in participation in the celebrations. In some cases, there was outwardly exhibited resistance by barring the use of public property for the festivities. Most of the festivities found themselves out in rural areas around rivers and creeks that could provide for additional activities such as fishing, horseback riding and barbecues. Often the church grounds was the site for such activities. Eventually, as African Americans became land owners, land was donated and dedicated for these festivities. One of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth was organized by Rev. Jack Yates. This fund-raising effort yielded $1000 and the purchase of Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas. In Mexia, the local Juneteenth organization purchased Booker T. Washington Park, which had become the Juneteenth celebration site in 1898. There are accounts of Juneteenth activities being interrupted and halted by white landowners demanding that their laborers return to work. However, it seems most allowed their workers the day off and some even made donations of food and money. For decades these annual celebrations flourished, growing continuously with each passing year. In Booker T. Washington Park, as many as 20,000 African Americans once flowed through during the course of a week, making the celebration one of the state’s largest.

    The fact that Palin refused to sign the proclamation announcing the holiday indicates either a general cluelessness or a willingness to deliberately slap the African-Americans in Alaska.

    Her comments on not needing to or having to hire blacks is a slap on the other cheek.

  11. #11 Stephanie Z
    October 17, 2008

    Come on, folks. Do you know how old I was before I’d heard of Yom Kippur? That didn’t mean it wasn’t widely celebrated. It just meant there wasn’t a big marketing push to tell me I should celebrate it.

    And yes, I’ve known about Juneteenth for almost as long.

  12. #12 crossbuck
    October 17, 2008

    I’m utterly white and live in a suburb, but I’ve known about Juneteenth for years. Of course, I live in a state that celebrates it which may have something to do with my awareness of it. Then again, I knew of Kwanzaa long before most of my friends did. Maybe my reading material was more widespread and varied than most.

  13. #13 Virgil Samms
    October 17, 2008

    There are no Juneteenth white sales

    Well duh. Black Americans know it is not acceptable to sell people, even if they are white.

    In unrelated news, Joe the Plumber is delinquent on his taxes

  14. #14 Qalmlea
    October 17, 2008

    HP: “how isolated they are from what goes on with African-American families when white folks aren’t watching”

    You could call it isolated. Going by the numbers here, there are about 360 black people in a town of 51,466 total. So if only black people celebrate the holiday, it’s not going to attract much attention around here … unless they invite lots of others, a la the Shoshone-Bannock festivals that do get lots of publicity. *shrugs*

  15. #15 CW
    October 17, 2008

    Patterson, who�s worked closely with previous governors plus mayors and other elected officials during his 45-years in Alaska, feels Palin has �totally departed from the past practices� of previous Alaska governors.

    Well this just goes to show what a gosh-darn maverick she is.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    October 17, 2008

    There are no Juneteenth white sales


    HP: Your points are excellent. I don’t have a black family. There are African Americans in my family by marriage, ther are long-term family friend who are African American, etc. But I’m a yankee, and this holiday started in the south and west and has moved out from there. Yes, it is celebrated in the Twin Cities, but as you say, it is a family thing. I was in vited to a “Freedom day” picnic that I did not go to two years ago. Freedom day is what most people call this that I know.

    Also, of the last 25 years, half of my Junes have been spent in Africa. The other half in a daze. So what do I know.

    Stepahanie:Come on, folks. Do you know how old I was before I’d heard of Yom Kippur?

    My first wife was Jewish, and had a very Jewish family in New York. The entire time I was married to her I never heard of Yom Kippur. I thought it was an obscure war. It was not until I moved to Boston and worked in a lab mainly staffed by Israelis that I learned all that stuff.

    Now, my wife’s family has a Jewish Wing and we have dinner for all of the holidays. Julia and I are constantly trying to remember, on the way to dinner .. “Is this the one where they hide the chocolate coins????… ” and so on.

    I am pretty happy with my knowledge of Jewish History for a gentile, but I am forever confused on the holiday cycle. My first wife’s family were totally atheistic commie dancers. So yes, Jewish Soul Food every day, but Jewish Religious Trappings, never.