Palin's Father Insinuates Sarah Uncomfortable around Asians

December 7, 2009

hawaii[1].jpgBased on recent comments from her father, it appears that Asian Americans are partly responsible for Sarah Palin's spotty undergraduate career. Palin's father suggested that she left her first school in Hawaii, ultimately attending four different colleges before graduating, because there were too many Asians in the tropical paradise. Which made her uncomfortable. Apparently, Palin felt much more comfortable studying in Idaho.

Learning this about Palin doesn't surprise me in the least. Maybe she couldn't make out all those Asian Americans in Hawaii from looking outside her window in Alaska.

I had heard about "white flight" from Asian Americans before, where white families moved to nearby suburbs to avoid their Asian neighbors, but this is the first time I've heard of someone flying 3,000 miles away from a tropical paradise to live in a population that's 97 percent white. I just looked this up, and it's a six-hour flight to Idaho. Wow Sarah, Asians must really terrify you.

I hope Americans like Palin can learn to resolve their disturbing attitudes toward Asian Americans. Interestingly, Palin's husband, Todd, is part-Asian from his Yup'ik heritage. Not that he's representative of most Native Alaskans. I just learned that there's allegedly rampant discrimination against Native Alaskans, who are even called 'Arctic Arabs'. Palin's attitudes may be a reflection of her upbringing or environment. Either way, it goes without saying that many Asian Americans are glad that Palin and John "g--k hater" McCain aren't running the ship right now.


Alvin Lin


Alvin Lin was born in Taipei, Taiwan and hails from New England. He blogs about Asian American pop culture, film, music, literature and politics, as well as relevant news around the world. He also writes for Imprint Talk. Alvin has degrees from Cornell and MIT.



alvin: "eskimo" is considered a pejorative term by many. the inuit are an ethnic group that does not consider itself asian or native american, since inuit groups are ranged all around the arctic circle, including on the eurasian continent, greenland, and north america.
Gadzooks, a Republican who doesn't like coloured people. This is unprecented. Who'da thunk it? ;)
Claire, Todd Palin is part-Yup'ik, who are indigenous people who live in Alaska and also the Siberian Far East, not in Greenland: Thanks for the tip on the term 'eskimo', I looked it up and apparently it is considered offensive in Greenland and in Canada. Francisco Chronicle quoted your article.
Why are we surprised? I know white Americans living in Singapore, who are there because they dont have other alternatives. They would rather be among the whites in Mountain Brook Alabama or Wallace, Idaho. I know white American women who have lived in Singapore for over ten years, who wont let their sons bring the local Chines (let alone the local Chinese girls) into their homes! And this arrogance, in a foreign country!
Asian Americans transfer away from campuses where they are uncomfortable as a minority and to campuses where they feel more comfortable because there are many of them All The Time. Or they choose campuses where there are a lot of Asians from the start, knowing they'll be more comfortable. African Americans have "historically Black colleges." That's racist, right? I like Palin more because of this story. She knows what it's like to not be the dominant white majority, and that's more than one can say for most politicians and celebrities in the US. I'm not impressed with her response to that experience, but I think you're racist for singling her out for attach for the same type of choices made by many members of minorities in similar situations. I was the only full-time non-Asian student in an undergrad student body of about 15,000 in an East Asian country. I personally don't know anyone who has been the extreme minority I have. I enjoyed the challenge and am a better, bicultural white man for it. I'm not for forced desegregation but I'm not alarmed by self-segregation. I do think people who constantly seek out "their own kind" might be emotionally weak monoculturals, but at any rate I'm generally not impressed with them. So yes, Palin was uncomfortable, but at least she knows how many minorities feel in some situations on the US mainland, but I don't see why she should be criticized for that any more than Asian-Americans who make the same kinds of choices. Granted, if we were to be informed that her "real America" rhetoric originated from that experience - as if Idaho is more "the real America" than Hawai'i - then you'd have a point.
Oranc, you like Palin MORE because of this? You claim to have chosen to have studied in a foreign country and stuck it out. This is different from not knowing the demographics of a tropical paradise and leaving after not even a year of studies, because of ingrained prejudice. It doesn't show she's open minded or cultured, just the opposite. Also, there are tons of Asian Americans who don't live around or who grew up other Asians in this country. I'd dispute that Asian Americans flee from neighborhoods simply because they don't like being a minority, like what Palin allegedly did here (fleeing a tropical paradise to live around potato farms). There are, however, multiple examples of White Americans living long-term in foreign countries, who refuse to learn the native language or customs, create isolated communities, and send their children to English-only schools. These communities are different from Chinatowns, which started after Asian immigrants started getting KILLED by racists whenever they tried to live around non-Asian neighbors in the 19th century. By the way, not that it's not a surprise to anyone but Sarah Palin isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. She isn't even a dull tool:
George and Cindy, I have run into both kinds of white Americans. A person I know from Hawaii who now lives and works in Singapore but studied for a semester with Palin, told me that too many Asian men asked her out and she was pretty disgusted! No Oranckay, I have not known of any Asians flee from whites even here in Singapore. Actually, it is the other way round. White Americans moved into Holland Road in 1994, and when rich Asians moved into the neighborhood, many fled to Woodlands in the north of the island.
Well, Asians might be the minority "type of thing", but Sarah Palin is the Moronity type of thing. HAHAHAHAHAHA
To Cindy and Lee, Palin may have been uncomfortable around Asian Americans, but that is not what her father said. He said she didn't like being a minority. It was the New Yorker that suggested she was not comfortable around Asian Americans, though admittedly I don't see a big difference between being uncomfortable for being a minority and being uncomfortable around members of other ethnic groups when they constitute everyone you're around every day. Many minorities in the US choose to congregate amongst themselves, or where there are many more of their group than there might be elsewhere, or at least where they are not an extreme minority. Many choose where to go to school and where to live based in part on factors like racial demographics (as do many whites, for that matter). I know plenty of Asian Americans who chose their universities based in part on this. While I myself think it's the "easy way out," especially because of my own undergrad experience (see above), I definitely think it's something to think about, not a concern to be laughed at. I find myself doing the same - an Asian American friend had been offered teaching jobs at a school in central Massachusetts and a school in the U of California system, and I found my first question was: "Aren't you going to miss.... you know.... well... Asians?" I didn't think I was accusing her of racism. There is nothing new about this. I won't say it's natural, but it's very common. There's so much to dislike about Palin, so maybe that's what's in play here. But otherwise I don't see what the problem is. Other than she's white.
oranc said: [an Asian American friend had been offered teaching jobs at a school in central Massachusetts and a school in the U of California system, and I found my first question was: "Aren't you going to miss.... you know.... well... Asians?" I didn't think I was accusing her of racism.] I agree you weren't accusing her of racism, you were revealing your own wacked perspectives on race which justify white flight, and were projecting your views onto her.
Ty et al, Why is white flight evil, because it is flight, or because it is white? There are neighborhoods in Oakland and San Francisco that used to be mostly African American but are no longer... because of black flight in response to (mostly) Chinese (but at any rate Asian) immigrants. Have you ever heard anyone attack black flight? Does anyone try to label it, let alone justify it? How often does one see an Asian immigrant operate a business in an, ahem, "dangerous" neighborhood longer than he has to? (And aren't we all worried about the survival of Japantowns and Chinatowns because of "flight" of one way or another?) It doesn't need to be "justified" either way. It is what it is, which is the choice to self-segregate. A lot of whites feel that self-segregation is racism or at least race-based exclusivism, which is probably why the New Yorker felt the need to cast Palin's behavior in a negative light. When my Asian (not Asian-American) wife and I are in a quaint little country town in the US, it's not terribly uncommon to have her say, out loud in the coffee shop but in the Asian language we speak to each other, that it's "nice to visit but too white to want to live here," is she racist? When for example a friend says he liked going to University of California at Santa Cruz but could never live there because that city is "too white," am I just being told these things because I'm white but seen as an "egg" with some unusual life experience and they know I'd agree, all while somehow Asian-Americans never talk that way among each other? If they do, they are as racist as this blog insinuates Palin is. And my wife and friends are as racist as this blog thinks they are, too, come to think of it. I'm don't know that they are, don't know that they're not, but the racist double standard here is clear.
"Racist double standard"? Not sure if I've seen anyone here defend self-segregation from any race, this sounds like oranc is still projecting his own racist 'white flight' views onto other people and other situations. It's funny how he generalizes/stereotypes Asians and Asian Americans repeatedly in his posts, implying/assuming the readers here agree with or are the same as those from his limited examples. Also, oranc bringing up Chinatown is hilarious since he reveals his ignorance over the history of Chinatowns and how they were started in reaction to violent, racist Whites in the 19th century who would kill Asians who lived amongst them. I'm also not sure if bringing up those specific low-income Black or Asian neighborhoods is self-segregation as much as it is about poor minorities with limited housing options. Since when did Hyphen start to attract Asiaphile posters? Next thing you know, oranc is going to start pretending he's an expert and lecture people here on all things Asian. Seeing as how he's such a strong Sarah Palin supporter, even more so as he says after this news article, I'd wager he meant to post on the Michelle Malkin website and accidentally found this site instead.