Sister Sarah She Ain't

Why Sarah Palin is getting no love from black women.


An evening at the Urban League of Central Carolinas was advertised as a discussion of the black women's agenda with a multigenerational panel. And it followed the program, until the topic turned to Sarah Palin.

That's when it got really interesting.

You think Barack Obama exposed a racial divide this election season? Bring up the Republican vice presidential nominee and stand back. While some white women admire the self-styled "hockey mom," and believe that, "she's just like me," you will not get that reaction from many black women.

Of course, my poll isn't scientific and no group is monolithic. But please, trust me. This reaction is from a usually calm person who nonetheless suppresses the urge to scream whenever Palin appears onscreen. Even Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live impression makes me skittish.

I wouldn't call it "Palin derangement syndrome," but I still find myself wondering, "What gives?"

One woman on the panel, a multilingual business analyst, who is a wife and mom, drew nods when she said of Palin: "I don't see her as a qualified person to run the country." "She's not a Republican Hillary," she said.

Then she went a step further, using Palin as Exhibit A to explain why black feminists and white feminists haven't seen eye to eye for a while.

Many black women who have had to work extra hours to be seen as barely competent by less-qualified peers grit their teeth when a short-term Alaska governor, thrown into the spotlight, retains her luster after blown TV interviews and winks to the camera. She brags about her lack of travel and experience and gets away with it. She is praised for not falling down during her debate with Joe Biden, even after she pretty much announced that she won't be answering the moderator's questions.

Even The New York Times published an article on Palin and the dudes who love her.

It's just another reminder of how black women, even those who have done everything we're supposed to, are rendered invisible. What do we have to do to be considered a role model? Shoot a moose?