Is Sarah Palin Racist? “Well, She Ended Our Conversation When She Learned I Was Black”

Gregory Charles Royal

Long before Gregory Charles Royal became a judge on America’s Hot Musician, a talent competition airing in 200 US television markets, he was a hot, young jazz trombonist. Today, he is someone confirming from first-hand experience that Palin has always been racist as alleged by numerous sources in my original article on her, “Alaskans Speak: Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive and Mean.”

And he’s willing to be quoted by name.

Royal, shown here, is incredibly talented. He received formal trombone training when he was 11 in the DC Youth Orchestra Program while simultaneously playing in Washington clubs with Roscoe Bowie’s Message Band and Show. He also received principal trombone honors in the First American Festival of Youth Orchestras and, at 15, was the youngest member of the Howard University Jazz Ensemble. He toured with Al Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and Slide Hampton and His World of Trombones, and starred on Broadway as an on-stage musician in Five Guys Named Moe, which was nominated for two Tony awards. Along the way, Royal wrote and acted in It’s a Hardbop Life, the first play featuring an entire cast of jazz musicians, which debuted at the 2004 New York Jazz Festival.

He also performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for 10 years, from 1989 to 1999. In May 1990, the orchestra was touring Alaska and played in Anchorage. While there, the 28-year old Royal and a small group of other musicians from the orchestra went into a fast food joint near the airport for a bite to eat.

“I saw a great looking young lady and, as lots of traveling musicians do, I struck up a conversation with her,” Royal recounted to me after my original piece on Palin was published. “She told me her name was Sarah.”

Royal admits he was hitting on her and, he claims, she knew it. Picking up women is a regular activity for most musicians, especially when on the road. The reason this particular conversation stuck in his mind is because she said that while she wasn’t much into jazz, she played the flute.

“This is why I remembered talking with her,” Royal states.

He talked to Sarah about the Modern Jazz Quartet to give her an example of the broad range jazz covers and to show her how some groups play not strictly jazz style music that a lot of popular music fans like. “I was trying to keep the conversation going,” Royal says, “so I mentioned some of the musicians, including Percy Heath.”

“She quickly let me know that Heath was her name too,” Royal recounts.

Royal claims that she mentioned going to school in Hawaii but did not say anything about being married or being pregnant. “I would remember that. Anyway, it was May 1990 and she was just a couple of months pregnant and wouldn’t have shown.”

Royal felt he was making progress with Sarah Heath and when a couple of his musician friends approached, he waved them off. “But she saw them and got weird.”

“Sarah asked me if they were with me. I asked her what was up because she was obviously a little weird after seeing them,” states Royal, who has Native American blood in his ancestry is a fairly light skinned while his buddies were much darker.

“I don’t mean any harm,” Royal says Sarah told him, which is exactly what she meant but he recalls her saying that she doesn’t do black guys.

“I said ‘I’m Black,’” Royal relates, to which Sarah replied with, “Well, you aren’t really black. You’re like …”

Royal remembers her voice trailed off as if not knowing what to say next as the reality of the situation sunk in on her. “Then she got real confused and the conversation ended rather quickly and uncomfortably.”

So how did this long-ago, failed pick-up come back to Royal’s mind some 18 years later?

Sarah Heath - Sarah Palin

“I followed the 2008 conventions but never connected Sarah Palin to the Sarah Heath I hit on,” he says, “because there was no physical resemblance and the last name was different. It was from watching an MSNBC story on her that I saw the photos and learned her family name.”

When the now-Sarah Palin uttered the immortal words, “So Sambo beat the bitch” to the hearty laughter of her luncheon companions during the primaries, it was merely an extension of what appears to be her lifelong views on race. When she thought Greg Royal was something other than black, she seemed more than eager to make the beast with two backs with him; in an instant of learning he was actually black, she fumbled for words and fled.

At least we know she fits in naturally with the racist right wingnuts that infest the Republican Party, unlike her running mate who says whatever he needs to say at the moment to fit in with them. For whatever that’s worth.

by Charley James

Charley James is an American journalist, author and essayist who lives in Toronto.

Reprinted with permission from The Progressive Curmudgeon

Articles by Charley:


  1. says

    Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem with your web site in web explorer, may test this… IE still is the market leader and a good component of people will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  2. says

    im a black Haitian woman and i don’t think she is and if she is that’s her stupid ass don’t she know once u go black u never go back lol, but yeah i dont think she is but i wouldn’t vote for.

  3. bob says

    You don’t have to concider this article to know Palin is racist. Remember her campaign against Obama. You’d have to either be blind, stupid or racist to not see it. That in itself would be reason enough not to vote for her in my opinion. America does not consist of just tea partiers would believe in “taking the country back”. The country has prided itself in being the worlds melting pot. No other country can boast of that type of freedom. We need unity among all races, creeds and color in this country now more than ever. It would senseless to continue to harbor hatred for each other when so many people in other countries hate Americans (which includes North and South). Some people would like to use government entilements (unemployment,welfare etc.) as an excuse to hate minorities. Some people who have lost their jobs were tax payers for decades before being laid off, but that is ignored by tea partiers. The queen of the tea party, Palin was born and raised in a racist environment so that is all she knows. If you are going to run for president of the most powerful and diverse country in the world, you have to embrace all of the people, that includes minorities. That’s elementary. Palin was extremely uncomfortable on the Oprah show and took a very long time to get up enough of a spine and good scripting to appear.Having her for President or even a waitress would be a total disaster. She would have to go to school all over again just to be partially in touch with the American people and even that is no guarantee. I don’ t mean to bash her so much but it is so easy when you see how much of a publicity hound she is and the things she says makes no sense at all. Also it is unbelievable how many people are so enamored with her (CNN,Fox and other nitwits). She reminds me of a young Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies. People who says she’s not predjudice is just like her.

  4. meman says

    sara palin is, and always will be very pretty. so pretty and alluring that black men can’t resist her. Gregory Charles Royals she didin’t shoot you down because your black, as you state. so stop using the race card. get over it, you want this pretty 45 year old white women

  5. ken says

    beauty does not have any race attached to it, be it Caucasian,African American,Asian,Indian,or middle easterner
    If you don’t find yourself attracted to a beautiful Asian girl because of her race, you have some personality issues to deal with.

  6. LEE BROWN says

    The indirect racist comments and/or statements by Sarah Palin are on the up rise among African Americans. Sarah Palin used the name “KUMBAYA” in a native way and thinking it is o.k. When and if Palin runs for Presidency in 2012, blacks are NOT going to forget and it’s going to turn around and bite her in the ass, like an Alaska deer in headlights. Yes we are waiting for her to run for President in 2012, and then all hell will break loose.

  7. says

    Sarah Palin is racist. She is not an American. She want to take us back to the days of Jim Crow. Be careful. Her and that NAZI TEA PARTY. The KLAN IS BACK. JEWS BLACKS HISPANICS AND ASIANS. MAY HER AND THAT TEA PARTY ROT IN HELL> SATAN IS WAITING FOR THEM.

    • Tay says

      Sarah Palin is dumb as dirt! Oh wait the dirt is smarter. Every time she opens her mouth we loose brain cell. If she could focus more on her own dysfunctional family, she would be better off. Dumb… She is such a looser..she caused republicans to loose the presidential race… Haha evey time she opens her mouth I’m sure the democratics thanks her.

  8. Tim says


    Let’s not get all upset over her attraction preferences.

    Look, I’m black I’m not particularly attracted to Asian women at all I would not have sex with them and obviously I don’t flirt with them.

    Does that mean that I’m racist against Asian folks? No. I’m just not into Asians of the opposite sex in that way.

    And maybe Sarah finally saw him in a good light and said to herself “I’m NOT doing that guy!” lol.

    • LEE BROWN says

      You need to look up on the Internet about what the black black community in Alaska is saying about her. They get it first hand.

  9. elvisd says

    I’m no fan of sarah palin, and her ilk, but looking back, this has to be the most ridiculous charge that was put against her. This man, with a straight face, is saying she was “racist” because he couldn’t pick her up? What is so admirable about some hustling musician-who cares what he has to say? Knock this down a notch, and you’d have the logic of “I tried to sell dope to sarah palin, but she wouldn’t buy it, and since i’m puerto rican, she’s racist”. Silly? Not much more so than this.

  10. Gyalist says

    If you head over to there has been ongoing investigation on who the father of Track Palin, Sarah’s ldest son really is.

    Here’s the original thread: Abortiongate

    The latest thread: Track Update

    There’s some remarkable sleuthing going on there, inspired by the clear lies in her autobiography Going Rogue.

  11. Charley James says

    @ Caramoan – I’m not sure how you found a 16-month old article but since you took time to read it and leave a comment, it has to be answered.

    What did she do that was admirable in Alaska? Quitting halfway through her first term? Charging women who’ve been sexually assaulted for rape kits? Trying to fire the head of the state troopers when he refused to fire her ex-brother in law?

    All she is good at as a politician is riling up her smallish base by telling lies (see “death panels”) and distorting the truth (see reaction to her book).

    • Disparaged says

      Charley, she’s a bald-faced liar whom her robots love! She can do no wrong in their eyes and is almost beatified by them just like Reagan [while almost 40 years later I’m still awaiting my ‘trickle down’ economic slice of the pie]. Thank God Obama won the election and more people are beginning to see Paylin for what she really is – just one more politician trying hard to further their own bank account regardless of who it hurts or who are sending their last bit of change from their Social Security checks. Since she is a POX ON SOCIETY, like the plague or avian bird flu and I can only hope she ends up in hell because she is one of Satan’s disciples. There is no hope for her fans because they are as ignorant and uneducated as she and can’t see that she is a GRIFTER.

  12. says

    eventhough there are lots of criticisms against Sarah Palin, i still admire her. she also did a lot of things in the area of politics specially in Alaska.

  13. Scott M says

    In the words of Miles Davis … So What? This is really reaching to make her look bad. She is within her rights to not sleep with this guy and the whole story is smaller than a gnat’s peter.

  14. Bryan says

    I don’t know what to say about his story… but I truly believe that if someone is a racist, sooner or later, something they say or do will reveal it. You can’t hide who you really are.

    And yes, people have their preferences, as I have my own. Is it racist to be white and refuse to date black men? No, not necessarily… but I can guarantee that most racist white women don’t date black men.

  15. mash maul says

    her husband is white . stop that eskimo crap that man is white as snow lol lets get this right whites kill ppl and steal there birth right.

  16. vonny says

    Well the story implies that she didn’t think this Jazz musician was “…really black…”. I looked this guy up and there is no way you can mistake him for being white.I have few nice things to say about Palin and i hope for the sake of America she never becomes President or Vp. However, this story seems very unbelievable.

  17. tray says

    This is stupid. Not one part of this guys story could be considered racist. Stupid, yes. But racist? You hit on her and it didn’t work out. Maybe it was because you’re black. So. Maybe it was because you were a dorky traveling trombone player. Maybe you were wearing that horrible shirt pictured in the article. Maybe she didn’t want to be hit on in a McDonalds. Regardless, you can call her a lot of things and most of us will agree…but this guy’s story sounds dumber than anything she’s ever said.

  18. required says

    I am sure this is not the first or last racist comment Sarah Palin will make. She is radical Aquarius like Dick Cheney and she is dangerous just like him. With McCain’s screwball strategies and her wacko views, again I repeat this country’s going to get exactly what’s coming to it if the McCain/Palin ticket wins.

  19. OrangeCounty says

    Palin is a racist – she hates Blacks, Arabs…and yes, Jews. Even though she is doing her little “I love Israel” dance, most intelligent people understand that she is merely pandering to elderly Jewish voters. Palin is scary…her true colors will shine through. Let’s hope the American public sees her for what she is before the election, rather than after.

  20. dave c says

    after all the shows.. all the women he has hit on..

    he remembered her.. right..

    she is such a racist that she married an Eskimo too..

  21. says

    Two years after her marriage, when she’d just had Track and was very likely pregnant with Bristol, she was hanging out in a McDonalds in Anchorage trolling for musicians and told this guy she doesn’t do black guys. And he remembers being shut down, and her name, 18 years later.


    • Lars says

      Why yes, the one’s that shut you down, that belittle you and question your reproductive quality are the ones you remember forever!

  22. Corwin says

    Well,you keep trying.But this one has attribution-from only 18 years ago.And we can trust this person’s account because it’s in Your column.Charlie,I know you don’t have any reputation left,but you may have kids someday.How would they feel when their little playmates taunt them.
    How many of you wing nuts actually believe this story?
    And ,Charley,WHEN are we going to get the Golden Showers story?

  23. jules says

    so what if she doesn’t like black guys? a lot of women aren’t attracted to them as well as a lot of black women don’t like white guys, that’s not really racist. it’s just preference, i don’t like black guys either that doesn’t mean Im racist

    • Su says

      I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but:

      Yes, it does. You’re showing discrimination or prejudice based on race. That is racism.

    • delta says

      Drawing a hard line like that… she was into him before she knew he was black. Plus the obvious- she was married and pregnant.

    • Robin Doe says

      i am a black woman who agrees with you 100%! while i believe that sarah palin is a racist, i don’t think this particular situation states the case. and how could she not tell that he was black? he very obviously so. i think he was just blinded by her rejection of him.

      obama/biden ’08!

  24. Dave says

    Is it possible that this happened? Absolutely. However, because it was so long ago and it’s impossible to verify I’d have to say that you must discount it. Now there must be someone else in Alaska who knows Sara Palin well enough to validate the claim of the waitress who allegedly heard her make the “sambo” comment. In addition, how do you account for the fact that her husband is at least 1/8 native Alaskan? Does she just not care because he looks white? If so, maybe it’s just some kind of weird aesthetic quirk with her. After all, not everybody is into interracial relationships and that in and of itself does not make her a racist.

    Something about this guys testimony seems a little off as well. He claims that she says she “doesn’t do black guys.” but in 1990 she was married to Todd Palin for almost two years (so she probably didn’t announce her name as Heath) and this kind of infers that she was ready to sleep with someone else (namely Mr. Royal). This does not quite ring true. If she was the type of person who’s ready to screw around that soon after marriage that they probably wouldn’t have made it for so long without any public affairs. In addition, she had her first son in 1989 so it’s kind of hard to believe that she was so unencumbered by motherhood that she’s out running around.

    Sorry, but I’m not buying this story at all.

    • Donna says

      I want to believe the story, but likewise, it just doesn’t bode well with me. Too many doubts. And I know many people who just don’t do “blacks.” And I know many blacks who don’t do “whites” but who love me and their other white friends. Some people don’t do fat people, some like only redheads, some love tall people…it’s all preference. Come on, give me a good reason not to like this woman! But seriously, I don’t want to have to dislike her, I already believe she’s not big enough for the job!

      GO OBAMA!

    • delta says

      She has had affairs, according to some news sources. Also, marriages survive all the time through affairs and aren’t necessarily related to ones ability to govern.

  25. LEE BROWN says

    before you say she is not racist, you should look up what the black community says about her. Now check this out. The indirect racist comments and/or statements by Sarah Palin are on the up rise among African Americans. Sarah Palin used the name “KUMBAYA” in a native way and thinking it is o.k. When and if Palin runs for Presidency in 2012, blacks are NOT going to forget and it’s going to turn around and bite her in the ass, like an Alaska deer in headlights. Yes we are waiting for her to run for President in 2012, and then all hell will break loose.


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