Sex, race, and the Republican presidential campaign
Rick Perry is under fire for the racial slur that was the name of his family’s hunting camp. Meanwhile, all the GOP presidential candidates are being asked why they didn't stop the booing when a gay soldier raised "don't ask, don't tell" at their recent debate.
Maybe it’s been a slow weekend on the campaign trail (or we’re all just bored with polls and debates), but sexual orientation and race have injected themselves – refreshingly, dare one say? – into the GOP presidential race.Skip to next paragraph
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Specifically, Republicans are being taken to task (in some cases, by their own number) for what seemed to be the audience’s insensitive response to a gay soldier who asked a question of candidates by video at the most recent GOP debate.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry is under fire for the racial slur that was the name of his family’s hunting camp.
A 3,000-word piece in Sunday’s Washington Post, reported from Perry’s hometown of Paint Creek, Tex., asserts that “In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance. ‘N…..head,’ it read.” (Except the story spells out the name.)
“Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation’s maps,” notes Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen. “But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock – lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint – remained by the gated entrance to the camp.”
The story notes that Perry grew up in a segregated part of the country before the passage of major civil rights laws, and it quotes him as saying the word on the rock is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.”
There isn't "a more vile, negative word than the N word," Cain said. "For him to leave it there as long as he did before ... they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."
The Perry camp was quick with damage control.
IN PICTURES: Republicans in the 2012 presidential race
Ray Sullivan, communications director for the Perry campaign, said the governor's father, Ray Perry, leased the hunting rights in the early 1980s and that Rick Perry was on the lease from 1997 to 2007. Rick Perry has not visited the property since December 2006, Sullivan told the Associated Press.