When Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) took friends, fellow legislators or campaign donors to his hunting camp, they passed the word “Niggerhead” painted on a rock. As the Washington Post reported Saturday, “Niggerhead” stood for the long-ago name of the Perry family’s hunting camp.
Perry told the Post that the name had been blotted out with paint as soon as his father purchased the property, the rock turned over to hide the traces of it. But the newspaper found multiple sources and some photographic evidence to contradict that claim:
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 Post story did not suggest Perry was an outright racist. Indeed, in the wake of the piece, several politicians — including Democrats — defended the governor against charges of racism. And Perry only has so much control over what other area residents call the property. But the story brought renewed attention to what many claim is the governor’s pattern of indifference — or at least tone deafness — on the subject of racism.