Governor Rick Perry’s record with minorities is once again under scrutiny. Recently, the media has recently reported a black racial slur as the name of Perry’s private hunting camp.
Perry began hosting politicians, friends and supporters at his family’s West Texas hunting camp. The subject of controversy was a large, flat rock standing at the gated entrance to the camp which has the N-word painted on it.
When asked a couple weeks ago about the rock, Perry said it bore an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.” However, the media has already begun to speculate on the validity of his statement considering that the faded letters remain.
Perry’s record with the black community during his stint as governor is the same as that of any other Republican candidate, practically nonexistent. According to CNN, President Obama captured over 90 percent of the black voters in every age range, so it won’t be surprising if that same turnout repeats in 2012.
The real question is whether these recent controversies such as Perry’s stance on Confederate battle flags in statehouses and other government buildings will hamper his campaign during the Republican primaries. As these past events are brought to Perry will have answer to black voters.
Perry’s biggest competition, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, have proven to be tough adversaries. It’s doubtful that either of these two will be able to split black voters who historically have voted for Democratic party candidates.
This hunting camp controversy is the least of Perry’s problems. While blacks are more often socially conservative on many issues, such as abortion and gay marriage because of religious affiliation, they lean more to the Democratic party side on economic issues.
Unless the Republican candidates can prove that lowering taxes and decreasing government spending can still improve the standard of living for those in poverty and the working class, which contain largely minority voters, they will not have an easy election.
Perry claims to have already accomplished increasing employment and creating jobs in Texas where he claims the total number of government jobs had increased 19 percent, while the private sector saw only a 9 percent increase.
His claim omits a few facts; for example, Texas’ main industry has been petroleum and most of the job growth has been in that field. If students want jobs right now, they should switch their majors to chemical or petroleum engineering and gas up.
What’s giving Republicans an edge are the small business owners. While there are black small business owners, these voters make up small percentage of the total number of business owners in Texas.
Certain policies, such as the Right-to-Work law, which states a person cannot be denied employment because of membership or non-membership in a labor union or other labor organization, are less likely to affect blacks who make up a smaller percentage of the private sector.
Despite his latest controversy, Perry needs to investigate what issues minorities, especially Blacks and Hispanics, are hoping to see resolved during the presidency.