Just overcoming the bad press surrounding the news that Texas Governor and GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Perry owns a family hunting camp once called “Niggerhead,” now there’s more racially-charged news about the Texan.
According to The Huffington Post, Perry voted against sanctions on Apartheid-era South Africa.
You know, if you start putting all of this news together, it’s starting to look like Governor Perry is one of those folks who thinks of African Americans or anyone black as second class. That is, in need of his assistance. If Perry utters the remark “I have blacks in my administration” that’s proof of what I’m talking about.
But I digress.
Here’s part of what Jason Cherkis wrote over at Huff Post:
In 1985, another member of Perry’s former party put forth an amendment in the Texas State Legislature that would have outlawed the state’s investments in the South African government. South Africa had been widely condemned for its vicious racial segregation, and economic sanctions were considered a popular — and ultimately successful weapon — against its Apartheid government.
As proposed, the rule was explicit: “Investments of the Permanent University Fund and other funds available for investment may not be invested directly in the Republic of South Africa.”
The amendment was killed, with state Rep. Perry voting with the majority, according to Texas Legislature voting records.
The article points to the view that it wasn’t unusual for Texans elected officials to be against sanctions on South Africa. But at the time it was considered racist.
I attended The University of Texas at Arlington for undergraduate school, then, and vividly remember heated, and long conversations with conservative friends who didn’t seem to understand why Apartheid – what was a policy of legalized racial segregation – was wrong. I refused to believe people I knew could be that stupid, and said so.
I think of those conversations today, and still can’t believe they happened, but they did.
That was in stark contrast to the view outside Texas at the time, including in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up, then returned to for grad school at Berkeley, and in Chicago, where I was born.
Eventually, with the United States joining an international sanctions program in 1986, Texas found itself squarely out of touch with the national view of South Africa and of Apartheid. The state’s view seemed to be “We know it’s bad, as you say, but we don’t want to take action against it.”
The Texas of the 1980s was considered to be racist by many, and it’s coming back to haunt Rick Perry today. The best remedy for Perry is not for him to speak on his feelings about African Americans, and his actions of the day, but for anyone Perry has who’s black and a friend – a real friend and not a political plant – to voluntarily speak on his behalf.