Lasting effects of racism seen in Perry scandal

   It’s no secret that in many places in the south, racism is alive and well. Many neighborhoods still show clear lines of segregation, with mostly whites in one areas and blacks in another.

In Austin, I-35 serves as a dividing line for west and east Austin. In the 1920s, it served as a racial barrier, segregating races and socioeconomic classes. Even today under Austin’s commercial industry and gentrification, we can still see traces of that segregation in east Austin.

   These long-term effects of racial segregation remind us that it wasn’t too long ago that the United States was not an equal opportunity place to live or work.

   While the effects may serve as a reminder, we definitely do not like to acknowledge them. However, we will make an exception when someone famous does something racially insensitive.

   Recently, “The Washington Post” ran a story stating that Texas governor and Republican presidential nominee hopeful Rick Perry was connected to a ranch in West Texas with a racial slur for a name, written on a rock near the entrance. Perry did not put the name there, and it has been painted over for nearly 30 years.

    The story made headlines nationally, and is no doubt going to become a problem for Perry, whose popularity has already taken a hit after a couple of lagging performances in recent Tea Party debates.

   But let’s be clear. Rick Perry is not a racist. He has appointed several people of various ethnicities and minorities to positions of power in state government. Perry’s campaign team was also quick to remind the media that in 1991, the Texas Legislature passed a bill in an attempt to eradicate racially insensitive place names. Perry has also been strongly in favor of education rights for minority youths.

   Despite this record, Perry has taken a lot of heat in the media, largely because there has been debate over when, exactly, the name was painted over. Perry claims it happened sometime in 1983 or 1984, according to the “Austin