Perry’s Racist Ranch Name Draws Ire

Herman Cain called the name “insensitive” to Black people.

Posted: 10/03/2011 09:30 AM EDT

Rick Perry’s rural Texas past collided with his political ambitions last week as he has came under fire over the curious name of his family hunting camp.

The N-----head ranch served as both Perry’s beloved boyhood stomping ground and the place where he entertained lawmakers, supporters and friends early in his political career. The original name of the ranch was painted on a large rock near the entrance to the camp. Although it has been reported that the old name has since been painted over, the question of when the name was abandoned still looms.

Perry himself called N-----head an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world,” and said the sign was covered up in the early eighties at his insistence.

However, the Washington Post reports that local residents have a different account about how long the racial slur was allowed to remain displayed on the property. According to the Post, seven people claimed to have seen the offensive name on the rock into the 1990s and one, a former worker on the ranch, says he saw it as recently as 2008.

“I was just so taken aback that it was so blatant, so in your face,” said a person from the Dallas area who visited the camp once in 1990 or 1991 and did not want to be named in a story potentially critical of Perry according to the Post. “It was just, ‘whop.’ It was a big rock, big enough to write that whole thing out.”

Herman Cain spoke out against the name of the ranch on television this weekend, calling it “insensitive.”

"My reaction is, that's just very insensitive," Cain told Fox. "[There] isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, before I hear that they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of Black people in this country."

The Post reports that the name has been known among hunters, cowboys and ranchers for decades and has been similarly used to title mountains, creeks and rock outcroppings in the past.

 (Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)