ne of the ironies of this stance is that Texas under Rick Perry’s leadership has been a magnet for African-American professionals. The Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas have seen a huge influx of black families from big cities in the north and west, due in part to the low cost of living and strong employment prospects. This spring, the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute observed that African Americans and Latinos in Texas had average unemployment rates of 13.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, since the start of the recession, far higher than the 6 percent unemployment rate for non-Hispanic whites. These unemployment levels are quite high. But they’re also considerably lower than for the same groups nationally…

The relative health of Texas’s job market doesn’t prove in itself that Rick Perry isn’t a racist. By virtue of being a white Southerner of a certain age who is critical of social welfare spending, racial preferences, the centralization of power in Washington, D.C., and many other policies dear to liberals, many on the left are convinced that Perry must in his heart of hearts be a racist, and indeed that conservatism is itself rooted in racist sentiments.

Conservatives, myself included, resist and resent this conclusion. One reason is that conservative criticisms of many programs aimed at bettering the lives of members of minority groups are rooted in the belief that these programs are actually counterproductive.