Friday, September 11, 2009

The Definition of CRACKER...just so you know

You know the old saying "Me thinks thou dost protest too much? Well, yesterday there was a lot of hubbub about Congressman Joe Wilson's rude and disrespectful disruption of President Obama's speech regarding the health care reform initiative. A long time friend of mine had posted something about him on her Facebook page about it and I commented "Yeah, he's a cracker douche." Later in the day, I started getting FB notifications of comments related to my comment. Apparently this commenter is a relative of hers. My condolences, honey. She has since taken the exchange down, but my email still had copies. =D

These are his comments, verbatim.

"How ignorant..CRACKER DOUCHE? This country will never move forward because of PEOPLE LIKE YOU!! Have some decency, that Congressman was wrong for speaking out in that manner I will give you that, however by using that type of racial slur, it makes you no better. The man is passionate just like you are. Educate yourself on the real issues here, and think before you use racial slurs to hide behind your own ignorance. I'm actually ashamed that (friends name here) would even associate with someone like you."

"Casual comments do not include the term "cracker". Why does it always have to be about race anyway? Can't you just speak your mind without bringing race into it? Or do you not have the intelligence?"

"And Marion again, why does it have to be about race? You actually believe Joe Wilson spoke out just because the president is black? As long as people like you make these types of accusations and make excuses, we will never move forward together. Finally, I do associate the "N" word with cracker. They are both racial slurs and should never be used to describe ethnicity."

Oh no motherfucker, not today!

(Rep. Joe Wilson, R, SC)

Unfortunately, my brilliant, erudite response (=D) is erased from FB and since I don't get email copies of things I post via Blackberry, I'll try to reiterate. My point was, that having spent quite a bit of time in South Carolina and knowing much of it's history and the entitlement of such white men as Joe Wilson - who's families have lived there for generations and who still display the Confederate flag (albeit, no longer atop the capitol building where it fluttered for years despite public outrage and attempts to have it taken down) - it's clear to me, as it was to millions of Americans that evening, that Wilson thought nothing of calling President Obama a liar in Congress with the nation watching. It's a deeply ingrained disrespect born of generations of racism. And that needs to be called out. I also know a whole lot of really good people from the south. People who would never think to act in such a disrespectful was toward a sitting President. But that's not who Joe Wilson is.

Now, back to my Facebook attacker. He truly believes that calling someone a cracker is the equivelant to calling someone a N****r. I looked up the definition of cracker, so let's see...


1. general. One who or that which cracks (in any of the senses of the vb.).

1842 DICKENS Amer. Notes (1850) 14/1 A teller of anecdotes and cracker of jokes. (OED)

2. esp. A boaster, braggart; a liar. A Celtic word meaning a loudmouth. (Tonyan)

1766 G. COCHRANE Let. 27 June (D.A.), I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia.

3. [ l7C – early 20C] familiar or colloq. An enormous lie. ( Farmer, 201) A very tall story. (Partridge, 264)

1871 Daily News 24 July, Learning to tell lies, and call them ‘crackers’. (OED)

4. [late l7C-l8C] the backside. (Green, p.283) the anus or buttocks (Spears, 88; 1811)

5. Cracker U.S. A poor white Southern person ( also "rustic", "countrified", "backwoods"

(Cassidy, 825) "uneducated"(Major,119), "low-down’(Rowan,99) and "white trash." ) The area of Southeast Georgia, and North Central Florida are most closely associated with word. (Hill 223)

Also attrib.

Corn-cracker also refers to one who cracks corn to make grits or cornmeal, corn being a principal ingredient of the diet of backwoodmen (Presley) and poor whites linked to certain regions of Georgia and Florida. After the Civil War, many were too poor to buy corn meal and had no choice but to make their own. (Hendrickson, 76). Corn-cracker is first atttested to only in 1835. (Wordorigins).


This definition involves the whip, its pieces, its sound and those who used the whip. One theory is that cracker was coined by black people in reference to the whip-cracking during enslavement; by extension any white person. (Smitherman,100)

6. An attachment to the end of a whip-lash such as a piece of buckskin by which a cracking sound can be produced. Wentworth, 85).


7.. [ l7C – 19C] Crust, sea biscuit, or ammunition loaf. A thin hard biscuit. (Now chiefly in U.S.) Interestingly, the word cracker in reference to white people by Blacks is possibly derived from association with the whiteness of soda crackers. (Talkin 252) as opposed to ginger cookies. (Juba 119)


This definition of cracker is the racially charged one and is best understood after carefully considering all previous definitions as to how it evolved.

8. Cracker is also a Black name for whites, especially those thought to be racists. (Allen 50)

  1. Stribling Store 473 AL, "We would do very well with white folks if it weren’t for these miserable crackers", declared the tan girl passionately. (Cassidy 826)
So, Mr. Facebook Attacker Man, anyone who would protest, so vehemently, my usage of the word in relation to Congressman Wilson or any of his ilk, protesteth too much in my book.

On the bright side for me...if I'm pissing these kinds of people off, I must be doing something right!!! And that's what's crackalackin'!

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