Cracker as a racial term
This term came up for me today in an online discussion. A lot of people didn’t understand why I was upset by it and that I see it as a derogatory term and rightly so. Apparently a lot of people seem to think it’s just a term black people use for white people to explain our blandness – like a saltine cracker.
The problem is – I live in the epicenter of Florida Cracker culture. So for me, a cracker isn’t just a racial term. It specifically refers to a farmer/settler of the area and their descendants who exploited and who still exploit slave labor for financial gain. It’s impossible to separate out Cracker culture from slavery and the forced removal of the Indian population from the area so that white folk could “settle” the area.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that as a white person living in this area, I benefit from the Cracker settlement of the area. I also have zero problems with black people using the term to negatively describe racist white folk who deserve to be labelled that way. After all crackers still exist. What I am trying to do with this essay is to help my white brethren understand that this isn’t simply a funny term to use to describe really white whites. Understanding WHY it’s an insult when a black person calls you a cracker will help you to understand WHY racial justice is still such an important issue. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be a little less clueless about the struggles our black brothers and sisters face.