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Why cracker is not the ‘C-word’

When I was a kid, white supremacist J.B. Stoner ran for state office in Georgia. His ads, which TV stations were forced to air due to the Fairness Doctrine, included the N-word. It was jarring to hear, even for a kid who had not yet been exposed to politics of race.

I also watched shows like “Sanford and Son” and “The Jeffersons,” where words like “honky” and “cracker” were thrown around liberally. I don’t remember being offended or shocked; instead, I laughed.

If  a kid can decipher context, surely adults can. Some just choose not to, rushing to play the victim after prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel used the phrase “creepy ass cracker” during her testimony in the George Zimmerman trial.

Major league asshole John Rocker is particularly offended:

But, as Jeantel testified, Martin had no problem utilizing a jingoistic, racial pejorative (incorrectly, by the way) in describing a man who turned out to be Zimmerman. The entire media that were so quick to both lynch Deen and convict George Zimmerman before his trial even began were then forced to defend not only the crude racial remarks of Martin (and the even cruder testimony of Jeantel), but explain them away as being innocuous.

As someone who to this day, whenever I’m interviewed, is forced to discuss comments made 14 years ago, I look at the media’s ferocious lynching of George Zimmerman but the casual manner they’ve brushed aside comments of Trayvon Martin as even more infuriating.

Racism is racism.

No, racism is power. If blacks had been the slave owners and segregationists then cracker would be the pejorative with consequences. The N-word, meanwhile, would be something the few white characters on sitcoms said for laughs.

It’s not that hard to understand.

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1 Comment on Why cracker is not the ‘C-word’

  1. wuky // July 2, 2013 at pm //

    I think you make an interesting observation, Malcontent, but for once I agree with Rocker. It’s true that all words have more meaning in context, but Rocker’s point is that what’s true for one group should be true for the other. If one word has racial undertones but is not generally offensive, it’s still racist, just like the other word that has racial undertones that is generally offensive. You’re splitting hairs otherwise, and you’re condoning the idea that certain pejorative language is OK for some but not OK for others. If the goal is to eradicate racism, it has to be eradicated from current use, not just in certain context.

    Whether or not Jeantel or Martin meant “cracker” as a racial pejorative will never be known, but I’d bet my money that the six female jurors view it as that, rightly or wrongly.

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