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originally posted by: ScientificRailgun
I retract my previous statements.
But it turns out cracker's roots go back even further than the 17th century. All the way back to the age of Shakespeare, at least.
"The meaning of the word has changed a lot over the last four centuries," said Dana Ste. Claire, a Florida historian and anthropologist who studies, er, crackers. (He literally wrote the book on them.)
Ste. Claire pointed me to King John, published sometime in the 1590s. One character refers to another as a craker — a common insult for an obnoxious bloviator.
What craker is this same that deafs our ears with this abundance of superfluous breath?
"It's a beautiful quote, but it was a character trait that was used to describe a group of Celtic immigrants — Scots-Irish people who came to the Americas who were running from political circumstances in the old world," Ste. Claire said. Those Scots-Irish folks started settling the Carolinas, and later moved deeper South and into Florida and Georgia.
But the disparaging term followed these immigrants, who were thought by local officials to be unruly and ill-mannered.
"In official documents, the governor of Florida said, 'We don't know what to do with these crackers — we tell them to settle this area and they don't; we tell them not to settle this area and they do," Ste. Claire said. "They lived off the land. They were rogues."
By the early 1800s, those immigrants to the South started to refer to themselves that way as a badge of honor and a term of endearment. (I'm pretty sure this process of reappropriating a disparaging term sounds familiar to a lot of y'all.)
The crackers had their distinctive time-intensive cuisine — swamp cabbage, hoppin' john, corn pone — and favored architectural styles meant to make cooking in the brutal Southern summers more bearable. There were baseball teams called the Crackers. According to Ste. Claire, we've even had a cracker president.
"Jimmy Carter is a cracker," Ste. Claire said. "He's an Oglethorpe, from Celtic-English cracker stock. I don't know if he knows, but I think Jimmy Carter would proudly call himself one. "
It was in the late 1800s when writers from the North started referring to the hayseed faction of Southern homesteaders as crackers. "[Those writers] decided that they were called that because of the cracking of the whip when they drove slaves," Ste. Claire said. But he said that few crackers would have owned slaves; they were generally too poor. (That of course, doesn't mean they weren't participants in the South's slave economy in other ways.)
Ste. Claire said that by the 1940s, the term began to take on yet another meaning in American inner cities in particular: as an epithet for bigoted white folks. But he wasn't sure how it happened. (I'm hazarding a guess here, but this would have been during the height of the Great Migration, as millions of black people from the South were moving to the North and West and fleeing Southern racism. They might have carried cracker with them as a shorthand for whites back in the Jim Crow South.)
For many Southern whites, though, cracker has remained uncomplicated, a source of cultural pride. "There are people who will claim that there's a diff between Georgia cracker and a Florida cracker, but that's really just a difference of football teams," Ste. Claire said.
originally posted by: InverseLookingGlass
a reply to: ScientificRailgun
Among peers, racism is a character flaw. Pride is also a character flaw in the same vein.
Racism by authoritarians is effective and systematic. Despite your hollow ranting, this is the truth. There is a very real difference. Failure to recognize it reeks of ignorance.
originally posted by: IvanAstikov
a reply to: HunterHayden
Most of the hateful crap I see on the English-speaking internet is directed at those with dark skin by morons with light skin.
originally posted by: IvanAstikov
You are the one coming over as frustrated. I'm just telling you that you are taking this way too seriously, and you're getting all bent out of shape and telling me to post elsewhere. Sorry, but that's not how I roll. I post where I want, not where other posters suggest I should..