July 13, 2013

George Zimmerman: “Creepy-ass cracker”

“George Zimmerman: Creepy-ass Cracker”

arrest-photo-george-zimmerman-trayvon martin-deceased-trial
George Zimmerman: Free; Trayvon Martin: Deceased

Very few white people know – accurately, anyway – what the term “cracker” means when it is directed by a minority, most often an African American, toward a Caucasian person.

In my experience, most white people think they know what the term means, or they’re sure they know what it means, but are in fact wrong.

Overcoming my resistance to putting numbers on things, I surmise that ≈99% of white people do not know the true meaning of the term, as intended by those who use it other than to describe a thin, crisp biscuit.

Oh, and you’ll find abundant claims all over the Internet that cracker is a racial slur and does in fact refer to a saltine. You know, the Internet – what with its vast outlying areas of indiscretion and inaccurate or untruthful information.

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Non-creepy-ass cracker

But ask yourself, is a saltine cracker the whitest food item a person could come up with? Actually, they’re not very white at all. And what about Ritz® crackers? Graham Crackers? Does any of this even make sense?

black, slave, african american, whip, cracker
   Whipped with proficiency by a cracker

No it doesn’t, because in truth, the etymology of the term cracker appertains to a centuries-old stain on American history – slavery – where an oppressive slave owner would for most any reason administer lashes with a livestock whip to slaves, or as the expression goes, would “crack the whip.”

So, a “cracker” suggests an oppressor of, most commonly, African Americans.

It can be argued that it is an insult, but it is not a racial epithet by itself.

I’ve asked pretty much every white person I know what they believe the term cracker means, and the responses vary little: “It’s a racist term referring to the color of a white person’s skin – you know, white, like a saltine cracker(?),” is a semblance of the most common response.

The misunderstanding is understandable.

But when this widespread lack of understanding is shamefully exploited in a court of law by a team of lawyers trying to make a jury believe that a now deceased person who used the word during an…incident...is himself a racist, that is repugnant, inexcusable, indefensible, beneath contempt.

george-zimmerman-arrest-2005-felony-misdemeanor-trial-murder-kill-trayvon-trayvon martin-acquit-self defense
Click or touch photo for unimaginable but true news story

If you understand how African Americans use the term cracker and the N-word, you’ll no longer be confused by how Trayvon Martin could refer to George Zimmerman as a cracker in one sentence and then refer to him by the N-word in the next.

It’s because these terms, when used by many African Americans, with their understanding of what the words mean in their vernacular, are not racist terms in and of themselves.

Cracker may be used as a criticism, in the sense that it may be used to call a white person a racist – or at least oppressive. It would be similar to an African American, feeling particularly mistreated by a certain person, sarcastically addressing that person as “Masser,” like was said by the character “Mammy” in “Gone With the Wind.”

I’ve been blessed to have many good friends in my life, including some African American friends. “Stevie G” was a laugh-a-minute. He would have me in stitches.

“Peanut” could freestyle as well as or better than most platinum record selling multi-millionaire Hip Hop and rap artists.

Royce was as good-looking as the handsomest GQ cover boy and had a personality to match. (It goes without saying that he…“had a way with the ladies.”)

Javon was an astonishingly gifted singer, chosen to sing, a cappella, at his high school graduation ceremony.

“Blub” was a quiet, soft-spoken, gentle “teddy bear” of a guy, but whenever he broke his silence, he would succinctly encapsulate what others would take paragraphs to communicate (less effectively).

I observed no racism whatsoever from any of them in years of knowing them and spending time with them. They used the N-word constantly to refer to each other or to another person in the same way many white people use the word “dude.”

I admit it was alarming at first, when they would use the N-word in reference to me – a ghostly pale, anemic, Irish Caucasian American – until I understood that to them, it simply meant “dude.”

They’d say to me, “What’s good, my [N-word]?” Or, perhaps, “Take it from me, [N-word], don’t loan that [N-word] a dime.”

I came to understand, it was no different than a white person saying, “Take it from me, dude, don’t loan that dude a dime.”

There was one example I remember, that many will feel is an exception to my earlier statement about never observing any racism from any of my friends who were African American – that is, until they read how the story ends.

Once, Blub got a job and received hearty congratulations from us all. But he quit just over a week later.

When asked why he quit, Blub said, “Because my boss was a cracker.”

Blub’s boss was African American.

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