“Dirty-ass crackers”: What does the term “cracker” mean and where does it originate?

By Penny Hoffmann

Recently we have seen the term “cracker” used again by a black Hebrew Israelite during the recent scandal where Catholic MAGA hat pro-life teenagers were confronted by African Americans who are members of the Black Hebrew Israelites, a hate group that is becoming “more militant” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC).

The SPLC states that “around the country, thousands of men and women have joined black supremacist groups on the extremist fringe of the Hebrew Israelite movement, a black nationalist theology that dates to the 19th century.”

The exact quote that was directed towards the mostly white pro-life protesters by one of the black Hebrew Israelites was “you got all these dirty-ass crackers behind you with a red Make America Great Again hat on.”

This occurred when when a pro-life protest which that featured Kentucky high school students who were waiting to catch a bus and collided with the Indigenous Peoples March outside the Lincoln Memorial.

So, what does the term “cracker” mean?

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary states that “cracker” can have an offensive meaning.  It can be “used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a poor, white, usually Southern person”. It can be used to describe “a native or resident of Florida or Georgia”. Thus, by this definition it is a racial term as it is specificially about whites, but by extension it is a classist term due to it regarding poor whites.

Dana Ste. Claire, a Floridian historian and anthropologist, wrote a book about this term. According to her, “cracker” first appeared in a play from around the 1590’s called “King John” that referred to Scots-Irish people who were deemed self-important and unpleasant:

“What craker is this same that deafs our ears with this abundance of superfluous breath?”

The term then followed Scots-Irish people when they immigrated to America.

In the late 1800’s, it was used to describe poor white American southerners. It is said that the term refers to these white people during the slave trade when they cracked whips to discipline slaves. Dana explains further that it is important to note that few poor white southerners owned slaves, but many condoned the slave trade in other ways, and that these poor white southerners would most-likely crack the whip over livestock in general.

In the 1940’s, “cracker” was used as a racial slur mainly by inner city black people who fled from north American racism to describe bigoted white people.

In more recent times, the term has expanded in it’s meaning by some people derogatorily to include any white person who, just by being white, threaten people of colour.

U.N. Race Relations Envoy Ridiculed by British MPs For Claiming Brexit Causing Increase in Discrimination in Britain

By Stefan M. Kløvning

Great Britain, Politics – U.N. race relations envoy E. Tendayi Achiume infuriated British politicians on Friday after suggesting that Brexit has become more discriminatory following the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016, specifically mentioning ‘structural racism’ in the British political system and the anti-semitism of the Labour Party. ‘I think the environment leading up to the referendum, during the referendum and after the referendum has made racial ethnicities more vulnerable to racial discrimination and intolerance,’ the envoy opined. She especially targeted the British immigration and terrorism policies of PM Theresa May. The U.S.-based lawyer reached the conclusions following twelve days of traveling across the country and talking to victims of racism.

British MPs have been highly skeptical of the conclusions made by Ms. Achiume, calling them ‘complete rubbish’ and ‘not worth the paper they are written on,’ and claiming that she’s completely misunderstood the vote. One of her biggest critics in the House of Commons may have been Tory MP Peter Bone, who said that Ms. Achiume was ‘totally ill-informed and doesn’t understand Brexit’ for making the claim that Britain is more discriminatory now than it was before Brexit. Mr. Bone suggested rather the current immigration policies under the European Union to be racist as they allow E.U. nationals to move freely to the U.K. while establishing stricter control on members of other nationalities, and suggested that the immigration system should be equal for all applicants no matter the country of origin. Another Tory MP, Jacob-Rees Mogg, who has been highly vocal of his support for Brexit, also had some harsh words for Ms. Achiume, targetting the credibility of U.N. by saying ‘The UN ought to have better things to do than issue tendentious reports about the UK.’

Not only does Ms. Achiume believe that Great Britain has made bad legislation regarding immigration and terrorism, she believes it’s a part of ‘structural socioeconomic exclusion‘ of racial and ethnic communities in the country. She, along with other U.N. ‘experts’ on the issue, repeated this in a U.N. report, where they also claimed there to be a ‘criminalisation of people of African descent and other minorities in the UK’ – whatever that may mean.

She isn’t, however, the first U.N. dignitary critical of the human rights record of Great Britain. Among them are Yves Cabannes, Raquel Rolnik, Rashida Manjoo and Leilani Farha. Most nutorious of them is Mrs. Rolnik, a critic of the British ‘bedroom tax’ – a measure initiated in 2013 reducing housing benefits for people with spare bedrooms – has become infamous for admitting to have sacrificed an animal to Karl Marx while studying for her Master in architecture so he would ‘leave her alone’ to study in peace.

Ms. Achiume’s report on Brexit’s implications for the prevalence of discrimination in Great Britain will be published in June 2019, but are unlikely to have big effect on British policy-making considering her already having lost respect by British politicians for suggesting the correlation.