Why Calling Me "Cracker" Just Isn't The Same.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

A thought just a hair too long for Twitter:
A racial epithet only really works if it’s been used throughout your life to demonstrate how you’re second-class.  And while I know there are terms like “cracker” and “ofay” that black people use to denigrate white people, as a white guy raised in largely white towns?  I have no emotional connection to them.  I’ve never had a black guy threatening to kick my cracker ass, nor have I had any girl call me some stupid ofay when she realized I was smarter than she was.
So I know what the intent is.  But it just doesn’t hurt me, because, well, I’ve got this grand fucking life of privilege I’ve surfed on.
Which is why I try to eschew the N-word when I can, even in quoting its usage.  It’s not just a word; it’s a hot button of bringing a tide of emotional reactions to the surface when I say it, because assholes who share my skin color have created an association between “white people saying that word” and “rubbing in just how insignificant all of your actions are and will ever be.”
Sure, the names exist.  And I’m sure there’s a white guy somewhere in a black neighborhood who has those flush-faced reactions to “cracker,” because he was a minority in his neighborhood and pounded for it.  But for most white people, the insult’s kind of like a, “Oh, you were trying to insult me?  Why didn’t that hurt?”

3 Comments

  1. soapwench'
    May 16, 2013

    Okay, I’m ignorant…completely ignorant…I’ve even asked. My son (who is white) has a black girlfriend and I’ve asked. Why is okay for a black person to call themselves the N word? I get why it’s not okay for us, but I don’t get why it’s okay for them.
    Anyone?

    • TheFerrett
      May 17, 2013

      Why is it okay to call ourselves “nerds” in high school when it’s not okay for the jocks to do so when they’re knocking our books to the floor?
      Why is it okay for you to call yourself “fat” but it’s not cool for someone to yell it at you when they drive by you?
      It’s all about context.

  2. John
    May 20, 2013

    I’m not really so sure that it is ok for blacks to call each other the N-word. In my mind, their using it is saying it’s ok, when in fact it’s a nasty, hateful word. If they don’t want others using it, they should stop using it themselves.

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