Social Question

Jak's avatar

And is the name Cracker Barrel a deliberate slur?

Asked by Jak (3600points) February 22nd, 2016

How funny that @Dutchess III asked about that restaurant because I had been thinking for a couple days how to phrase this question about Cracker Barrel. I know almost nothing about the restaurant. I have been there twice, and both times was less than impressed. My mother and sister both love it and they are both less than informed conservatives who literally get angry any time I show them hard numbers and facts that disprove something regarding either their political views or their religion, which is pentecostal/baptist. My sister LOST HER MIND when I told her that the KKK used the bible to justify slavery. She had never heard such a thing (she’s 50) and actually left the room to prevent herself from hearing me.
So that’s my impression of the type of people who go to CB a lot. I could be wrong. But when I put together the name and the idea of a bunch of ignorant crackers all gathered together I laughed like a loon.
I understand that there are several possible definitions of the word “cracker”, but the one that I’ve grown up with was a poor, under-educated, ignorant hick.
So in the wake of my esteemed Jellie and her question regarding one portion of the color/racist spectrum, I wondered if the person who started CB was sitting around thinking of a theme for a restaurant and thought he’d give all them thar hicks a place to feel at home and cough up the cash while snickering to himself the whole time because they don’t realize the joke is on them. Like it’s literally a barrel full of Crackers. (Ok, it’s not a barrel, but still…)
Ya recon?

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18 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

How did I miss this? @Jak?

Of course you’re right:
“Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is an American chain of combined restaurant and gift stores with a Southern country theme. The company was founded by Dan Evins in 1969; its first store was in Lebanon, Tennessee, which remains the company headquarters. The chain’s stores were at first positioned near Interstate highway exits in the Southeastern and Midwestern US,”

What could be more white-trashy? And the attic clutter decor! Perfect!

janbb's avatar

That’s a good satirical take on it but I doubt that’s how it’s meant. I think they were going for the country store connotations. OTOH, I was surprised to learn when I spent time in Florida that calling oneself a cracker can be a term of pride.

Having said that, I thought the place was shite the one time I ate in one.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

A little insight into how my mind works:

I never thought of “Cracker Barrel” as possibly “racist” until you brought it up.

That said, there is a reason CB locations have a discreet sign stating that they cater to people of all backgrounds:

In about the year 2003 a black couple were seated at a CB only to be greeted by an granny “white” server that said in so many words “we don’t serve your kind here.”

I mean, WTF?

Once the news item came out, someone working at the fine dining establishment in Atlanta where I worked at at the time drew a cartoonish figure of the offending woman quoting her insane utterance on the kitchen whiteboard, pun intended.

We nearly vomited with laughter, finding it nearly impossible that someone would be such a blatant pig as her.

One can only scratch one’s head.

Jak's avatar

Waitress: “we don’t serve hippies here. ” Bette Midler(the Rose): ” well that’s good, ‘cause we don’t eat ‘em, neither! ”. (Brawl ensues)

kritiper's avatar

“cracker barrel…adj [fr. the cracker barrel in country stores around which customers lounged for informal conversation] (1916) : suggestive of the friendly homespun character of a country store <a ~ philosopher>” -from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th. ed.
So it is not a deliberate slur.

jca's avatar

I can’t imagine a corporation and/or entrepreneur deliberately putting a racial slur in a multimillion or billion dollar company name. The goal is to make money and stay in business and trying to be funny by putting a racial slur anywhere would backfire and kill the bottom line.

Cracker Barrel is pretty crappy food, like @janbb said. Ham, fattening crap, awful. Some people do love it, I am guessing because it’s casual and then they have that store. A lot of people like crap like ham. I try to avoid it like the plague. Pure fat and salt.

Cruiser's avatar

Now I feel I should cover my can of Jig a Loo lubricant with duct tape just to be safe.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I can imagine it.

I don’t think they were putting a racial slur, but I still can imagine it. In the South, if you go far enough back, being a place for white people was run of the mill stuff. The majority of white people would like it. Remember, restaurants used to have signs saying, “no colored people,” or at minimum made a section for them separate from white people.

JLeslie's avatar

I just googled, and oh yeah, Cracker Barrel seems to have definitely had some troubles with discriminating against blacks and also the LGBT community. Read up here. You can skip right down to the “Controversies” section.

Edit: Also, it seems the innocent name cracker-barrel for describing a barrel holding aids crackers, is technically hyphenated? That’s what I found online anyway.

canidmajor's avatar

I like their pancakes.

ibstubro's avatar

Urban dictionary

Cracker Barrel:
A large wooden structure filled with old white people.
“Cracker Barrel has some excellent food.”

Honky Bucket:
proper noun: hong-kE b&-k&t;
-Cracker Barrel.
“Hey, do you want to go eat at the Honky Bucket? ”

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve decided I’m just going to chalk this one up to double entendre.

Is anyone on this Q black? I’d love to know what the black community says about it. Are we just a bunch of white folks discussing who should be offended or not, and the intentions of white folks when they name their businesses.

ibstubro's avatar

^^^Honky Bucket. @JLeslie, seems to represent a non-white perspective.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Good point. It’s funny.

Seek's avatar

A friend of mine just went through manager training for Cracker Barrel. They literally do three full days of training at the corporate office on non-discrimination, workplace sensitivity, etc. He said of all the restaurants he’s ever worked in over fifteen years, this has been the best experience.

As far as the name, it’s going for the old general store theme, and hard tack biscuits – y’know, crackers – did come by the barrel.

Double entendre? Maybe. As a certified white person, I don’t care. More cheesy hash browns, please.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek 3 days? That does seem like a lot of CYA, or thou duth protest too much, or we know we are in a lot of parts of the country where people might have some racism or prejudice. Probably, after the troubles with the law it’s mostly just CYA, but 3 days is striking.

Seek's avatar

There were three weeks of training, including time in the kitchen to learn recipes, etc.

I don’t think it’s excessive compared to the training we did as county employees. Seemed like every week there was some new sensitivity seminar. “Let’s all go to sexual harassment class to improve our techniques!”

These people were all training to be store managers, so the classes has to cover not only policy, but how to teach it to the employees, how to implement it, and the discipline structure.

jca's avatar

Three days is a lot. Here at the government agency I work for, there’s a training, one time, that’s a few hours. You have to sign that you took it, and read the policy and sign it annually. There’s also Workplace Violence training, same thing. Train, sign, sign annually.

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