Social Question

janbb's avatar

How would you define the term "cracker" as in Southern cracker?

Asked by janbb (62852points) 1 month ago

I used it to describe someone to an English friend who has a place in Florida and she asked me what it meant. I know what I mean but I’m curious as to what others would say.

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30 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

A “cracker” is an alternative way of describing a redneck.

smudges's avatar

My experience tells me that it’s a racial insult toward poor whites, most oftenly used in the south; the equivalent of the “n” word.

ragingloli's avatar

I believe is comes from “cracking a whip”, referring to the white slave owners and their henchmen, later applied to white people in general, as a reminder to black people who their oppressors used to be, and to an extent, still are.

janbb's avatar

@smudges Although usually derogatory, I don’t see it as analogous to the n-word in effect. Hre’s some of an interesting article about that issue: After all, some Southerners self-describe using the term.

https://aninjusticemag.com/why-white-peoples-use-of-the-word-cracker-is-so-dangerous-b7e5564b094e

smudges's avatar

I lived in the south for 20-some years and my experience was that it was the equivalent of the n-word. White trailer trash was another insult, and was similar in meaning. I disagree with the “reverse racism” claimed by the author, who’s admittedly from the northwest and has expressed ignorance regarding the term. That’s her opinion.

Cracker, I believe, can also be used to describe poor(?) whites in Florida and Georgia without the negative connotation, which may be why some whites use it to describe themselves.

SnipSnip's avatar

It means a native Floridian. It comes from ‘cracking’ the whip. Yes, there are cowboys in Florida. It has nothing to do with race here.

jca2's avatar

I’ve always understood it to mean poor whites.

The origin that I heard is what @ragingloli specified – from cracking the whip.

I’ve never heard that it is attributed to only native Floridians.

jca2's avatar

This explains more in detail the origin and usage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_(term)

elbanditoroso's avatar

White trash. We have a lot of that down here.

MrGrimm888's avatar

“Cracker” is indeed a racial slur, in the American South.
It’s supposed to be the equivalent to the “n” word.
Although it doesn’t have the same effect.

The “n” word has more evil history behind it. So. It’s basically the worst word you can say, to a black person.

Being a white male, I am VERY accustomed to hearing it.
That, and “honkey.”

I’m not trying to be insulting, but I find it hilarious when people accidentally use really bad words.

janbb's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I think there is somewhat more ambiguity to the term than you describe. Read @jca2‘s link. I was using it in a derogatory sense about someone who was MAGA, I have also heard it used the way @SnipSnip said as a term to describe a native of Florida or Georgia.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Just slang for white folk in general to me and not derogatory. My Nigga/My Cracker (amongst friends only.)

seawulf575's avatar

It is a derogatory term for poor white people. Started somewhere in GA or FL or both.

JLeslie's avatar

A Cracker and a Florida Cracker are two different things. Some Florida Crackers take pride in their heritage and of being Florida cattle ranchers many generations and cracking their whips. Florida used to be one of the biggest cattle states. Many of them are fine with the term Florida Cracker.

A Cracker is derogatory in my opinion and is used synonymously with white, white trash or rednecks or white people who are very narrow and ignorant in their world view. In other words, different people might use it slightly differently.

I wouldn’t use the term cracker or even Florida cracker if I don’t know my audience, because most people would hear it as very negative and degrading.

Most people outside of Florida have no idea about Florida crackers.

Forever_Free's avatar

Interestingly enough that The Atlanta Crackers were Minor League Baseball teams based in Atlanta, Georgia, between 1901 and 1965. The Crackers were Atlanta’s home team until the Atlanta Braves moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1966.

flutherother's avatar

Cracker meant “of excellent quality” and a Southern cracker if it meant anything at all meant a beautiful lady from the south. I don’t hear the word so often now.

smudges's avatar

^^ Did you live in the US at one point? I know that “Cracker Jacks” was selected as a name due to its great quality, but I’ve never heard of it meaning a beautiful lady from anywhere.

flutherother's avatar

I lived in the US briefly but l heard the word used in the UK. Crackerjack was the name of a long standing childrens programme in the UK

MrGrimm888's avatar

@janbb That is true. However. In the area I live, it’s rarely used in a different context.
Certainly jokingly, as well, among friends.

I feel like I have heard the word used in old western movies my parents watch. As far as in a non-slur way.

Racism is ridiculous. But. If you went to public school, and you’re white, you were definitely called “crackers,” or “honkeys,” by some black people.

Like the “n” word, it’s meant to be provoking.

In this age, word use evolves really fast. It could have more meanings, by the time I type this.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting about the uK, because the American South has a lot of influences in their dialect from the Uk.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s interesting many of you see them as dereogatory. Your AA friends never called you a crazy cracker, whitey, Casper or honkey?

seawulf575's avatar

@KNOWITALL The first time I was called a cracker is when we moved to GA when I was in ninth grade. It was not said as a term of endearment.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Interesting. I’m not even sure how I’d respond to that said in a derogatory manner. It does make more sense in the deep south than here, I suppose.

Blackberry's avatar

That’s old school, but no one says southern…they just say cracker.

SnipSnip's avatar

@jca2 I live in Florida in an unincorporated area. The term cracker is often used and never about race or socioeconomic standing around here. Many here are NOT crackers; we come from all over the lower 48. My neighborhood is mostly part-time snow birds from the northeast and midwest along with crackers and a few deep south transplants. I haven’t ever heard “Southern Cracker.” I’ve only heard ‘cracker’ or Florida cracker. I’ve never heard anyone outside Florida called a cracker. I’m from the south.

ragingloli's avatar

Probably one of my favourite lines in a movie:
“I’m supposed to apologize for killin’ Johnny Reb? You joined the war to keep niggers in chains. I joined the war to kill white Southern crackers. And that means killing ‘em in any way I can! Shoot ‘em, stab ‘em, drown ‘em, burn ‘em, throw a big ‘ol rock on their heads! Whatever it took to keep white Southern crackers in the ground, that’s what I joined the war to do and that’s what I did! ”

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’ve never heard those terms used in real life except when people are talking about the topic like we are now or talking about the TV show The Jefferson’s.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I love The Jeffersons, George was the best at the insults. My friends and i joked around a lot in the 80s when things were more harmonious, but never in a mean way.

jca2's avatar

@SnipSnip People who responded on this post talked about being called a cracker outside of being native Floridians, and the Wiki leak does as well, but whatever.

SnipSnip's avatar

I know that. I made it clear that I’m a southerner and never heard the term before I moved to Florida. So I only can speak knowingly for its use in Florida. My family owns a ranch in another southern state and I’ve not heard the term up there either.

@jca2

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