Fox News, once again, demonstrates how out of touch they are. Here they are talking with Donald Trump, trying desperately to claim that the word “cracker” is the same as various racial slurs used against black people.
Here’s the video:
Let’s get some historical perspective. Here is a wood cutting of a historical cracker:
“Cracker” referred to the cracking of the whip by the poor white farmers hired by the rich plantation owners to manage the slaves. These managers were treated poorly, barely better than the slaves themselves at points, but they were still free men, encouraged to take their frustrations out on the slaves.
By comparison, the word they inevitably compare cracker to, nigger, has a far darker origin. It started with Portuguese traders: to label their slaves to be delivered to the American colonies, “negars” was written down by John Loche in 1619. The difference then, between slaves (negars or niggers) and slavers and their managers (crackers), is clearly a point lost to Fox News.
Without the whip in hand, a cracker becomes impotent, pointless. The use of the term becomes, in effect, a statement about someone who might take an oppressive role against a black… if he had a whip. A person who is on the other side of the racial divide. The comment by Congressman Rangel being discussed in the video above is quite accurate, not necessarily an insult and certainly not remotely equivalent to the “n-word.” If anything, it would be little different if he’d called them a ‘poopyhead.’
The insult of these terms is based on a position of power. Calling someone a ‘cracker’ is in effect telling them “you no longer have the right to crack that whip over the slaves,” or, in more modern terms, “you are on the other side of the racial divide.” Calling someone a “nigger” is telling them, “we want to enslave you” or “you’re nothing better than a slave.” Very different racial histories and racial intents. While some have made the case that the slang “nigga” diminishes the impact of the original term for slaves, nobody has yet come up with an adequate case to claim that referring to someone as a slave-whipper (cracker) is on the same level as telling a person that you wish they were enslaved (nigger).
The reality is, Fox News and the right-wing media are still is living in a delusional world when it comes to matters of race; one in which minorities continue to be victimized in coded words, where even death itself is not enough to end the oppression. Minorities still find themselves facing white members of society who compare them to insects and lizards, as they continue to face regular threats of violence from racist vigilantes. When a black youth is killed by a white man, to these racists he deserved it. Trials over the murder of a black teenager are compromised by the police, turning them into mockeries of justice. And the GOP faithful, spoon fed by Fox News, elects open racists to political office.
The reality is, minorities are significantly more likely to be found guilty for identical crimes as white Americans. No matter how many times Donald Trump is called a ‘cracker,’ it will never compare to the regular, systematic harassment that African-Americans deal with on a daily basis. He does not need to fear being murdered by someone who knows that they will get away with it because of the color of their skin. It does not matter if the ‘slur’ thrown at Don or any other white Americans is cracker, honky, whitebread, gringo, haole, cake, ofay, or peckerwood, none of them are are attached to a historical label of oppression; rather, they’re the slang nicknames of the oppressors. They are a reminder that for those not ‘lucky enough’ to be born with pale skin, the United States is not always a land of opportunity, but often one of oppression. If those at Fox News truly cared about the matter, they would be fighting their best to eliminate the racism which threatens our society. Instead, they brag about it, rushing forward with plans to re-institutionalize elements of racism like voter suppression.
Don’t forget, Fox News is the media arm for the GOP, whose chairman from Texas was recently quoted saying, “Republican Party Doesn’t Want Black People To Vote.” This whole affair here, complaining about being called a slave taskmaster, shows precisely how out of touch they are. They believe their own rhetoric. They believe that pregnancies never have medical problems and rapes don’t exist. They believe that those in poverty are there due to their own actions and are to be punished. They do not live in reality, believing the echo chamber of Fox News. Is it any wonder they are seen as out of touch?
Donald Trump; when it comes to racism, the only words that should come out of your mouth are “I’m sorry for being such an ass.” Or, perhaps the issue is more that you’re upset that a black man can call you cracker, while you cannot call him… something back? How very elitist of you.