Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Every Christmas my mother-in-law makes a dish with black eyed peas, chopped bell pepper, onions, tomatoes, and Italian dressing. She gooshes it all up together and puts it in a bowl next to the Scoops or Monster Fritos and announces that the LA Caviar is served. That's for Lower Alabama.

I had that on my mind this morning. Yesterday a friend was relating a story to me about a recent experience where someone in her conversation group had used the term "cracker" to describe an extremely Southern person with an extremely Southern accent and an extremely Southern persona and just all around extremely Southern emanations. My friend was hot. Annoyed at the use of the term.

Now, it's my personal opinion that you will only be offended by something if that something is a sore spot for you. Or if you care. Make sense? Clearly there are exceptions; grievously offensive or hurtful words, for example, but we're not talking about that depth of offense anyway.

So back to Crackers. Here's the thing. has five definitions for the word. Numbers one through three being what you would expect and referring to crisp flatbreads (which you could eat LA caviar off of. Let us take a moment to revel in the irony.) and stuff you light and explode on July 4th, here are numbers four and five:

4. Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive. a native or inhabitant of Georgia (used as a nickname).

5. Disparaging and Offensive . a poor white person living in some rural parts of the southeastern U.S.

SOMEtimes disparaging and offensive, a native or inhabitant of Georgia. What times? The times that you choose to interpret it that way, that's what times. I am most definitely, gratefully, and proudly an inhabitant and native of Georgia. I fudge on the native part a little. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add that I was born in Alabama (middle, not lower) but my family was from Georgia and returned to Georgia when I was very young. Regardless. The point is that by definition I am a Cracker. And I am profoundly, entirely in love with and dedicated to that definition, being an inhabitant and native of Georgia, so I take on the term Cracker with gusto. Bring it on.

I could pick the number five definition instead and be hacked off, but why would I do that? AND. On some days I feel like I belong in that category too. Precisely what is offensive about being poor and white?

I love the name of my dear friend's blog: "Georgia Black Crackers". Mavis is an African American woman in hot pursuit of the genealogy of her family. Think the word Cracker bothers her? Here's a link. See for yourself:

How I interpret (anything) is my decision. How I react is my decision. How I feel is my decision. The minute my friend went to the dark side upon hearing that term, she gave away her power. She alone defines herself, not the doofus who referred to that delightful Southern character as a Cracker. The A number 1 irony is that doofus thought he was being offensive, meant to be offensive, derisive, by using the term. So he misused the term Cracker. My question is, does that make him one?


Bee said...

Nest to Ritz, you is my favorite cracker, evah!

Allie and Pattie said...

I second Bee! And I LOVE Mavis' blog and both your outlooks