Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crackers


On my weekly drive to State College, I find that there is about a 100 mile stretch (through central PA) where I can't find anything interesting on the radio except conservative talk-show programs. Now, I must admit, I actually love listening in to the likes of Rush Linbaugh and Sean Hannity, despite my total disgust at the content of those shows and the rhetoric deployed in them. I justify this to myself by saying that one ought to keep abreast of what the enemy is thinking... but the truth is, sometimes it's just so ridiculous that it's hilarious.

A couple of days ago, Sean Hannity was discussing on his program the recent Micheal Richards (Kramer) racial tirade at the Laugh Factory. Hannity had the African-American target of Richards' rant and his lawyer as guests on the show. In classic Hannity fashion, he spent most of the interview chastising his guest for responding to Richards by calling him a "stupid [expletive] cracker." According to Hannity, "cracker" and "nigger" are equally reproachable racial slurs. Ergo, Richards is entitled to an apology as much as his audience members were.

Hmmmmmm.

Now, I went to Wikipedia and looked up the term "cracker." As I suspected, it's a term largely used to refer to poor "white trash" in the southeastern United States. That's where I'm from, and I would be lying if I didn't say that I've heard this term as often in my life as it's counterpart. But never.... NEVER... has it occurred to me that this term is equal to the N-word. Nobody uses the term "cracker" in reference to a history of lynching, like Richards' did with the N-bomb, nor does anyone claim that they can get someone arrested (again, as Richards did)solely on the basis of bring a "cracker." Hannity's contention was that if the African-American's in the audience felt threatened (or, in legal parlance, "assaulted") by Richards' tirade, then Richards could reasonbly assume that he was in equal danger when he was called a "cracker."

Okay, Hannity's an idiot. But I hear this kind of argument a lot. It's usually couched in some version of a "reverse racism" claim. So, I want to call out the utter inanity of this argument. And, for that matter, the utter inanity of all the crackers who keep putting it forth.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

ahh, yes. how quickly we forget that um *history* is sort of relevant in the language game. hmmm, who'da thunk it? further...i'm concerned with your drives and lack of radio peace. you do know that this conservative chatter is bad for your blood preasure?

kg

c21503d said...

Yeah, kyle is right: this stuff will bump up your blood pressure. But - I have low blood pressure, so it is very good for me. Plus, I am a sophist, and admire the rhetoric regardless of its ethical implications (Eric taught me how!!). The train of thought calling c---- and n---- the same always has been and always will be inane and self-serving; I don't recall ever hearing a black person say that they are the same- nor hardly any white person who was not currently being accused of/ trying to defend someone from accusations of racism.

Leigh said...

c21503d,

glad to hear that eric is not the only one self-aware of his sophistry!

also, the comment above is not kyle... it's another "kg" from Hawaii (formerly of Memphis), named Kristen