(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Instapundit and Crackers (To get up-to-speed, read this if you haven't.) Cooped-up always seems to be more erudite than I am, and his post on the IP-Max rumble and DC voting rights continues that trend -- in part. As I said to a critic/reader this morning, I don't like yelling matches, myself, as a type of human interaction.

But I do differ with Cooped on one important point. IP is all worked up because Max called him a "cracker". It was not an irrelevant -- though it was an irreverent -- thing to say, because (as Cooped points out) calling DC voters "not ready for self-government," as IP did, could be read as having racial overtones. I know that I read it that way, as a white Alabamian transplanted to DC. But here's where I think that I deviate a bit from Cooped -- and here I know that there is a substantial chance of making a whole lot of people mad and filling up my in-box. I've never felt that calling a white southerner a "cracker" is an ethnic slur, particularly where (as here) it is precipitated by a narrow-minded remark on the southerner's part. It's an insult and a name-calling, to be sure, and life is nicer if there's less of that. But it is simply not in the same category, in my eyes at least, as the common derogatory terms for black and brown people. Why? Because its focus is more on narrow-mindedness and bigotry than on race or ethnicity. White southerners are not, definitionally, crackers. Up with us! -- so long as we don't say arrogant things like "those folks in DC aren't ready for self-government."

So, as a potential cracker myself when I say something ignorant, I don't take offense at Max's post. And besides, Max was way right on the merits.

posted by sam 3:23 PM 0 comments


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