In my travels, I've realized something about White Americans: they have no clue what racism is. By racism, I mean discriminating against another person based on their perceived race or ethnicity. I understand that most of this ignorance is purely circumstantial. They don't understand about racism because for centuries White Americans have been the majority group in their country. Add to this the immense size of the continental U.S. and voila! You've got cultural ignorance. Why should a White American understand any culture outside of their own? This country has thousands of square miles of people like themselves; people that listen to the same music, eat the same food, and speak the same language. In this kind of environment, it's only natural to see a different culture or people as foreign, evil, or inferior. The worst part of White American racism is that it's so natural that many White Americans miss it, even when it's directed at them. The best example of this is Cracker Barrel.
Cracker Barrel is a national restaurant chain that's very popular in the U.S. region popularly known as "the South". Now if you're a White American you probably don't see anything wrong with that last sentence. Let me elaborate. "Cracker" is a racist term for a White person, particularly White Americans from the South. The term is an abbreviation of "whipcracker", referencing the slavery period in the U.S. when Whites owned slaves. It's made more derogatory by the fact that slave masters usually did not whip their slaves. They used lower class White Americans for this task. Thus when someone directs this term at a White American, they're insinuating that the subject of this barb is a White person of a lower class (or possibly stupid), even when compared to other White people. In simpler terms, "cracker" doesn't mean "White American". It means "stupid White American".
Now do you see what's wrong with Cracker Barrel being popular in the South? Is it popular with the Black Americans who coined this turn-of-phrase? No. Indeed, I and many of my Black countrymen tend to feel uncomfortable in Cracker Barrel because of the LARGE number of White patrons at this restaurant. Cracker Barrel is EXTREMELY popular with middle and lower class Whites here in the South. They put them in business parks and near airports. Eating at Cracker Barrel is not even seen as shameful or particularly significant to its White patrons.
Let's compare this with other races and ethnicities living in America. Do you know of a popular food chain amongst Black Americans known as "Nigger Chicken"? How about a Mexican restaurant called "Beaner Burritoes"? "Chink's Chinese Cuisine"? No? Why not? Because those restaurant names would deeply offend patrons of other cultures or even their target markets. I can personally vouch for "Nigger Chicken"'s imminent destruction in under a month.
Yet there it is: Cracker Barrel. You might wonder what kind of food they serve at Cracker Barrel to attract so many Southern Whites. Well, the answer is simple: Southern food. Here's a menu. If you click on the link you'll notice the reference to "pancakes n' such", not "pancakes and other things". It says "pancakes n' such" in an attempt to emulate the vernacular of Southern Whites, y'know to make y'all feel right at home. The restaurant also has a store which offers items reminiscent of a time when certain Whites cracked whips, when the term "cracker" was at its most relevant. The restaurants are even designed to look like brown wooden shacks, the kind that would be inhabited by lower class Southern Whites, not the plantation mansions the slave masters lived in. This business appears to do everything in its power to appeal to the "cracker" demographic.
However, I have yet to see a single White person say anything negative about this restaurant or its name. Of course, one could say that the "cracker" in Cracker Barrel refers to the crisp bread treat one feeds to parrots on pirate ships. To these people, I would suggest moving to San Francisco and opening up "Fred's Faggot Furniture" and boast how your furniture is made from real faggots. I'm sure that once you explain to the local populace that you were simply referring to bundles of sticks (the original definition of "faggot"), everyone would let you run your business in peace and even buy from your store. Not really. You might want to refer back to the fate of "Nigger Chicken" two paragraphs up.
Still, there is Cracker Barrel: a business that profits from Southern White culture and puts the most derogatory word for them in its name. I'm sure there are other arguments Whites would make to defend this institution. There are still Blacks that fervently defend the casual use of the word "nigger". Both groups tend to be lower class and/or culturally ignorant. Yet, I have come to understand the cultural ignorance of White Americans. Why should the most powerful group of people in this nation be offended by a simple word? Even a word meant to offend. Black Americans made up a word that means "stupid White American". Really? How novel! Blacks can use words! Whites seem to be completely oblivious to the very notion of racial offense. Thus, whenever I hear about some White person in the news catching Hell for saying something culturally insensitive, I believe them when they say they didn't think it was a big deal. I know they didn't think it was a big deal. They eat at Cracker Barrel.