Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969 and is famous for its classic Southern comfort food, but earlier this week it trended on Twitter when users began calling into question the meaning behind the name of the popular food chain.
One Twitter user tweeted a meme with the allegation that “cracker was a slang term for whip,” explaining “thats why blacks called whites crackers, from the crack of a whip.” The tweet accuses the restaurant chain of exhibiting “racism in your face!!” and goes on to connect the logo to slavery, stating that the “whip” can be seen connecting the “R” and “K” of the name.
Did y’all know this ? pic.twitter.com/Odte32Zt9Z
— DOMODADONN🌚 (@DomoDaDonn) February 8, 2021
Some then began to link the brand to racial stereotypes.
aside from the racism , the food screams white people lol y’all shouldn’t be eating there to begin with
— Slaiya (@CartiSlaatt) February 8, 2021
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh joined the conversation, tweeting a reply to the viral meme:
No I didn't know that Cracker Barrel gets its name from the whips used against slaves. I didn't know that because it's nonsense that someone on the internet made up. Cracker barrels were literally barrels full of crackers. That's where the name comes from you, blithering morons. https://t.co/RchX9wDuOQ
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 9, 2021
In the “Frequently Asked Questions” portion of Cracker Barrel’s website, readers can find answers to questions about the company’s name. It tells the story of its founding, adding that Cracker Barrel’s founder, Dan Evins, originally wanted the restaurant to represent “old country stores from his childhood.” Since crackers used to be transported to these stores in barrels, the site explains that people used to spend time around these barrels to have conversations, noting that “…they were the original water coolers.” The founder decided that “Cracker Barrel” would be the perfect name for a restaurant whose purpose was to provide a place where people could “reconnect with friends and family over a good meal.”
Connections of racism to the Southern food chain have since been debunked from various sites, including Politifact, which noted that Facebook had even flagged the post as part of its efforts to cut down on false information.
“This is a baseless rumor,” Politifact said. “The barrels depicted in the logo were for storing soda crackers sold in general stores. That’s the origin of the name.”
In a statement provided to Heavy, Cracker Barrel responded to the story, noting that the logo “does not depict and has never depicted a whip,” but rather the “flourish” discussed on social media is a calligraphy style used in “many brands.”
The company added that it “rejects racism and discrimination in any form,” and went on to say the connection of Cracker Barrel to those ideas “is deeply upsetting because it contrasts so sharply with our values and our team’s work to create a culture of hospitality that’s welcoming, respectful and inclusive to everyone who walks through our doors.”
The restaurant chain referred Heavy to the Diversity and Inclusion page of its website, which reads,
“A Cracker Barrel dining room is a place where old and young, black and white, wealthy and struggling, liberal and conservative, gay and straight, and everyone in between can come together and feel at home.”
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