Popular Southern comfort food restaurant Cracker Barrel came under fire after they were accused of hiding a racist message in their logo. However, the company says it’s all a major misunderstanding.
Founded in 1969, Cracker Barrel became popular for its Southern comfort food and old-timey charm. However, thanks to the latest internet rumor, the beloved eatery is scrambling to put to bed unfounded accusations of racism. With each day, a new controversy is conjured up launching allegations of injustice against an entity.
No one is safe from these accusations, which can easily ruin a person or business’s reputation and worse. Unfortunately, these flagrant assertions are too often false and do irreparable damage to the accused without the possibility of correcting the defamation.
A rumor has circulated on social media claiming that the Cracker Barrel logo is a thinly veiled homage to historical American slavery. The claim suggested that the letters “R” and “K” are connected by a swirl representing a slaveowner’s “whip.” An even wilder rumor asserts that the name Cracker Barrel refers to wooden barrels used to transport said whips to slaveowners, who were called “crackers” because of the sound their whips made, according to AJC.
“Cracker was a slang term for whip,” a social media user wrote. “Thats why blacks called whites crackers, from the crack of the whip. A cracker barrel is a barrel that held the whips for sale at the country store. You see the whip going from the R to the K? Racism in your face!!”
The claim quickly gained attention, sparking thousands of shares and accusations of corporate racism. Soon, the comments were flooded with social media users disparaging and stereotyping white people.
“Aside from the racism, the food screams white people lol,” one commenter wrote. “Y’all shouldn’t be eating there to begin with.”
“When you walk in there it gives racist vibes,” another replied.
“And the name matches the vibes too. Hit with the smell of racism as soon as you open the door,” another commented.
“It makes sense though. I feel like anytime I walked in there I was expecting to get sold out of the gift shop. Just slave vibes all around in that place,” another wrote.
Of course, the name has nothing to do with slavery or whips but refers to actual barrels of soda crackers that were delivered to general stores for sale. However, most who stumbled across the rumor refused to do a simple search of this fact, prompting the restaurant to respond to Politifact in order to quell the outrage.
“The part of the logo being referenced in social media posts is a flourish, which is used in the calligraphy of the logos of many brands,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Cracker Barrel rejects racism and discrimination in any form.”
As historian Jelani Cobb told the outlet, the term “cracker” is an anti-white slur that gained popularity in the mid-18th century to insultingly refer to poor whites who drove their livestock with whips. As such, it would be self-deprecating to refer to oneself as a “cracker,” which is exactly what the rumor suggests.
Although many social media users fell for the unfounded claim, some came to the restaurant’s defense. Others admitted that even if they believed the restaurant was being racist toward them, they would still dine there because of their love for the food.
The incident highlights how destructive a simple accusation can be, especially one asserting deep-seated racism. Hopefully, the restaurant’s reputation isn’t too damaged by the rumor that it loses business.